The New Commons

The New Commons

School:

SFU

Department:

Science

Course:

EVSC 400

Instructors:

  • Tara Holland

City of Vancouver:

  • Dana McDonald

Student Team:

  • Liam Cormack
  • Luc Couture
  • Matt Koyanagi
  • Jordan Gray

Strategy:

  • Climate Emergency Plan

City goal area:

  • Access to Nature

Term:

Spring 2020

Summary

This project is a response to a request for proposals from the Vancouver Parks Board for a methodology to assess ecological health of Vancouver’s naturally managed areas (NMAs). We believe that environmental science often has a knowledge gap between scientists and the public, which could be addressed with this project. 

Our intention was to create an accessible and efficient method, a scorecard, for the regular assessment of ecological health. We designed the scorecard with the intention that the ecological assessment could be conducted by residents and citizen scientists with minimal equipment and training. To achieve this goal, scientific jargon has been minimized throughout the scorecard and the project report. 

The methodology we developed is based on Vanier Park’s NMA. Our developed methodology is a single page printable scorecard with 11 variables intended to assess ecological health broadly and efficiently. These variables are split into 4 categories: soil, water, biodiversity, and human impact. Scores from 1-5 (Very Poor – Excellent) are recorded for all applicable categories from simple field measurements, then averaged to determine an overall ecological health score. The final averaged score conveys a simple snapshot of the current ecological health which can be compared to future scores for a given NMA, capturing any improvement or decline in ecological health. 

We believe that this scorecard can aid in closing the knowledge gap which exists in environmental science, and provide Vancouver with an educational tool encouraging the public to foster a greater sense of place through NMAs in their communities.