Our Fragile Planet: Environmental Programs for Fall 2018

September 11, 2018 | Diana L.

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From monarch butterflies to polar bears, saving aquatic ecosystems to preserving national parks, learning how to identify trees to picking up tips on how to live a zero-waste lifestyle, Torontonians will have access to a wide range of FREE environmental programs in the fall sessions of the Our Fragile Planet program series. 

Our Fragile Planet Fall 2018 Collage

Since 2014, the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) has supported this series, increasing environmental awareness and inspiring people of all ages to learn more about the environment through informative lectures, hands-on workshops and engaging community events.


The TD FEF also supported our first-ever Environmentalist in Residence program with Janelle Richards earlier this year at the Albion and Scarborough Civic Centre Branches. Read about Janelle's experience.

Although Janelle's residency is over, there's still a lot we can do for our planet! Here are some of the programs taking place between September and December 2018: 

Guest Speakers and Workshops


Dawn Bazely

Southern Ontario Biodiversity and Local Food Security

Dawn Bazely, a professor of biology at York University, will discuss food security and its role in building a sustainable future. She'll also share some botany tips to help you grow a better garden using local vegetables and herbs.


monarch butterfly on a flower
Photo credit: Tim Wilson

Grow Milkweeds for Monarch Butterflies

Back by popular demand, this hands-on workshop led by the Toronto Master Gardeners will teach you how to help save the endangered monarch butterflies by growing milkweed plants.


Chemicals in Your Environment and Impacts on Human Health

Learn about chemical hazards, the health effects and what people can do to reduce exposure. Presented by Cecilia Tolley, Senior Environmental Health Specialist and Priya Tanda, Senior Programs Officer from Health Canada.


Ontario's Electricity System: Facts & Fiction

Where does Ontario's electricity come from - solar panels, wind turbines, coal plants? Are we really wasting electricity? What is the environmental footprint of our electricity? Learn the answer to some of these questions. Presented by Kyra Bell-Pasht, Senior Energy Conservation and Efficiency Policy Advisor from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO), Ontario's environmental watchdog.


Enduring Wilderness Book

An Enduring Wilderness: Toronto's Natural Parklands 

An Enduring Wilderness: Toronto's Natural Parklands was commissioned by the City of Toronto to chronicle the wonders of Toronto's extensive network of sunken rivers, forested vales and the extensive shoreline. Jane Weninger, Senior Planner of Strategic Initiatives, Policy and Analysis from the City of Toronto will share how these distinctive landscapes have been rediscovered, embraced as great civic spaces, and how the parklands are integral parts of urban life.

Cora Young

Arctic Pollution

From frying pans to polar bears, Dr. Cora Young, Assistant Professor and the Rogers Chair in Chemistry at York University, will discuss the importance of understanding how chemicals move around in the environment, the concern with Arctic contamination, and pollutant trends from Canadian Arctic ice cores. 

This program is also presented as part of Science Literacy Week


Winterize your Nature-Friendly Garden!

Helping the environment starts in your backyard, but once the growing season is over, how do you protect your nature-friendly landscape features? A member from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) will talk about what to do this fall to have a healthy winter yard and an amazing spring haven for wildlife! 

 Zero-waste kit

Zero Waste Kit Breakdown

Sophi Robertson, Zero Waste Events Manager from the Toronto Tool Library, will share tips using everyday items that help minimize trash. 

  Sophi Robertson

Sophi will also be presenting other zero waste-related topics such as:

Example of furoshiki, Japanese cloth wrapping

Refuse Waste. Reuse with Furoshiki: The Art of Japanese Cloth Wrapping

Learn this beautiful art for transporting items without the use of plastic bags, tape or any waste. 

  DIY eco-friendly cleaning solutions in jars

Simple, Thrifty and Eco-Friendly Home Cleaning

Store bought cleaners typically have several toxic ingredients and can be costly. Learn how to make eco-friendly, all-purpose wipes.


What is a Zero Waste Lifestyle?

Learn about what zero waste means and why it’s a simpler lifestyle when waste and consumption are reduced. 


Sonia Faruqi

The Oyster Thief

Ocean Protection with Author Sonia Faruqi

Author of the critically acclaimed book Project Animal Farm, Sonia Faruqi will discuss the importance of ocean conservation and the threats faced by the ocean, including coral reef bleaching and water pollution. These themes are explored in her second book and debut novel The Oyster Thief.


People looking at leaves in a forest

Identify Trees In Your Neighbourhood

Using the Tree Bee app, a member of Forests Ontario will help you learn more about forests and the trees you walk by every day on your way into the library.

Recycling bins in Toronto

The 3Rs Lifestyle: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Every Day

Environmental sustainability starts with the basics – reduce, reuse and recycle! A member of the City of Toronto's Solid Waste Management Services' 3Rs Ambassador Volunteer Program will talk about why the 3Rs are important, how they impact the environment and what the community at large is doing to help increase their usage.


A Sea Turtle Story

A Sea Turtle Story: a Canadian Short Film with Zero-Waste Art Session

In partnership with the National Film Board and as part of Nuit Blanche, the 9-minute Canadian short film A Sea Turtle Story will be screened, followed by a zero-waste arts workshop.


Indigenous Environmental Justice Project - Indigenous Youth in Toronto

Meagan Dellavilla, a member of the Indigenous Environmental Justice Project (IEJ Project) will talk about youth engagement in the environmental justice movement. Using arts-based research methods, Meagan’s work seeks to ensure young people’s voices are included in the construction of an Indigenous-informed environmental justice framework.


Parks Canada Rouge National Urban Park

The Creation of Canada’s First National Urban Park 

Located right here in Toronto, Rouge National Urban Park protects and conserves natural, cultural and agricultural heritage. Learn how the Rouge is a unique model for environmental protection in an urban setting with a member of Parks Canada. 


Wildlife Conservation Society boreal landscape

Wildlife Conservation Society caribou
Photo credit: Garth Lenz

Ontario's Far North: A Global Conservation Treasure

Considered to be one of the most important forests in the world, Ontario's Far North could be on the cusp of significant change from potential developments and climate change. Justina C. Ray, President and Senior Scientist of the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada (WCS Canada), will talk about the Far North boreal region, one of the world’s largest areas of intact wilderness and home to more than 40 communities of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. 

   Mary Kate Whibbs
Speaking of Fish: Protecting Aquatic Ecosystems with Language

Re-think the way we talk about aquatic species to develop a greater appreciation for them! Mary Kate Whibbs, biologist and educator at the Toronto Zoo, will discuss how the language we use to describe aquatic species can influence our construction of value for that species.


Bring Back The Birds with Toronto Botanical Gardens

Learn how to attract these feathered friends to your garden and provide them with the essentials of life through careful plant choice, design and maintenance. Presented by Colleen Cirillo, director of education at the Toronto Botanical Garden. 


Documentary Film Screenings


Bluefin documentary
Bluefin Documentary

The stunning documentary Bluefin explores the baffling mystery of why the normally wary bluefin tuna no longer fear humans. The issues are brought forward including why we should be concerned for the fate of these fish set in the "tuna capital of the world": North Lake, PEI. The film is screened in partnership with the National Film Board of Canada. 


Sailfish and school of fishes from Sea of Life Documentary 

Sea of Life Documentary with Filmmaker Julia Barnes

Meet Julia Barnes, the award-winning filmmaker from Burlington who created Sea of Life in hopes to inspire people to care more about the oceans. After screening the film, Julia will be available for a Q&A session. Film duration: 1 hour 28 minutes. Open captioned.


York University Faculty of Science's Lecture Series


This fall, our partnership with York University's Faculty of Science's Lecture Series will also be part of the Our Fragile Planet program series! This year's theme is Biodiversity Conservation in the 21st Century. The resilience of our planet and the future of humanity rely on biodiversity. After all, biodiversity is the reason why we have air, food, water and medicines. But biodiversity is vulnerable, and in many cases in crisis around the world. 

In this series of talks presented in partnership with Ontario Nature, we consider biodiversity in Canada and abroad and explore what is being done to understand and conserve the fascinating animals that have the current attention of researchers:

Laurence PackerThe Beauty and Importance of Bees

Professor Laurence Packer will outline the enormous diversity of bees and the vital role that wild bees play in agricultural and wild habitats.

Valerie SchoofLet's Talk Primates: Conflict and Conservation

Professor Valerie Schoof discusses why primate conservation is essential to maintaining overall biodiversity, and the value of understanding how factors like primate behaviour, human-wildlife conflict, and more. 


Gregory Thiemann

Life on the Edge: Polar Bears in a Warming Arctic

Professor Gregory Thiemann discusses the current and future status of polar bears and examines why the conservation of these charismatic carnivores has become a hot-button issue.

Bridget StutchburyBringing Back the Birds

Professor Bridget Stutchbury reviews the many causes of songbird declines and what you can do to help.

Gail Fraser

Bad Reputations: Cormorants and Conservation

Professor Gail Fraser describes the role of cormorants in the Great Lakes ecosystems and how cormorant ecology relates to biodiversity conservation.


Our Fragile Planet programs for 2018 will be bullfrogpowered with 100 percent green electricity. T​his means that Bullfrog Power's generators put 100 percent green power onto the grid to match the amount of conventional electricity these events use, displacing energy from polluting sources.

bull frog powered logo

Across Canada, Bullfrog's green electricity comes from a blend of wind and low-impact hydropower sourced from new Canadian renewable energy facilities.​​

Visit the Toronto Public Library website for a list of all programs under the Our Fragile Planet program series.