ZooWoods is a long-term, experimental project to create a naturalistic, almost self-sustaining landscape on the University of Toronto campus. We are constructing a landscape based on the maple/beech model which was the primary ecosystem on this site prior to the encroachment of civilization. Remnants of this ecosystem are still visible in the ravines throughout the city, but none of it remains on campus. However, due to the success of a plant rescue project in September 1994, many native wildflowers emerged and bloomed on this site for the first time in 150 years! We plan to expand on this success in re-constructing our maple/beech model.
There are many goals to this project. We hope it will increase awareness by providing opportunities for the university community and the public to experience and learn about native plant and animal communities. We intend to use the area for educational purposes – bringing students of ecology, forestry, geology, environmental science, etc., in for practical experience. The project is also designed to eliminate the use of pesticides, reduce the use of water by re-directing roof water into the site, be less labour intensive, increase biodiversity and create a green corridor on campus for wildlife. Along with this, we hope the area will be seen as aesthetically pleasing and enjoyed by all.