Team Aurora Borealis (Kiran, Mumtaz, Jeyani, Tasfia)

Class Letter

Hello! This is team Aurora Borealis! This team includes Mumtaz , Kiran, Jeyani and Tasfia (the team members)! We are very excited and looking forward to work with everyone in this project! But let’s start with getting to know each other first!

We live in Canada the northern part of North America. Because we live in the north we experience cold winters but fairly warm summers. Canada is a developed country and to be the 2nd largest country in the world with a population more than 34,108,752. Canada is a very multicultural country. It has many people who have different religious practices such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and atheism which are always respected and accepted by all. Regarding this, we also celebrate many holidays such as Canada Day, Family Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas and many more. The two official languages of Canada are English, and French.

The capital of Canada is Ottawa which is located in Ontario, a province in which we live. In Ontario, we live in a city called Toronto. Toronto has very few clear grasslands or barren places or forests. It is mostly made up of tall buildings and wide roads for cars and buses and is often crowded. The nearest body of water is Ontario Lake which is a great place to visit in our spare time. However, high buildings and crowded places do not stop us from the many activities that we enjoy! There are many sports that we play here, such as baseball, tennis, basketball, swimming etc. but Ice hockey and lacrosse are the national sports. There are many Canadian musicians and movie actors that we love and look up to. In our community, the favourites are Justin Bieber, Drake, and Avril Lavigne. There are also many wonderful places to visit such as the CN Tower, Eaton Centre, Wonderland, The Rogers Centre, Air Canada, and many more.

Our educational practices differ from province to province. The school we attend, is Cedarbrae C.I in Toronto. Our school has 5 floors which hold over 1400 students, and 70 teachers. Cedarbrae C.I also offers a wide range of academic programs, athletics and extra-curricular programs. Our school’s sports programs are supported by various facilities such as our indoor swimming pool and a football/track field. Our school is very good in sports which evident because we have many prize ribbons hung in our school’s auditorium. Our school is usually represented by a horse who is our school mascot! Our school’s representative colours are blue, green and white. Our school also has its own website that students and staff use to keep informed about all the latest events. Best of all, our school respects and accepts many kinds of people with open arms!
We are very eager to work and to hear from you!


City of Toronto

Over the past few years there has been a high rate of greenhouse gases, that has been effecting our environment.
Greenhouse gas are gases that traps heat in the atmosphere, which causes climate changes, such as global warming.
In your opinion, what may be the disadvantages and consequences of greenhouses gases, and how is your country helping to reduce greenhouses gases?

Our Answer

Aboriginal peoples living near Canada’s boreal forest rely on forest plants for food and medicine. Plants are harvested by traditional methods to maintain natural habitats and local biodiversity. However, these traditional practices are threatened as more areas are subject to development and commercial resource exploitation.

Our Question:
How are strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants being used by small communities and traditional healers in your country? In what other ways does your society use plants to sustain your population while also supporting environmental sustainability?
For example: sustainable agricultural practices such as crop rotation and seed saving.
Use of Plants as Medicine

For thousands of years, plants have been used in treating human aliments. It’s been estimated that 400 000 species of vascular plants globally, with somewhere between a quarter and third of these plants have been used for medicinal purposes. In Canada, medicinal plants have been in the history for a long period of time. The First Nations Canadian used hundreds of species in traditional medicine, with the potential for many of these plants to be valuable in modern medicine. The North American ginseng is Canada’s most important medicinal crop. Other major medicinal crops would be Echinacea, ginkgo biloba, liquorice, and St. John's Wort.

In Canada, medicinal plants are generally grown on small plots of land due to the large amount of maintenance and highly specialized growing equipment required. The majority of the world's supplies of medicinal plants are collected from the wild with over half of Canadian medicinal plants being wild crafted. However this may lead to over-collection from the wild and thus cultivation becomes more feasible and necessary. Here in Canada, medicinal herbs are an important part of the natural health product industry. The natural health products include vitamins and minerals, herbal remedies, homeopathic medicines, traditional medicines, probiotics, and other products such as amino acids and essential fatty oils.

An example of a medicinal plant used in Canada is the Anise Hyssop. Anise Hyssop is found mostly in the moist, open woods, along streams and lakeshores, and in wet ditches and prairies. Its natural distribution is from British Columbia across the prairies and into Western Ontario and the adjacent states. The Anise Hyssop has been used by the North American First Nations people as a breath-freshener, as a tea, and as a sweetener. An infusion of the herb was used for chest pain, and the roots were used to coughs. They are also used in Chinese prescriptions for heatstroke, headache, fever, and angina. The leaves are used as poultices for sores. It is used in dried flower arrangement, and the essential oils are used in perfumes and aromatherapy. It is also a good source of nectar.
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Anise Hyssop Plant Ginseng Plant

Strategies to maintain medicinal plants in Canada

The production of medicinal plants in Canada is very small when compared to the world production. In Canada, medicinal plants are usually grown on small plots of land because of the large amount of maintenance and the requirement of highly specialized growing equipments. The production of these medicinal plants and herbs requires a lot of high investments. But in Canada, this can be done at a low cost. Some ways to maintain these plants in Canada is because of cultivation which can be an advantage of growing different varieties of plants and to increase the amount and quality of them. Another way Canadians maintain plants is by site changing or changing the location where they planted these plants every month or so. This helps with the quality and effectiveness of the plants and their resulting products. The risks of contamination (pollution of the soil, air and water from the usage of different chemicals) should be avoided in order to protect the plants valuable to our health and survival. The soil should also contain enough nutrients and should be fresh to maintain the medicinal plants’ growth and quality. Growers and producers use very minimum amount of pesticides and herbicides. To improve quantity and quality of medicinal plants, there is timely application of measures like topping, bud nipping, pruning and shading. It is very important to maintain medicinal plants very carefully because if this is not done, the production level could decrease by a large amount and this could be risky for many lives.
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Other Sustainable Practices

One method that farmers use to increase the soil fertility is crop rotation. Crop rotation is the planting of differing crops on the same land. It helps to avoid the waste of soil, and to control weeds, diseases, and pests. The benefits of crop rotation are to reduce nitrogen fertilizer usage, in order to make the yield of crops to be a considerable amount. Traditional agriculture practices used in Canada are not sustainable because people are polluting the environment; for example excessive forestry, use of chemically enhanced plant products such as fertilizers and pesticides. Crop rotation is the important factor for product quality and low costs production in Canada. For example the crop rotation system for Potato Production in Atlantic Canada helps to evaluate the economical and environment performance of different crop rotation systems.

Another method used by Canadian farmers for agricultural sustainability is soil amendment. Soil amendment is the process of adding helpful materials to soil to encourage the growth of healthy and quality plants. This conditioning of the soil satisfies the any deficiencies that the soil may have or add the proper nutrients the soil may lack in order for plants to be produced properly. For example, lime can be added to soil to make it less acidic. In Canada, wastes and by-products have been used to improve soil quality. Also, industrial residues have been used for this method. However, the use of industrial residues has the potential to contaminate soil and ground water. As a result, the Ministry of Environment (an environmental protection division in Canada) has established a "code of practice" for the beneficial use of specified industrial by-products on land. This code of practice provides consistent requirements across the province and protects the quality of soil as well as the surface and groundwater on sites where the by-products are applied.

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