Keahna Margeson has been named one of Dalhousie’s next crop of thought leaders in the OpenThink program at our Faculty of Graduate Studies. These PhD students get trained in communication and data visualization skills, and develop blog posts through the year to practice those skills. Keahna’s first blog post is now up, about putting a round peg (natural science) in a square hole (say, coastal planning): it fits, but there’s gaps around the edge. She pitches social science as critical to fill the hole properly. Follow her on Twitter and you can stay tuned on the rest of her posts.
Category: Coasts (Page 1 of 18)
Delighted to share news that Emily Wells defended her MES thesis yesterday, titled Mi’kmaw relational values: Lessons for environmental valuation from Indigenous literatures and L’nuwey along the Bay of Fundy Coast. Thanks to Heather Cray who acted as Chair, Melanie Zurba who was Emily’s committee member and welcomed her into the Co-Lab community, and also Kai Chan who served as her external examiner. It was too bad that threats of poor weather drove us to an online event, but it was still a wonderful conversation, exactly the kind of insightful and reflective event you hope for out of a defense. We have new ideas with which to approach the final thesis submission and the publication process.
Another nice lab output this week in Marine Policy led by Qiqi Zhao, a China Scholarship Council visiting PhD student in my lab last year, including a bunch of other lab-affiliated students as co-authors: Modelling cultural ecosystem services in agricultural dykelands and tidal wetlands to inform coastal infrastructure decisions: a social media data approach. It is a bit of a companion piece to the Chen et al (2020) piece in Ocean and Coastal Management, as it uses the same Instagram dataset collected for every dykeland area in Nova Scotia back in 2018, but in a very different way. Chen et al. took a very qualitative ‘small data’ approach to the dataset, analyzing the photographs (and accounts) only of posts that included the words dyke*/dike*/wetland/marsh in the captions. Zhao et al. used a ‘big data’ text mining approach, extracting and associating bi-grams (two-word strings) from geolocated post captions to particular cultural ecosystem services (CES), modelling those CES using SolVES and comparing (as with Chen et al.) dykeland and wetland services. Whereas Chen et al. only found direct mentions of freshwater marshes (specifically Miner’s Marsh), in Zhao et al. we leveraged the coordinates to locate those geolocated to tidal wetland sites. This will help us better understand the tradeoffs associated with climate change-driven adaptations of the dykeland system in the Bay of Fundy, the focus of NSERC ResNet Landscape 1.
As the winter term starts, there is not a lot of time for me to spend reflecting on my wonderful Christmas holiday in Australia. A few landscape highlights are in order, however, so I will paste a few of them below.
One thing I saw that I particularly wanted to highlight here was the above plaque in Sydney. I’m always interested in landscape change, and this is the first time I’ve seen this kind of public record of past land uses of a particular site. In rural contexts, past landscape versions are usually still legible in later iterations, but in cities that is not the case, so making it explicit in this way feels interesting. I don’t know whose decision it was, but I didn’t notice any others.
This plaque reminds me of a great radio documentary by Craig Desson and Acey Rowe I heard on CBC a few years ago, called “Whose Condo Is It, Anyway?” (54 mins, a related CBC First Person article is here). Desson bought a condo and found himself wondering if he really owned it, and tracked all previous recorded uses of his land parcel, and ended up questioning the whole idea of ownership in a treaty context.
Yesterday was the first full day of the Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) conference in New Orleans. This event is a first for me. It is practitioner-dominated, and very US-focused (they sure don’t mean North America by that title), and the focus is very much on the science. But there is an infectious enthusiasm here for all things estuary. I presented about the Nova Scotia coastal focus groups from Making Room for Movement, including a bit of the experimental paper and the new qualitative paper . The highlight of the sessions so far was one on social marketing: with work inside organizations (though small numbers of core comms/ed staff were clearly pulled many ways) and with a diverse and skilled set of contractors (notably, not generally academic partnerships) to achieve online ‘reach’. I have also really enjoyed talks about landscape change that included some social insights: Katherine Canfield on public perceptions of converting cranberry bogs to wetlands in Cape Cod; Melissa Paley on citizen mobilization for dam removal on the Oyster River in New Hampshire; Daniel Brinn on restoring water and habitat quality in Lake Mattamuskeet, North Carolina (which has a long history of human modification); Susan Adamowicz on the traces of salt marsh farming on coastal wetlands in Maine (and for providing some different vocabulary to that used in NS); and, Theresa Davenport on regulatory challenges to and opportunities for living shorelines in New England. Tomorrow is the last day of sessions and I’ve circled many more to attend. In general, I’d love to see more discussion of social monitoring of the kinds of actions being undertaken by this great group of wetland nerds, as well as ecological.
I’ve also enjoyed the more informal events around the conference. Our field trip to Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station (University of Southeast Louisiana) was fogged in, the result of unseasonably warm weather, but enjoyable. We saw swimming crab, a small alligator and a dangerous cottonmouth snake, and had great jambalaya courtesy of Reno’s. It was interesting but sad to see the impact of last year’s Hurricane Ida on the region and the Centre (see above). The trip to and fro I got to experience again the American penchant for constructing highways THROUGH water rather than going around. There is a 9 km bridge through the WIDEST part of Lake Pontchartrain, to the north of where I am now. Similarly, heading west through wetland toward Baton Rouge, you drive predominantly on raised highways through the marsh. In Canada we’d just be told: you have to go around. That doesn’t even seem to occur to Americans, bless them. At Pass Manchac there were 3 bridges next to one another (see above, in the view behind the pontoon boat), main highway, secondary highway, and rail.
Finally, the really informal stuff. It’s been nice to see the good people from CBWES and Clean Foundation all the way from Halifax (the only Canadians I’ve met so far). It was super to catch up with Brandon Champagne, ResNet MA student from SMU who is back in Louisiana working for the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. Because I worked at the UNO back in 2001-2, though, I also have earlier connections. It was great to see Denise Reed at the poster session, who was at the Coastal Research Lab (CRL) during my year there, and share stories of the singular Shea Penland. I have also gotten to tour the post-Katrina city and enjoy some great food with Mark Kulp, another colleague from CRL (now PIES): crab burger, frog legs (yup), shrimp and grits, and grilled oysters. Looking forward tomorrow to catch up with my office mate from CRL, Dinah Maygarden, who still runs wetland education programming for PIES at the new(ish) Coastal Education and Research Facility named for Shea. Still need to get myself some gumbo and a po’boy…