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.


Sandra Barr launches new book "Geology of Nova Scotia"
[Click on image for invitation.]

Join authors Sandra Barr and Martha Hickman Hild in the launch of their new book on Thursday, 28 May, 7 p.m. in the Garden Room, KC Irving Environmental Science Centre. This colourful, easy-to-use guide tells the story of Nova Scotia’s geological history through a series of visits to beautiful, fascinating destinations all across the province.

19 May 2015

34 Graduates in Earth and Environmental Science at May Graduation 
As spring gradually unfolds, and the lawns turn green again, graduating students and proud family members were very much in evidence over the weekend.  In all, 28 BSc degrees and 6 MSc degrees were recognised from Earth & Environmental Science at the May convocation at Acadia, comprising 3 MSc (Geology), 3 MSc (Applied Geomatics), 3 BSc Honours (Environmental Science), 1 BSc honours (Geology), 16 BSc (Geology), 1 BSc (Environmental Geoscience), and 7 BSc (Environmental Science). In addition, two BSc degrees from last year completed an honours conversion, one in Environmental Science and one in Geology.

Particular honour went to Amanda Loder, winner of the University Medal in Environmental Science, Lisa Mundry, winner of the University Medal in Geology, Thomas Bagley, recipient of the Mining Society of Nova Scotia Centennial Medal, and Jonathan Shute, winner of the University Medal in Environmental Geoscience.

12 May 2015

National Medal to Sandra Barr

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/2015_Barr_SandraAmbroseMedalist.jpgSandra Barr, Acadia University was named the 2015 winner of the J. Willis Ambrose Medal, which is awarded to an individual by the Geological Assocation of Canada for sustained dedicated service to the Canadian earth science community. The medal was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Association of Canada in Montreal on 4 May.

4 May 2015




Bermuda Field course April - May 2015

An international class of 10 students just returned from Acadia’s Bermuda Field Course taught by Dr. Peir K. Pufahl. Students from Canada, the United States, and Germany learned about the modern and Pleistocene carbonate sediment of Bermuda. A primary aim was to understand the sedimentology and diagenesis of limestone hydrocarbon reservoirs. Next year this course will be offered annually for credit. Alumni are welcome!


May 7, 2015

Geology Field School April - May 2015

A class of 26 students attended the 2015 Geology Field Methods course held at Acadia and at Camp Geddie, near Merigomish, Nova Scotia. In good spirit the whole class laboured on through deep snow, glorious sunsets, and late nights to accomplish all the exercises. At Arisaig the students managed to shed a few layers as they gathered for the traditional group photograph in spite of the surrounding ice flows in the Gulf.


6 May 2015

Environmental Science Field School April - May 2015

Seventeen students completed the ENVS 2523 field course this spring, braving miserable weather to collect insects, sediment cores, tree samples, coastal invertebrates, and to hone their mapping skills. The sunshine did come through at the end of the week and it was much appreciated! Students had a great time despite the weather and practiced hand-on techniques in environmental science.


6 May 2015

Cliff Stanley's group at the IAGS, Tucson, Arizona

Cliff Stanley, graduate student Steven Kramar, and honours student Tom Bagley attended the International Applied Geochemistry Symposium (IAGS), a conference with about 500 delegates in Tuscon, Arizona, in April. Steve gave an oral presentation "Rocks Under Hanson Lake: Building A Chemostratigraphic Model To Aid Base Metal Exploration", for which he won runner up for "best oral student presentation". Tom's poster also attracted a lot of positive comments and he had to present it during multiple poster sessions.


Steve receiving recognition for best runner-up.


Tom, rigorously defending and showcasing his work, "Determining the Heterogeneity of Reference Materials".

25 April 2015

South Shore Field Trip

On April 20-21, an enthusiastic group of Acadia students led by Sandra Barr made the annual pilgrimage to Nova Scotia's "south shore". In Monday's sunshine and relative warmth they enjoyed pinpointing the contact between the Halifax and underlying Goldenville groups, examining Bouma sequences, and the famous Shelburne dyke. They then "oohed and aahed" over migmatite, pegmatite, and staurolite, andalusite, and cordierite porphyroblasts. Sadly Day 2 was rainy and windy so the geological wonders of Cape Forchu, the Overton section, and Cape St. Mary's were viewed with much less enthusiasm, and the road cut at Bear River was a washout. However, thanks to numerous visits to Tim Horton's to warm up and dry off, we all survived.


Seen here in front of a bed of sandstone at Green Bay: Nicole Rudolph, Jon Shute, Taylor Chew, Roxanne LaCombe, Sandra Barr, Jesse Sherwin, Richard Creagan, Miguel Armand, David Maguire, Hannah Sinclair, Jess Turner.
23 April 2015

Landslide risks at Whistler, BC

photo: Braden Dupuis, Pique News Magazine

Ian Spooner recently visited Whistler to present the findings of Dewey Dunnington's thesis in a community forum in the community. The well-attended event provided him with the opportunity to reveal the history of landslides as recorded in the sediment in Alta Lake, which borders the town.

In an article in Pique News Magazine, Ian is recorded assuring residents that the landslide risk in Whistler itself is low, although the lake sediment has potential of revealing ancient landslides. The same cannot be said, however, for the Sea to Sky highway, which is considered a very high risk area.
17 April 2015

2015 Covenant of the Ring Ceremony

Fourteen soon-to-be-graduated Geology and Environmental Geoscience students attended the Covenant of the Ring ceremony in Halifax on April 9, 2015. The rings, which signify a geoscientists commitment to undertake their professional activities in an ethical and responsible manner, are worn on the pinkie finger of their working hand, and bear both crossed hammer and seismic trace symbols. This was the 15th Covenant of the Geoscience Ring ceremony held in Nova Scotia, and over 400 Nova Scotia geoscientists have now taken part in this ceremony.

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/2015_ring.jpg[Click on image for larger photograph]
Taking part this year were: (back row) Ian Stewart, Richard Creagan, Jesse Sherwin, Steve Krbavcic, Jessica-Ann Turner, Thomas Bagley; (front row) Ryan Sabean, Roxanne LaCombe, Jon Edwards, Brett McCarthy, Heather Evans, Céline Porter.
13 April 2015

End of term celebrations in Earth and Environmental Science

The winter term nears its end, and students and faculty from Earth and Environmental Science once again enjoyed a delicious pot-luck dinner in the Curling Club on 27 March. Apart from the great food, highlights of the evening incluced reminiscences of the year by Dr. Spooner, the trivial game (won by the Rockateers, who achieved a perfect score!), and recognition of award winners through the year.

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/2015_lusby_award.jpgEmma Harris and Mikayla Dorey (co-winners of the Linda Lusby Award).

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/2015_cameron_award.jpgRikki Simpson (winner of Harcourt Cameron Award)

31 March 2014

Jonathan Shute awarded the Logan Student Prize for 2015

The Geological Association of Canada (GAC) and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) have announced that Jonathan Shute has been awarded the Logan Student Prize for 2015. This annual prize is awarded jointly by GAC and PDAC to one undergraduate student at each Canadian Earth Science department. Students are selected for the prize based on demonstration of academic quality, leadership skills, and field school performance. Candidates for the prize were nominated by the Fletcher Geology Club with the final selection of the winner done by Faculty from among those nominated. The prize consists of a monetary award, one-year memberships in both GAC and PDAC, and a certificate of achievement. Jonathan will graduate in May with a BSc in Environmental Geoscience.

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/Jon Shute in Windsor.jpg

Jonathan in the field, Windsor, NS

30 March 2015

Science Atlantic Environment Conference

The conference was well attended (63 attendees) at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, 13-14 March this year. Dr. O’Driscoll attended with 9 students from Acadia (7 undergraduates and 2 graduates). Jillian Bennett and Michael Brophy presented their honours research in oral presentations.  In addition Erin Mann and Sara Klapstein presented their PhD research. The opening speaker was Aboriginal Elder Albert Marshall who spoke about the need for merging traditional knowledge with science. The invited speaker was Marty Janowitz, the vice president of sustainable development at Stantec Consulting, who spoke about the need for increased collaboration, empathy, and global awareness.


Top Left to right: Dr. O’Driscoll, Adriana Pontalti
Bottom Left to right: Erin McKee, Rachel Clarke, Erin Mann, Sara Klapstein, Amanda Loder, Jillian Bennett, Micheal Brophy
(missing from picture Thora Christensen, Bailey Holmes)

19 March 2015

OERA funds Acadia students’ field trip travel

The Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA) announced that the OERA Student Research Travel Program has provided two Acadia students with funding to support their graduate studies in Geology. Laura MacNeil and Krista Kroeninger will be taking Peir Pufahl's course at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences focusing on sedimentology, oceanography and diagenesis of carbonate sediments and rocks in Bermuda.

"The OERA Student Research Travel Program is a valuable asset that can offer students who are interested in building their international networks to conduct new and exciting research, or attend advanced field schools which has the potential to contribute to Nova Scotia’s offshore petroleum and emerging marine renewable energy sectors," commented OERA Executive Director Stephen Dempsey.

11 March 2015

AGS Colloquium - Sackville, NB

On the snowy weekend of 30-31 January approximately 12 students and all the professors of Geology attended the Atlantic Geoscience Society colloquium at Mt. Allison University. Some of the highlights of the weekend included:

  • papers by graduate student Laura MacNeil and undergraduate student Regan Maloney
  • posters by undergraduate students Thomas Bagley, Erin McKee, Céline Porter, and graduate students Dewey Dunnington and Lisa Slaman
  • a new map of Cape Breton Island by Sandra Barr, Chris White and others
  • Cliff Stanley completed his term as president of the AGS
  • heavy snow prevented the banquet speaker from arriving, but we were treated to an exposé on the Alex Colville mural by Mt. A. Dean of Science, Jeff Ollerhead, with several linkages to Acadia and Wolfville mentioned
  • Dewey Dunnington won the Graham Williams award for the best graduate student poster

Dewey Dunnington receiving the Graham Williams Award from incoming AGS president John Calder.

9 February 2015

GIS Short Course


On Jan 4, 5 the Department of Earth and Environmental Science hosted a GIS Short Course that was attended by 33 students and faculty.  The course was presented by Dewey Dunnington, a M.Sc. student in Geology, assisted by Karissa Reischke, a M.Sc. Applied Geomatics Student. This course was taught using QGIS, an open source GIS program and those taking the course learned how to create maps, manage geographical data, and perform data analysis. We hope to offer this course again in fall 2015.
6 January 2015

Dewey Dunnington and Ian Spooner featured in Whistler Museum speaker series

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/dunnington_whistler-2014.jpgSee also a more detailed announcement from Whistler.
28 November 2014

Dr. Chris White awarded 2014 CPTG Medal


Chris White receiving the medal from Hon. Z. Churchill, NS Minister of Natural Resources, with Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines, and Greg Rickford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada looking on.

Chris White, adjunct professor at Acadia, and senior geologist at the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources was awarded the 2014 Provincial and Territorial Geologists Medal.

The winner of this medal is selected by an independent evaluation committee consisting of a representative from industry, academia and the Geological Survey of Canada. Chris embodies all of the best qualities in a geologist: highly engaged, incredibly knowledgeable, passionate about what he does and struggling to accept that you can’t be in the field 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He thrives on developing innovative solutions to complex geological problems, and strives to provide maximum value to government through application of his research and expertise. Chris’s research output is phenomenal, comprising over 150 published maps, 100 internal publications and 60 journal publications. He has mapped the bedrock geology of approximately half of Nova Scotia and has made a considerable dent in the bedrock mapping of New Brunswick. The scope of his research is impressive spanning the spectrum from Cambrian trace-fossils, through mineral deposit modelling, to the origin of the northern Appalachians. His work has led to the recognition of new opportunities for mineral exploration, enhanced the understanding of Nova Scotia’s geoheritage and helped communities deal with geohazards such as radon in homes, acid rock drainage and arsenic in drinking water.

Chris’s collaboration with geoscientists from across North America and Europe has attracted numerous researchers and valuable research funding to Nova Scotia. In recognition of his scientific achievements Chris also received the 2013 Distinguished Scientist Award, the Gesner Medal, from the Atlantic Geoscience Society, and for his volunteer efforts he has received awards from the Geological Association of Canada and the Atlantic Geoscience Society. Chris is a mentor to his colleagues, a favoured advisor to students and the go-to person on all aspects of Nova Scotia geology.
6 November 2014

AUGC 2014


Seven students and two professors from Acadia attended the Atlantic Universities Geoscience Conference, held at the Fredericton campus of the University of New Brunswick on 23-25 October. On Thursday evening, Fletcher Club president and treasurer, Céline Porter and Thomas Bagley competed in the CSEG Challenge Bowl, taking second place. On Friday, students participated in field trips to the Mount Pleasant and Sussex areas, and toured the lab facilities at UNB.

Eileen Hasket, Céline Porter, Garth Davis, Katie McCulloch, Thomas Bagley, Hannah Sinclair, David Maguire in the conference venue.

On Saturday, the conference was given over to talks, with both Céline and Thomas presenting on their honours thesis. Judging by photos from later in the day, it was an exhausting affair!
7 November 2014

Visiting student from Brazil

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/mcarvalho.jpgPlease welcome Mariana de Souza Carvalho to E&ES!  Mariana is on exchange from the State University of Rio de Janeiro until February 2015.  While at Acadia she will be working with her co-supervisor, Dr. Peir Pufahl, on the geochemistry of Neoproterozoic phosphorites from central Brazil, the focus of her M.Sc. thesis research.  Mariana has been awarded a prestigious Emerging Leaders in the Americas Scholarship for her studies in Canada.
22 October 2014

Medal awarded to Geology alumnus Eugene Sanford

Eugene Sanford (graduate of 1951) was recently awarded a medal of France naming him a Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, in recognition of his activities in Europe during WW2.

Gene Sanford joined the Canadian Army in September 1939 at age 18, serving with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. After some concentrated Vickers gun training and parachuting in Camp Shilo, Manitoba, the Battalion was assigned the objectives of parachuting into the fields and woods of Normandy in protection of the eastern flank of the D Day infantry landings. Wounded by flak at the time of bailing out of a crippled aircraft Sanford also had a heavy Vickers machine gun strapped to a leg so was fortunate to have survived the landing. Bad weather during the flight put the crew many miles off track, and realizing they were nowhere near the drop area, and with enemy all around, they headed for the nearest woods and were met up with, and were welcomed into, a group of the French underground. Sanford and a friend provided the fire power for this group but as they neared Caen their presence was disclosed to a German patrol and the two paratroopers were taken prisoner and turned over to the Gestapo. Shortly thereafter they were in a box car en route to their captivity at a mining project near the Berlin.

Sanford paid a hefty price for his wartime service, but he survived the deprivations of his imprisonment, regaining his weight, and returned to Canada. After his army discharge and some high school refresher courses he enrolled in Geology at Acadia, attaining his Degree in 1951. Following graduation he spent five years with the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company in Flin Flon, Manitoba. In 1955 he took employment with Sun Oil Company in Calgary, Alberta. He was transferred in 1957 to the Town of Fort McMurray, then a community of eight hundred souls, and remained there for twenty one years as the senior representative of the company. He was “Mr. Sun Oil” in the North.

Eugene Sanford returned to Calgary with the now Suncor Energy Inc. in 1979 and retired with many corporate honours in 1982. He is now 93 years of age and living in northwest Calgary. He is a master crib player, having recently won two major trophies in Nova Scotia. If you are not careful he will double skunk you in the bat of an eye!!

See also an article provided in 2010 by Eugene's brother, Bruce, a graduate of 1949.
21 October 2014

Gold Panning and Structural Geology at The Ovens

On the first weekend of October, a group of 23 geology, environmental geoscience and environmental students participated in an expedition the Lunenburg area. In the teeth of gale-force winds and salt spray, several were successful in panning for gold, with Kirklyn trying his hand here:tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/the_ovens_gold_panning_2.jpg
[Click on image for larger version]

Following a hike along the cliff top to view the caves at the Ovens, we visited some glacially scoured outcrops at Feltzen South, including a spectacular mushroom interference fold, partly outlined by the group here:
[Click on image for larger version]

After examining stretched worm burrows, quartz and arsenopyrite veining, and the Ovens Anticline, the group headed around the bay to Blue Rocks, and ended the day with a visit to Lunenburg to see the Bluenose II and practise hill-climbing around the town.
6 October 2014

Fletcher Club and Environmental Science Students Association Weekend Activities

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/ontree1.jpgAs term gets under way and before midterms get too intense, members of the Fletcher Club and ESSA have been active exploring the region. On the last weekend of September, a group visited the Ontree Climbing Park, to practise their skills in ropework, tree climbing, and getting a head for heights. Here you can see some members happy to be back on the ground(?), while others continue to scale the ropes 10 m above them.

[Click on image for a larger version of this photo.]

By all accounts the following Monday, this event was a "hit".
5 October 2014

Geology on Stamps on Display


Four new displays in the corridors of third floor Huggins have been completed over the summer. Assembled by David McMullin, these displays feature the wealth of geology displayed on stamps from around the world. Featuring topics ranging from mineralogy and paleontology to the history of science, these stamps offer a glimpse into how others see our discipline. The most popular topic?  Definitely dinosaurs, although minerals and gems, volcanoes, and Charles Darwin are well represented too. Some panels show sets of stamps depicting one topic - the formation of the Faroes on the mid-Atlantic Ridge, or the entire course of Earth History in a panel from Tonga. Check out the geology of Somalia which shows a somewhat enigmatic Somali plate waltzing around Madagascar and colliding with Africa (I thought it was actually going the other way!)
    The displays can be seen in the north corridor of third floor Huggins, between rooms 332 and 336.
24 September 2014

Michael Brophy gives paper at international conference


Michael Brophy, a co-op student in Environmental Science, presented his work at the New England Graduate Student Water Symposium, held this year at UMass Amherst. This predominantly graduate student conference had participants from schools from around Canada and the US. His 15 minute presentation was on the work for his honours thesis, entitled "Characterization of Natural Organic Matter to Distinguish the Impact of Municipal Wastewater Effluent in a Source Water".

Michael writes about the experience, "The conference was a great opportunity! I learned a lot about the different water research going on at schools from Canada and the United States, and I had a lot of fun along the way. One of the best parts for me was all the feedback I got about my presentation. I had 4 different people come up to me telling me that they couldn't believe I was an undergraduate student and how my research was very interesting. I even had one person tell me that I had a very bright future ahead of me! I was so excited about all the positive comments. It really gave me confidence in what I was doing and made me feel like people really do care about the research I am doing! So, I definitely took a lot away from this conference."

Michael's work is being done as part of his co-op program, currently at the Dalhousie Faculty of Engineering, and is supervised by Dr. Graham Gagnon at Dalhousie and Dr. Jennie Rand at Acadia's School of Engineering.
22 September 2014

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

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/nelson-rti.jpgGreg 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
tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/ddunnington-whistler.jpg 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.
tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/grads2014.jpg [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.

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/FieldMethodsClass2014.jpgPictured 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]

Below is part of the Environmental Science field school, preparing to analyze samples in the KC Irving Environmental Science Centre. [Photo: E. Mann]

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

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/rtomlinson.jpg 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
tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/regmoore.jpgDr. 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

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/BIO Trip 1.jpgtl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/BIO Trip 2.jpg

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 tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/pat_alaska.jpg

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 poenglehardt@gmail.com.
22 October 2013

Elderkin Brook Clean-up

[Click on image to see the full lot of garbage!]

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

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/waterwithoutborders.jpg"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

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/people/Alice-Cohen-photo-2012.jpgA 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

Upcoming Events

28 May, 2015
Join expert authors Sandra Barr and Martha Hickman Hild as they launch "Geology of Nova Scotia". This colourful, easy-to-use guide tells the story of Nova Scotia’s geological history through a series of visits to beautiful, fascinating
destinations all across the province.7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Garden Room, Botanical Gardens, Acadia University,32 University Ave., Wolfville, N.S.
R.S.V.P. jellis@boulderpublications.ca

23 August - 1 Sept. 2015
GEOL 4083 Senior Field School

22-24 October 2015
AUGC, St. Mary's University