The Earth and Environmental Science Department offers three programs leading to degrees in Environmental Science, Geology and Environmental Geoscience at the B.Sc. level, and Geology and Applied Geomatics at the M.Sc. level. We are strongly committed to field and laboratory studies and our classes and field schools take advantage of the stunning natural setting of Nova Scotia. Small personalized classes, engaged faculty, and world class research facilities are hallmarks of our programs. Our graduates are exceptionally well positioned to take advantage of the ever increasing demand for scientists trained in Earth and Environmental disciplines.
Cape Breton Field School - 2014
Seven senior students and two professors survived the rigours of the Cape Breton Island field school, 24 August to 1 September, staying at the Gaelic College at St. Anns (private rooms, meals by an interesting Danish chef, perpetual coffee, exciting hikes in the woods, lots of waterfalls).
Pictured above are Katie, Adam, Hannah, David, Dr. Barr, Jonathan, Becky and Brett, having just arrived at the Limestone Falls on Goose Cove Brook. The hike up the brook or over the hill was fairly strenuous, so some of them quickly dived into the pool to refresh.
After a week of mapping in the woods and along the shore, the group took a day trip around the Cabot Trail to examine interesting geological localities. Here Rob Raeside points out some layering while David, two Chemists and Sandra Barr look on.
2 September 2014
$45,000 RTI award to Nelson O'Driscoll and the CARE lab
Greg Kerr, MP (West Nova), representing the Minister of State (Science and Technology) visited Acadia to announce an NSERC Research Tools and Instruments award of nearly $45,000 to a team led by Nelson O'Driscoll, and including Mark Mallory (Biology) and Karen Kidd (UNB-SJ). The funding will be used to update equipment for analysis of mercury contaminants in air, water, soils and organisms, in particular bio-accumulative methylmercury, the most dangerous form of the element. This will help Nelson and his team to understand why some ecosystems are susceptible to mercury and will lead to better protection and preventative measures to ensure the health and well-being of Canadians.
In a short ceremony to announce the award, Mr. Kerr emphasized the importance of new discoveries in water and wetlands management that will help protect and improve our quality of life. Mr. Ray Ivany, President of Acadia University, responded that "Acadia is fortunate to have a significant number of faculty members, across several academic disciplines, who are conducting research with both local and global implications. Through funding support from NSERC and other granting agencies, and the work of Dr. O’Driscoll and his colleagues, Acadia is able to tackle some of the planet’s most persistent problems while teaching undergraduate and graduate students the powers of inquiry and curiosity that will prepare them for the future.”
As part of the ceremony, Nelson was able to show Mr. Kerr and other visitors around the KC Irving Environmental Science Centre, and introduce them to the work being done in the CARE.
1 August 2014
Dewey Dunnington makes the news in BC
Seen in the Whistler Question, a report on the thesis research by Dewey Dunnington, who is studying the paleolimnology of Alta Lake, Whistler, BC. As part of a two-year project,with the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Cascade Environmental Research Group, Dewey is investigating the history of the lake by collecting samples with a gravity corer, which samples an undisturbed core of lake sediment, offering a peak into the past. He is also interviewing locals about their use of the lake, hence his appearance in the local newspaper.
9 July 2014
Acadia Geology student playing Canadian Football in Montreal
Kyle Graves is experimenting with his non-geological talents this summer. He has been recruited by the Montreal Alouettes to play in the CFL as a receiver. Having played with the Alouettes for two years, he has been transferred from the quarterback position that he played on the Acadia football team to the receiver position where he is now being reported to excel by the Montreal Gazette. With lines like "primed to earn a roster spot", "he's a real project", "You find ways to get guys like him on the field. Then their real talents come out”, and "he’s a smart player. We expect a lot out of him", it seems he is making his mark on the football field.
30 June 2014
Acadia Faculty and Students at the GAC-MAC, Fredericton
Faculty and both current and former students from Acadia were prominent among the 650 participants at the annual meeting of the Geological Association of Canada (GAC) and Mineralogical Association of Canada (MAC) in Fredericton, NB, in late May. Talks and/or posters were presented and/or co-authored by professors Sandra Barr and Cliff Stanley, and MSc student Vincent Beresford, and Cliff Stanley presented a one-day short course following the meeting. Both Sandra Barr and Rob Raeside were busy with various council and committee meetings for 2 days before and also during the 3-day conference. Sandra Barr was also co-leader on a post-conference geological field trip in the Saint John area looking at some of the oldest rocks in New Brunswick. Some high-lights of the technical programme (other than the talks by Acadia faculty!) were keynote addresses on Geoscience in Canada, by out-going GAC president Richard Wardle, the address by Logan Medalist Andrew Miall titled “The environmental management of unconventional resources: lessons learned from the oil sands”, and a plenary address by Andrew Kerr of the Geological Survey of Newfoundland titled “Holmes and the indelicate question: Measuring the depth of time with the clocks of the Earth” which was a history of the development of human understanding of the age of the Earth. The algal structures in the photograph below from Green Head Island in the city of Saint John, NB, area are 700 million years old, just youngsters in the 4.6 billion year history of our planet.
4 June 2014
31 Graduates in Earth and Environmental Science at May Graduation
It may have felt as cold as field school on graduation day, 2014, when 31 BSc degrees were recognised at the May convocation at Acadia. Pictured below are some of the happy faces at the graduation breakfast on 12 May.
[Back row, L-R: Ben Misiuk, Mike Reid, Melanie Plante, Kyle Jennex, Corey Hamilton; front row: Raelee Rath, Courtney Wilson, Lewis Mahon, Jillian Bennett, Celine Porter, Adam Godfrey, Andrew Fage. Click on image for larger version. Photo by Ian Spooner]
Particular honour went to Ben Misiuk, winner of the University Medal in Environmental Science, and Mike Reid, winner of the University Medal in Geology and recipient of the Mining Society of Nova Scotia Centennial Medal.
13 May 2014
Nova Scotia Museum Research Grant to Laura MacNeil
Congratulations to Laura MacNeil! Laura has been awarded a Nova Scotia Museum Research Grant for her M.Sc. thesis research. Laura’s thesis focuses on the paleoecology of the Early Carboniferous Windsor Group and is co-supervised by Drs. Peir Pufahl (Acadia) and Melissa Grey (Joggins Fossil Institute). This is quite an accomplishment since seasoned researchers are normally the recipients.
13 May 2014
With Spring Comes Field School
Over 50 students participated in the second-year field schools in Earth and Environmental Science this year. Conducted locally to start, then venturing out to locations at the Morton Centre and the Antigonish area, students participated in hands-on learning exercises in a diverse range of lithologies and environments.
Pictured above is the Geology field school atop the big rock at Arisaig, from where we could view the geology of the western coast of Antigonish County. [Photo: D. McMullin, click on image for larger version]
5-8 May 2014
Earth and Environmental Science celebrates the end of term
Students and faculty in the Earth and Environmental Science department joined in a delicious pot-luck dinner in the Curling Club on 28 March. Apart from the great food, some highlights were the trivial game (won by the Hard Rockers, who totally trounced all other tables!), a slide show reminiscing on the events of the year, and recognition of award winners through the year.
Pictured above (L-R) Amanda Loder (winner of Science Atlantic Communication Award and Linda Lusby Award), Ben Misiuk (winner of AGS Rupert MacNeill award), Lisa Mundry (winner of Science Atlantic best presentation award), Monica Reed (co-winner of Linda Lusby Award), and Justin Drummond (winner of Sandra Barr best graduate presentation award). Missing from photo: Céline Porter, winner of Harcourt Cameron Award).
31 March 2014
Science Atlantic (Environment) Conference
The 2014 Science Atlantic (Environment) Conference was held at St. F.X. University on 15 March. Speaking at it from Acadia were Lewis Mahon, Amanda Loder, and Monica Reed. Congratulations to Amanda, the winner of the Science Atlantic Best Communication Award at the conference! Her presentation was on trace metals in gastropods in the Border Marsh region of NB-NS; Lewis spoke on biotransport of trace elements by colonial birds to the islands in the Eastern Shore Wildlife Management Area; and Monica on the monitoring of fish and porpoise in the Fundy FORCE area near Parrsboro.
17 March 2014
Roger Tomlinson, 1933-2014
Roger Tomlinson, Doctor of Science honoris causa Acadia, "father of GIS", died on 9 February. Dr. Tomlinson was a member of the class of 1960 and at one time taught physical geography at Acadia. After he left Acadia he made a career in the field of geographic information systems (GIS) - hence the attribute "Father of GIS". Shortly after his graduation, while working in Kenya, Roger conceived of the need for overlapping but integrated mapping of forests, and he later developed this into the geographic information systems we know today.
Dr. Tomlinson has had a varied career, working from Ottawa on projects as diverse as the realignment of the Alaska Highway, forestry practices in Canada, USA, Africa, and landscape changes in the Brazilian rain forest. He received the Gold Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, a place in the GIS Hall of Fame, and was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada.
Many graduates from Acadia science programs have him to thank for the transformation of the NS Survey School in Lawrencetown into the Centre of Geographic Sciences, one of the leading institutions in the study of GIS, remote sensing and Geography in Canada.
20 February 2014
Atlantic Geoscience Colloquium - Wolfville, 7-9 February
A very successful weekend conference has concluded at the Old Orchard Inn and Acadia University. Almost 180 delegates from all the Atlantic provinces, and visitors from Ontario, Alberta, BC and Texas, participated in the colloquium, with special themes celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Society's journal, Atlantic Geology, and on offshore Nova Scotia geology, environmental geoscience, paleontology and the Joggins site. All sessions were well subscribed, including a display of 28 posters.
Acadia Students Sweep the Presentation Awards at the AGS Colloquium
(above) Ben Misiuk receives the Rupert MacNeill award for best oral presentation by an undergraduate student; (below) Justin Drummond receives the Sandra Barr award for best oral presentation by a graduate student.
Awards are given for the best posters and oral presentations at the conference. Winner of the best presentation by an undergraduate student was Ben Misiuk, a final year Environmental Science student, whose paper "A comparative study of anthropogenic impact on dimictic lakes in Halifax regional Municipality, Nova Scotia: Implications for restoration and management" was co-authored by Drake Tymstra, Ian Spooner and Chris White. The best paper by a graduate student was Justin Drummond, whose paper "Neoproterozoic peritidal phosphorite, Sete Lagoas Formation, Brazil: Implications for the Precambrian phosphorus cycle" was co-authored by Peir Pufahl, Claudio Porto & Mariana Carvalho.
Ian Spooner awarded the Laing Ferguson Distinguished Service Award
Ian Spooner (left) receives the Laing Ferguson award from Rob Raeside
At the closing banquet for the conference, the Society made two awards. The Laing Ferguson Distinguished Service Award was given to Ian Spooner, in recognition of 20 years of service to the Society, including the organization of at least four colloquia in Wolfville, and significant contributions to almost all the other annual colloquia in Halifax, Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton. The Gesner medal was given to Cees van Staal, Geological Survey of Canada, following a citation read by Sandra Barr. Finally Sandra graced the delegates with a comprehensive and insightful review of the fifty years of the journal Atlantic Geology. She revealed a few secrets in her address, including the fact that she participated in the preparation of volume 2, almost fifty years ago! A nice touch was provided by the Inn, with celebratory cookies for the fiftieth.
The events concluded on Sunday morning, with a Wikithon to update Wikipedia with local geological information: see pages created on the Atlantic Geoscience Society, Atlantic Geology, and Blue Beach.
9 February 2014
Prof. Reg Moore, 1932-2014
Dr. Reginald Moore, former professor at Acadia University, died on 2 February in Kentville, NS. Reg grew up in southwestern Ontario, and graduated from University of Western Ontario before going to the University of Michigan to complete his PhD. He and his wife Pat moved to Wolfville in 1960, and he taught at Acadia until he retired in 1992. Reg’s interests were soundly based in the Windsor Group, which generations of students from Acadia will well remember for their exercises and assignments making endless thin sections or peels of limestone. One of his students commented, "Certainly a most “memorable” professor. I TA’d for him, and in a perverse way, rather enjoyed it. He certainly gave me the latitude to develop the labs in the way I saw fit! I will never forget the first sentence of a first question on one of his exams… “Explain the etymology of the titular words”. To which I had to raise my hand and ask him to explain everything after the word “explain”!"
Following his retirement, Reg donated his extensive collection of materials from the Windsor Group (some 32 cabinets) to the Nova Scotia Museum, and embarked on a second career of learning languages, living for periods in Greece, Cuba and Mexico. Although Reg has been retired for 22 years, he is well known to many students since then, often seen working in his garden in front of Kent Lodge, Wolfville's oldest house.
[photo by Wendy Elliott, The Advertiser]
4 February 2014
Environmental Science curlers to the Canadian Junior Championship
[Photo: The Chronicle Herald]
Two students of Environmental Science make up half the Nova Scotia team at the Canadian Junior championship, being held in Liverpool, NS, in January. Robert Mayhew (skip) and Michael Brophy (third) have played before in the Canada Games, and look forward to playing on home rinks in the Juniors. The competition runs for about 10 days, so we hope they are taking plenty of material to read during their time off the ice!
15 January 2014
Update: The team is featured on http://www.curling.ca and are standing at 4 wins - 1 loss so far.
Further update: Michael Brophy, Third, has been named to the First All Star Team at the 2014 Canadian Junior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships. Congratulations Michael! Team Nova Scotia (Robert Mayhew Skip) finished in 5th in the Championship Pool standings. Congratulations Robert and Michael!
25 January 2013
Trip to Bedford Institute of Oceanography
This past week, the ESSO club took an afternoon trip to the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. Students received a tour of the facility and learned about a vast range of subjects including invasive species, tides and dispersion modelling, ocean acidification, ocean climate change, and Arctic and Atlantic sediment cores. Thank you to the scientists who gave us the opportunity to learn about their research!
13 January 2014
Lisa Mundry wins Science Atlantic Prize at AUGC
Congratulations to Lisa Mundry and Mike Reid, honours students in Geology, who, along with eight other participants, represented Acadia at the Atlantic Universities Geoscience Conference at St. FX University on 24-26 October. Mike prepared a poster on the petrology and geochemistry of the Stirling Belt, Cape Breton Island, and Lisa gave a talk on the comparison of the petrology, chemistry, and age of mafic sills in the Harlech Dome, Wales, and the Meguma terrane, Nova Scotia. Lisa won the Science Atlantic Prize for the best paper presented at the conference.
27 October 2013
Pat Englehardt in Alaska
Between June and August Patrick Englehardt took part in the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP). JIRP is an annual program which was started in 1948 by Maynard Miller. Every year since students have been attending this research program studying the Juneau Icefield which is located in Alaska, British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. The program's main focus was the continued mass balance research which is the second longest record of its kind in the world. "Overall it was an amazing experience, whether it was the Alaskan beauty, digging 18 foot snow pits or conducting original research my summer couldn't have been better." Any questions or further information on the program can be found on the JIRP website http://juneauicefield.com/ or feel free to email me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
22 October 2013
Elderkin Brook Clean-up
Elderkin Brook (located in Kentville) is frequently visited by the Earth and Environmental Science Department during class field trips, and has been known for its gruesome state. That is why the ESSO and Fletcher Clubs went out to this site on Saturday, October 5th to clean it up. It was evident that people have been throwing their waste in this brook for many years. Items removed included shoes, electronics, carpet, styrofoam, pipes, bottles, and plastic. A tremendous thanks to all volunteers!
8 October 2013
Fletcher Club Fundy Fall Field Trip
The Fletcher Club took advantage of a fine weekend on 21-22 September to take a field trip around the Bay of Fundy, stopping at the Triassic unconformity at Rainy Cove, the red sandstone at Burntcoat Head, the iron mines, slag piles and displays at Londonderry, the fault zone rocks of Clarke Head, the Jurassic sandstone of Five Islands, and the always impressive columnar basalt at Cape d'Or. Mornings were spent exploring beach outcrops, in afternoons they sought higher ground (high tide in mid-afternoon!), and on the second day hiked into Economy Falls. In the photograph above, the entire group, with leaders Sandra Barr and Rob Raeside are seen by the fly-wheel in the iron mining display at Londonderry.
29 September 2013
Fletcher and ESSO hike Cape Split
The ESSO and Fletcher clubs took advantage of the beautiful weather last weekend by hiking out to Cape Split. The trip was a multi-disciplinary outing, including students from Environmental Science, Geology, Environmental Studies and Biology. The hike was a success, being both scenic and refreshingly windy out on the Split.
Stopping at The Lookoff on top of North Mountain we took a group photo in front of the sunny Annapolis Valley. We hope to make this the first of many collaborative ESSO and Fletcher activities for students this year.
20 September 2013
"Water Without Borders" - book published by Alice Cohen
"Water Without Borders? - Canada, the United States, and Shared Waters" co-edited by Emma S. Norman, Alice Cohen, and Karen Bakker has been released by University of Toronto Press.
Since 1909, the waters along the Canada-US border have been governed in accordance with the Boundary Water Treaty, but much has changed in the last 100 years. This engaging volume brings together experts from both sides of the border to examine the changing relationship between Canada and the US with respect to shared waters, as well as the implications of these changes for geopolitics and the environment. Water without Borders? is a timely publication given the increased attention to shared water issues, and particularly because 2013 is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation.
Water without Borders? is designed to help readers develop a balanced understanding of the most pressing shared water issues between Canada and the United States. The contributors explore possible frictions between governance institutions and contemporary management issues, illustrated through analyses of five specific transboundary water “flashpoints.” The volume offers both a historical survey of transboundary governance mechanisms and a forward-looking assessment of new models of governance that will allow us to manage water wisely in the future.
- from the publisher's website
19 September 2013
National Award to Cliff Stanley
Dr. Cliff Stanley was made a Fellow of Geoscientists Canada, the national council of professional geoscience associations that regulate the profession of geoscience in each of the jurisdictions in Canada, in recognition of his volunteer service to Geoscientists Canada, and before that the Canadian Council of Professional Geoscientists. Cliff has been a member of the Canadian Geoscience Standards Board and a councillor for Geoscientists Nova Scotia (formerly the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Nova Scotia) since 2000, and a member of the admissions board for APGNS since 2001.
In a short ceremony at Acadia on 16 September, Jeff Parks (Acadia grad of 1987 and president of Geoscientists Nova Scotia) presented Cliff with a certificate to recognise the fellowship.
18 September 2013
Environmental Science student participates in the Sikorsky Human-Powered-Helicopter competition
Rian Mizzi, a Burlington, Ontario, based second year Environmental Science student assisted as a volunteer the University of Toronto-based team attempt to win the $250,000 Sikorsky Human-Powered-Helicopter prize...and the team pulled it off! Rian can be seen fleetingly in the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syJq10EQkog that documents the first minute-long human-powered helicopter flight to achieve 3 metres height. So enthused was he by the experience that he is now preparing to bicycle back to Acadia for the fall term - from Ontario! If you are driving east this summer, look out for an Acadia jersey going the same way.
29 July 2013
Welcome to Dr. Alice Cohen
A new face in the department this summer is that of Dr. Alice Cohen, assistant professor in Environmental Science and Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Alice has been at Acadia for a little while, providing a course in Politics (Environmental Politics - POLS 3883), which she will offer again this year, along with Legal Issues in the Environment (ENVS 3113), Introduction to Environmental Science (ENVS 1023), Sustainability Concepts and Systems (ESST 1003) and Applied Leadership in Sustainability (ESST 2003). Alice holds a PhD from UBC, and has been a post-doc in Massachusetts before coming to Acadia.
She is off to a good start this year, with the announcement of receipt of a SSHRC Institutional Grant for work on Ecosystem governance and resource development in Northern Canada. In the application for the grant, Alice wrote, "Although ecosystems are often thought of as natural spaces, the process of delineating ecosystem boundaries and designing governance mechanisms for these spaces are often highly contested and political processes. This is especially true in places where resource extraction and development form a central component of local, regional, or national economies because neither ecosystems nor resource extraction areas are spatially aligned with traditional spaces of decision-making such as municipalities, territories, or provinces. This research is a pilot project designed to explore the ways in which ecosystem spaces are articulated and implemented in response to resource extraction and development in Northern Canada."
Congratulations Alice - it sounds like you will have opportunity for interesting discussions with the geologists in E&ES - we are very familiar with issues caused by political boundaries, and the notorious map-boundary faults in mapped bedrock geology!
18 July 2013
Report from the Field - Steven Kramar
Steven is working in northern Saskatchewan this summer and was recently visited by his supervisor, Cliff Stanley who reports that Steve is now an ACE-Boater, having passed his 'boating test', and is now certified to 'skipper' pleasurecraft on any of Canada's waterways (as well as write a thesis on the geochemistry of rocks in the Trans-Hudson Orogen!)
15 July 2013
Ian Spooner takes over as Department Head
July 1 marks the start of a new academic year at Acadia, and with it a change-over in the headship of the Department of Earth and Environmental Science. New at the helm is Dr. Ian Spooner, taking over from Rob Raeside, who has been head since 1995 (although with a few absences when he was acting Dean of Science). Ian has been teaching at Acadia since 1994, so is no stranger to our procedures, but no doubt it will take us all a few weeks to get used to the new office arrangements on the third floor of Huggins Science Hall.
1 July 2013
Monday 15 September
E&ES Co-op Showcase 1 - Room 336
12:30 p.m. Studying the Effects of Pesticides, Pathogens and Landscape Ecology on Wild Bees: Amanda Loder and Sonya Ardley, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
1:00 p.m. Geological Hazards in Baffin Bay: Jesse Sherwin, Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic)
1:15 p.m. Life on the Water as a Lobster Technician Thora Christensen, Lobster Fishing Area 27 Management Board
Saturday, 5th October
Fletcher Club Field Trip
The Ovens (gold panning, golds, caves), Feltzen South (mushroom folds), Lunenburg, Aspotogan (contact aureole).
Monday 29 September
E&ESCo-op Showcase 2 - Room 336
12:30 p.m. Piping Plovers at Kejimkujik: Robert Mayhew, Parks Canada, Kejimkujik Seaside National Park
12:45 p.m. Prosauropods in Parrsboro: Roxanne LaCombe, Fundy Geological Museum
1:00 p.m. Habitat Restoration of the Atlantic Salmon: Ashleigh Dunphy, Sackville Rivers Association
23-25 October 2014
Atlantic Undergraduate Geoscience Conference (AUGC), University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. More information: Colin Padget
27-31 October 2014
6-7 February, 2015
Atlantic Geoscience Society Colloquium, Mt. Allison University
16-20 February 2015
13-14 March 2015
Science Atlantic Environment Conference, Saint Mary's University, Halifax. More information to follow.
25 April - 2 May 2015
Bermuda Field Course