Landscapes - People - Global change

Month: September 2020

Northwest Arm, Sept 25, 7:50 am

View up the Northwest Arm, early morning, Sept 25, 2020.

View up the Northwest Arm, early morning, Sept 25, 2020.

Bookending this week with pictures of my daily commute, which is quite a pleasure these days. It’s not just the lower traffic with people working at home, though that is nice, it’s that I’ve finally been able to get back to commuting on foot. The Halifax Regional Municipality changed the buffer distance for students to qualify for bussing this year down to 1.6 kms this year – we are 1.7 km from the school. So instead of spending 80 minutes in the car a day,  waiting in long lineups to get through the bottlenecks at the Armdale Rotary and feeling like part of the problem, I’m spending 80 minutes walking, in part along the lovely and narrow Northwest Arm. The above is a view of the Arm from that self-same Rotary, harder to appreciate when jockeying traffic. I wonder how many other families could be using more active transportation if bussing were more widely available?

New paper on rangeland health and rotational grazing

Congratulations to Kristine Dahl for her new paper out in Rangeland Ecology & Management, Assessing variation in range health across grazed northern temperate grasslands. This work was funded by my SSHRC Insight Grant on sustainable grazing, and drew in Ed Bork at the University of Alberta who is an expert in rangeland systems. Based on rangeland health assessments and interviews across 28 cattle ranches in Alberta, this new paper provides some insight on how climate, pasture (native v. tame) and rotation interact. Grazing length had more impact on rangeland health than calculated stocking rates, with shorter grazing periods causing improvements in both tame and native pasture under aridity. There is also an indication that native grasslands grazed for shorter periods have lower weed prevalence and more litter, useful as mulch in dry conditions. Nice to see these relationships emerging across such a wide swath of Alberta (grassland, parkland/foothills and boreal) and in working rather than experimental conditions.

Hello, Welcome back, Goodbye, You’re still muted

Last in-person meeting with MES Krysta Sutton at Coburg Social, August 2020

Last in-person meeting with MES Krysta Sutton at Coburg Social, August 2020

It is that time of year again, but this time with a difference. I’m saying “Hello” to new students coming into our MES and MREM programs, and “Goodbye” to some heading off (like Krysta, above), and “Welcome back” to those returning from internships or fieldwork. I’m also saying a lot of “you’re still muted”, and perhaps more often having it said to me, as most of the above is happening online. I have a tepid relationship with much online technology, but right now I’m mostly grateful for it: the internet will allow us to continue doing what we love, working with students, despite a global pandemic. Occasionally, the internet also throws up a happy surprise, despite my shunning of Facebook, like the photo below, one of a few that landed in my inbox from an old university friend, of a Spring Break trip to Graceland in Memphis 25 years ago. So, “Hello, Welcome back, Goodbye” and, by the way, “You’re still muted.” Don’t worry, we’ll get the hang of it.

With Waterloo Engineers at Graceland, 1995

With Waterloo Engineers  Brent, Josh and two Jeffs, at Graceland, 1995

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