Articles tagged with: geography

  • Students to explore space, climate change in new science communication program

    A new Brock University program will see students combine their interest in topics such as space exploration, earthquakes, floods and climate change with a passion for storytelling and global communication.

    Welcoming its first cohort in fall 2023, Brock’s Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Earth and Planetary Science Communication is a cross-disciplinary program forged through a partnership with the Departments of Earth Sciences; Geography and Tourism Studies; and Communication, Popular Culture and Film.

    “Students are welcome from diverse backgrounds, voices and academic pursuits, making it ideal for those with interests in science, arts or both,” said Frank Fueten, Chair of Earth Sciences. “It will appeal to those who value Greta Thunberg’s activism just as much as those who enjoy the science broadcasting of David Suzuki.”

    The program’s graduates will understand the science behind important modern issues, such as Earth’s resource distribution and the exploration of other planets.

    “Students will have the skills to participate effectively and successfully in discussions and debates surrounding science in a variety of fields and industries,” Fueten said.

    The program is the only one in Canada that combines knowledge of Earth Sciences with communication skills in a single four-year undergraduate degree.

    “On the communication side, students will learn cutting-edge theory and practical skills to help understand the needs and concerns of the public, gather science data and employ social media effectively,” said Duncan Koerber, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film.

    The program presents innovative courses such as Citizen Science, where students crowdsource the public to create new knowledge and data sets.

    “Citizen Science will empower citizens and communities to tackle environmental and social injustices and has the potential to inform innovation as well as policy changes in Niagara and beyond,” said Ebru Ustundag, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies. “Data empowerment of citizens via participatory practices will honour and preserve local traditions and knowledge and provide mitigation strategies for future residents and policy-makers.”

    Upper-year projects may adopt novel approaches to communicating science to the masses. While one student may promote volcanology through TikTok, another may craft a miniseries on microplastics.

    “The variety and customizability of project options will appeal to students who enjoy blazing a new trail,” Fueten said.

    The program will enable graduates to pursue careers in communication roles for government agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities and private companies, as well as in journalism.

    “We see our graduates landing roles in well-known organizations like the Discovery Network and the World Wildlife Fund,” said Kevin Turner, Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Tourism. “There is also great opportunity to join firms in the resource industry and other companies in environmental fields or geologically sensitive areas.”

    More information is available on the program website or by contacting earth@brocku.ca

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  • Brock geographer makes global connections during Fulbright Canada residency

    Almost two years after his Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Arctic Studies at the University of Washington was first announced, Kevin Turner is winding down his duties.

    The award normally involves a six-month residency, but the global pandemic prevented the Associate Professor in Brock University’s Departments of Geography and Tourism Studies and Earth Sciences from travelling to Seattle as expected.

    Instead, he virtually taught a fourth-year course in Arctic Landscape Change and Detection, conducted workshops for teachers and engaged in events hosted by the World Affairs Council, including a fireside chat with Chief Tizya-Tramm of the Vuntut Gwitchin Government through winter 2021.

    Earlier this spring, he was finally able to load his truck with his bikes and some field equipment and head west for his required in-person residency at the University of Washington.

    In spite of a hectic three-month schedule, Turner says the trip has created opportunities to meet up and collaborate with colleagues, sometimes in unexpected ways.

    In May, he travelled to Fairbanks, Alaska, for a meeting of NASA’s Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) Science Team. As a research affiliate of that program, he advises on airborne data acquisition and suggests key flyover locations from his main research site in Old Crow.

    “Being an affiliate of NASA ABoVE, I can help guide where they fly in northern Yukon and then utilize the data they collect within my research program, as can many others,” says Turner. “We also learn the latest on some of the cool things that colleagues are doing with the data to assess landscape conditions across the north, as well as share our own findings.”

    He attended a meeting of the International Circumpolar Remote Sensing Symposium in Fairbanks, which attracted top scholars from around the world, and was also involved in fieldwork being done by colleagues from University of Alaska, Fairbanks and the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab.

    “I was able to use some equipment I brought with me because I didn’t want it sitting in the truck at the airport while I travelled,” Turner says. “When I took it out for a little bit of show and tell, they invited me to visit one of their research sites to try it out.”

    Upon his return to Seattle, the University of Washington hosted Turner, Tram Nguyen, the 2021-22 Fulbright Canada Chair in Arctic Studies, and others for a roundtable discussion in late May on “Holistic Approaches to Health and Wellbeing in Arctic Communities and Beyond.”

    In June, Turner flew north again for fieldwork in Old Crow, Yukon. The strict parameters of his VISA required him to travel on specific dates — which can be hard to commit to when research excursions are delayed by Arctic weather.

    Turner counted on Brock Earth Sciences graduate student Michelle Pearce (BSc ’20) and undergraduate student Marley Tessier to help him meet the logistical challenges of the research trip and collaborated with colleagues from Polar Knowledge Canada and Parks Canada, along with local Indigenous community members, including photographer and drone pilot, Caleb Charlie, to collect data. Turner also credits helicopter pilot Ruth Hardy with being able to work wonders in small time frames.

    In addition to gathering water samples and aerial survey photography, Turner also used a LiDAR sensor — “a Ghostbuster-looking sensor that shoots out 300,000 pulses of light per second” — to collect data for fine-grained 3D imaging of the landscape.

    His use of the LiDAR device was of particular interest to a documentary film crew from France and Germany working on a four-part series on climate change, who accompanied the researchers and interviewed Turner in the midst of the data collection.

    Turner has now returned to Seattle for the rest of July to crunch some data and collaborate with colleagues at the University of Washington.

    Though it hasn’t been without its challenges, he says that he has enjoyed the “shake-up” of the Seattle residency and the Fulbright Chair overall. And he looks forward to soon welcoming his family for a quick holiday in a nearby mountain cabin.

    “If I didn’t have the support of my family, this would be impossible,” he says. “My wife, Jen, is amazing, and my two boys have really stepped up to fill in the gaps of getting things done around the house in my absence. Their ability to carry on with me somewhere else for an extended period has made this smooth, but I really miss them.”

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  • Reflecting on the 2022 Vancouver Field Course

    2022 Vancouver field course (GEOG/TOUR 3F93) student group with Dr. Mike Ripmeester and TA Hannah Willms (both right). Photo by Jean Kwan.

    Twenty-five students recently completed the Vancouver Field Course (GEOG/TOUR 3F93) led by Professor Mike Ripmeester and Teaching Assistant Hannah Willms. Students included representatives from numerous departments across Brock. During their ten days in Vancouver, students participated in seminars, walking seminars, self-guided explorations, and museum tours. While these activities focused on theories and concepts related to Geography and Tourism Studies, students were also challenged to reflect on their experiences during seminars and in their daily field book entries. Included among the challenges were to reflect on: how well the example of Vancouver fit with their existing knowledge of urban processes; how their experiences challenged their existing knowledge or beliefs; and, how they might attempt to define solutions to problems they encountered. During their free days, students explored the city and environs. Some went snorkeling with seals or went whale watching, others went for hikes or explored the city by bicycle, while others enjoyed the city’s shops and beaches.

    The students had an excellent time in Vancouver with Dr. Ripmeester and Hannah. Here are some of their reflections:

    “This course was an absolute incredible experience. As someone who hasn’t travelled this far from home alone for this long, I learned a lot about myself, the world around me, and met some amazing friends that will last a lifetime. I got out of my comfort zone and learned what incredible things can happen when you get out of your comfort zone.”

    “Having the field study course in Vancouver was amazing! it was such a great opportunity to have experiential learning and to firsthand explore a city both urban and rural areas. It was great to experience the way of life there, the museums, the culture, the food and of course the amazing fresh air & scenery. Thank you for this once in a lifetime experience as I got to learn, travel and enjoy!”

    “While I have had some amazing classroom-based courses with some wonderful teaching staff, being in Vancouver allowed both the participating students and staff to thrive in ways I could have never imagined. Putting bright minded individuals into the field and giving them tangible sources is the ultimate recipe for thorough and confident learners, and I sincerely hope that Brock continues to invest in opportunities such as this. I left Vancouver with lifelong friends and a long-lasting knowledge base of such a beautiful city that will inspire my personal travels and other learning opportunities for years to come.
    Also, I know that Dr. Ripmeester is extremely humble, however, he was undoubtedly the crown jewel of my experience. Having a personal connection to the location gave such a genuine feel to our learning, and truly enhanced my experience with the city.”

    The Brock student community is encouraged to look for future field courses offered by the Department in Spring/Summer 2023. Keep an eye out on our website and social media accounts for more details.

    Photo by Mike Ripmeester.

    Photo by Mike Ripmeester.

    Group of students standing outside on the Vancouver Field Course

    Photo by Mike Ripmeester.

    Students at Mary’s on Davie. Photo by Victoria Dougherty.

    Students at Future Senakw Development Site. Photo by Victoria Dougherty.

    Students at Creekside Park. Photo by Victoria Dougherty.

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  • Virtual tourism study seeking Brock students for short survey

    Master’s student Abigail Mensah has questions about the future of sustainable tourism — and she is hoping to get answers from fellow Brock University students.

    With supervisor and principle investigator Professor David Fennell in the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, Mensah has developed a survey that can be completed in about 15 minutes online to explore the use of technology to facilitate remote tourism.

    The project, “Rethinking Consumerism, Innovation and Tourism Sustainability in a Post-Viral World: A Case of Virtual Tour Innovation Usage in Niagara’s Geoparks,” supports Mensah’s thesis research in the Master of Arts in Geography program.

    Mensah, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, says her research connects “the influence of the COVID-19 crisis on people’s future travel preferences and the role of virtual tour innovations, such as Personalized Interactive Real-time Tours (PIRTs), in meeting tourism needs while promoting sustainability.”

    Once completed, results of the study will be shared with the Brock community as well as the board of the Niagara Peninsula Aspiring Geopark.

    Mensah says that PIRTs are an “ethical and responsible alternative” to high-emission travel because they allow tourists to stay home and connect with local tour guides in a live, interactive, virtual experiences facilitated by technology.

    She adds that safe and accessible tourism opportunities for those with restrictions on mobility, transportation or costs for travel and revenue to support local employment, conservation and environmental protection are additional benefits to the model.

    All Brock students are invited to complete the survey.

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  • Brock students studying climate change plant tree on campus

    Brock University students capped off a course on the climate crisis with a commitment to positive change on Earth Day, Friday, April 22.

    A small group joined their instructor, Adjunct Professor Jayson Childs, and Professor and Chair Michael Pisaric to plant a tree outside the offices of the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies.

    Childs says the idea to raise money to plant a tree arose from an awareness of how much time students and scholars spend using computers.

    Four men holding shovels with dirt stand around a tree being planted on a sunny day

    The students of GEOG 2P08, Climate Crisis, along with instructor Jayson Childs and Professor Michael Pisaric, pooled their resources to donate a new Ginkgo biloba to Brock’s campus for future generations, which was planted to celebrate Earth Day on Friday, April 22. From left: John Dick, Manager of Ground Services, Childs, Pisaric and Dimitre Iankoulov of the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies.

    “I thought perhaps we could do an optional, voluntary fundraising drive to purchase a tree to plant on campus to try to mitigate some of the emissions associated with all of us sitting on our computers, while also bringing a variety of other benefits to campus,” he says.

    At Pisaric’s suggestion, they selected a Ginkgo biloba tree, which is known for dropping all its leaves at once when the first frost strikes. The species has been planted on other university campuses to help researchers track the date of the first frost from year to year, creating a specific, local data set.

    John Dick, Manager of Ground Services, says his team tries to keep plantings as diverse as possible, but as there are only a few other Ginkgo biloba trees on campus, they were more than happy to accommodate this request.

    “This was an initiative of the class, which is awesome,” Dick says. “We certainly appreciate when someone wants to add to the campus landscape.”

    Childs says planting trees is one of the “simple activities anybody can do to help sequester carbon and mitigate climate change” but outlines several other benefits, too:

    • Trees planted in yards act as a buffer for warm temperatures by providing shade and cooling neighbourhoods up to 5o
    • Trees absorb precipitation, which then helps reduce overland runoff and soil erosion.
    • Urban forests play an integral role in improving air quality and the psychological and social well-being in a community.
    • Planting trees can improve local biodiversity by providing habitat.

    Second-year Concurrent Education student Juanita Ayerbe Lozano says an early course assignment that required her to assess how many trees would be needed to offset her own carbon footprint got her thinking about the emissions of a class with almost 500 students. Reflecting on that impact, she jumped at the chance to get involved in the tree planting initiative.

    “Starting local, that was the biggest take away for me,” says the Niagara-on-the-Lake resident. “It’s not really in my control to fix everything and completely stop climate change, but if I just start small, start local, it can go a long way.”

    Pisaric looks forward to seeing the tree donated by this year’s Climate Crisis students thriving for decades to come.

    “This initiative led by Dr. Childs provides the students in our Climate Crisis course with a practical experience directly related to the content they learned,” says Pisaric. “Using the concept of carbon offsets, he taught the students that everyday activities such as enrolling and participating in their course work can have ecological impacts, but at the same time, showed them that there are mechanisms to lessen those impacts.”

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  • Future educators share ideas for nature learning with community

    A class of Brock students recently took in the fresh air at Ball’s Falls Conservation Area — all while sharing ideas that will help local children to do the same.

    Students in CHYS 2P16: Principles of Community Engagement in Education spent the last day of Winter Term classes sharing their research and enjoying the natural wonders at the Niagara conservation site.

    The event marked the completion of a term project that saw students in the Department of Child and Youth Studies second-year course research two key areas in support of the education-related programs offered by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA).

    Working in groups, students examined how the NPCA’s nature school, day camps and field trips could provide children and youth with improved and more equitable access to green spaces and new ways to promote the development of environmental stewardship among children and youth.

    Water falls over curved rock at Ball’s Falls

    Brock students recently spent the day at Ball’s Falls Conservation Area, where they shared their ideas for nature learning with the community.

    Students then compiled posters outlining their research findings and suggesting possible innovations. On April 8, the class gathered at Ball’s Falls to display their posters, observe the findings of their colleagues and soak in the natural surroundings.

    Assistant Professor Heather Ramey says the poster presentation allowed for the students’ work to be shared not only among their peers but also with NPCA educators and stakeholders as well as other members of the public who took in the display over the following weekend.

    “Looking at both accessibility and how we build environmental stewardship made for really good research, and then students connected the research to education and to the community,” says Ramey. “These two research questions were a beautiful melding of what’s needed in the community and what’s needed from an educational perspective.”

    Alicia Powell, Manager of Conservation Area Services at the NPCA, says she was excited to work with Ramey and her students on the project, which aligns with many of the priorities laid out in the NPCA’s strategic plan released earlier this year.

    “One of the things the NPCA recognizes in our outdoor education program is the importance of alternative education opportunities to get students, children, youth and adults outside and active,” says Powell. “The class looked at equity and improving access to green spaces to environmental and outdoor education and at the benefits not only in terms of health and well-being, cognition and learning for children but also the benefits to our environment and to stewardship now and in the future.”

    Allison Serrao, a second-year French major in the Concurrent Education program, says learning about opportunities for children to engage in natural environments opened her eyes to the importance of outdoor activity.

    “From working on the project, my biggest takeaway was learning how much of an impact nature has on adolescents’ development and growth,” she says. “Being surrounded by nature has many benefits.”

    The students flagged a range of issues and opportunities, from developing take-home and classroom kits to improved transportation options for accessing conservation areas.

    “The work generated some phenomenal concrete and tangible suggestions for ways that organizations like the NPCA and some of our other partners can work together to improve the opportunity for folks to connect to nature,” says Powell. “Some suggestions from the posters around working with the municipalities to improve transportation to green spaces are right in line with a recently published provincial report. Access for those in concentrated settlements is limited in Niagara compared to other municipalities — so doing this research and looking at what we offer across Niagara is really important.”

    Ramey says the posters were all captured in a digital format so that both students and the NPCA can keep them for future reference.

    Both Ramey and Serrao commented on how pleasant their on-site experience at Ball’s Falls was, although Serrao did get startled by one of its slithering inhabitants.

    “It was amazing to see the different posters that were there, and the weather was beautiful so I enjoyed the hike — it was not too long to the falls and the water was beautiful as well,” says Serrao. “The only downside was I saw a snake, which scared me, but I did end up having a laugh afterwards. Overall, I loved the experience.”

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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.

    STORY REPOSTED FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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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

    STORY FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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