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Preserving Biodiversity: Habitat Restoration and Conservation

April 11, 2023

Meet RBG’s Habitat Restoration and Conservation Team

Everyone is familiar with the plants and animals of the largest botanical gardens in Canada, but we want to highlight something you may not always notice—some of the people who make Royal Botanical Gardens so special.

Andrea Court and Mallory Peirce are two of our ecologists working tirelessly to protect diverse habitats and the species that depend on them.  There is an urgent movement to preserve the habitats from Lake Ontario to the Niagara Escarpment. Conservation efforts not only make a difference in our region, but they go on to support the health of our planet.

Wetland Restoration Ecologist Andrea Court with junvenille Bowfin

Andrea Court,
Wetland Restoration Ecologist

“My office is the marsh,” Andrea says with a smile. She’s been working at RBG for 13 years, protecting wetlands from invasive species.

One of Andrea’s responsibilities is tending to the fishway that separates Cootes Paradise Marsh from Hamilton Harbour. It’s a barrier designed to keep non-native carp out of the marsh while allowing native fish in, to spawn. Andrea is at the fishway twice a day from April to June to sort the fish—sometimes hundreds in a day— which helps to improve the marsh and the fish community’s health.

Andrea also keeps temporary fencing around the marsh restoration sites in good repair to protect new wetland plants like cattails from hungry Canada Geese and invasive Mute Swans. These beneficial plants help expedite the marshes’ recovery, which is why Andrea’s team plants up to 20,000 of them each year.

Forest and Grassland Restoration Ecologist Mallory holding puffball mushroom

Mallory Peirce,
Terrestrial Ecologist Assistant

Mallory and her team are focused on forest and grassland restoration. They remove and manage invasive species and oversee tree and shrub planting to restore a healthy balance of native plant species.

“Our work takes us to all corners of our nature sanctuaries,” says Mallory, who has been with us for more than five years. “Every day is different, which makes it really exciting!”

This month, Mallory is managing spring tree planting along a damaged forest edge. This involves planting up to 500 trees in one day—with considerable support from a dedicated team of volunteers—followed by installing protective fencing to keep deer from destroying all their hard work. The results are visible immediately and have a long-lasting impact.

“The more time and effort we can put into removing invasive species and planting native ones is going to make our forests and grasslands resistant to change,” Mallory says. “Donors are really making an investment in the sustainability of natural areas when they make a gift to the Gardens.”

You can make a meaningful investment in the environment when you support Royal Botanical Gardens. And part of that investment ensures we can bring the best staff on board—like Andrea, Mallory, and the rest of our fantastic team—to do this crucial conservation work. 

Conservation Projects at RBG

RBG’s conservation efforts occur in forest, wetland and prairie habitats and range from species at risk inventories to invasive alien species management.

In additions to our display gardens and horticultural conservation work, Royal Botanical Gardens works hard to preserve and restore its nature sanctuaries.

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