Area of Study / Keywords
Dendrochronology Climate Change Urban Forest Sustainability Environmental Science
Ph.D. Climate Sciences, Universität Bern (Switzerland)
M.Sc. Physical Geography, Carleton University
B.Sc. Environmental Science, Carleton University
Although born on the west coast of Canada (Victoria, BC), I consider myself Nova Scotia grown and call Cole Harbour home. I moved to Ottawa for my undergraduate degree (Carleton University) in environmental science and was able to pursue summer research opportunities investigating paleoecology and forest disturbance ecology in northern Canada. This led to studying for a master's degree at Carleton in geography and research on biogeography in the Northwest Territories. At this point my love for northern environments was well established, but with an opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. in Switzerland, it was an offer (and a lot of chocolate) I couldn’t turn down. I spent three and a half years in Zürich investigating tree growth dynamics in stunning alpine Swiss valleys. Upon returning to Canada I taught for two semesters as a part-time faculty member at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. In 2015 I joined the Department of Geography & Planning at Queen’s University as the Robert Gilbert Postdoctoral Fellow and called Kingston home. In this position I was able to re-establish work on vegetation change in northern Canada, continue collaboration with European colleagues and develop some new interests in urban forests. In January 2018 I started as an assistant professor of environmental science at Augustana and made Camrose my new home. Outside of the university you might catch me chasing toddlers, in my garden or the campus orchard, on the ski trails, paddling a river or playing ultimate frisbee/disc golf.
I have a broad set of research interests based around the topic of forest response to ecosystem change both contemporary and historical and within natural and urban environments. I am interested in combining different methods (crossing temporal scales from minutes to millennia) to bridge knowledge gaps and more completely understand forest response.
Current research projects include:
- Camrose Urban Forest Project -- various sub-projects on urban forest ecology and ecosystem services working in collaboration with the Camrose Parks Department and local neighbourhoods
- Dendroarchaeology in The Beaver Hills Biosphere -- a project that uses dendrochronology to explore the human and environmental history of the Beaver Hills beyond the instrumental record
- Resilient Urban Forests for Canadians: Adapting to Climate Change for Enhanced Tree-Related Benefits -- ongoing project in collaboration with UQAM investigating response of the urban forest to drought
- Greening on the Bathurst Caribou Range in Northern Canada -- ongoing project in conjunction with collaborators at Queen's University investigating landscape change across treeline in the NWT
If you have interest in any of these projects or perhaps ideas on other research topics linked to my interests I would be happy to chat about opportunities for research through directed studies and even potential summer research positions.
"And live in fascination...fascination forever"
- Draw Us Lines, Constantines
My teaching philosophy is closely linked to my own experiences as a lifelong learner who wakes each day with a sense of fascination for the world. I have a desire to use my role as an occasion to connect with students and increase awareness of the world around them. My teaching experience has primarily involved environmental and physical science courses. I view natural science as a fundamentally hands-on, exploratory pursuit and I have developed courses in soils, sustainability and climate change science with the opportunity for more on the horizon. I'm also very keen in taking advantage of Augustana's 3-11 semester structure and our new project-based core to provide opportunities for immersive, experiential learning.
I have taught several geography and environmental studies courses at Mount Allison University and Queen's University. Courses that I have taught at Augustana include the following:
AUENV 120 - Human Activities and the Natural Environment (F11 2020, W11 2021, W11 2022, next offering F11 2022)
AUENV 233 - Soil Science and Soil Resources (W11 2018, W11 2020, F11 2021)
AUENV 220 - Applications in Sustainability (F3 2018, W3 2019, W3 2020, W3 2021, W3 2022, next offering W11 2021)
AUGEO 351 - Biogeography (F11 2018, F11 2020)
AUGEO 231 - Climatology (W11 2019)
I will be leading three new courses in 2022/23! In the Fall 3-week I will be teaching a new Environmental Sciences Field Methods course (AUENV 234) that will involve field trips to several different Alberta ecosystems, in the Fall 11-week I will be leading a new 3rd year seminar course called Science of the Climate Crisis (AUENV 351) and will focus on the physical science basis of climate change, and finally in the Winter 3-week and !1-week I am leading one of the new 3rd year core courses (AUIDS 301) which will focus on Applications in Sustainability. If you have any questions about any of these courses, please get in touch!
If you are interested in potential directed reading projects or RA positions with the Augustana Tree-Ring Lab, please get in touch!
Introductory analysis of the interrelationships between society and the natural world, environmental consequences, and human perceptions. The characteristics and interactions of physical environmental systems and various facets of resource management (including forestry, agriculture, fisheries, protected areas, endangered species, and pollution) are described and analyzed. Note: Credit may be obtained for only one of AUENV 120 and AUGEO 120 (2021).
An introductory course in the theoretical and applied aspects of sustainability as it relates to key categories of energy, food, water, pollution, waste and their impacts on the environment. Current technological advances and emerging initiatives based on lowering our ecological footprint provide a basis for examining sustainability science as it relates to environmental challenges in a changing world.
An introductory methods-based course to establish and develop methods and skills of the environmental science discipline while applying the scientific method in various ecosystems of Alberta. Prerequisite: AUENV 120.
Supervised research project and intensive study of a specific area in environmental science as defined by the student and supervising instructor. Prerequisites: *6 in Environmental Studies. Notes: Admission to the course normally requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 in Environmental Studies/Science. An application for Individual Study must be completed and approved before registration in the course. AUENV 301 is classified as a science course.
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. This course provides students an opportunity to develop familiarity and critical reasoning about the empirical evidence for and science behind the global climate crisis. With a global reach, we will consider the international scope of climate change, but a focus will be placed on developing a Canadian context. This is a seminar-style course - one driven by discussion and in which students will take on leadership roles of introducing materials and guiding discussions. Prerequisites: AUENV 231; Third-year standing.
Supervised research project and intensive study of a specific area in environmental science as defined by the student and supervising instructor. Prerequisites: *6 in Environmental Studies. Notes: Admission to the course normally requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 in Environmental Studies/Science. An Application for Individual Study must be completed and approved before registration in the course. AUENV 401 is classified as a science courses.
The Community Partnership Project is a project-based course in the Augustana Core. With the support of a faculty advisor, students will work in small multidisciplinary groups on a specific issue raised by a community partner. This course introduces students to the skills and knowledge they need to work professionally with community partners, while reinforcing their ability to work collaboratively on a project. Prerequisite: AUIDS 201.