Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

Tag: What I’m working on (page 1 of 2)

Modified harvest extension video

Thrilled to release our first farm extension video in a planned series that is spinning off of our Biodiversity Landowner’s Guide work. Lab project manager Simon Greenland-Smith worked with local video producer Wonderlust on this 90-second piece about the benefits for farm biodiversity of modified harvesting practices: that is, changing the timing, equipment (flushing bars), mowing pattern and blade height to ensure animal survival. Subtitles are available in French.

Marginal land survey update

An eloquent note by a Nova Scotia farmer, accompanying his completed Marginal Land survey.

An eloquent note by a Nova Scotia farmer, accompanying his completed Marginal Land survey.

We have an approximately 25% response rate so far from our Marginal Land survey of Nova Scotia farmers, after two postcards and one survey mailout. We are hoping that this week’s survey mailout will get us up to our 33% response target. It is a difficult time of year to be surveying farmers, a necessity brought on by our funding horizon, so we’ve been secretly hoping for rain so that farmers haven’t got ‘better things to do’. We are thrilled with the rich data so far; some farmers even insert additional notes such as the one above, to help us understand their perspective. One farmer even sent a note apologizing that “the dog ate my survey”, to explain the condition in which it arrived back with us.

Many hands make light work

Wendy, Simon and Joy stuffing envelopes with surveys in the Hayes Room.

Wendy, Simon and Joy stuffing envelopes with surveys in the Hayes Room.

Thanks to Wendy and Joy for pitching in to fold 1850 12-page Marginal Land Management surveys this week, number them so we can keep track of responses, and stuff them into envelopes. A crucial task, but not an entertaining one, although they made it look fun. The postcard notice has gone out to the thousand Nova Scotia farmers selected for the study, and we’ll send out this first round of surveys next week. I never thought I’d say this, after the wet summer we’ve had, but I hope it stays wet so the farmers have little better to do than respond!

Marginal land survey now underway

Marginal land survey postcard, the first of a series of mailings a random sample of 1000 Nova Scotia farmers are about to receive

Marginal land survey postcard, the first of a series of mailings a random sample of 1000 Nova Scotia farmers are about to receive

As I write this, Simon Greenland-Smith, extension officer and project manager for our Species at Risk Partnerships on Private Land project, is sitting in the SRES conference room applying address stickers to 1000 pre-survey postcards for our study about farm management on marginal land. This survey is a joint undertaking, funded by Environment Canada (EC) under the program above, but also the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and in close collaboration with the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. Knowing how over-surveyed Nova Scotia farmers have been in recent years (and I have been part of that problem, with DNR-sponsored surveys on farm biodiversity and nuisance nature), we are joining together to merge four surveys into one. For this one survey, however, we are going to work hard to get a good response rate. Single mail-out surveys typically only get a 10-20% response rate, which weakens the analysis and conclusions that can be drawn: it is unclear if those who responded are representative of the population of interest. We will use multiple reminders, including this pre-survey postcard to let people know what is coming and why. We hope for a good response rate, sooner than later, because the postage costs for each mailout are non-trivial. Thanks in advance to the kind farmers who help us meet our targets.

Folly Beach, pre-ISSRM

With John Parkins on Folly Beach

With John Parkins on Folly Beach

Have arrived in sweltering Charleston, SC, for ISSRM 2015, to a nearby beach house rented for the Energy team members and some colleagues. It’s a working day, appearances notwithstanding, tackling the data from last fall’s national energy survey, and talking about information disssemination plans and new grants. A long breakfast fuelled some discussion, most opting for ICED coffee given the 33 degree day, but not me. Looking forward to a productive week.

With John Parkins and Rich Stedman at the Black Magic Cafe for an extended breakfast.

With John Parkins and Rich Stedman at the Black Magic Cafe for an extended breakfast.

 

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