The Members Bulletin
Chartered 1920
May 27, 2024
At last Friday's meeting, May 24th, Dr. Praveen Saxena presented to our club. 
The meeting began with announcements from the club. Brian, Carolyn and Rosemary attended the district conference. Brian carried the club's flag while Carolyn was a keynote speaker for Rotary's focus area on the environment and they both represented the club superbly. 
Robert Turner had his first grandchild on May 1st, and Barb Holmes reminded us of the CEC breakfast on May 31st and the kidsability strategic planning sessions.
After lunch, Carolyn Weatherson introduced Dr. Saxena. Dr. Praveen K. Saxena is a Professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph, with over 35 years of experience in plant biotechnology. His research focuses on advancing invitro technologies for the conservation, sustainable use, and restoration of threatened plant biodiversity.
This includes species that are rare, endangered, traditionally used in medicinal, spiritual, and cultural practices, or critical to food security.
Dr. Saxena’s lab has developed an Integrated Plant Production System (IPPS) for the commercial production of value-added plants and products for the horticultural
The IPPS includes innovative technologies such as novel culture devices, smart bioreactors,
and controlled environment growth chambers and greenhouses for large-scale propagation of resilient plants that can withstand climate fluctuations. This technology has also been applied to medicinal plants rich in neurotransmitters like melatonin and serotonin, traditionally used to treat mental health
Dr. Saxena has trained over 150 highly qualified personnel, including graduate students, technicians, and postdoctoral fellows, and has contributed more than 200 papers to leading refereed journals, along with several reviews, book chapters, and edited volumes of journals and books.
His societal contributions include serving on the Spiritual Care Committee of the Guelph General Hospital and the Multi-faith Resource Team of the University of Guelph, as well as publishing an online magazine, Spiritual Botany (, to enhance awareness of plant-human relationships,
biodiversity conservation, and environmental consciousness.
The Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation (GRIPP) (,
established in 2012 by the Gosling Foundation and the University of Guelph, aims to preserve plant biodiversity through research, education, and service programs.
GRIPP's integrated conservation approach, known as CPR (Conservation, Propagation, and Restoration), includes cryopreservation for
long-term conservation of plant seeds and tissues at ultralow temperatures (-196°C) in the cryobank, micropropagation for mass multiplication of stress-resilient plants, and transplantation of these plants
into affected habitats.
GRIPP's ability to rapidly regenerate seeds and tissues stored in the cryobank into climate-resilient plant populations offers a comprehensive solution for the rapid recovery of
threatened species and the establishment of new conservation sites.
The CPR technology is applicable to a range of threatened, endangered, and ecologically and economically important plants, including
food crops, as well as native medicinal and ornamental plant species for the Canadian agriculture and horticulture sectors.
At the Gosling Research Institute, Dr. Praveen specificallyvstudies plant development from single cells to complete individuals.
The institute was created by Philip Gosling who was emotionally devastated by the loss of American elm trees in his garden.

GRIPP, through cryopreservation and micropropagation of plant tissues, now has the capability of cloning American elm trees to restore the species. GRIPP produces resilient tree species, propagates them, and ships them off to different parks and cities for restoration. 
In the GRIPP lab, cryopreservation and micropropagation of endangered plant species are done by taking tissue samples, freezing them using liquid nitrogen, and reviving these frozen bodies in the future. Some of their tissue samples have been in store for over a dozen years and are still viable. 
The GRIPP laboratory can store 16,500 plant samples in a single tank, with 100% success rate of viability so far. The field trial survival rate of plants grown in small vessels is 97%.

Dr. Saxena then described their efforts to preserve endangered plant species using liquid nitrogen immersion and propagation.
One example of this is their effort to preserve ash trees. He explained how slowly ash trees produce seeds. Parks Canada requested that the GRIPP lab increase their reproductive cycle as proof of technology's effectiveness.

Dr. Saxena then discussed how certain plants can be used to enhance memory and manage mental disorders, citing holy basil and melatonin-rich species, as examples. 
Dr. Saxena ended by discussing the selective breeding of trees so that they have built-in resistance to beetle-borne fungus. He explains how artificially maturing trees could lead to unpredictable resistance outcomes. This could mean that cloned trees could create genetically diverse populations.
President Nanita Mohan thanked Dr. Saxena for his presentation and expressed gratitude for his contributions to conservation and spiritual botany.
Notes taken by Edited by Aidan Harris.
(my apologies for the lack of bulletins the past two weeks. I misjudged the difficulties I would have putting them together remotely, but I think we have a good system in place now). 
Celebrate Sunrise Therapeutic Centre
This annual celebration/fundraiser at Sunrise is fabulous. Get your tickets now for Sunday, June 23, 2024.  
Hiring Youth Speed Networking Event
The Career Education Council (CEC) looks forward to celebrating the launch of their YouthForce consultations for employers with a fun spin on their traditional breakfast format by offering speed networking instead.
The Career Education Council (CEC) looks forward to celebrating the launch of their YouthForce consultations for employers with a fun spin on their traditional breakfast format by offering speed networking instead.
The networking will be valuable to employers or HR professionals who are looking for information about how to hire local youth ages 14-30. This will include programs such as high school co-op, university and college field placements, internships, Canada Summer Jobs, and employment reimbursement opportunities. 
By establishing these connections with employers, we are helping youth secure
meaningful opportunities to experience the workforce and gain valuable skills
through paid and unpaid employment experiences.
The event will be held on Friday May 31, from 8:00 am - 10:30 pm. It would be great to get a good showing of Rotarians out again! 
Bulletin Editor
Aidan Harris
May 31, 2024
Pitching Committees to Membership
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Upcoming Events
Friday June 14 - WWSEF (Science Fair) Winners
Italian Canadian Club
Jun. 14, 2024
12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Children & Youth Committee Meeting 9AM
On Zoom
Jun. 14, 2024
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
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Birthdays & Rotary Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Matt Webster
May 5
Roger Garriock
May 6
Bob Richardson
May 10
Claire Davies
May 11
Paul Dredge
May 16
Luisa Del Rosario
May 21
Marguerite Campbell
May 24
Marty Fairbairn
June 2
Carl Webster
June 8
David Worthen
June 8
Mike Schreiner
June 9
Rasa Levstein
June 16
Chris Willard
June 24
Randy Wilson
June 30
Join Date
Gisella Gazzola
May 8, 2020
4 years
Rosemary Clark
May 13, 1994
30 years
Irene Szabo
May 17, 2019
5 years
Dianne Dance
May 19, 2017
7 years
Faz Ashkar
May 22, 2020
4 years
Eleni Bakopoulos
May 29, 2020
4 years
Robert Eilers
June 9, 2002
22 years
Ben McCarl
June 10, 2011
13 years
Noma Vales
June 16, 2006
18 years
Lynne McCurdy
June 20, 2014
10 years
Dave Latreille
June 22, 2007
17 years
Domingo Bernal
June 29, 2018
6 years
Tim Mau
June 30, 2000
24 years
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