Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

Author: k8sherren (page 1 of 41)

New paper on HM trainers

Carolyn Mann’s first paper out of the HM project – Holistic Management and adaptive grazing: a trainers’ view – is online this morning at Sustainability, and open access. Ours is the first paper out in a special issue on Agroecology for the Transition towards Social-Ecological Sustainability. We just happened to have a draft ready when we heard about the special issue. Carolyn interviewed 25 HM or adaptive grazing trainers across Canada and the US to get a sense of how they see their training, and their trainees. Some interesting findings around gender, what it means to adopt, as well as the separability between the holistic planning and the specific grazing practices.

Next we developed a systems thinking statement concourse, in part using these interviews, and conducted Q-method online with 18 HM trainers and trainees to identify degrees and types of systems thinking. That paper is still in development, but a little teaser: gender again seems to play a role!

Chignecto wind survey launch

Ellen Chappell addresses her notification postcards in the SRES Hayes Room, March 25, 2018.

Ellen Chappell addresses her notification postcards in the SRES Hayes Room, March 25, 2018.

Great that research design, ethics and funding has finally lined up to allow MES candidate Ellen Chappell to get her survey of residents underway in the Chignecto area of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia (around Sackville and Amherst). This multiple-reminder survey is the first out of my lab with the general public rather than farmers. This work is affiliated with the Energy Transitions in Canada SSHRC project led by John Parkins at the University of Alberta. This week the first full survey will be sent, and we cross our fingers for a healthy response rate.

New role on NS Biodiversity Council

St. Andrews Marsh, May 21, 2018.

St. Andrews Marsh, May 21, 2018.

Today is the International Day for Biological Diversity, and I’m pleased to announce I was appointed to the new Biodiversity Council for Nova Scotia. The other members are Dr Donna Hurlburt (Aboriginal Advisor at Acadia University, Mi’kmaq ecologist, and conservation biologist), Dr. Graham Forbes (Professor at UNB), and Peter Oram (Senior Environmental Specialist at GHD). From the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announcement press release:

The goals of the Council are:

  1. Identify strategic priorities for work, including regulations, under a Biodiversity Act,
  2. Identify knowledge gaps and provide advice on using the ecosystem approach to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use,
  3. Advise on approaches and priorities for research, data gathering, and management,
  4. Make recommendations to the Minister on emerging and evolving biodiversity issues.


The Council’s work will include supporting the development of a Biodiversity Act, a project under the strategic priority “Our Natural Resources.” The purpose of the Act is to further enable Nova Scotia to improve the conservation and sustainable use of wild species and ecosystems in flexible and adaptive ways, address legislative gaps and manage emerging risks.

I’ve been working with DNR folks like Glen Parsons and John Brazner for years on social science about biodiversity conservation on farms, coasts and wetlands, and will be pleased to be of service.

Jaya wins BoFEP student award

Jaya Fahey receives the Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership meeting student award, May 11, 2018.

Jaya Fahey receives the Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership meeting student award, from DFO scientist Blythe Chang, May 11, 2018.

I spent Friday at the 12th Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership meeting, held every two years. This year’s conference featured a theme on dykelands and salt marshes, convened by new collaborators Danika van Proosdij and Tony Bowron. I presented my 2014/2015 Q-method research that identified discourses around dykeland futures, which is getting long in the tooth but is helping to inform my new work in those landforms. The largely natural science audience was quite receptive to social science messages, including my suggestion that their outreach is heavily based on the ‘deficit model’ of environmental communication, which has been proven not to work. I missed MES student Jaya Fahey’s presentation on the Thursday about her work on Space to Roost, but was pleased to hear she won the student award, which included a research volume and certificate as well as a $100 cash prize. I saw some pretty great student presentations, so it was stiff competition. Congratulations, Jaya!

Cornell Energy Incubator

Dylan Bugden chairs our discussion of research best practice.

Dylan Bugden chairs our discussion of research best practice.

Excellent first day here at the ‘Energy Incubator’ invited meeting here at Cornell, sponsored by Rich Stedman‘s social science fellowship at the Atkinson Centre for a Sustainable Future. Mostly Americans, save for Tom Beckley and Louise Comeau (UNB) and I, this group is gender- and experience-balanced and engaged in research across a range of energy/society issues: landscape, justice, gender, ‘booms’, impacts on other industries (ag), etc.

Getting started at the Energy Incubator.

Getting started at the Energy Incubator.

We started with short bursts on the more or less ‘half-baked’ ideas people pitched up before we came–at the half-baked end I talked about my ideas for an enpathy engine (that is, energy empathy) to combat climax thinking. We then brainstormed best practice for energy impacts research and broke into groups for some more focused discussions, which is what we’ll spend today doing. We then had a chance to explore the stunning Ithaca campus on the way to dinner.

The small hydro facility on the Cornell campus.

The small hydro facility on the Cornell campus.

Our meeting today was held in a beautiful centre at the Cornell Botanic Gardens, part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, but the gracious campus buildings are also nestled beside stunning gorges that tumble down to the townsite. There is even a small hydroelectricity dam that provides power to the campus (probably a project of the Engineering school)? Sign me up, Cornell. 

Ithaca is Gorges!

Ithaca is Gorges!

Jeffrey Jacquet tours us around Cornell's gorges.

Jeffrey Jacquet tours us around Cornell’s gorges.

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