April, 2016


SMU Academic Initiative Fund for Sustainability

The SMU Academic Initiative Fund for Sustainability, established through SMU’s Sustainability Committee and operated by the School of the Environment, supports innovative academic-oriented sustainability projects at Saint Mary’s. Results of the most recent Call for Proposals are now in, and this year’s award is made to a team of students (Matthew Glynn, Iain Thompson), faculty (Jeremy Lundholm, Laura Weir) and staff (Jared Perry) for an interdisciplinary project: “Sustainable Development through Aquaponics Research”. The project involves collaborative research and curriculum development at Saint Mary’s as well as connections of SMU with nongovernmental organizations and First Nation communities. Congratulations to this group! We’ll look forward to seeing results being produced over the coming year.

This year, the Saint Mary's University Environmental Society (SMUES) hosted a networking event for undergraduate students to meet employers and graduate students, to explore career and post-grad options. Students had the opportunity to talk to employers from different sectors as well as graduate students from a variety of schools. This way, the students get more insight on their choices and help in deciding on options best suited for their own situation. The event itself was a big success!


The School of the Environment's public seminar series has wrapped up for this academic year. This past term, we featured two wonderful visiting speakers: Lil MacPherson of Wooden Monkey restaurants in Halifax, and Dannie Hanson of Louisbourg Seafoods in Cape Breton. We also highlighted the diverse range of Saint Mary's research on environmental themes, through a series of 10 seminars by faculty and students: Rylan Higgins, Brian Bartlett, Julia Pelton, Cathy Driscoll, Jeremy Lundholm, Emily Chapman, Linda Campbell, Kristoffer Archibald, Emily Peters and Tony Charles. Finally, we held the annual Good News on the Environment event, with another 10 faculty and students presenting success stories on protecting, restoring and sustainably using the environment. Thanks to all our presenters, and to the many members of the public who came to Saint Mary's for these events.

Best Oral Presentation Award
During the recent Crossroads Interdisciplinary Health Research Conference, Patrick Larter was awarded a best oral presentation award. Patrick’s presentation, based on his graduate research, examined the impact of long-term urban park restoration on place attachment. It was focused specifically on Point Pleasant Park after Hurricane Juan in 2003. Patrick is currently completing his Master of Arts degree in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Saint Mary’s University.

SMU MSc Applied Science Student, Emily Walker, Wins at Science Atlantic Environment Conference

Emily Walker, in the MSc Applied Science program, won a prize for "Best Graduate Student Oral Presentation" at the Science Atlantic Environmental Science Conference in Moncton in March. The title of her talk was "Increased Environmental Heterogeneity Affects Substrate Conditions & Alters Seedling Dynamics on Green Roofs".

Call for Contributions - 2016 Canadian Association of Geographers Conference 
Over 300 geographers and planners from across Canada will arrive in Halifax for the 2016 Canadian Association of Geographers conference, co-hosted by Saint Mary’s and Dalhousie universities. Faculty, students, and community-members are invited to submit presentations and posters for the conference on topics related to geography, the environment, and planning. The deadline for submitting an abstract is April 10, 2016. Further information is available on the conference website: Students are encouraged to consider submitting their work as either a presentation or poster.

Students at Saint Mary’s are encouraged to attend the CAG conference! Geography & Environmental Studies and The School of the Environment will be subsidizing registrations (at the CAG membership rate) for students presenting at the conference and there are many opportunities for students to volunteer in lieu of registration fee! Contact with any questions!

Call for Contributions - Building Vibrant Rural Futures Conference

The Building Vibrant Rural Futures: Mobilizing Knowledge and Informing Policy Conference invites presentations on how community organizations, policymakers, and researchers are mobilizing knowledge to inform policy and build vibrant rural futures. The conference invites stories, presentations, panels, and capacity building sessions on how community organizations, policymakers, and researchers are mobilizing knowledge to inform policy and build vibrant rural futures.  The conference themes include: local and regional economic development; labour force development and training; climate change and impacts on rural communities; rural data, information and harnessing digital data; and Aboriginal transformations/issues. The conference will take place October 12-15, 2016 in Guelph. The deadline for the first call is April 21, 2016. For more information, please see the conference website:

Students Facilitate Participatory Mapping of Community Hubs

Over the winter term, five students from the Geography and Environmental Studies have been working with a new initiative examining how community ‘hubs’ can serve as a catalyst for community development. Siobhan Evans, Jo Fitzgibbons, Jodi-Ann Francis, Harrison Smith, and Colin Werle led a participatory mapping session with over 40 place-based community organizations. Through the mapping session over 100 ‘hubs’ were identified and mapped. Over the coming months, a series of socio-economic data will be layered with the ‘hubs’. More information on this initiative can be found at

The Geography of Local Governance

Dr. Ryan Gibson-GES recently participated in a public forum organized by the Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island titled “The Geography of Local Governance”. The session discussed the re-organization of local government in PEI. Information about the session can be found at

Geography and Environmental Studies Adjunct Professor Dr. Peter Bush's recent publication.  Peter is a Provincial Landscape Ecologist with Nova Scotia's Department of Natural Resources.
Cameron, R. and P. Bush. 2016. Are Protected Areas an Effective Way to Help Mitigate Climate Change? A Comparative Carbon Sequestration Model for Protected Areas and Forestry Management in Nova Scotia, Canada.
The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, Volume 11, Issue 1, March 2016, pp113. 
Upcoming Events 

April 19 @ 2:30 in Atrium 216:  What Scientific Writing Is: Reflections on the History, Culture, and Practice of Composition in the Natural Sciences. For more information, contact

April 21 @ 10am in Burke 207: Geography Honours Thesis Presentation- "I wish this was a park." Levels and perceptions of participation in municipal planning processes among young adults in Halifax, Nova Scotia - Joanne Fitzgibbons

April 25 @ 1:30 in Science 310:  Environmental Science Honours Thesis Presentations

May 1 @ 9am in Dalhousie University's Studley Gymnasium: Halifax Dump and Run, Halifax's largest community garage sale. Drop off location on SMU Campus from April 8-29 @ Loyola Building Room 186 -Monday to Friday from 2-9pm.

May 30-June 3 (SMU and DAL):  Canadian Association of Geographers Conference

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School of the Environment
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS
B3H 3C3

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