Landscapes - People - Global change

Tag: graduate students (Page 1 of 2)

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!

ResNet AGM 2023

The L1 team at Jouvence for AGM 2023 (Emily, Lara, Sam, Maka, Evan, Isabel, me, Kiirsti and Brittney)

Last week we had a productive AGM for NSERC ResNet up near Montreal. Around 70 academics, students, postdocs and partners joined for some very full days of reflection, synthesis and planning. My highlight was the ecosystem service assessment we were tasked for the Hundred Aker Wood (see below), Winnie the Pooh’s world from A. A. Milne, during which we identified Pooh’s body mass index as a key indicator for honey production (a clear provisioning service). While it was a wet few days, it didn’t dampen the spirits of the indomitable HQP (highly qualified personnel), who particularly enjoyed the firepit. If you could see the fire better, you’d see they were writing words on the logs for things they’d like to see gone. I saw white supremacy and racism go in. Thanks to PI Elena Bennett and everyone at the Central team for organizing and seeing to all our needs so thoughtfully and patiently.

Isabel takes seriously our task of ecosystem service assessment for Winnie the Pooh’s world.

The firepit, surrounded by students and postdocs (mostly), with L1 folks playing firemaster.

March lab news

ResNet PIs Jeremy , Danika, I work with Lara at SMU on Lara's system dynamics model integrating our understanding of the Bay of Fundy dykeland context, Friday, March 10th, 2022.

ResNet PIs Jeremy, Danika, and I work with Lara at SMU on Lara’s system dynamics model integrating our understanding of the Bay of Fundy dykeland context, Friday, March 10th, 2023.

It is a busy part of term, three-quarters through, and it is also fiscal year end, but it is still worth taking a bit of time to reflect on a few things happening in the lab. First year MES students Emily Snair and Paria Movaghati Nashta have presented their proposal talks at the SRES Research Seminar class and are preparing for the next stages of their research: getting those proposals approved by their committees. Samantha Howard is firming up her PLS-SEM statistical models and starting to outline her first substantive chapter, while working on the typesetting of her Honours paper for The Canadian Geographer (soon to be Canadian Geographies). Emily Wells just today finished her revisions and deposited her thesis with FGS. Kate Thompson has her second IDPhD dissertation paper in full draft and is getting started on the third and last.  Keahna Margeson is outlining her second IDPhD comprehensive exam, having worked the first into a manuscript for submission.  Postdoc Brooke McWherter is deep into data generation and preliminary analyses, as well as grant-writing, and Lara Cornejo is synthesizing all of L1 into a single massive conceptual model (see above) with the support of the wider L1 team. This will be a more functional conceptual model than the one we made at the outset of the project and published in Facets (and which Facets plugged on Twitter this last World Wetlands Day). We’re all planning our conferences for the coming season, which all seem to be occurring in the same two-or-three week window (IASNR, CZC, EcoSummit, etc.) and so we are scattering to the four winds to cover them all.

Speaking of scattering to the winds, I’ll finish up here by sharing my delight at what I found on campus on Sunday. I had forgotten my laptop cable at work so was a bit disgruntled by the need to walk in to collect it on a weekend. The smile turned upside-down when I saw a Holi festival in full swing in the Dal Quad (see below). Students were dancing to Bollywood music and throwing coloured powder and having a marvelous time, welcoming spring (perhaps a bit early yet). Bring it on.

Holi festival underway in the Dal Quad, March 12, 2023.

Holi festival underway in the Dal Quad, March 12, 2023.

Congratulations, Emily Wells, MES!

Emily Wells speaks during her online MES defense, Mar 2, 2022, about being gifted an eagle feather by a Mi’kmaw Knowledge Holder during her research and what it meant to her.

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.

Coastal focus group paper out in The Canadian Geographer

Figures 1 and 2 of Sutton et al., out today in The Canadian Geographer, showing the participant locations and coasts for our focus groups, and the content from the focus groups covered in the paper.

This morning the second paper from our 2019 coastal resident focus groups for the NRCan-funded Making Room for Movement project is out in The Canadian Geographer, Coastal resident perceptions of nature-based adaptation options in Nova Scotia, led by recent MES graduate Krysta Sutton. This paper helps us to understand how those living on Nova Scotia’s coasts feel about living shorelines (supportive but skeptical), accommodation like raising homes (an expensive ‘band aid’) and retreat (inevitable in the long term, but requiring government support). Managed realignment of dykes was poorly understood overall, suggesting that additional work is needed to broach this subject with locals. Since Fiona in Sept 2022, the conversation in this region around retreat has really changed, however.  We see residents in Port aux Basques who lost their homes, some uninsured, relieved at being bought out by the government and finding new places to settle. PEI residents are looking at their coasts very differently, too (I’m quoted on that one). It would be very interesting to re-run these focus groups now.

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