Thursday, December 19, 2013

Seasonal Tips from the University of Guelph Faculty, Staff for Holidays

GUELPH, Ontario - December 19, 2013 - University of Guelph Campus News -  With the Christmas and holiday season upon us, University of Guelph faculty and staff experts have some tips and advice on meal choices and preparation, online shopping, healthy living and New Year's Resolutions, wine selection and moderation in serving, and seasonal sensitivities.

The Holiday Meal

The holiday meal is a staple for many Canadian families, along with get-togethers with family and friends.

Food choices become more diverse at this time of year, says University of Guelph food laureate Anita Stewart.

“Turkey is still very much the centrepiece of the Christmas dinner, but more and more the holiday table is set with creative other dishes,” she said.

“As more people reach the conclusion that shopping locally makes sense, you'll find an array of great dishes that speak to the bounty of Canada, from beautiful lamb roasts and the best lobster of the year, sweet from the cold salt water of the Atlantic, to tourtière and, likely the most traditional, roast goose. But whatever is selected, it's usually a tribute to the family's personal food story.”

Stewart suggests a number of ways for people to purchase delicious produce.

“Most grocery stores are open very early, but to really embrace the season, head to your local farmers’ market to experience the real spirit of celebration,” she said. “Revel in the array of ingredients and the opportunity to thank our farmers. It's also where you'll find lots of last-minute gifts.”

To ease holiday hosting stress, involve others in food preparation.

“Do as much as you can ahead, and let everyone pitch in. Potlucks can be fun, but cooking together is the best.”

Online Shopping

More and more shoppers looking to avoid crowds and find deals are looking online for the best bargains.
Prof. Sunghwan Yi, Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies, says online shopping is easy -- but sometimes too convenient.

“It is so easy to buy things that you don't need and often do not really want, one after another, while surfing on the web,” he said.

“Try to create mental and physical pauses that help you stop and deliberate. For example, remove your credit card number and shipping address from online shopping sites. This way, you will have a chance to think once more whether you really need this item while entering your credit card number and shipping address each time you buy something.”

Easy online buying can increase your debt, including extended interest payments that can eat into expected savings.

“Put your credit card bill from last month or bank account statement next to your computer. Better still, your credit card bill from last January. This will help you remind yourself about your financial situation and be reasonable,” Yi said.

He cautions against over-purchasing and getting caught up in emotion.

“Keep a record of how much you have spent on your Christmas shopping so that you are aware of how much you have spent so far. Give a look at your wardrobe and try them on before buying anything in this season. You have more clothes than you think.”

Yi prefers to purchase electronics online and shop for clothes in stores.

“Electronics items are relatively easy to compare online on different sites. In terms of the best sites to shop at, you can look at websites for stores or for online retailers. For the most popular items, you have to move fast, or items will get sold out,” he said.

“In some cases, price match guarantees, where certain stores promise to beat competitors’ prices, generally by 10 per cent of the difference, can lead to increased savings. This takes time, so you need to consider if that time is worth the savings.”

Healthy in 2014

New Year’s resolutions often involve a more healthy diet. But often that resolution is short-lived, says Lisa Armstrong, dietitian in the Health and Performance Centre at the University of Guelph.

Six out of 10 people quit their crash diets within the first week of January and often gain back any weight lost.

Ask yourself: Could I eat like this for the entire year? If not, your changes are likely too drastic.

“People look to make drastic changes immediately to their lives, and that can be the first issue.”

Reducing calories significantly can actually set your body into starvation mode. Your body will slow its metabolism in response, impeding weight loss.

“The big idea behind a New Year’s resolution that many people seem to miss is that you have the whole year to reach your goals. Set achievable goals, start small, and pace yourself. Where do you want to be at the end of 2014? Plan that now and take it slow — you will get there.”

Armstrong said the key to making a New Year’s resolution last is to make it enjoyable.

“Many of us seem to set harsh New Year’s resolutions that just never seem like any fun. No more chocolate, no more bread, no more wine! And no matter how hard we try, come the first of February, many of us find ourselves at the bottom of that box of chocolates we hid in the cupboard ‘for safekeeping.’”

Her diet resolution tips:

1. Aim for healthy weight loss of one to two pounds per week.
2. Reduce dinner portions by half and fill half your plate with veggies.
3. Don’t cut out every ounce of “junk” food immediately. Work out foods like candy and sugary beverages gradually, and replace them with more wholesome options.
4. Regular snacking on healthy foods such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains keeps your metabolism running on high.
5. Plan one large meal per week that you can portion into lunches or freeze for quick meals.

In January, Armstrong will begin a seminar on diet, weight and health. The Craving Change series offers three workshops and a workbook for $75. All are welcome to attend, but space is limited. To register or for information, email

Wine in Moderation

What is the best wine to take to a holiday party? Which wine to serve with my meal? How can I get the best value for my wine purchases?

Those are some of the questions Prof. Joe Barth, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, and Guelph’s wine expert, expects to hear this winter.

“Sparkling wines are always welcome and set a festive mood for any occasion, and go well with most foods,” he said.

“That said, food and wine pairing is over-rated. People who don't like red wine will not like it any better regardless of the type of food with which it is served. So-called transition wines are an excellent compromise, as they incorporate the red colour and fruitiness of red wine with the crisp acidity and lighter taste of white wines. Examples include wines made from the Gamay Noir grape, such as Beaujolais, or lower-priced Pinot Noir wines.”

For value, consider buying cheaper wines or larger bottles.

“You don't need to spend a lot of money on wine, unless you wish to do so. A cheap wine with a ‘classy’ label will be just fine in most situations. There are many good wines under $15 in the LCBO.

“If you are hosting a large party and want to do something different, large-format bottles from magnum (two standard bottles) to rehoboam (six standard bottles) are often available from the LCBO during the winter festive season. The cost is often not much more than buying the same wine in standard bottles.”

Serve guests in moderation.

“Always serve water with meals; wine is for taste, water is for thirst. For wine served with dinner, plan on half a bottle of wine per person over a two-hour period. For longer evenings, most people can safely have one standard drink per hour when consumed with food, to a maximum of four drinks. A standard drink is a five-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce bottle of beer or a 1 ½-ounce shot of spirit.

“People who are small in stature should consume less, while those taking certain prescription medicines, or suffering from depression or alcoholism should avoid alcohol completely. When serving alcohol during the holidays, less is always better than a little more."

Celebrate Diversity

Although the holiday season has traditionally meant Christmas, there’s a growing diversity of faith expressions within our communities, says James Vanderberg, a Christian Reformed campus minister and member of U of G’s Multi-Faith Resource Team.

During this season, people celebrate Luut’aa, Masá’il, Sharaf, Christmas, Maunajiyaras, Hanukkah, Tohji-taisai, Yule, the death of Zarathustra and Kwanzaa.

Some consider it overly politically correct to use the greeting “Happy Holidays,” but seasonal sensitivity is a matter of respect, says Vanderberg.
“It’s important to recognize the faith-filled celebrations of other communities and grow in our understanding.”

Three ways to be both inviting and sensitive:

1. Don’t be afraid to ask, “What are you celebrating this time of the year?”
2. Don’t be afraid to invite someone for dinner or to a specifically religious celebration.
3. Recognize that Christmas is a celebration for a specific faith community. Not everyone is celebrating Christmas, and those who are may not want the occasion tied to the marketing strategies of North American toy companies.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Canadian concrete companies running deceptive ad campaign against wood construction

by Lloyd Alter at
Design / Green Architecture
December 12, 2013

Wood construction is gaining in popularity around the world. New technologies have made it possible to build higher and stronger. Sustainably harvested wood stores carbon dioxide, while reforestation absorbs yet more CO2. That's why the new wave of wood construction is so exciting, and why so many jurisdictions are looking at changing the building codes to promote the use of wood and allow taller wood buildings. Particularly in North America, where the forests are  under attack by the pine beetle and will just rot if not cut and used, building with wood makes more sense than ever.

The manufacture of concrete, on the other hand, is responsible for almost  5% of the world's annual CO2 production. The aggregate that is mixed with cement to make concrete is another problem. Any switch from concrete to wood construction is going to be good for the climate. Who it is not good for is the people who make and build with concrete, like the Canadian Concrete Masonry Producers Association. . They have turned themselves into environmentalists, with headlines like If current deforestation rates continue, critical habitats could disappear within the next hundred years. Their full-page ads and press releases tug at the heartstrings and drop names of prestigious more  here

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Travel still high on retirement wish list, but becoming snowbirds is more of a myth than a reality: RBC poll

Not-yet-retired Canadians dream of wintering in the south, retirees prefer to stay home

TORONTO, December 10, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - While Canadians approaching retirement may think they want to spend their post-career years heading somewhere warm for the winter, the reality is that Canadians living in retirement find there's no place like home year-round, according to the RBC 2013 Retirement Myths & Realities Poll.

One-quarter (27 per cent) of not-yet-retired Canadians who are 50 and older responded that they expect to be snowbirds in retirement by "regularly going somewhere warm in the winter". In contrast, only 16 per cent of retired Canadians reported that they actually are snowbirds.

While the annual poll found that both men and women approaching retirement were equally interested in being snowbirds (28 per cent and 26 per cent respectively), there were marked differences between how the genders expect they will be spending their retirement years. Women were much more likely than men to say they will work as volunteers (63 per cent versus 52 per cent) or spend more time with their friends (50 per cent versus 39 per cent). Men, on the other hand, planned to spend more time with their spouse/partner (61 per cent versus 53 per cent). Despite these very different expectations, over one-third (36 per cent) of pre-retired couples have not talked to their spouses/partners about what they want to do when they retire.

"It's so important to discuss your expectations for retirement with the key people in your life, including a financial advisor who can help ensure you are prepared for this next phase," explained Bill Hill, National Retirement Planning Consultant at RBC. "We know from the work we do with our clients that the reality of retirement can be different from what people imagine it will be. If you are within five to 10 years of your ideal retirement date, it's time to focus on what's really important to you - your family, your health, your lifestyle, your legacy - and start preparing now for the retirement you have in mind."

About the Fourth Annual RBC 2013 Retirement Myths & Realities Poll

This annual poll examines Canadians' expectations and experiences in retirement. It was conducted via online interviews by Ipsos Reid from February 27 to March 12, 2013, using a national sample of 2,159 adults aged 50 and over with household assets of at least $100,000 from Ipsos' Canadian online panel. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±2 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

The Salvation Army Christmas Kettles Need Filling

BARRIE, December 10, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Salvation Army 2013 Christmas Kettle Campaign in Central Ontario has only 14 days left to meet its fundraising goals.  Salvation Army Bell-Ringers are out in full-force in hopes to collect much-needed donations that will support its work for the coming year.

The first Salvation Army Christmas Kettle was used in 1891 on the docks of San Francisco by Salvation Army Captain, Joseph McFee. By 1906 they had made their way to Canada and are still an effective fundraising tool for the organization.

"The Christmas Kettle is a symbol of help and hope in each one of our communities" says Jeffrey Robertson, Spokesperson for The Salvation Army, "A donation to The Salvation Army is a positive step in helping to make your community stronger.  Your gift will provide practical help that can change a life, and can provide a real sense of newfound dignity."

The Christmas Campaign helps The Salvation Army provide direct, compassionate, hands-on service to more than 1.8 million people in Canada each year, restoring hope and dignity to the most vulnerable in society. The Salvation Army's annual Christmas Campaign has grown into one of Canada's most significant and recognizable annual charitable events. 

"Most campaigns in the region are behind where they were a year ago.  With more people looking for help, the need to fill the Kettles grows",

"For those who prefer not to carry cash with them, they can still give.  They can give to an on-line kettle at and receive an electronic tax receipt", says Robertson.

About The Salvation Army:

The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 and has grown to become the largest non-governmental direct provider of social services in the country. The Salvation Army gives hope and support to vulnerable people today and every day in 400 communities across Canada and more than 125 countries around the world. The Salvation Army offers practical assistance for children and families, often tending to the basic necessities of life, providing shelter for homeless people and rehabilitation for people who have lost control of their lives to an addiction.

When you give to The Salvation Army, you are investing in the future of marginalized and overlooked people in your community.  News releases, articles and updated information can be found at

Thursday, October 24, 2013

BMO Donates $1.25-Million to Support Biomaterials Research at the University of Guelph

Research at the University of Guelph intended to turn crops into green products received major support today from BMO Financial Group.

GUELPH, Ontario October 23, 2013 - University of Guelph News Release - BMO will invest $1.25 million in U of G’s efforts to sustain and grow the agricultural bio-economy. The gift comes through the BetterPlanet Project, the University’s $200-million fundraising campaign for teaching and research in food, environment, health and communities.

“The support from BMO will allow our researchers to continue to revolutionize the use of plant materials,” said President Alastair Summerlee. “This is critical work in a world of global warming, growing environmental threats and depleting petroleum resources. It will also ensure that U of G retains its position as the global leader in this field.”

“Research at the University of Guelph plays an important role in the advancement of the region’s economy,” said Susan Brown, Senior Vice President, Ontario Regional Division, BMO Bank of Montreal.

“BMO has a deep relationship with the agricultural community, and this donation will help solidify the University of Guelph as a major center for agricultural research, in Ontario and across the country.”

U of G researchers are using wheat, soy, corn and other crops to make car parts, furniture, building materials and new kinds of rubber.

Leading this work is the University’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC). Opened in 2008, the centre is looking for renewable, eco-friendly alternatives to petroleum-based materials in manufacturing and consumer goods.

The centre aims to develop more complex manufacturing applications and higher-value green products. It’s directed by Prof. Amar Mohanty, an international leader in biomaterials who holds the $3-million Premier’s Research Chair in Biomaterials and Transportation, part of the Ontario Research Chairs program.

The BMO gift will help expand the centre’s research and commercialization facilities and acquire cutting-edge research equipment, among other projects.

The University will name Phase II of the BDDC, now nearing completion, as the BMO Bioproducts Innovation Extension.

A philanthropic supporter since its founding in 1817, BMO has supported the University since Guelph’s first capital campaign in 1969.

Rob Gordon, dean of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College, said funding for the BDDC and other agricultural projects recognizes an important and evolving research field.

“It’s a catalyst for innovative green products that will ultimately enhance the value of Ontario’s agriculture sector,” he said.

“It also provides a training environment that will help grow the bio-economy and support global commercialization and job creation in Canada.”

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tim Hortons and the University of Guelph host Sustainable Food Management Summit

New research by University of Guelph focuses on animal welfare and sustainability in foodservice and retail industry supply chains

OAKVILLE, Ontario, October 4, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Tim Hortons, in partnership with the University of Guelph and the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW), hosted an industry summit designed to identify opportunities and barriers in the development of sustainable supply chains, with animal welfare considerations in the foodservice and retail industries.

The Summit provided a forum for sharing information and research among various stakeholders on the state of animal welfare and sustainability standards in food supply chains. The Summit also focused on the importance of stakeholders working together to establish such enhanced, consistent animal welfare standards in today's food system.

"We are thrilled with the turnout of industry stakeholders such as farmers, producers, restaurant chains, retailers, academics and animal welfare experts at our Sustainable Food Management Summit," said John Hemeon, executive vice president of supply chain, Tim Hortons. "Tim Hortons is committed to improving the quality of animals' lives in our supply chain in a pragmatic, responsible manner. We hope that by continuing to engage the industry in meaningful discussions, we can help identify additional opportunities for collaboration, which is crucial to the process and continued progress."

New research conducted by the University of Guelph was funded in part by the Tim Hortons Sustainable Food Management Fund, created in 2012 and designed to advance the state of sustainable food management practices including animal welfare.

Dr. Michael von Massow, professor in the College of Management and Economics at the University of Guelph, presented key findings from one of the phases of the Tim Hortons-supported research, which evaluated consumer and stakeholder perceptions of animal welfare and sustainability in the foodservice and retail industries. Ipsos Canada conducted the research and more than 1,000 Canadian consumers across the country were surveyed.

Findings included:

...There is increasing consumer awareness and concern about animal welfare, which along with nutrition, ranked in the second tier of importance when purchasing food. Price, freshness, taste and safety ranked in the top tier. There was a significant segment of the population for whom animal welfare was an important consideration

...Consumers want more information about how their food is produced and say it will influence their choices. They are unsure about how the food they buy now is produced. About 50 per cent of respondents didn't know the housing systems used for the pork they purchased, while 25 per cent didn't know the housing systems used for the eggs they purchased

Dr. von Massow also highlighted a number of key findings from broader stakeholder research, including:

...There is no agreement or consensus yet between consumers and industry stakeholders on what specifically should drive animal welfare standards but there is strong agreement that progress needs to be made and commitment to making progress

...In addition to developing new standards for animal care, the industry needs to develop a strategic implementation plan to ensure that the outcomes achieved are consistent with the objectives

"The summit discussions and the results of the University of Guelph's independent study reveal gaps in consumers' understanding of animal welfare and production in the foodservice industry," said Julia Christensen Hughes, Dean of the College of Management and Economics, University of Guelph. "What and how the industry communicates to consumers on animal welfare initiatives is important and we hope this event will encourage the industry to work together to build more sustainable supply chains and establish more humane and sustainable housing systems for farm animals."

Dr. Sandra Edwards was the keynote luncheon speaker at the event. Dr. Edwards is a leading animal welfare expert in the United Kingdom and the European Union and shared her experience and perspectives on setting and implementing animal welfare standards, as well as emerging issues and perspectives in Europe.

Other speakers included renowned animal welfare experts Dr. Tina Widowski of The University of Guelph and the CCSAW and Dr. Ed Pajor of the University of Calgary Veterinary School. Dr. Widowski and Dr. Pajor discussed the state of animal welfare science specific to eggs and pork respectively. Jackie Wepruk of the National Farm Animal Care Council and Barbara Cartwright of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies presented Canadian perspectives of animal welfare codes of practice and the national code development process.

More information about Tim Hortons Animal Welfare initiatives and commitments can be found at

About Tim Hortons Inc.

Tim Hortons is one of the largest publicly-traded restaurant chains in North America based on market capitalization, and the largest in Canada. Operating in the quick service segment of the restaurant industry, Tim Hortons appeals to a broad range of consumer tastes, with a menu that includes premium coffee, espresso-based hot and cold specialty drinks (including lattes, cappuccinos and espresso shots), specialty teas and fruit smoothies, fresh baked goods including our trademark donuts, grilled Panini and classic sandwiches, wraps, soups, prepared foods and other food products. As of June 30th, 2013, Tim Hortons had 4,304 systemwide restaurants, including 3,468 in Canada, 807 in the United States and 29 in the Gulf Cooperation Council. More information about the Company is available at Follow Tim Hortons on Twitter:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fire Prevention Week is October 6-12, and this year’s theme is, “Prevent Kitchen Fires and Get Cooking with Fire Safety!”

A menacing visitor brings danger to a farm. The Co-operators teams up with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and the Fire Marshal's Public Fire Safety Council to create fire safety awareness.

Watch as The Stovenator lurches its way onto a farm in order to wreak havoc.

In order to stop the Stovenator in its smoky tracks, The Co-operators has teamed up with the Fire Marshal's Public Fire Safety Council and the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs to raise awareness of the dangers surrounding cooking and preventable kitchen fires.

Seven out of ten fires in Canada start at home. More fires begin in the kitchen than in any other room and residential cooking is one of the leading causes of fire-related deaths. Most kitchen fires occur because people get distracted and leave their cooking unattended. It takes seconds for a pot or pan to splatter grease or overheat creating a fire that can quickly spread. Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries. On farms, a potential kitchen fire can be especially devastating as homeowners might be outside doing chores during which time fire can quickly spread.

For more information on fire safety and preventing kitchen fires visit:

Don’t let the Stovenator visit you!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Monarch Butterflies Migration Tracked Through Generations Across North America

GUELPH, Ontario - August 07, 2013 - University of Guelph News Release - Everyone knows all about the epic breeding journey taken each year by generations of monarch butterflies between Mexico and Canada, right? Not so fast, say researchers including University of Guelph biologists.

Until now, linking adult butterflies and their birthplaces during a complicated annual migration spanning all of eastern North America and involving up to five generations of the iconic insects had eluded scientists.

Now for the first time, researchers have mapped that migration pattern across the continent over an entire breeding season. That information might help conserve a creature increasingly threatened by loss of habitat and food sources, says Tyler Flockhart, a PhD student in U of G’s Department of Integrative Biology.

“This tells us where individuals go and where they’re coming from,” he said.

Flockhart is lead author of a paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B with Prof. Ryan Norris and co-authors based in Saskatchewan, Colorado and Australia.

Their new study traced successive generations of adult monarchs to their birthplaces between the southern United States and Ontario over a single breeding season.

Before this, scientists had only a rough idea of those annual colonization patterns, said Prof. Ryan Norris, Integrative Biology.

“You could have a monarch showing up in Ontario, but we didn’t know exactly where it came from.”

Tracking migration patterns is vital to understanding why monarch numbers are declining and predicting the effects on the insects of milkweed plant loss, habitat destruction and other factors, he said.

In 2012, the smallest-ever population of monarchs was recorded in their Mexican overwintering grounds. “They’ve been declining steadily,” said Flockhart.

Monarchs normally show up in southern Ontario by June or July. This summer, few had been sighted here by the end of July.

The researchers used chemical markers in butterfly wings to match “waves” of insect generations with their birthplaces. Monarch larvae eat only milkweed. The plant’s chemical signature varies from place to place, allowing scientists to pinpoint a butterfly’s birthplace by analyzing those chemical elements in its wings.

Flockhart spent summer 2011 following the northward migration and netting more than 800 monarchs for analysis. Beginning a road trip in southern Texas, he logged 35,000 kilometres across 17 states and two provinces.

“As far as I know, it’s the broadest sample of monarch butterflies through an entire breeding season across North America.”

Monarch colonies overwinter in Mexico. During the breeding season beginning in April, successive generations were born in Texas and Oklahoma, then in the U.S. Midwest, and then over a broad area spanning the northeast coast and the Midwest.

One key stop is the “corn belt” in the U.S Midwest. There a breeding “explosion” sends vast numbers of adults in several directions, including to Canada, said Norris.

He said loss of milkweed plants and planting of genetically modified corn and soy in the Midwest have affected monarch survival.

“If habitats in the Midwest continue to decline, then monarchs will lose the ability to expand the breeding range, including those butterflies that end up here in Ontario.”

It’s also important to protect breeding habitat in other locations, he said, including parts of southern Texas that supply future generations to breed in the Midwest.

“To lose monarchs would be a huge blow to the environment and to the public. People can easily identify monarchs. It might be the first butterfly they see or catch as a child, and it’s often the first story they hear about how animals migrate.”

Adds Flockhart:

“Every school kid knows about monarchs.”

Saturday, June 1, 2013

OPP Golden Helmets celebrate 50 years of excellence!

CONCORD, Ontario, May 31, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Golden Helmets Precision Motorcycle Riding Team gave a special performance today to mark the team's 50th anniversary with the OPP and to kick-off their 2013 season.

The anniversary event was hosted by Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada, which has been sponsoring the Golden Helmets since 1997.

OPP Deputy Commissioner Larry Beechey attended the event where he thanked Mr. Buzz Green, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Deeley-Harley Davidson Canada for Deeley's ongoing support of the Golden Helmets over the past 15 years.

Deeley provides the team with Harley-Davidson Police Specials, the signature black and white motorcycles the team uses to carry out their performances and operational duties as full-time police officers.

Since their very first performance at the Barrie Fall Fair in 1963, the 21-member team has been showcasing its talents, touring Ontario and giving exhibits of superb riding skills to the delight of many Ontario residents and visitors.

Friday, May 10, 2013

University of Guelph Professor creates App to help control soybean aphids

A smart phone application that helps farmers decide quickly and easily whether to spray to control soybean aphids

GUELPH, Ontario - May 09, 2013 - University of Guelph - In the News - Environmental Sciences professor Rebecca Hallett is featured today on CBC’s online news page. A smart phone application she helped developed is part of a story on new technology helping the farming industry.

Farmers can use the app - Aphid Advisor - to decide whether or not to use insecticide to control aphids on soybeans, based on numbers of aphids and their natural enemies.

Hallett developed the app with Tracey Baute, a field crop entomologist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and a U of G graduate, and Christie Bahlai, a U of G grad student in environmental biology. It’s based on research conducted in the School of Environmental Sciences and the Department of Plant Agriculture.

Read more

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Co-operators recognized among Canada's Green 30

GUELPH, Ontario, May 9, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Co-operators has once again been recognized for its commitment to protecting the environment as several of its member companies were listed among Canada's Green 30 by Aon Hewitt for the fourth consecutive year. The list, which is based on Canadian employees' impressions of their employers' environmental performance, was published in the May 20 issue of Maclean's magazine, on newsstands today.

This year, Co-operators Life Insurance Company of Regina, The Sovereign General Insurance Company, based in Calgary, and The Co-operators, including The Co-operators Group Limited, Co-operators General Insurance Company, and Montreal-based Addenda Capital, took three of the 30 spots.

"People want to work for companies that act responsibly, and they really get behind initiatives and policies that align with their personal values," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "Across the country and throughout our group of companies, our employees' support for the organization's efforts to advance environmental and social sustainability has been incredible."

As a co-operative insurer, The Co-operators strives to be a good citizen and a catalyst for sustainability. This involves balancing economic, environmental, and social priorities in order to conduct business in a way that minimizes negative impact and strengthens communities. . For example, The Co-operators is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated through their operations by 50 per cent by 2014 and collaborating with organizations such as Ceres to support the development of more resilient cities. . Detailed information on the organization's performance is available in its sustainability report, which was released today on

Aon Hewitt is a global consulting company that compiles the Best Small and Medium Employers, and Best Employers in Canada lists. Companies on those lists are automatically considered for the Green 30, as green initiatives go hand in hand with attracting, and retaining employees. The Green 30 is compiled based on staff perceptions of environmental initiatives, and their employers' efforts to consider long-term social, environmental, and economic factors when making decisions.

About The Co-operators:

The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $35 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada and Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information visit

Friday, March 1, 2013

University of Guelph Hosts 89th College Royal Weekend

GUELPH, Ontario - February 28, 2013 - University of Guelph News Release - More than 30,000 people are expected to visit the University of Guelph March 16 and 17 for the 89th annual College Royal weekend.

The free two-day event is North America's largest student-run university open house.

“We are excited to have an incredible variety of events and fun activities for the whole family, future students and those graduates looking to return,” said volunteer Mike Whiteside.

The theme of this year’s event is “Welcome to Royal Country.” Whiteside, who is heading College Royal’s public relations efforts this year, said the theme was chosen to allow people to enjoy traditional events and to showcase new offerings and celebrate Guelph’s diversity.

Activities will include livestock shows, square dancing, campus tours, a lecture series, logging competitions, dog and cat shows, photography and art, synchronized swimming demonstrations, a flower-arranging competition and a pancake flipping contest.

For kids, there will be Old MacDonald’s New Farm, a junior tractor rodeo, face painting, teddy bear surgery, a chemistry magic show and food science milkshakes.

U of G student clubs and classes have designed displays and exhibits.

For a complete schedule of events, visit the College Royal website.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Community groups demand changes to Green Energy Act for environment, health

TORONTO, January 31, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Community groups in Prince Edward County are demanding in an Open Letter to Premier-Designate Kathleen Wynne that she act immediately to amend Ontario's Green Energy and Green Economy Act. The County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy (CCSAGE) says the Act's minimum setback of turbines from residences, of about 550-metres, is too close for safe human habitation. CCSAGE says current legislation also endangers wildlife, including migratory birds.

CCSAGE demands that large-scale wind turbines be prohibited within 2km of existing or future home sites and that they should be at least 10km from internationally-recognized Important Bird Areas.

"It is abundantly clear that existing setback limits are unsafe for protected and unprotected wildlife species in Prince Edward County, and for rural residents in Ontario," said Garth Manning, QC, Chair for CCSAGE. "Government is not protecting either birds or people from the profit-driven invasion of wind power projects. We need amended legislation now," he said.

Manning says the proposed interim "Safe Setback" amendments would remain in effect until scientifically-determined safe setback distances are decided by independent organizations such as Nature Canada and Health Canada.

Jane Wilson, President of Wind Concerns Ontario agrees:

"We're seeing dead birds by the thousand already, and hundreds of people exposed to the environmental noise from wind turbines in this province are now ill. It's time for the government to step up, admit mistakes have been made, and act to protect the health and safety of people, and the future of the environment."

The Open Letter is at