Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

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Catching up

June and July have been busy and a few events have passed by that are worth mentioning.

Qiqi Zhao presents our poster at Climate-Resilient Coastal Nature-Based Infrastructure Workshop, June 29, 2022

Back in late June I attended a few days of the Nature-based Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience and Risk Reduction Symposium led by Enda Murphy at the National Research Council (collaborator on Keahna’s OGEN project) and Danika van Proosdij of TransCoastal/SMU. That event was workshoppy, learning about the case studies of the NRC-led Nature-based Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience and Risk Reduction project, and the Canadian design guidelines being developed. During the subsequent conference, Qiqi Zhao presented a poster on her project using Instagram to understand cultural ecosystem service delivery in the dykeland context using SolVES, and Patricia Manuel presented a few stunning summaries of our Making Room for Movement work. It was fun to network with others working in the coastal restoration space during the poster session. You can read the abstracts here.

The in-person party at Dirk Oudes PhD defense at Wageningen

The next day, I had the complete honour of (remotely) being one of the ‘opponents’ for Dr. Dirk Oudes PhD defense at Wageningen University in the Netherlands: Landscape-inclusive energy transition: landscape as catalyst in the shift to renewable energy. The ceremony was a new experience, combining a somewhat ceremonial examination (we had already read the dissertation and given our opinions in order for the event to take place) with an individual graduation ceremony complete with Beadle and Rector. I was quite touched by it all, particularly the lengthy speech by Dirk’s primary supervisor, Sven Stremke, that spoke to his qualities and abilities but also paid tribute to his family (the part directed to his children was in Dutch but I made out the words “Dr. Papa”) and to his late co-supervisor. I was also stunned that the examination was followed by the graduation ceremony itself: Dirk stepped forward, signed his testamur (agreeing to particular expectations of a Wageningen graduate), and had it handed to him in a red tube with a handshake. Through it all, I sat like a lonely peacock in my ANU academic garb in my office.

Mel Z and I represent SRES in our academic regalia, July 2022

The following week I got to appear in the academic procession for our 2020 and 2021 graduates in SRES who didn’t get an in-person event because of COVID. Dean Kim Brooks surprised me on the stage by asking me to be the one to stand up and bow (no hand shaking anymore) to our MES and MREM graduates as they passed the Dean of Graduate Studies, Marty Leonard. I was delighted to. It was particularly nice to see Gardenio da Silva and Jaya Fahey cross the stage, former MES students of mine, and Olivia Giansante-Torres and Jessica Kern, two MREMs I worked with.

Since then there has been holiday time at the family camp and some frantic grant writing, and a stressful turn with Samantha’s survey reminders (it has to be a record that Canada Post lost 1250 reminder cards!). Most recently I had a comical turn on CBC Mainstreet on Monday, talking about our new Climax thinking on the coast paper. They somehow muted me half-way through so I couldn’t hear them but they could hear me. I thought I had left them speechless.

Recruiting MES for fall 2022 – Understanding ecosystem service trade-offs

**Note: this position is now filled**  We are currently recruiting the last student position for NSERC ResNet’s Bay of Fundy landscape case study, to enroll in an MES at Dalhousie’s SRES starting in September 2022 . The student will be helping us integrate some of the primary research done and underway about ecosystem service delivery from historic dykelands and tidal wetlands in the Bay of Fundy area, to help us understand the trade-offs represented by decisions to modernize the system in the face of climate change. We expect the student to deploy Bayesian Belief Networks in doing this, so a  student who has strong quantitative skills is sought, as well as someone with interests in ecosystem services and social ecological systems. Read more about the position here, and if you are interested please make an enquiry or an application as described there. Note that the short timelines mean that we are looking for Canadian citizens or permanent residents to apply. There is a full funding package on offer, and a vibrant community of students, partners and international experts to join.

Climax thinking on the coast – new paper in Environmental Management

The experimental design for our 2019 focus groups, inspired by climax thinking

Happy finally to have the first paper out open access in Environmental Management from the SRES node of the SMU-led NRCan-funded Making Room for Movement project. This paper tells the results of the online (pre-COVID!) focus groups that we ran with coastal property owners back in summer 2019, and specifically, the impact of the experimental ‘priming’ treatments that MES Krysta Sutton and I applied. Framing is a more common idea than priming. In framing you design the message itself to be acceptable to your audience by emphasizing some aspects and de-emphasizing others. Priming is more like setting the stage: getting people thinking in ways that will allow difficult messages–like those about coastal adaptation and retreat–to later land productively. We used three experimental treatments based on the climax thinking framework, and tested the impacts quantitatively (using pre-post tests) and qualitatively (analyzing focus group discussions). Getting people thinking about future generations was most clearly effective, but it was also helpful to get people thinking about altruism in their community (past and present). This suggests some useful ways to engage with residents in areas faced by sea-level rise. Briefly: Don’t look backward, but forward to future generations, and outward to focus on the meaning in tackling shared challenges together.

Emily at IASNR in Costa Rica

Emily Wells presents her poster at the IASNR Conference in Costa Rica, June 2022.

Though I regret not being able to attend myself this year, it is great to be getting reports from MES student Emily Wells, who is currently attending the IASNR Conference in Costa Rica. Her poster is a beauty, presenting a literature review of research by and with Indigenous people in Canada, US, Australia and New Zealand, enriched with hand-painted illustrations. She plumbs the origins of concepts within the relational values framework, such as stewardship and belonging, while extending that framework to include collective values like cultural/ancestral cohesion and a set of universal values such as inherent responsibility and reciprocal or mutual stewardship. Stay tuned for the paper, and in the meantime have a look at Emily’s blog post about her trip on the ResNet webpage.

New survey around Minas Basin on coastal climate adaptation

Samantha Howard spent the weekend preparing her first mailout for her MES survey.

If you get a envelope that looks like the above in your mail, please don’t ignore it. SRES MES student Samantha Howard (above) is now waiting eagerly for responses to her survey invitation, which will start arriving in the mailboxes of a random sample of Kings, Hants, Colchester and Cumberland county residents later this week. She is looking at how people perceive climate change impacts and two methods for adapting to those impacts: public flood risk mapping and managed dyke realignment paired with salt marsh restoration. You don’t need to be an expert on any of these, or to have lived in the region long: we are interested in all residents’ perspectives!

We will be using a multiple mailout approach to work toward a good response rate, so the envelopes above will be followed by some reminder postcards over the coming weeks. A good response rate helps us feel confident that we have heard from a representative group of people, and without that our work is much weaker. We are grateful to all those willing to give 15-25 minutes of their time to help. As a thank you, the first 100 participants can enter  a draw for one of 10 $50 gift cards from either Tim Horton’s or Irving Gas (their choice)! The rest of the participants can enter to win one of 10 $25 gift cards.

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