HNES Native Species Garden's Misrepresentation and Dismissal of Exotic Species as Militaristic Entities
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Public green spaces are complementary areas in urban centers, designed to create recreational space for public use and cultivate-natural scenery. There are many public green spaces on York University's Keele campus such as the woodlots, the green roof near Ross building, Passy garden, Maloca community garden, and HNES Native Species Garden. The Native Species Garden is a naturalization project founded in 2005, in front of the Health, Nursing and Environmental Studies building. The project led by Dr. Gerda Wekerle and various members of the Environmental Studies Faculty, and grounds management staff to propagate native species as there are many exotic species on campus. Although, the objective is pure and beneficial to the ecology of the campus, the ramifications are lacklustre. The garden invites xenophobic principles, formulates stereotypes and cultivates misinformation about exotic species. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the different images of exotic species and the integration of these species into public green spaces on campus.
Exotic species -sometimes invasive- are organisms either moved via human disturbances or geological and meteorological events, often displacing species from their habitat. Yet, the word "invasive" is attached to exotics as a negative construct without considering advantages or disadvantages of the plants to humans and the environment. The story of exotic species is learned as a militaristic metaphor and Larson (2008) confers, "We have made an enemy of invasive species to justify controlling and subjugating them"(p 16). One example is Garlic Mustard, a herb species native to Europe and some parts of Asia; mainly used as spice. According to Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (2012), Garlic M...
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