The University of Ottawa has signed the Nature Positive Universities Pledge, an initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme. This means we're doing our part to address both the climate and biodiversity crises, to build more resilient ecosystems, help nature recover, and limit climate change.


This pledge commits the University of Ottawa to the following actions:

  • Baseline assessment: Carry out a baseline assessment of the University’s biodiversity impacts, choosing an appropriate scope and metrics.
  • Set smart targets: Set specific, time limited, measurable targets for biodiversity to move towards Nature Positive.
  • Act and influence: Carry out bold actions for nature using the Conservation Hierarchy or 4R's - Refrain, Reduce, Restore, Renew - and use the University’s influence to meet our targets.
  • Report annually: Report transparently on the University’s progress towards these actions on an annual basis.

Our strategy will prioritize removing hardscape, naturalizing our grounds, reducing inputs and harmonizing ecosystem services.

A moth in the Husky courtyard

Campus initiatives

The University of Ottawa has already undertaken many initiatives to help protect biodiversity and preserve nature. Here are some examples:

A student stands in front of a bird mural

Bird-friendly windows

We've started to install bird-friendly glass in our new buildings (e.g. STEM Complex), and to paint bird-friendly murals on some of our older buildings (e.g. SITE). These murals help reduce the number of bird collisions, potentially helping thousands of birds.

A green roof at the University of Ottawa

Green roofs

We changed our building standard in 2018 to include the construction of green roofs whenever possible. There are currently seven buildings with green roofs on campus. These roofs help us manage stormwater and provide habitat for insects and pollinators.

A green space at the University of Ottawa

Green spaces

There are several signature gardens on campus that benefit people, animals, and insects. Some gardens, like the Husky Courtyard, have a significant amount of biodiversity, with dozens of varieties of plants and animals. Others, like the Indigenous garden, prioritize native plant species while sharing Algonquin Anishinabeg knowledge.

uOttawa community garden

Community gardens

There are over 50 community garden spaces available for the uOttawa community. They incorporate pollinator hotspots to help attract and nourish insects.

Students help clean up litter in the community

Community clean-ups

A few times a year, the Office of Campus Sustainability helps organize community clean-ups with students. These events help divert waste from natural spaces and prevent pollution from making its way into surrounding waterways.

Campus Highlights

A Pollinator Garden at uOttawa
Victoria Rose King, a crafty, dedicated volunteer, created a new pollinator garden on campus in 2022. After participating in WWF-Canada’s Designing Change for a Living Planet 2022 competition, Victoria received a grant to improve green spaces on campus. She chose to help create a new pollinator garden, reflecting her passion for improving biodiversity and beautiful outdoor campus spaces that students can benefit from. This garden is located in Marion Square (across from the STEM Complex) and hosts dozens of species of pollinator plants, along with edible berries and plants native to Ontario.

Prototyping a New Pollinator Habitat
In 2022, engineering students enrolled in the GNG 1503 prototyping course helped the Office of Campus Sustainability imagine how we could incorporate pollinator habitats around campus. They created a variety of small habitats that will be tested during the summer. One of the teams working on the project was awarded top prize.

Marion pollinator garden

Next Steps

The Office of Campus Sustainability will lead the Nature Positive program on campus. Here are some of our goals for the coming year.

  • Conducting a biodiversity baseline analysis for the University
  • Assembling a working group to set SMART targets
  • Drafting SMART targets and getting governance approval
  • Creating a roadmap to implement the targets
  • Writing the annual report
uOttawa logo

Join the initiative

If you would like to be a part of the uOttawa group working to help preserve nature, we are always looking for more help.
Email us