Landscapes - People - Global change

Tag: conferences (Page 1 of 3)

Fall 2024 omnibus

From left to right, Brooke, Patricia, Karen, Sam and I at Samantha’s MES defense

First, belated congratulations are due to Samantha Howard, who defended her MES thesis earlier in the fall term. Thanks to Brooke (her co-supervisor), Karen Akerlof of George Mason University in Washington, DC (her committee member), and Patricia Manuel from Dalhousie’s School of Planning for the great discussion of Sam’s work. Her thesis is now available on Dalspace:  Understanding Psychological Drivers of Attitudes Towards Coastal Climate Adaptations in the Minas Basin, Nova Scotia.

Brooke discussing the Advanced Grazing Systems program she is studying at the CFGA 2023 conference.

Second, great to see Brooke engaging with livestock producers, commodity group organizations and NGOs at this year’s Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA) conference in Harrison Hot Springs, BC. Her presentation was called Rotational grazing: Examining perspectives for sustainable Canadian landscapes, and draws upon her mixed methods research around the national grazing mentorship program Advanced Grazing Systems that is a partnership between CFGA and Farmers for Climate Solutions. Can’t deny that it is also a great time of year to be visiting somewhere with hot springs!

Last, today, Patrick James presented his MREM project to complete his program at Dalhousie. Over the summer, Patrick worked for the ResNet project on system dynamic modelling of specific ecosystem services, supervised by Lara. Over the fall term he has been supervised by Brooke, working on the SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant she led to understand how farmers are experiencing the New Brunswick Living Lab program. Congratulations, Patrick, and thanks for all the contributions you made to the lab!

IASNR Conference 2023

Rich Stedman, me (jet lagged, straight from the plane), and Chris Raymond at the welcome mixer.

After the PECS working group meeting in South Africa I flew directly to Portland, Maine, for the 2023 IASNR Conference. IASNR is my primary professional organization and I currently serve on its Council, so that adds an additional layer of busyness during the conference. It was particularly nice to be there with a team: postdoc Brooke McWherter, PhD student Keahna Margeson and MES Emily Snair all came along.

Co-leading the New Member’s Meeting with Bill Stewart.

The New Member’s Meeting I co-ran as part of my role as Chair of the Membership Committee was better attended than any I’ve ever seen – we were running to other rooms to steal chairs. Despite the size, we ended up having an excellent conversation about what brings people to IASNR and what it can offer.

On the first day of presentations, I was part of a panel about publishing with Society and Natural Resources and the SNR Book Series. It was exciting to be able to share the news that the external reviews are back for the decennial review of the field that I am lead co-editing with Gladman Thondhlana and Douglas Jackson-Smith and that we submitted in late January. The reviews are very supportive and we are busily doing final changes to the manuscript so that it can be published in time for the 30th IASNR next year in Cairns, Australia.

Emily Snair presenting her proposal poster

That evening at the poster session, Emily presented her proposal work that is currently undergoing research ethics review, including to some kids attending the event with their academic Mom. I also ‘won’ the big ticket item in the silent auction, a bunch of Moomin swag Chris Raymond brought from Helsinki!

Me, Emily, Jen and Elson at our ResNet panel

On day two, we held a super panel on ResNet Landscape 1 featuring Emily Wells (virtually) on Indigenous values, Jen Holzer (Brock) on collaborative networks and Elson Galang (McGill) on scenario planning. It was well attended and generated some good discussions. Keahna Margeson also presented the results of her first comprehensive exam on social license for ocean and coastal management. Brooke also co-ran a session on research ethics in diverse contexts as part of her work on the Ethics Committee of IASNR. The day concluded with a lobster bake at Peaks Island with a very mausy and foggy ferry crossing.

Day three was a bit more restful. At the lunchtime IASNR All Member’s Meeting where I got to award the second Bridgebuilder Award to Emily Huff, again as part of my role as Membership Committee chair. That evening, Keahna ran the Quizbowl as part of her role as Student Representative Elect, and afterward we had an informal Canadian Caucus meeting at the kooky little AirBnB row house I was sharing with some of my team.

Canadian kitchen party in the AirBnB, including Emily, Jen, Ben, John, Brooke and Keahna.

On day four, I presented on the landscape culturomics work of my team, synthesizing a few recent works to advocate for a government role in ensuring researcher access to social media data for research with public good purposes. Brooke also presented some preliminary research on livestock farmers and systems thinking based on participants of the Advanced Grazing Systems (AGS) farmer mentorship program she is studying in her postdoc. The next day we spent driving back to Halifax by way of the NB farm of AGS-collaborator Cedric MacLeod where we got to see him moving his cattle to a rich new pasture. Brooke was a hero doing that big drive all in one day and I was very grateful to get back to my family after two weeks.

Happy cow on fresh pasture

June team news

Me with Emily Wells at her MES graduation reception.

I’m still catching up on a busy month’s worth of postings, and don’t want to forget to acknowledge a few big milestones. Emily Wells graduated with her MES and it was wonderful to meet her parents, over from Newfoundland for the event. Keahna Margeson finished her comprehensive exams, and Robin Willcocks Musselman started hers. Brooke McWherter led a successful SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant (PEG), partnering with the Agricultural Association of New Brunswick and the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association on Examining experiences in the process of adaptive grazing adoption: Sustainable agriculture in Canadian living laboratories. MREM intern Patrick James joined the team to work with Lara Cornejo on ResNet synthesis modelling and knowledge mobilization as well as Brooke’s PEG. Lara also presented her work at EcoSummit in Australia, and Samantha Howard presented hers at Coastal Zone Canada in Victoria as well as the Canadian Water Resources Association meeting in Halifax, back to back. (The next post will cover the IASNR conference, which was also busy for our team.) Congratulations to all!

Lara and Brooke farewelling Isabel Cotton (centre) on the Halifax waterfront.

While I was away in South Africa Isabel Cotton finished her 12-week visiting fellowship. Thanks to Lara and Brooke for giving her a proper send-off, and thanks, Isabel, for all your hard work.

Finally, in more sober news, there were some awful fires in Halifax (and elsewhere in Canada) in the weeks around my travel. Many people lost homes and many others were evacuated for long periods. I got lots of media requests because of my related work with MES Ellen Whitman in 2013 on peri-urban fire risk, that involved modelling fire risk on Halifax’s fringes. I typically push those requests to Ellen, who went on to do a PhD in Fire Science at the University of Alberta and now works for NRCan. She is an amazing scientist, and it was when looking for a few of those articles (like this one) to cite here that I learned that NRCan nominated her to represent Canadian women in science just in time for International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11, 2022. Belated congratulations, Ellen!

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.

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.

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