• Brock University gains new Canada Research Chair in water resilience

    Water is all around us, and it’s something many Canadians take for granted. But water quality and quantity is increasingly threatened by climate change, pollution and other human-driven impacts.

    Brock University Assistant Professor Julia Baird researches how we can foster resilience of freshwater resources through management and governance in an era of rapid change and uncertainty.

    “Water is vital; everybody knows it. Water is an incredibly critical resource and it’s under pressure,” says Baird, who was named Brock’s newest Canada Research Chair last week by the Canadian government.

    As Canada Research Chair in Human Dimensions of Water Resources and Water Resilience, Baird is studying a “new water paradigm,” a view that recognizes the complex interactions between freshwater social and ecological systems that are constantly being influenced by internal and external forces.

    Because of this complexity, uncertainty and dynamic nature of these systems, the old “command-and-control” approach to making decisions about water “is not going to sustain ecosystems or humans in the future,” says Baird.

    The foundation of her work is the concept of resilience: the capacity to retain structure and function during times of change; learn, adapt and transform when faced with that change; and organize itself to meet the challenges.

    “I’m interested in management and governance approaches that incorporate ideas of resilience: the ability to adapt and change to support human and ecosystem well-being,” says Baird, Assistant Professor in Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) and the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies.

    Underlying Baird’s work is the belief that humans are impacting the earth and that a new time period — the Anthropocene — should be added to the planet’s official geologic timeline.

    “We are in an era where humans are the driving force of change,” she says. “We need to really think about how we’re managing our actions. The social dimension is critical.”

    Baird’s research will focus on how freshwater resilience can be fostered by society and what needs to be done to respond to increasing challenges and complexities.

    She will also examine how individual actions aimed at restoring the ecosystem contribute to building resilience, and understand how social networks and other factors influence decision-making at that individual level.

    Baird says she “couldn’t be happier” with her Canada Research Chair appointment.

    “It’s a really great opportunity,” she says. “It provides tremendous support for my program of research and acknowledgement of the importance of water resilience as a priority research area here at Brock and for Canada.

    “This also provides opportunities to engage in national and international collaborations. It gives me that boost at the beginning of my career to really excel in my field.”

    Baird, who has a background in agricultural sciences and environment and sustainability, joined Brock in 2011 as a post-doctoral fellow, earning her PhD from the University of Saskatchewan in 2012. She became an adjunct professor in the ESRC in 2015, and an assistant professor in the ESRC and the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies earlier this year. She says the ESRC, Faculty of Social Sciences and Office of Research Services have all played a big role in supporting both her work and the CRC nomination process.

    Baird has a history of international research partnerships. In a 2016 study involving research partners from across Europe, Australia and Canada, Baird and her colleagues found there are a wide range of perceptions about water resilience and how water resources should be governed across multiple international cases.

    “Baird is an outstanding researcher whose work has national and international impact. This award recognizes her outstanding accomplishments, and it will help further her career as a scholar,” says Joffre Mercier, Brock’s Interim Vice-President, Research.

    With Baird’s award, Brock now has a total of 11 Canada Research Chairs.

     Story from The Brock News
  • Life after the Sustainability Science and Society graduate program with Brodie Hague

    Interview conducted by Lydia Collas 

    Brodie Hague

    Photo: Brodie Hague graduated from the SSAS program in 2016

    Brodie Hague was amongst the first cohort of students to embark on Brock’s Sustainability Science and Society (SSAS) program. Having graduated in 2016, Brodie is now writing course material for Brock’s recently launched undergraduate minor in Environmental Sustainability. I recently caught up with Brodie to find out a bit more about where the SSAS program had led him.

    Q. Brodie, first of all, can you tell me what attracted you to the SSAS program?
    A. My eventual thesis supervisor, Dr. Marilyne Jollineau, first introduced me to the SSAS program when I was considering graduate studies. During the completion of my undergraduate degree at Brock University, I became increasingly aware of the University’s respected (and growing) reputation for scholarship, teaching, and learning. In addition, Brock’s unique location within a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the ESRC’s transdisciplinary approach to sustainability research and education, and the generous graduate funding package made Brock University the ideal location to pursue my graduate degree in Sustainability.

    Q. You were in the thesis stream which requires students to do an in-depth primary research project, what was your research on?
    A. My research was on the use of remote sensing technologies to map and monitor coastal dune ecosystems in Southampton, Ontario. In particular, I was interested in the health of the dune system and the spatial and temporal patterns of change in vegetation cover within the dune system.

    Q. What is your favourite memory from your time in the program?
    A. While I have many fond memories from my time in the program, my favourite memory was when the Lieutenant-Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell visited Brock and invited us to participate in a roundtable discussion on “Social Aspects of Environmental Sustainability” in December 2014. As part of the roundtable, our graduate cohort presented a graduate project and engaged in a discussion with fellow ESRC Faculty, colleagues, and the Lieutenant-Governor.

    Q. What are you up to now? How do you think the SSAS program prepared you for doing that?
    A. I’m currently employed within the ESRC as both a Research Assistant and as a Co-instructor for the new online course, ENSU 2P01 (Introduction to Environmental Sustainability). In my capacity as a Research Assistant, I assisted in the development of the ESRC’s proposal and budget for eCampus Ontario’s Open Content Initiative. In addition, I’m also the co-project leader for the ESRC’s eCampus Ontario Project, which involves the development and writing of online open module content. This content will also help form the basis for the new online course, ENSU 2P02, Environmental Sustainability in Practice. I am also employed as an Instructor in the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies teaching GEOG 2P07 (Introduction to Geospatial Technologies) and GEOG 3P07 (Remote Sensing).

    Q. How do you think the SSAS program has prepared you for the next step?
    A. The SSAS program provided me with the knowledge and skills required to develop and teach these courses. In addition, the program provided me with the opportunity to develop networks and collegial relationships among Faculty members which has been imperative in the co-ordinating and implementation of our eCampus Ontario project.

    In recognition of Brodie’s excellence as a Teaching Assistant, he was awarded the Novice Teaching Assistant Award in April 2015. Brodie also received generous financial support from the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies for his research. The ESRC is delighted that Brodie has continued on at Brock University following his completion of the SSAS program and looks forward to seeing what the future holds for this very talented alumnus!

    Learn more about the Sustainability and Science Program

  • Canadian UN body appoints Brock biologist to senior position

    Liette Vasseur

    The Canadian Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (CCUNESCO) has appointed Brock biologist Liette Vasseur to head up one of its commissions.

    Vasseur is President of CCUNESCO’s Sectoral Commission on Natural, Social and Human Sciences, an 11-member group of Canadian scientists, academics and others providing knowledge and expertise on a range of issues.

    These include social and environmental impacts of climate change; conservation of natural heritage and water resources; inclusion of newcomers and vulnerable groups; reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people; youth engagement; and measures to fight discrimination, racism, violence, bullying and radicalization.

    Brock biologist Liette Vasseur, right, who was recently appointed as President of CCUNESCO’s Sectoral Commission on Natural, Social and Human Sciences, is pictured with Louise Vandelac, former Chair of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s Sectoral Commission on Human, Social and Natural Sciences, and Sébastien Goupil, General Secretary of CCUNESCO.

    “We’re producing reflection papers on some of the topics we believe are important to come up with a long-range vision of how Canadians and the federal government can implement various actions related to sustainability,” explains Vasseur.

    The Sectoral Commission advises CCUNESCO on the organization’s programs and activities in these areas.

    In turn, CCUNESCO, operating under the Canada Council for the Arts, seeks to connect Canadians to the broader work of UNESCO, whose work “contributes to a peaceful, equitable and sustainable future that leaves no one behind.”

    Vasseur’s Oct. 2 appointment is the latest in several leadership positions she holds at the international level since being named UNESCO Chair in Community Sustainability: From Local to Global in June 2014.

    In September 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) named Vasseur as Vice-Chair North America and Caribbean Region on the IUCN’s 14-member steering committee of the Commission on Ecosystem Management. She oversees a portfolio of six of the commission’s 30 thematic and specialist groups.

    The IUCN, based in Switzerland, is considered to be the leading authority on the natural environment, providing scientific research and expertise to governments and civic groups.

    IUCN, drawing upon the knowledge of 16,000 experts worldwide, covers the areas of species survival, environmental law, protected areas, social and economic policy, ecosystem management, and education and communication. Its Red List of Threatened Species, which tracks the risk of extinction of thousands of plant and animal species and subspecies, is considered to be the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative inventory of Earth’s biological diversity.

    She also leads the Commission on Ecosystem Management’s Ecosystem Governance group. Ecosystem governance is defined as ways that societies make decisions and develop actions in relation to the management of their ecosystems.

    “In ecosystem governance, local decisions are promoted instead of a top-down approach to decision making as it’s context-dependent,” Vasseur explains. “The management of ecosystems depends on cultural and local circumstances.”

    Within the ecosystem governance group, she is currently collecting case studies of ecosystem governance in different countries to better understand specific environmental protection measures that can help other communities in the world create their management plans.

    “Community should be involved in decision-making, planning and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, or else efforts to protect the environment will not be successful,” Vasseur says.

    Her leadership roles enable her to apply her expertise in many ways.

    “It’s all about bringing people together, empowering people to figure out how to connect the dots in these issues,” she says.

    “It’s important for me to give back and contribute to society.”

    Story from The Brock News

  • Town of Lincoln, Brock launch Living Lab initiative

    Mayor: partnership will help guide policy development, decision-making

    NEWS Oct 06, 2017 by Scott Rosts  Grimsby Lincoln News

    Town of Lincoln, Brock launch Living Lab initiative

    Town of Lincoln CAO Michael Kirkopoulos and Mayor Sandra Easton sign documents with Brock University president Gervan Fearon and Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre director Ryan Plummer to formally launch the Brock-Lincoln Living Lab partnership. The Living Lab will focus on addressing specific local needs around community sustainability and wellbeing and will assist with guiding policy development nad decision making, said Easton. – Courtesy Photo

    LINCOLN — The Town of Lincoln and Brock University have formally launched a partnership that will help guide the town with future policy development and decision-making.

    On Oct. 3, Brock and town officials celebrated the launch of the Brock-Lincoln Living Lab at an event at Vineland Estates Winery. The goal of the initiative is to have university students, through Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, contribute to the Living Lab’s work through their research and the partnership offers a conduit for experiential education that extends curriculum into the community.

    Ryan Plummer, director of Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, says efforts will focus on addressing specific local needs around sustainable municipal planning and advancing areas such as economic, social and community development.

    “It’s a platform to interact and bring together community leaders, policy-makers, researchers and students who all have a shared commitment to explore and investigate issues vital to the community and its well-being,” Plummer said. “It’s working together to figure out what the issues and questions are and then developing on that, with students embedding their research, our course projects and coop experiences in the community.”

    Specific outcomes, he said, will be the result, meaning it doesn’t end up being a study that sits on shelf for years.

    “That’s exactly why it’s so important. It’s not a one-off study. It’s a systematic partnership over a five-year time frame that will actively engage people on issues that address community challenges and opportunities,” he said.

    Specific targets over that five-year time frame include a needs assessment to help get the project started, community engagement sessions, research projects, exploring mutually beneficial opportunities such as grant proposals and community forms.

    Plummer said it’s a great example of an opportunity to extend Brock’s educational reach with students into the real world on issues ranging from urban planning and development pressures to biodiversity to climate change to water resources, and more.

    “It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn experientially on a first-hand basis on the situation communities are experiencing,” he said. “We can’t create that in our institution, so that is a rich learning experience we’re excited about.”

    Lincoln officials are also excited about the potential.

    “The benefits of this co-operative venture are vast. With access to research specific to our community, we are better able to guide policy development and decision-making,” said Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton.

    Lincoln chief administrative officer Michael Kirkopoulos said partnerships with post-secondary educations like Brock has been a focus for council this term, noting there are great benefits for both the students and the residents of Lincoln.

    “Complete, dynamic and evolving communities try to always work with schools at all levels to ensure the community sees benefits. In this case, having a Brock presence, the Living Lab, that incubator for ideas and learning in Lincoln will be significant for us as we evolve, prosper and change,” he said. “This is not only for the well-being of the community, but conversely for students and researches to take back what they hear and learn on the ground and bring it back to their labs and classrooms. It benefits both of us.”

    The launch formalizes the memorandum of understanding Brock and the town signed back in February, but an example of the type of hands-on learning that will come out of the Living Lab started this summer when Brock master of sustainability co-op student Meghan Birbeck worked at the Town of Lincoln on initiatives such as sustainable development of the town’s future transit system and other community programs.

    “The relationship between Brock and the Town of Lincoln is blossoming and represents a wonderful example of how collaboration can benefit everyone,” said Brock University president Gervan Fearon. “Brock is a comprehensive university with a clear mission to serve local communities and the announcement today directly speaks to this mission.”

    Story from Niagara This Week

  • Two members of the ESRC awarded NSERC Funding

    MEDIA RELEASE: 8 September 2017 – R00157

    The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has awarded more than two dozen Brock University faculty and student researchers $3.8 million in this year’s funding round, Niagara Centre Member of Parliament Vance Badawey announced at Brock Friday, Sept. 8.

    Provided through NSERC’s Discovery and student awards programs, funding is up $1.4 million from last year and supports an array of research looking at topics such as risky behaviours in teens, loss of memory control while aging and the reproductive behaviour of carpenter bees.

    “This announcement, once again, affirms our government’s commitment to scientific research and the understanding of its importance in our society,” Badawey said. “Niagara is, year by year, continuing to establish itself as a centre of ground-breaking research and by providing much needed resources, we are enabling our brightest minds to meet challenges both today and into the future.”

    The announcement was made within Brock’s Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex, where much of the University’s research takes place.

    “In my 28 years at Brock, this is the best round that I can remember for funding success through the NSERC Discovery programs,” said Interim Vice-President, Research, Joffre Mercier. “I am very proud of our faculty members, and I congratulate them for the outstanding work.”

    The success rate for renewing NSERC grants is 80 per cent.

    “The Government of Canada is committed to investing in fundamental research and engineering that will improve and enrich our country’s knowledge economy,” said the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, who was in B.C. Friday to announce total funding being granted to researchers across the country. “We believe in encouraging scientists’ cutting-edge ideas that will lead Canada to greater social and economic growth. I am particularly proud of the support offered to postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows, who, thanks to today’s investment, will be exposed to advanced training experiences that will prepare them for the jobs and opportunities of tomorrow.”

    Examples of Brock research that received Discovery Grants funding include:

    • Determining how much of a role intuition plays when teens choose to pursue risky behaviours
    • Identifying what causes us to lose control over our memory as we age
    • Understanding how muscles work by better interpreting electrical signals coming from electrodes placed on the skin

    With her Discovery Grant funding, Assistant Professor of Psychology Elizabeth Shulman will be able to purchase specialized equipment to study risky behaviour in adolescence.

    “This research is important for understanding the most effective ways to keep adolescents safe — when they are a little bit more vulnerable to risk-taking — without going overboard or keeping them from having experiences that will allow them to learn,” Shulman said.

    Also included in the $3.8 million are NSERC’s Canada Graduate Scholarship Master’s, the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and the Postgraduate Scholarship-Doctoral awards.

    Examples of NSERC-funded student research include:

    • Examining how sexual selection influences the reproductive behaviour of male carpenter bees
    • Understanding the effect of high-intensity exercise training on bone and bone-regulating proteins in Olympic-level female rowers
    • Fine-tuning molecular properties for use in advanced computing technologies

    Honoured to be a Vanier scholar, PhD student Caitlyn Gallant said the award enables her to research how people with mild brain injuries and those with autism spectrum disorders can better understand and interpret other people’s thoughts and emotions.

    “It is a wonderful recognition of the work I have put into academics, research and community service and inspires me to invest greater effort in my research and community,” she said.

    For a full list of Brock’s NSERC-funded research, see the story in The Brock News.

  • Brock University students making Lincoln a better place

    By Allan Benner, The Standard

    Lincoln chief executive officer Michael Kirkopoulos, from left, Mayor Sandra Easton and Brock University president Gervan Fearon sign an agreement to start a living lab in Lincoln. (Allan Benner/St. Catharines Standard/Postmedia Network)

    Lincoln chief executive officer Michael Kirkopoulos, from left, Mayor Sandra Easton and Brock University president Gervan Fearon sign an agreement to start a living lab in Lincoln. (Allan Benner/St. Catharines Standard/Postmedia Network)

    Town of Lincoln buses are expected to begin rolling through the community in November, as part of a pilot project to carry passengers to stops throughout the growing town.

    Lincoln chief executive officer Michael Kirkopoulos said while municipal staff have spent months planning for the launch of the service, that would also link with GO bus services, much of the work was done by someone who would actually use the service — a student.

    Brock University master of sustainability student Meghan Birbeck “almost single-handedly looked at the route map and said, ‘No, here’s where it should go,’” he said.

    He said the 24-year-old student who worked as an intern at town hall during the summer months “uses every sort of bus and active transportation network we have.”

    Although “it’s great for us as bureaucrats to sit there and tell you, ‘Here’s where the stops should be and here’s the frequency,’” Kirkopoulos said Birbeck provided insight into the development of that transit service that town staff overlooked.

    “It’s a user-design as opposed to an experiment and experience design,” he said. “It brings that lens.”

    Considering how much Birbeck’s assistance improved plans for the transit service, Kirkopoulos said he’s excited to see what other students contribute in the months and years to come.

    The town signed a memorandum of understanding in February to launch the initiative which has evolved in the months that followed into a “living lab” that was officially launched this week, during an event at Vineland Estates Winery.

    It’s a long-term partnership through Brock’s environmental sustainability research centre that will give students like Birbeck an opportunity to use their knowledge in practical applications, while also benefitting the town and residents by providing access to research and expertise of students.

    Brock president Gervan Fearon said the living lab agreement with Lincoln is a first for the university. He hopes it won’t be the last.

    “This agreement and the MOU with the Town of Lincoln, as well as the activities that we’ve already conducted through the environmental sustainability research centre as well as through the living lab, is exactly the kind of relationship that we’d like to forge with communities across the region,” Fearon said.

    “It allows us to bring not only our faculty and staff, but indeed our students to be able to participate in real-life, hands-on opportunities to contribute to the betterment of communities. It allows us to partner with communities such as the Town of Lincoln, in order to have them move forward with some of their agenda items and priorities and have a resource for them in supporting community development.”

    As a result of the initiative, Kirkopoulos said he hopes to see many more students at town hall as a result of the partnership.

    “The more the merrier for us. The more we have the better,” he said.

    The work the students are doing transcends the environmental lens, he said.

    “It’s everything from shoreline protection to what happens if we put up multi-storey buildings. How does that change the composition of a community?” he said.

    Kirkopoulos said there will be a strong, visible Brock University presence on the first floor of town hall in the months to come.

    He said the challenge and opportunity for the town and university will be expanding that relationship.

    “This is for us the start of a further conversation,” Kirkopoulos said. “We’re going to have a cohort of students working in town hall, sharing space with us and then where it goes from there, those are the opportunities.”

    Story from The St.Catharines Standard.

  • Liette Vasseur: Adaptation to Coastal Storms in Atlantic Canada

    UNESCO Chairholder and ESRC Core Faculty Member, Liette Vasseur has published a new book based on an analysis that was performed on a series of winter storms in 2010/ 2011 that caused considerable damage to coastal communities in Atlantic Canada.

    Adaptation to Coastal Storms in Atlantic Canada, which was co-authored by Brock University’s Mary J. Thornbush and PI Steve Plante, of the Université du Québec à Rimouski, summarizes the results of the project and provides a perspective on how people in 10 coastal communities perceive and experience extreme weather events, and enhance their capacity to adapt and improve their resilience. It describes the outcome of two series of interviews and activities that were conducted during the project, as well as the lessons learned and general elements that should be considered when researchers collaborate with communities to define adaptation and resilience strategies.

    With coastal storms increasing both in frequency and intensity, the book provides a guide that allows communities to better understand the priorities and options available to them in order to then take an active role in adaptation to climate change in their communities.

    “We tried to find ways that the tools would be simple enough that the communities can use them and use a participatory approach,” said Vasseur. “It’s not only for coastal zones and it can be used in other countries. Because this was a large project of six years, we were able to develop a lot of tools that are now being used in other places, such as in a project in Ecuador.”

     To learn more or purchase the e-book, visit the publisher’s website.

  • Brock-Lincoln Living Lab a benefit to students and residents

    TUESDAY, OCTOBER 03, 2017 | by 

    A unique partnership formally connecting a community and a university was officially launched Tuesday afternoon.

    Officials from Brock University and the Town of Lincoln launched the Brock-Lincoln Living Lab at an event at Vineland Estates Winery, kicking off a long-term relationship that will benefit current and future students at the University along with current and future residents in the southern Ontario town.

    Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton listens as Brock University President Gervan Fearon speaks Tuesday.

    Brock and Lincoln signed a Memorandum of Understanding in February with the goal of creating opportunities for students and advancing the Town’s overall development. The Brock-Lincoln Living Lab that was launched Tuesday will focus on addressing specific local needs around community sustainability and well-being. Brock faculty and students will contribute to the Living Lab’s work through their research and the partnership offers a conduit for experiential education that extends curriculum into the community.


    The Brock-Lincoln Living Lab will provide real benefits to the community of Lincoln and to the Brock community by leveraging the resources, capacities and talents of both communities.

    “The relationship between Brock and the Town of Lincoln is blossoming and represents a wonderful example of how collaboration can benefit everyone,” said Brock University President Gervan Fearon. “Brock is a comprehensive university with a clear mission to serve local communities and the announcement today directly speaks to this mission.”

    Town of Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton said the partnership is an important step in the Town’s growth.

    “The development of the Living Lab further demonstrates a greater Brock presence in our community, meeting one of Council’s goals this term,” she said. “The benefits of this co-operative venture are vast. With access to research specific to our community, we are better able to guide policy development and decision making.”

    The partnership with the Town of Lincoln is through Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre. Director Ryan Plummer said the Living Lab will enrich the experience of students studying in the Sustainability Science and Society program, as well as others taking courses in environmental sustainability.

    Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton listens as ESRC Director Ryan Plummer speaks Tuesday.

    “These direct experiences complement classroom learning by students and offer powerful benefits of situating learning in the community, bridging the ‘theory-practice’ divide, and enriching understanding of complex problems,” he said.

    An example of the type of hands-on learning that will come out of the Living Lab started this summer when Brock Master of Sustainability co-op student Meghan Birbeck worked at the Town of Lincoln on initiatives such as sustainable development of the Town’s future transit system and other community programs.

    “We’re proud to be the first community in Niagara to establish this innovative approach and partnership that brings Brock to Lincoln,” said Michael Kirkopoulos, CAO, Town of Lincoln. “The Living Lab is a way to benefit from the research and work the University does to enhance the services we deliver to residents, businesses and visitors. I look forward to continuing to work with Brock in the future.”

    The Brock-Lincoln Living Lab is initially set to last five years. Among some of the more specific targets the two sides are working toward are:

    • Conduct a needs assessment within the first year of operations identifying priorities, proposed activities and objectives to be achieved within the first five years
    • Hold public events each year pertaining to knowledge mobilization and community engagement
    • Engage graduate and undergraduate students in co-operative education, course projects and independent research projects
    • Initiate research projects by Brock faculty
    • Explore and pursue mutually beneficial opportunities of shared interest such as grant proposals and community forums
    • Promote the Living Lab locally and develop networks nationally and internationally
    • Support Lincoln in following other national or international initiatives that can help promote community sustainability and are in line with the spirit of the Living Lab

    Story from The Brock News

  • Media Release: Brock University and Town of Lincoln to launch Living Lab partnership


    27 September 2017 R00170 Brock University — Communications & Public Affairs

    Brock University and Town of Lincoln to launch Living Lab partnership

    Brock University will embark on an unprecedented mission with one of its host communities next week, when it partners with the Town of Lincoln on a project that will give the Town important support for planning sustainable growth, and provide valuable experiential learning opportunities for Brock students and researchers.

    Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre and the Town of Lincoln will officially launch their new Living Lab collaborative project on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at Vineland Estates Winery. The event will be held in the winery’s Carriage House starting at 5 p.m. with remarks to begin at 5:15 p.m.

    The partnership is the result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the University and the Town in February aimed at enriching opportunities for students and advancing the town’s economic, social and community development. The Brock-Lincoln Living Lab will focus on addressing specific local needs around sustainable municipal planning. Master of Sustainability students will find hands-on opportunities to contribute to the Living Lab’s work through experiential education placements and research projects.

    On Tuesday, Town of Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton and CAO Michael Kirkopoulos will join Brock President Gervan Fearon and Ryan Plummer, Director of the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre in launching the first collaborative project.

    Media are invited to attend the launch of the Brock-Lincoln Living Lab. Interview opportunities will be available.

    Quick Facts What: Launch of new partnership between Brock University and Town of Lincoln When: Tuesday, Oct. 3, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Where: Vineland Estates Winery, Carriage House, 3620 Moyer Rd., Vineland Who: Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton; Brock President Gervan Fearon; Lincoln CAO Michael Kirkopoulos; and Brock University ESRC Director Ryan Plummer.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

    Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

  • Master of Sustainability graduate’s research wins Best Paper at International Conference

    By: Lydia Collas

    Gary Pickering accepting best paper award

    Brock University’s Dr. Gary Pickering (left) is awarded Best Paper at the 2017 International Conference on Food and Agriculture Technologies (ICFAT) from Professor Byoung Ryong Jeong (right), Gyeongsang National University, Korea.

    Research of Samantha Stea, an alumnus of the Sustainability Science and Society (SSAS) graduate program, has recently been awarded Best Paper at the 2017 International Conference on Food and Agriculture Technologies (ICFAT) in Bali, Indonesia.

    Stea investigated consumer perspectives on the environmental impacts of red meat production, as well as effective means for encouraging people to reduce their consumption of red meat.

    “We knew there had not been much research done on this topic, especially considering the environmental angle, so we decided it would be a unique research opportunity” said Stea, “It was immensely satisfying to get to do research that involved people’s day-to-day lives and spread some understanding of how their daily lives can have an impact on the environment.”

    Livestock farming is a major cause of deforestation worldwide. This is because of the extensive land needed for grazing and the production of food, such as grain, for these animals. It also uses more water, and creates more greenhouse gas emissions than plant-based foods.

    Stea began her research by identifying peoples’ motivations to eat red meat. She used her findings to design different messages about the negative environmental impacts of meat production. Several respondents indicated that they would reduce their red meat consumption, indicating the effectiveness of the messages.

    Stea’s research was supervised by Dr. Gary Pickering, Professor of Biological Sciences and Psychology who presented the research at ICFAT 2017 on behalf of Stea, “Our lab is very interested and active in research that aims to understand why, as consumers, we make decisions that harm the environment.”

    Pickering is keen to pursue further research in this area, “We also conduct empirical research on how we can optimize environmental messaging to promote pro-environmental behaviors. Sam’s research on red meat consumption combined both of these themes, and we are building on this success with several other projects through the SSAS programme.”

    Stea expressed her delight at her work being named Best Paper at ICFAT 2017, “We knew we had tackled a novel research question, so it was exciting to get some external validation for it. I am very grateful and appreciative that our paper was chosen, I know all the submissions were high quality.”

    Following her graduation from the SSAS program, Stea speaks highly of its impact on her future aspirations, “The SSAS program has led me to continue to pursue a career where I can help people and organizations to understand sustainability and how it can fit into their lives. I believe we can all live a little bit more sustainably, and this program has given me the tools and knowledge to make that happen.”