Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

Tag: Falklands (page 1 of 2)

Back from the Falklands

Late afternoon sun picks out a river course on West Falkland.

Late afternoon sun picks out a river course on West Falkland.

I am now back from my 3+ week immersion into the farming culture of the Falkland Islands, with 700 photos, 30 hours of interviews, 20 pages of observational notes, and a strong sense of my inadequacies as a specialist within a land of self-reliant generalists. Despite coming at the busiest time in the farming calendar – shearing and lamb marking – farmers were incredibly generous in their willingness to talk, and sometimes tour and host as well. My research assistant, Marilou Delignieres, went far beyond her role as recruiter, guide and driver, happily engaging in farm work and babysitting to help me get time with farmers. Her parents, Hugues and Marie-Paul, helped us with logistics, but also provided additional opportunities during my visit. I relished my discussions with members of a contract shearing gang then working at their farm Dunbar, and got to experience a cruise ship visit, one of the ways that many farmers here diversify their incomes and benefit from hosting penguin colonies and other wildlife. I travelled by 4×4, workboat (ferry) and Islander aircraft. I marveled at all scales: skies to ground cover. These memories will sustain me through the difficult transcription phase which follows such research, and support my subsequent analysis. Thanks to the OECD Co-operative Research Programme and Dalhousie’s Supplemental Sabbatical Fund for the fellowship funding to undertake this travel, and SSHRC for its support of Marilou.

Marilou throws a fleece in the Dunbar shearing shed, as Alex shears, Polly rousies, and Hugues and Marie-Paul look on.

Marilou throws a fleece in the Dunbar shearing shed, as Alex shears, Polly rousies, and Hugues and Marie-Paul look on, ready to class it.

Cruise ship tourists visiting Gentoo Penguins at Dunbar farm, with Death Head in the background - one of their tricker paddocks to gather sheep in.

Cruise ship tourists visiting Gentoo Penguins at Dunbar farm, with Death Head in the background – one of their tricker paddocks to gather sheep in.

Departure day for the Falklands

The long range forecast for the Falklands shows it really is British.

The long range forecast for the Falklands shows it really is British.

Still a long list of to-do, but later today I depart for a month in the Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory near Patagonia, to talk to livestock farmers about their landscape and how they manage it. This is work funded by the OECD Cooperative Research Programme, with additional support from Dalhousie’s Supplemental Sabbatical Leave funding, as well as my SSHRC on sustainable grazing. There is patchy and expensive internet coverage, so I don’t expect to be able to blog often, but I will when I can.

 

Mitacs Globalink interviews and rankings

Thursday and Friday this week I had skype interviews with five upper-year undergraduate candidates for my Mitacs Globalink internship opportunities on Sustainable Landscapes and Seascapes in the Falkland Islands. What a remarkable group of young people! Four Chinese candidates and one from India, all skilled in geomatics and with a wide range of other diverse interests, engaged me in clear English conversation on diverse areas of my scholarship and their own interests. I was very impressed, and the subsequent ranking process was very difficult. I hope they all find a satisfying post under this excellent program. A successful internship also provides them access to funded Masters fellowships in Canada.

Cultural values of Falkland coasts

Header of the piece in Penguin News on Denise Herrera's cultural values mapping work.

Header of the piece in Penguin News on Denise Herrera’s cultural values mapping work.

Denise Herrera has just returned from ‘Camp’ (countryside) of the Falkland Islands, with data from thirty interviews with residents about what coastal areas they value and why. Denise is a research assistant for the cultural values mapping element of the Darwin Plus-funded Marine Spatial Planning project run by Dr Amelie Auge. I’m helping out on methods and interpretation. She’ll compile those locations and classifications into a map to include in the planning for marine conservation areas in the Falklands. Denise is now looking for participants in the main town of Stanley, and has advertised for participants via a full-page story on her work in the local weekly, Penguin News.

Science & Diplomacy

Ray is a keen birder, and captured this picture of King Penguins on the move at Volunteer Point.

Ray is a keen birder, and captured this picture of King Penguins on the move at Volunteer Point.

A summary of the Pan-American Scientific Delegation to the Falklands appeared recently in Science and Diplomacy, penned by Ray Arnaudo and Dr Lindsay Chura, American diplomat and British Embassy science advisor, respectively. The piece is a useful reminder of the underlying ethos of the Delegation: the naturally collaborative nature of science builds bridges. This is important amidst continuing tensions with Argentina, which still claims the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). The Falklands have mostly looked to the UK for research collaborations (viz: the Shackleton award), but need to strengthen their networks in the region, as a nation to its neighbours, and where ecosystems are shared.

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