Landscapes - People - Global change

Tag: What I’m doing (Page 1 of 14)

CBC Maritime Noon

Host Preston Mulligan in the CBC Halifax studio overlooking the Northwest Arm (and my house), Sept 7, 2022.

A quick note to say thanks to Preston Mulligan and producer Diane Paquette for having me into the studio today to talk about climate change and its impacts on Maritime landscapes on the Maritime Noon call-in. UPEI prof Adam Fenech was my co-guest for a fun conversation with local people.

 

Moncton treasures

Wetlands and a cloudy sky to show the Riverside trail at Moncton

Wetland meadows hide the river view on the riverside trail along the Petitcodiac at Dieppe, near Moncton, NB.

I had a forced stay in Moncton last week. I do hate to say it that way, but for some reason I’ve never spent any real time in Moncton despite growing up in NB, beyond volleyball tournaments back in high school. This time it was for the hospital, not for me but for a family member, for whom I was also isolating so avoiding indoor locations. I made two notable discoveries. First, the delightful extended trails along the Petitcodiac River. The tidal river that divides Moncton and Riverview winds amidst extensive wetlands that were covered with a tapestry of plants, and a riverside trail allows you to walk or bike quite far along it.

A section of the derelict rink lingering in backyards in Sunny Brae, NB

Second, and more surprising, was the derelict building I found. I’ve been to an engine roundhouse before, at Junee: it is basically a big circular building to store and switch out train engines. So when I peered between two residential buildings and saw a massive curved wall, roundhouse was the first thing I thought. But it seemed impossible that such a place would persist in suburban backyards. Google Maps confirmed the shape (see below): a perfect circle, with a few big doors, perhaps to allow the engines in and out. The final hint was the adjacent railway and CN Pensioner’s Center. Yet if you click on it in Google Maps, it is labelled as the “Sunny Brae Rink (temporarily closed)”, which is remarkably the case. As you can see to the right, the closure is anything but temporary, however. I am achingly jealous of the kids who get to grow up with this crumbling Coliseum in their backyards. I had to make do with playing in the foundations of old potato barns along the Mactaquac headpond when I was a kid, though this is likely the best way to visit the rink. Thanks to the burghers of Moncton for letting this fall apart in situ since its 1922-1928 period of activity.

A snapshot from Google Maps

The derelict roundhouse is clearly visible on Google Maps, adjacent the railway and the CN Pensioner’s Center.

 

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.

ResNet AGM, in person

The PIs and partners discussing strategic planning in groups at Jouvence, during the ResNet AGM in Orford, QC, May 4-5, 2022.

It was wonderful to be physically present with about 60 of the national NSERC ResNet team at Jouvence in Orford, QC, for the first in person event since we were funded in mid-2019. It was a wonderful event, substantively and socially. Over 30 students and postdocs attended and drove discussions of science and ethics alike, and networked into working groups to strengthen linkages between the landscape, theme and synthesis teams into the second half of the project. There was lots of fun, including campfires and a pub viewing of my NHK debut . I got lots of new ideas for L1 (the Bay of Fundy dykelands and tidal wetlands case study) from talking to the students and postdocs about their work and returned to work reinvigorated, if exhausted.  It was also really the first chance for the L1 team to gather together, and I enjoyed the extra time in this lovely setting to get to know one another.

Some of the L1 team during the mapping workshop on the first night of the ResNet AGM.

Quebec’s return to indoor masking was a bit of a relief, and Danika van Proosdij and I took two days to drive each way for additional protection. It seems to have worked. That drive gave us the opportunity to show newly arrived L1 ResNet postdoc, Lara Cornejo, around the Bay of Fundy region. It was also my first time to the Converse dyke realignment site, though I didn’t find it as cold as Lara, and it was great to have Danika there as a tour guide. We also stopped by the St. Lawerence wetlands at La Pocatiere, and to see the wetland recovery where the tidal gate was removed on the Petitcodiac in Moncton.

Return road trip from Quebec, with Danika and new postdoc Lara, we took time to visit the Converse realignment project, with the Amherst wind farm in the background.

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