Articles by author: Samantha Morris

  • Brock programs being developed in cannabis sciences and applied ecology

    NOTE: This is one in a series of stories highlighting projects supported by Brock’s Academic Initiatives Fund (AIF), which was established by the University in spring 2021. AIF projects will address key priorities outlined in Brock’s Institutional Strategic Plan and position the University to face the challenges of recovery from the pandemic. To read other stories in the AIF series, click here.

    Brock University’s Faculty of Mathematics and Science is in early stages of developing two new programs to meet the rising demand for careers in cannabis sciences and applied ecology.

    The development of each program has been supported in part by the Academic Initiatives Fund, which was introduced this past spring to address key priorities in Brock’s strategic plan and help position the University to face the challenges of recovery from the pandemic.

    Bachelor of Science in Cannabis Sciences

    With the introduction of the Cannabis Act in October 2018, Canada became the first developed nation to legalize the production, sale and use of cannabis for recreational purposes. Canada has since emerged as the global leader in the production and distribution of cannabis and related technologies.

    The rapid rise and expansion of the global cannabis industry has created significant demand for qualified cannabis scientists and scientific leaders to drive industry innovation forward.

    Residing in the Department of Biological Sciences, the Bachelor of Science in Cannabis Sciences will be the first formal cannabis-based degree program offered by an accredited university in Canada.

    “The program will provide prospective students with a comprehensive education in cannabis, cannabinoid, and endocannabinoid biology and biochemistry,” said Research Associate Jonathan Simone, an Adjunct Professor in Biological Sciences and cannabis researcher who was hired with AIF support to help with the program’s development. “Students will develop technical skills that are directly applicable to current industry needs.”

    Students of the new Bachelor of Science in Cannabis Sciences program, which aims to educate from ‘seed to sale,’ will be engaged in areas such as plant ecology and evolution, plant biology and biochemistry, soil sciences, commercial agricultural practices, chemical extraction and purification, analytical chemistry, neurobiology, pharmacology, and health sciences.

    Applied Ecology program

    A first-of-its-kind program is proposed in Applied Ecology at Brock University, building on resources, including many courses, offered in collaboration between the departments of Biological Sciences and Geography and Tourism Studies.

    Tensions between urban, agricultural and natural habitats are best understood by integrating the perspectives of geographers and biologists.

    Therefore, an interdisciplinary and a cross-department curriculum structure will leverage existing courses in both departments and eventually include a co-operative education stream.

    “There will be a lot of experiential learning built into this new honours program, such as work placements, field-based labs and project-based courses,” said Katharine Yagi, a Research Associate hired using AIF funds to develop the program.

    The Applied Ecology program will produce students with sound ecology training and field experience who can enter the workforce immediately upon graduation.

    Graduates will work for provincial, local and regional government agencies, conservation authorities, environmental consulting firms, ecological monitoring non-governmental organizations, bioremediation companies and other related areas.

    Coursework will highlight ecosystems in Niagara, including agroecosystems, which are abundant throughout the region, through species identification, survey methods and GIS mapping. An emphasis on traditional Indigenous knowledge and practices rounds out the program’s unique focus.

    Amongst all science disciplines, ecology may be the most amenable to integrating this approach. A new course will focus on the Indigenous Worldview of Ecology. Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) concepts will also be built into three other new ecology-based courses as the program’s development continues.

    TEK is the evolving knowledge acquired by Indigenous and local peoples over thousands of years about the environment and relationships between humans and nature.

    Applied Ecology will dovetail with the University’s physical presence in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve — the Niagara Escarpment — and with existing strengths in environmental sustainability, geography and biology.

    The applied nature of the program emphasizes methodologies for fieldwork and technical skills associated with data collection and report writing.

    “One thing many graduates have realized is the very steep learning curve they experience when hired as a biologist or ecologist in the industry. In my experience, this applies to everyone, including people working in government and non-government agencies,” said Yagi. “There is a definitive need for knowledgeable and skillful ecologists in the Niagara region.”

    Faculty of Mathematics and Science Dean Ejaz Ahmed believes the new programs fill important roles at Brock.

    “Supporting new programs so students can build careers in a wide range of industries is valuable to Brock and to our local and global community,” he said.

    STORY FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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  • Info session Thursday for Vancouver Field Course

    An upcoming field course in Vancouver aims to immerse Brock students in the geographical concepts they’ve learned about in class.

    Brock students are invited to learn more about earning credit through the Vancouver Field Course (GEOG/TOUR 3F93) at a virtual information session Thursday, Dec. 16 at 1 p.m.

    Applications will soon open for the course, which is delivered during a 10-day trip to Vancouver, B.C. It is scheduled to run from May 23 to June 3, and is offered by the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies.

    Professor Michael Ripmeester, who will teach the course, says that fieldwork was a big part of why he became a geographer, and he is excited to share that experience with students.

    “Talking about geographical concepts in the field helps students see things differently than in lecture,” says Ripmeester. “It is, for example, one thing to talk about residential segregation or neighbourhood change, but it is another to see it and walk through it. I think students are sometimes surprised by the real-world ramifications of the things that we learn about in class when they have to confront them in the real world.”

    The course will help students engage with geographical theories and concepts and witness how geography can influence planning and social policy. It will cover such topics as the historical geography of Vancouver, planning and architecture, public space in the 21st century and the social and cultural geographies of the city.

    While preference is given to majors in the department approaching graduation, any Brock student with two credits from the department’s programs or permission from the instructor is eligible.

    Each student who is accepted will receive a travel award from the Faculty of Social Sciences to help cover travel expenses.

    Registration for the course is capped at 25, so students interested in the course are encouraged to email Ripmeester and to attend Thursday’s information session, where he’ll go into more detail about what the course is designed to do and what students can expect to gain from it.

    “I hope that spending time in the field and exploring a new place fuels their sense of curiosity about world, and perhaps in pursuing more Geography or Tourism courses,” he says.

    Please note that as of Sept. 7, 2021, Brock University’s vaccine mandate is in effect. Students and faculty must be fully vaccinated to participate in this field course and must provide the University with proof of vaccination status. Due to the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19, details of this field course are subject to change.

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  • Proven performance trumps cost in agriculture innovation adoption, NCO research suggests

    When Ontario farmers consider introducing new technologies into their operations, there’s a laundry list of factors in addition to cost that go into determining whether they’re a fit.

    Although the inclusion of innovation can be seen as a significant investment, cost is often outweighed by performance when results are proven and make sense for the operation in question, new research by Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) says.

    The NCO’s latest policy brief, presented during a virtual event Wednesday, Dec. 8, examines the barriers and drivers to adoption of automation and robotics in Ontario’s agriculture sector. The research combines analysis of survey data from Ontario farms with that of in-depth interviews conducted with farmers and agriculture innovation stakeholders.

    The paper was authored by Amy Lemay, NCO Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor in Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre; Charles Conteh, Professor of Public Policy and Management in the Department of Political Science and NCO Director; and Jeff Boggs, Associate Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies and NCO Interim Director.

    The brief is the NCO’s latest agriculture innovation policy research, funded through the federal-provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

    Its findings suggest that widespread adoption of automation and robotics technologies in the agriculture sector is dependent on:

    • Technologies that provide solutions to real problems.
    • Technologies with proven and validated performance and benefits.
    • Equipment suppliers with local and reliable service, maintenance and technical support.
    • Governance frameworks for data that protect privacy and security.
    • Policies and programs that incentivize early adopters and smaller farms.

    “Our results suggest that any perceived failures on the part of farmers to adopt automation and robotics technologies are not because they’re inherently slow adopters due to their overly risk-adverse or conservative nature, rather we’re seeing that farmers are making objectively rational decisions,” Lemay says. “Farmers are showing a reluctance to adopt technologies with unproven performance or profitability from suppliers with uncertain futures who have weak connections to or understanding of the agriculture sector.”

    Lemay says the team’s research found that “for most farmers, performance was more important than cost or ease of use when they were choosing a technology.”

    But challenges for adoption arose when it came to technologies that had yet to tangibly demonstrate promised benefits, as well as those unable to provide local, reliable access to service, parts and maintenance over the long term, given that many technologies are imported from multinational manufacturers based outside of Canada.

    To address these concerns, Lemay says it may be necessary for researchers and technology solution providers to build collaborations with established, local farm equipment distributors and retailers to bring new technologies to market.

    “Our findings point to the need for reconsidering, rethinking and revisiting how adoption of agri-food innovations is supported and promoted in the province,” Conteh says. “We want to generate solutions for accelerating technology transfer and adoption. While empirically our focus is on Ontario, our findings hold implications for all of Canada.”

    The next phase of the study, which is now underway, has researchers interviewing stakeholders from Canadian ‘superclusters’ — NGen in Hamilton and Protein Industries Canada in Saskatoon — to gain a broader understanding of the drivers and barriers to the adoption of technologies, Lemay says.

    The final phase, to take place this winter, will include a series of focus groups that will bring together agri-food stakeholders from industry, government and academia to identify policy and government recommendations for supporting and promoting the adoption of automation and robotics technologies.

    Following Wednesday’s brief presentation, a panel discussion was held featuring industry stakeholders: Kathryn Carter, Tender Fruit and Grape Specialist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Hussam Haroun, Director, Automation, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre; and Rodney Bierhuizen, Co-owner, Sunrise Greenhouses.

    The Niagara Community Observatory’s latest brief, “Growing Agri-Innovation: Investigating the barriers and drivers to the adoption of automation and robotics in Ontario’s agriculture sector,” is available on the NCO website.

    STORY FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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  • Longtime Geography and Tourism Studies staff member retiring this month

    There’s no telling who you might find in Virginia Wagg’s office on any given day.

    Whether it’s a student looking for assistance or a professor working out a scheduling issue or sharing a joke, the Administrative Co-ordinator and Academic advisor’s door is always open.

    And if the gallery of gifts and thank-you cards housed in the space are any indication, her help has been appreciated by the Brock community over her past 27 years with the University.

    Wagg, who will retire this month, came to Brock for a career change, having previously worked as a manager of customer service for commercial accounts at Canadian Tire Acceptance. After three years in Temporary Employment Services, she moved into what is now the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies and has been there ever since.

    Professor and current Department Chair Michael Pisaric says that Wagg’s contributions to student engagement and the daily operations of the department can’t be overstated, and that she can’t be thanked enough.

    “I think when most of our students look back at their time in the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, one of their first and best memories is Virginia,” says Pisaric. “She has played a pivotal role in our department for 24 years and her wit, warm-heartedness and institutional knowledge have made her a key component of our department and programs, and across the University as well.”

    Professor Michael Ripmeester agrees, saying the combination of Wagg’s institutional expertise and work ethic make her contributions “impossible to account for.”

    “Whether it is a colleague working through a Workday problem or student who needs just one more course to graduate, Virginia cheerfully offers the required aid,” says Ripmeester. “But it is the little things that I will miss after she retires. Her laid-back manner and good humour bring a positive vibe to the department that will not be easy to replace, nor will her willingness to organize birthday celebrations and Christmas luncheons, to teach people to play euchre, to offer support or consolation when required, or to take a few minutes for a friendly chat. Put simply, Virginia is more than a fantastic colleague, she is also a good friend.”

    Professor David Butz remembers when Wagg joined the department full time in 1997, after Colleen Catling moved to a different position in the University.

    “Colleen helped mentor me into my first job as a professor, was a good friend and an amazing administrative co-ordinator, and I didn’t think we would be able to replace her with someone I liked as well or got along with as well,” says Butz. “Virginia proved me wrong. She, too, has been an amazing administrative co-ordinator, both in the sense of being really good at her job, and also a wonderful and true friend.”

    Butz believes that Wagg’s ability to nurture relationships with individuals in the department has created a true sense of community. “I feel that Virginia, more than anything or anyone else, has held our department together as a unit comprised of friendly and collegial social relationships,” he says.

    “Virginia is a low-key person who doesn’t draw attention to herself,” says Butz. “Her impact on the department and on myself hasn’t turned on key moments or any one thing, but rather, it’s her quiet competence, unfailing helpfulness, informality, patient willingness to listen, strong sense of welcome and hospitality, nurturing and supportive attitude to colleagues and students, unflashy thoughtfulness and generosity, ability not to leak a confidence or secret, and willingness to let us into her own life and her large, active and close family.”

    Many of Wagg’s colleagues say they will remember her thoughtful co-ordination of birthday and work anniversary celebrations, which she managed through a list that included preferences on cake versus pie as well as whether individuals wanted to have a big celebration or fly under the radar.

    They also say they’ll miss her at the lunch-hour euchre games that have long brightened up the department with laughter and ribbing — and helped ensure that coworkers took their much-needed lunch breaks. Wagg also shared her euchre love with the wider Brock community, organizing several successful progressive euchre tournaments at the annual Wellness Day event.

    More than anything else, Wagg says she’ll miss the people and the friendships that have filled her workdays for the past 27 years. She plans to visit and already keeps in touch with several former students and colleagues on social media.

    She’s also looking forward to spending more time with her family — be it travelling with her husband once restrictions are lifted, hanging out with her daughter and granddaughters, or helping her mother host four generations at weekly Sunday dinners.

    Since an in-person celebration is not possible due to public health guidelines, students, alumni, staff and faculty are invited to share fond memories and well wishes online.

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  • New research finds evidence of climate-driven changes to northern lakes

    Across the Old Crow Flats in the northern Yukon, lakes are telling a story of climate-driven change.

    The traditional territory of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN), the Old Crow Flats is recognized as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance thanks to its more than 8,000 thermokarst lakes (up to 15 square kilometres) and ponds. Thermokarst lakes are formed by thawed permafrost and can be prone to drainage if they expand into low-lying areas.

    Kevin Turner, an Associate Professor in Brock’s Department of Geography and Tourism Studies and Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Arctic Studies at the University of Washington, has studied the area since 2007, and he says that warmer temperatures, longer summers and more rain are “priming this important landscape for continued climate-driven landscape change.”

    In a new paper with Lauren A. MacDonald, who was a post-doctoral research fellow at Brock in fall 2020, as well as researchers from Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Waterloo and Parks Canada, Turner and his team share an analysis of water samples suggesting significant trends toward increased rainfall in the area, which could affect drainage in the shallow lakes and cause changes to soil stability along shorelines.

    The research, conducted under the direction of the Vuntut Gwitchin Government and the North Yukon Renewable Resources Council, saw sampling take place from 14 lakes in the Old Crow Flats two to three times per year from 2007 to 2019.

    Kevin Turner collects water samples for analysis from a thermokarst lake in Old Crow Flats. (Photo courtesy of Luke Gray)

    The samples produced a 13-year record that the research team has analyzed using water isotope tracers to distinguish between input sources, such as rainfall and snow melt, and also to track water losses due to evaporation.

    “There is more than meets the eye with these results, as they represent a status indicator of the increasing vulnerability of this area to drastic change,” says Turner. “For example, permafrost, which holds the landscape intact, degrades more during warmer and wetter conditions, which can lead to more shoreline slumping and rapid drainage of lakes into the river network.”

    These changes to the landscape can disrupt ecosystems, affecting plants and wildlife and interfering with traditional ways of life — a trend already recognized by the VGFN.

    “Findings complement the traditional knowledge of the VGFN, who have observed changes in climate and landscape characteristics during recent decades and have recently declared a climate emergency,” says Turner.

    Isotopic evidence of increasing water abundance and lake hydrological change in Old Crow Flats, Yukon, Canada” was published in Environmental Research Letters in late November. Turner says that its findings demonstrate why collaboration and co-operation in research is so important.

    “This research showcases the value of innovative and collaborative long-term monitoring programs in these important and remote areas of the North where the impacts of climate change are heightened,” he says.

    STORY REPOSTED FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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  • NCO to present research on barriers to innovation adoption in Ontario’s agriculture sector

    Innovation can have a game-changing impact on those involved in the agriculture sector, but change doesn’t come easy, or without challenges.

    Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) will present its latest policy brief, Growing Agri-Innovation: Investigating the barriers and drivers to the adoption of automation and robotics in Ontario’s agriculture sector, during a virtual event Wednesday, Dec. 8 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

    It’s the NCO’s latest agriculture innovation policy research, funded through the federal-provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

    The paper was authored by Amy Lemay, NCO Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor in Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre; Charles Conteh, Professor of Public Policy and Management in the Department of Political Science; and Jeff Boggs, Associate Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies and NCO Interim Director.

    Their research combined analysis of survey data from Ontario farms with that of in-depth interviews conducted with farmers and agriculture innovation stakeholders.

    The findings offer deeper insights into the social, economic and institutional factors and mechanisms that influence automation and robotics technology adoption by farmers in the Niagara region and across Ontario.

    The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session, as well as a panel discussion featuring:

    • Kathryn Carter, Tender Fruit and Grape Specialist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
    • Hussam Haroun, Director, Automation, Vineland Research
    • Rodney Bierhuizen, Co-owner, Sunrise Greenhouses

    Please RSVP to cphillips3@brocku.ca and a Microsoft Teams link will be sent the day before the event.

    What: Virtual presentation of NCO’s Growing Agri-Innovation: Investigating the barriers and drivers to the adoption of automation and robotics in Ontario’s agriculture sector

    When: Wednesday, Dec. 8 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

    Where: Microsoft Teams

    Who: Amy Lemay, NCO Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor in the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre; Charles Conteh, Brock University Political Science Professor and Jeff Boggs, Brock University Associate Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies and NCO Interim Director.

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  • Research award winners to share findings at upcoming event

    Research on sustainability, decolonization and child safety will be featured the upcoming annual public Faculty of Social Sciences (FOSS) Research Colloquium.

    This year’s virtual event takes place Wednesday, Dec. 8 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. and will include presentations from both recipients of the 2021 FOSS Early Career Researcher of the Year Award, as well as three winners of the FOSS Student Research Award.

    • “Water resilience for a rapidly changing world” — Associate Professor Julia Baird, Geography and Tourism Studies and Environmental Sustainability Research Centre
    • “Empathy and Equity for the World’s Oceans” — Assistant Professor Jessica Blythe, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre
    • “A Holistic Approach to Mapping Priority Sites for Low-Impact Development” — Jillian Booth (BSc ’20), Sustainability Science and Society
    • “Tracing the Colonial Dimensions of ‘Special Education’: History, Disability and Settler Colonialism” — Alec Moore (BA ’20), Child and Youth Studies
    • “Evaluating Video Prompting to Teach Prospective Parents and Caregivers Correct Installation of Child Passenger Safety Restraints” — Niruba Rasuratnam, Applied Disability Studies

    Baird, Canada Research Chair in Human Dimensions of Water and Water Resilience, says being recognized with the Early Career Researcher Award jointly with her colleague Jessica Blythe was a thrill.

    “It is an honour, and I think it helps raise the profile of the research being done by my lab and the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) more broadly, especially with both Jessica and I receiving this award in the same year,” says Baird. “I am so appreciative to the Faculty of Social Sciences for this award.”

    Blythe agrees, saying she felt both incredibly honoured by the recognition and pleased to be named alongside Baird.

    “It is especially exciting to know that the kind of applied, interdisciplinary and solution-oriented research we do as sustainability scientists is being recognized by the Faculty,” says Blythe. “While this award recognizes individuals, the work we do isn’t possible without an incredible team of people, including faculty and staff at ESRC, collaborators, students, and partners to name a few.”

    Baird is also grateful to have worked with several partners as part of her work, which she purposely designs to have real-world impact.

    “I am fortunate to have worked with excellent, sustainability-oriented partners and collaborators in my research as a faculty member, including the Niagara Parks Commission, WWF-Canada, and the Town of Lincoln, along with many amazing academics and students,” says Baird. “Nothing I do happens in isolation and I’m so grateful to those who have mentored me and collaborated with me to reach this point.”

    Both Blythe and Baird say they look forward to sharing their work and engaging in conversation at the upcoming event. Baird is also looking forward to celebrating graduate student research at the Colloquium, including that of Master of Sustainability student Booth, whom Baird supervises.

    “My research is focused on using Nature-Based Solutions such as Low-Impact Development (LID) to build more resilient socio-ecological communities,” says Booth. “Findings will be applied to the Prudhommes Landing development located in the Town of Lincoln, but the lessons learned from this case study can be shared with other leading jurisdictions and governments looking for innovative ways to encourage sustainable development.”

    Booth used her FOSS Student Award funding to commute to the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, where she was able to use the laboratory and equipment to collect and analyze soil samples collected at Prudhommes Landing throughout the summer.

    Moore, an MA student in Child and Youth Studies, will present on his research into the connection between conceptualizations of disability and the forces of settler colonialism in Canada, outlining his project to analyze the Ontario First Nations Special Education Review Report.

    “Being able to contribute to a critical and emerging body of literature that discusses disability and settler colonialism is extremely rewarding, as there is a significant need for more critical work in this area,” says Moore. “It is also very rewarding to play a very small part in continuing the ongoing effort of Decolonization, particularly in regards to Disability Studies.”

    Moore used the funding from his FOSS Student Research Award to scale back on work hours and purchase research materials. He says he is excited to take part in the event next week, and credits his supervisor, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director Hannah Dyer, as well as committee members Assistant Professor Chelsea Jones and Professor Richard Mitchell, with helping him get to the point of being ready to share his research plan.

    Rasuratnam of the MA in Applied Disability Studies also emphasizes the role her supervisor, Associate Professor Kimberly Zonneveld, has played not only in this research but in her academic path overall. After graduating with a degree in Life Science from McMaster, Rasuratnam completed a post-graduate certificate in Autism and Behavioural Sciences at Seneca College, which then led her to the graduate programs in Brock’s Department of Applied Disability Studies. She started out in a coursework stream but was inspired to undertake research by Zonneveld.

    At the upcoming event, Rasuratnam will present some of this work for the first time to an audience outside of the Zonneveld lab.

    “My research entails creating a video-prompting model to help prospective and current caregivers correctly install a car seat and harness an infant,” she says. “There’s still such a high prevalence of death and injuries that occur from motor vehicle collisions that, if caregivers learn how to correctly install car seats, this risk could be reduced by 70 to 80 per cent.”

    Rasuratnam used the funding from her FOSS Student Award to complete the Child Passenger Safety Technician certification to develop her video prompting procedure. She says there are currently only six applied studies on the topic of training, so the research could have far-reaching impacts if the techniques of applied behaviour analysis are shown to improve outcomes in the area of car-seat installation.

    Dawn Zinga, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the Faculty of Social Sciences, says the event is an opportunity to showcase top faculty researchers while also highlighting the exciting research of graduate students.

    “The Faculty has wonderful diversity in the research that is undertaken across the various departments and programs,” says Zinga. “This event illustrates that breadth and depth.”

    The FOSS Research Colloquium is open to the public and intended for a general audience. Please register to receive a link to the Lifesize livestream.

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  • Brock LINC hosting first in-person exhibit

    The concept was first contextualized in a third-year English course Hutten was taking and has been elaborated on for the public exhibit, which had been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    In the ENG 3V91 course led by Associate Professor Susan Spearey, Hutten identified recurring concepts of slowing down and contextualizing our relationship with the planet and the community.

    “The historical testimony of tree rings resonated deeply with me, and I wanted to expand this idea to a collaborative community project here at Brock,” says Hutten. “By inviting my peers to participate and contribute, we are forming an intersectional testimony of 104 years of collective history.”

    Our Oak is a one-millimetre-thick veneer from a white oak tree originally slated for lumber in New York state. Within the veneer, each year of the tree’s life is visible — creating a blank slate for 104 years of undocumented stories. Hutten photographed and digitalized the veneer and will project a large-scale version for the community to see as part of the exhibit. Those attending are encouraged to document their testimonies and apply them to the display, which will also be digitized in the future.

    Hutten hopes these accounts will not only spark reflection and discussion, but opens the lines of communications for difficult conversations as a community.

    “These events affect us all,” he says. “Seeing these events surge in moments of confluence or antithesis offers us space to communicate their importance to our community. These conversations offer moments of healing and transition. Let’s sit with this healing moment. Let’s nurture it into action and find ways to include and enrich rather than exclude and extract.”

    Our Oak will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday and from noon to 3 p.m. Friday in RFP 214/215 located on the ground level of the Rankin Family Pavilion.

    All Brock University protocols apply including mandatory full COVID-19 vaccination and masks for all visitors. Community visitors are asked to enter the building through the main entrance for check-in at the screening desk.

    Questions can be directed to Karyn Lorence, Brock LINC Co-ordinator at klorence@brocku.ca

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  • Welcoming Dr. Katie Young

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies is pleased to introduce the newest member of our Department, Dr. Katie Young. Dr. Young has joined Dr. Catherine Nash as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the Beyond Opposition research project.

    Dr. Young is an arts-based ethnographer, exploring everyday experiences of space through the lens of music and media. Prior to joining the Beyond Opposition project, Dr. Young was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Limerick between 2020 and 2021. In Ireland, her research explored experiences of night space for Black-Irish and African diasporic musicians and creatives living in Cork and Galway.

    Katie’s doctoral research focussed on gendered experiences of Hindi films and film music in the home and in everyday life in Ghana. After receiving her PhD in Music and Geography in 2019, she was the 2019 African Studies Association UK Teaching Fellow at the University for Development Studies in Northern Ghana.

    Learn more about Dr. Young and her research here.

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  • New paper by Kevin Turner “Isotopic evidence of increasing water abundance and lake hydrological change in Old Crow Flats, Yukon, Canada”

    A new paper titled, “Isotopic evidence of increasing water abundance and lake hydrological change in Old Crow Flats, Yukon, Canada” co-authored by GeoTour Associate Professor, Dr. Kevin Turner, was recently published in Environmental Research Letters.

    Abstract:
    Lake-rich northern permafrost landscapes are sensitive to changing climate conditions, but ability to track real-time and potentially multiple hydrological responses (e.g. lake expansion, drawdown, drainage) is challenging due to absence of long-term, sustainable monitoring programs in these remote locations. Old Crow Flats (OCF), Yukon, is a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance where concerns about low water levels and their consequences for wildlife habitat and traditional ways of life prompted multidisciplinary studies during the International Polar Year (2007–2008) and led to the establishment of an aquatic ecosystem monitoring program. Here, we report water isotope data from 14 representative thermokarst lakes in OCF, the foundation of the monitoring program, and time-series of derived metrics including the isotope composition of input waters and evaporation-to-inflow ratios for a 13 year period (2007–2019). Although the lakes spanned multiple hydrological categories (i.e. rainfall-, snowmelt- and evaporation-dominated) based on initial surveys, well-defined trends from application of generalized additive models and meteorological records reveal that lakes have become increasingly influenced by rainfall, and potentially waters from thawing permafrost. These sources of input have led to more positive lake water balances. Given the documented role of rainfall in causing thermokarst lake drainage events in OCF and elsewhere, we anticipate increased vulnerability of lateral water export from OCF. This study demonstrates the value of long-term isotope-based monitoring programs for identifying hydrological consequences of climate change in lake-rich permafrost landscapes.

    Reference:
    MacDonald, L.A., Turner, K.W., McDonald, I., Kay, M.L., Hall, R.I., and Wolfe, B.B. (2021). Isotopic evidence of increasing water abundance and lake hydrological change in Old Crow Flats, Yukon, Canada. Environmental Research Letters, 16(12): online.

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