York professor partners with Town of Penetanguishene to develop park focused on climate change solutions

Image shows a wild flower garden

The innovative Climate Change Solutions Park will also served to build community awareness of reconciliation and Indigenous knowledge.

José Etcheverry
José Etcheverry

Climate change has emerged as the world’s most critical environmental issue, as well as one of the most pressing social, economic and health challenges of our time. While it is a global issue, its impacts are felt most acutely at a local level.  

The Town of Penetanguishene is partnering with Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change Professor José Etcheverry to develop a Climate Change Solutions Park (CSP) in the Penetanguishene Ecology Garden at 144 Fox Street. 

This development will create an inspirational location for experiential learning, networking and innovation opportunities for local and visiting students, such as training in precision agriculture and local sustainable development strategies. It will also allow for the development of cutting-edge research and practical applications toward solving climate change.

The project focuses on addressing climate change by creating an ecosystem of innovation by involving not only students, but local and Indigenous partners, community leaders and creators. It will provide new practical opportunities for those interested in designing and implementing paradigm-shifting climate change solutions, locally and internationally. The Penetanguishene Ecology Garden was chosen by Etcheverry as an ideal location to mark the beginning of his nationwide project.

“We will aim to educate and provide awareness for the public and the community on reconciliation. There is much knowledge left to learn from the Indigenous communities in our country and we are here to support, nourish, and disseminate that knowledge theoretically and experientially,” says Etcheverry. “We will also be working with Land of the Dancing Deer to assist them in the planning, development and execution of the Healing Village and their permaculture gardens through student involvement.”

The Climate Solutions Park is also working with the Rural Urban Learning Association, a registered Canadian charitable organization with a diverse membership, to ensure trust, genuine relationship building, and community engagement remain central to their mandates with the Indigenous communities where the projects are located. 

“The ecology garden represents a wonderful foundation that the Climate Solutions Park will continue to foster, nurture and evolve over time. We will remain connected with our roots in Penetanguishene – while reaching towards a greater collective vision for climate change solutions locally and globally,” says Codrina Ibanescu, president – Rural Urban Learning Association. 

There is also a bursary available for some students to participate York’s 4REAL (4th Renewable Energy & Agricultural Learning) project, which is linked to one of York University’s renewable energy courses and focuses on local climate change solutions with an emphasis on the United Nationals Sustainable Development Goals. The bursary aims to help domestic students gain experiential opportunities at several farm and green industry sites, including the Climate Solutions Park in Penetanguishene. 

To learn more about the bursary, visit https://tinyurl.com/2p8v2v2s.