The York University Magazine

YorkU Fall 2014

The alumni magazine of York University

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f the approximately 100,000 trees on York's Keele campus, ash trees make up slightly less than two per cent. They are a medium-to-large tree of the genus fraxinus of the family Oleaceae (olive-tree like), containing between 45 and 65 species. Some are evergreen-like, but most are deciduous. They are also beautiful, as anyone knows who loves forests. That's why York's resident arborists – John Wilson, manager of Campus Construction & Mailing Services, and Tim Haagsma, manager of Grounds, Fleet & Waste Management – don't want York's campus to witness the devastation that the Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (a.k.a. emerald ash borer) beetle has wreaked on places like Windsor, Ont., where a once flourishing ash population has been virtually wiped out. The emerald ash borer (EAB) is native to China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, Russia and Taiwan. Entomologists suspect it probably arrived in North America on wooden pallets used to transport heavy machinery. You can recognize EAB adults by their dark, metallic, emerald-coloured body. The beetles are small and slender, measuring a half-inch long and one-sixteenth of an inch wide. Adult beetles nibble on ash leaves and mate on the host plant, but cause little damage. Female beetles lay an average of 60 to 90 eggs in bark crevices. Upon hatching, the larvae (immature stage) feed on the inner bark of the ash trees, affecting the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients. The creamy white larvae create winding tunnels that eventually girdle branches and the trunk, killing the tree. Mature larvae (approximately 1.5 inches long) overwinter in the host plant. The transition from larva to adult EAB (pupal stage) occurs in early spring. Adult beetles chew their way out of the pupal chambers, producing D-shaped emergence holes about one-eighth of an inch wide. Since its discovery, the EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees in southeastern Michigan, with tens of millions more lost in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Quebec, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Now the beetle threatens to kill 1,319 ash trees on York's Keele campus. Can the trees be saved? Some can, but the majority will die, says Wilson. Knowing the borer was on its way to York, Haagsma and Wilson devised a plan prior to its arrival. The EAB was confirmed in trees north of Chimneystack Road and east of Ian Macdonald Boulevard last summer. Now that it's here, Haagsma says they've already treated 32 trees with an insecticide that kills the borer – trees considered to be in very good health and important for their aesthetic value. York is using a safe insecticide called TreeAzin to treat its campus ashes. "It's a natural insecticide derived from neem seeds and it provides a couple of years' worth of protection before it needs to be reapplied," he says. Ashes in York's urban forest range in age from about 50 years in open areas of campus to 80 in the woodlots. "Aside from lumber, few people realize the value trees have," says Wilson. "Collectively, York's trees sequester 327 metric tonnes of pollutants annually. If that was done mechani- cally it would cost about $75,000. Also, trees have a big impact on heating and cooling costs around buildings [for the better]. Finally, there's research that proves people's health, happiness, feeling of safety and productivity all vary in proportion to the quality of their urban environment, which is highly dependent on the status of their urban forest." Y O Playing Fair York University's education dean, Ron Owston, asks why, when all 13 Ontario faculties of education must stretch their one-year teacher training programs to two years in 2015, has Queen's Park let the U of T alone turn its training into a master's program, which will draw $13,205 per student in government grants at the very time funding for each regular bachelor of education student drops to $5,684. "The government is not playing fair; if we had known a year ago this was an option we would have started planning to offer one too," said Owston. The Globe and Mail Rule of Law Ed Waitzer, a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and senior partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP, observes the legal profession is indeed undergoing change. "The market for major law firms is shrinking, certainly in Canada," he says. More firms are employing in-house lawyers, global firms are competing with national ones, and there is a repurposing of functions. The result of treading into new territory, however, could mean more challenges for the management of the firm as well as a less harmonious culture within it. It could also prove more risky. "It's a different world," says Waitzer. Canadian Lawyer magazine In the Media U niverse YorkU Fall 2014 9

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