November 2016

Christa Skinner, MSc Applied Science - Geography
Part-time Environmental Science Instructor, and SMU MSc Applied Science in Geography graduate, Christa Skinner will be heading to Environment and Climate Change Canada for a 9 month term starting December 2016 with Marine Programs. While there, she will be assisting with the Disposal at Sea program by analyzing a variety of data both statistically and spatially to assist Permit officers with approving and issuing a variety of permits for dredge material and fish waste disposal throughout the Atlantic region. Here is Christa collecting redox potential measurements at Cogmagun River Salt Marsh Restoration site in the summer of 2013. She loves her work!
Caribbean Urban Forum in Barbados (2014) presenting on participatory mapping as a tool for coastal vulnerability assessments in the Caribbean
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SMUES Networking Event
The Saint Mary’s University Environmental Society welcomes students to join the SMUES networking event Thursday, December 1st from 6:00-8:00 pm in Atrium 216. Employers will be present from a range of environment sectors including Environment Canada and Department of Fisheries and Oceans! Refreshments will be provided and the dress code is casual, we hope to see you there! Here is one of the networking groups from last year's event.

SMUES would also like to introduce you to the new executive members. SMUES welcomes Liam Goulding as the new President, Makeala MacIntyre as Vice President, Rachel Biggar as returning Social Media Representative, Larissa Sweeney as Treasurer and Rachelle Breau as Secretary! Email for information on how to become a SMUES member!

The School of Environment concluded a successful seminar series with a great and well-attended talk by Paul Manning about insect biodiversity research and outreach on November 25. Thank you to all the speakers who presented on a diverse range of topics! It was great to see everyone who attended.  The videos from the 2016 Fall Series will be online soon. (You can view the previous series on the SoE Youtube Channel). Don't forget, we welcome feedback on any aspect of the seminar series, including the timing, room, food and accessibility.

There will be more seminars coming up in the Winter term 2017, and we are already in the process of lining up interesting speakers. Watch for updates!   Our goal is to increase the diversity of our speakers, including students and outside community members, who can present on a wide range of environmental topics. The presentations do not necessarily have to be academic in nature, but can include presentations on lived experiences, perspectives and successes. If you have suggestions for key topics or would like to nominate interesting speakers, please email the Acting Director at and the School of Environment secretary at

Blue Box Talks - Geography and Environmental Studies

The monthly series continues in January 2017 with Dr. Kevin Hamdan's talk on Jan. 19: The Effects of Using Mobile Classroom Response System (MCRS) on Students’ Engagement and Performance.
The Winter Talks will also feature Dr. Karen Harper (ENVS, GES) and SMU President, Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray. Email with any inquiries.
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Dr. Tony Charles, Environmental Science and Financial Information Management Systems - SMU
Tony Charles was an invited speaker at two conferences this Fall. First, he was the keynote speaker at the 2016 meeting of the Regional Association for Research on the Gulf of Maine (RARGOM), which covers "research, management and stewardship activities related to the Gulf of Maine and its watershed". The 2016 Annual Science Meeting was held in October in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (USA). Tony spoke on “Sustaining Ecosystems, Sustaining Coastal Communities”, highlighting the “two-way street” of ecosystems sustaining communities, and at the same time, local communities engaging in environmental stewardship that helps to sustain ecosystem services. Second, Tony was an invited speaker at the 8th Canadian Science Policy Conference in Ottawa, Canada (in November). Within the session: “Scaling climate change adaption in coastal communities” – which was Organized by the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) – Tony discussed how coastal communities are leading the way in climate adaptation.

Kristoffer Archibald, Research Associate - Gorsebrook Research Institute, SMU
Kristoffer completed his PhD in modern Canadian environmental history at Concordia University in late August. His research, supervised by Anya Zilberstein, explored the changing attitudes and outlooks on industrial pollution in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Since defending his dissertation, Kristoffer has been working on a public history of the Halifax Public Gardens in conjunction with Peter Twohig at the Gorsebrook.

Image provided by Archibald for a seminar he gave as part of the SoE Seminar Series in the Winter of 2016. You can watch it on the SoE youtube channel: Sydney Nova Scotia: Mobile Toxins and Malady

Molly LeBlanc, MSc Applied Science in Environmental Science Candidate
Molly LeBlanc was presented with a CLRA Atlantic Chapter scholarship at the Atlantic Reclamation Conference held in November at Dalhousie University. Molly's poster demonstrates a literature review on how historical gold mine sites (which can have very high levels of Mercury and Arsenic) are affecting various species in Nova Scotia. It demonstrates that there are very few studies showing how old mine tailings may be affecting our local ecosystems; a gap which she hopes to help fill with her own master's research. 


Patrick Larter, MA Geography Candidate
Master of Arts in Geography candidate, Patrick Larter, successfully defended his thesis on November 25. Does Time Heal All Wounds? The Restoration of Place Attachment after Loss of Place: The case study of Point Pleasant Park after Hurricane Juan. Patrick will be continuing his work as a Research Associate with the CCRN in the coming year. The Community Conservation Research Network (CCRN) is am international initiative comprised of indigenous, community, university, governmental and nongovernmental organizations conducting research globally on the links between communities, conservation and livelihoods, and on the best governance practices to support the combination of community-based conservation and sustainable livelihoods. Patrick's role as a research assistant supports the network by working alongside researchers to produce reports on local communities known as 'community stories' to improve our understanding on the links between communities, conservation and livelihoods.
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