Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

Causeway-related surveys in the field

Postcard invitations being sent to those living within about 4 km of each causeway.

Over the next couple of weeks, residents living near the Petitcodiac River causeway (partially replaced with the Honourable Brenda Robertson Bridge) in New Brunswick and the Avon River causeway in Nova Scotia will receive post cards from my lab. PhD student Keahna Margeson is running a study to understand peoples’ experiences and perceptions of changes to the causeways, tidal gates, and rivers over the years. If you get one of these in your mailbox, and you have 10-15 minutes to spare, we would be very grateful to hear from you. 

Addendum April 8th: These postcards have gone out to those on mail routes within–or that touch–a 4 km buffer of each causeway site. Mail routes in rural areas can be quite large. With Canada Post Admail we cannot control the outer edge of the distribution, and so you may have received the postcard even at a significant distance from a causeway site, but we are still very interested to hear from you. Many thanks for your support.

Partnerships and defining success with the Atlantic Living Labs

Guest post by Dr. Brooke McWherter

Dr. Brooke McWherter presenting at the Newfoundland Living Lab in Corner Brook, NL.

Across the country right now farmers, farmer organizations, federal and university scientists, industry partners and more are working together to identify and test innovative agricultural practices on working farms to support sustainable production on farms. Called Living Labs (LL), these innovation hubs aim to bring together many of the diverse stakeholders in the agricultural food system to identify, develop and test innovative practices that aim to promote adoption and support Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

However collaboration of this scale is never easy and strategic planning can support diverse collaborative networks in identifying connections and create opportunities for finding commonalities among the diverse projects everyone is engaging in. This is where I fit in. As a natural resource social scientist, one of my passions is understanding collaborations and supporting collaborative efforts.

New Brunswick Workshop participants discussed their perceived roles and responsibilities.

My first workshop with the living labs occurred during the New Brunswick Living Lab (NB-LL) Annual Update and Planning workshop where I discussed my research on barriers to adoption and monitoring progress. Working with NB-LL partners we discussed the importance of setting clear roles and expectations and I led participants through a 1-hour workshop developing logic models for each commodity group within the LL. Logic models are useful tools because they allow for partners and organizations to clearly demonstrate their logic for how their activities will lead to specific goals and outcomes of the program. They can also be used for follow-up monitoring and evaluation.

Following this workshop, I met several other Atlantic LL leads who were present, and I was invited to Newfoundland to conduct a 7-hour two-day workshop with all of their partners. Together we first did a partnership mapping exercise which mapped out the different partners and their connections to other groups and then we completed an extended logic model that not only looked at planned activities but also their status which were then compared to current tracking documents.

As a facilitator both of these workshops really highlighted the complexity of running a living lab and what it means to co-produce knowledge. We often say we want more stakeholders involved but the more organizations in a project the harder it can be to keep everyone on the same page, to follow all of the projects involved, and to overcome institutional hurdles such as low incentives for co-creation projects, data sharing restrictions, and partners with high responsibility loads.

However what these experiences and my most recent facilitation role with the Atlantic LL in identifying shared success factors show is the power of relationships. The Atlantic LL team leads from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, and Newfoundland really exemplify the types of leaders that have been recruited for this project and the power that comes from collaboration and working together. The different leads are often present at each other’s workshops, work to build cross-provincial connections and projects and support each other in the co-production process. After all no one knows better than them what they are going through.

It has been an amazing experience to work with the Atlantic Living Labs and support their efforts to improve collaboration, co-production, and cross-provincial comparison. I personally can’t wait to see what they come up with in the future.

Farewell lunch for Lara

Me, Lara and Brooke at Efes Turkish Cuisine on International Women’s Day

Had a lovely lunch at Efes on Friday with my two current postdocs, Brooke McWherter and Lara Cornejo, to farewell Lara whose last day will be at the end of this month and who is working remotely until then. It also turned out to be International Women’s Day and so it was a fitting day to be getting together. Thanks, Lara, for all the great work on NSERC ResNet over the last two years.

The Conversation

Buildings are seen in floodwater following a major rain event in Halifax on July 22, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Buildings are seen in floodwater following a major rain event in Halifax on July 22, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

I did my first bit for The Conversation this week, connecting Sam Howard’s project work on resistance to public flood risk mapping to the new tools provided here in NS in lieu of coastal protection legislation. You can read it here: Flood risk mapping is a public good, so why the public resistance in Canada? Lessons from Nova Scotia. 

Addendum: The media engagement on this commentary has been gratifying, including:

  • CityNews 95.7 (audio interview with Todd Veinotte March 13, 10 am),
  • The Canadian National Observer (pending), Cloe Logan
  • CBC News (online text) Property owners, researcher critical of N.S. approach to coastal protection (Mar 19, 2024), Michael Gorman
  • CBC Nova Scotia News (video), Nova Scotia’s coast is eroding. So is the confidence some have in its environment policy (Mar 19, 2024), Michael Gorman
  • CBC The National (video), N.S. homeowners say they needs a coastal protection law, not plan  (Mar 20, 2024),  Kayla Hounsell
  • Water We Doing, podcast (pending)

Grant-writing retreat

Sunset from the Hayes Room

Ian, Fanny and I in the SRES Hayes Room, past 9 on a school night.

I’m just recovering today from a 2.5-day writing retreat with Ian Stewart (Kings/Dal) and Fanny Noisette (UQAR) for the upcoming deadline for the Transforming Coastal Action large research projects. We represent 3/4 of the co-lead team for TranSECT (Transformative adaptations to Social-Ecological Climate change Trajectories), which was called Cluster 3.3, inside the Promoting Just and Equitable Adaptation  domain of the original funding application. There were two unusually late nights, where I got to see what the grad students get up to in the suite when the rest of us go home, and now have a long list of to-dos. Thanks to Fanny and Ian for the productive time and great company.

 

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