Geography Faculty News - 2008

January 3, 2009

Dr. Gail Fondahl attended an Arctic Social Indicators (ASI) development workshop in Copenhagen from Feb 27 - March 1, 2008. The ASI project is an IPY (International Polar Year) project under the aegis of the Arctic Council's Sustainable Development Working Group.

Dr. Gail Fondahl and POLS graduate student Kurt Boyer travelled to Edmonton to attend the Royal Society of Canada’s “Truth from the North: Law, Politics and Society” seminar on 17 - 18 January.

Dr. Phil Owens and Dr. Ellen Petticrew attended and gave several presentations at the 11th IASWS International Symposium on the Interactions between Sediments and Water in Esperance, Australia, between February 17-22, 2008. As Past President of IASWS, Ellen gave the opening keynote presentation. The next symposium will be in Totnes, England, in June 2011.

Dr. Roger Wheate travelled to Zurich for a “GlobGlacier” workshop meeting, February 4-5, as the representative for the Western Canadian Cryospheric Network. GlobGlacier is funded by the European Space Agency to promote worldwide glacier inventories and methods.

Dr. Greg Halseth is a member of the Board of Directors of Community Futures of Fraser Fort George for 2008/2009 and is a 2008 Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Dr. Ellen Petticrew and Dr. Phil Owens attended the European Geosciences Union annual meeting in Vienna, Austria, April 2008. They gave two invited oral papers and four poster papers and organized an oral and poster session on science for improved sediment and habitat management in aquatic ecosystems.

Faculty members from GEOG and ORTM took a group of about 30 graduate and undergraduate students to participate in the 50th Annual Meeting of the Western Division of Canadian Association of Geographers in Bellingham, WA (March 6-8, 2008). UNBC took home two of three student presentation awards.

Dr. Ellen Petticrew and John Rex (PhD NRES candidate) attended the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Meeting in St. John’s, Newfoundland in June. Ellen presented an invited talk in a special session on particulate organic matter in aquatic systems. It was an excellent venue for John to present the results of his PhD research and he received a near-perfect score for his student talk.

Dr. Brian MenounosGeography professor Dr. Brian Menounos was awarded the prestigious J. Ross Mackay Award this spring in Banff. The award honours a significant contribution to geomorphology by a young Canadian geomorphologist. Congratulations, Brian!

Dr. Kevin Hall spent the month of May as a guest of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Galicia, Spain) working on the Quaternary glacial/periglacial history of the Ancares Mountains, and advising on field approaches to monitor the linear elastic fracture mechanics of granite breakdown and the application of thermal imaging for the study of (Celtic) pictogram weathering.

Geography Field School to Guatemala, May 2008Dr. Catherine Nolin and eight UNBC students travelled to Guatemala for three weeks in May for the 3rd Geography Field School to Guatemala. Organized in collaboration with Grahame Russell of Rights Action, this university delegation focused on issues of human rights, social (in)justice and development and met with human rights and grassroots development organizations within the capital of Guatemala City and throughout the rural countryside. Vancouver-based mining company --  Goldcorp -- provided amazing access to their gold mining operations and the people who work within the sites.

Congratulations to Jim Windsor for receiving one of the UNBC Excellence in Teaching Award at the May 2008 Convocation.

The Geography Program sends warm congratulations to Dr. Gail Fondahl, Professor of Geography, on her recent appointment as UNBC's new Vice-President, Research. Gail begins her new position on September 1.

A big thank you to Gail Fondahl who recently completed her 5-year term as Chair of the Geography & Outdoor Recreation & Tourism Management (ORTM) Programs. We welcome Dr. Neil Hanlon in his new role as Chair of these programs for the next 5 years.

Dr. Brian Menounos and John Pomeroy (USask) received a $295,000 grant from the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS). The grant will be used as supplemental funds for two CFCAS-funded research networks, the Western Canadian Cryospheric Network (WC2N) and Improved Processes and Parameterization for Prediction in Cold Regions (IP3). Congratulations, Brian!

Dr. Gail Fondahl attended the International Congress of Arctic Social Scientists from 21-26 August, in Nuuk, Greenland. She presented her work on the development of social indicators for human development in the Arctic, a project under the aegis of the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council. Gail’s participation in the project is funded by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND).

Professor Tim Stott and four faculty and students from John Moore’s University (JMU) in Liverpool, UK are visiting BC during July to undertake research at Castle Creek glacier near McBride as part of a collaborative project between JMU and UNBC with Dr. Phil OwensDr. Stephan DéryDr. Brian Menounos and Dr. Ellen Petticrew. They are in the field monitoring water flow and sediment fluxes in the proglacial river. They will also visit the QRRC at the end of July to undertake a laboratory analysis of sediment samples. Dr. Owens and Dr. Menounos will continue to work in August with a UNBC undergraduate student.

The Northern BC Immigration Project, coordinated by Dr. Catherine Nolin and Dr. Greg Halseth, is in full swing for the second summer of field work (SSHRC, UNBC Office of Research & CDI-funded). RAs Anisa Zehtab-Martin and Laurel Van De Keere travelled to Smithers, Terrace, Kitimat, Fort St. John & Dawson Creek in June to meet with immigration service providers & immigrant women. The ethnographic fieldwork this summer is focused on marriage & migration with an emphasis on the experiences of foreign brides (‘correspondence brides’ who meet their Canadian husbands via the Internet) and their particular service needs.

Salmon Nutrients

Streams often more than 1000 km inland are nourished by nutrients delivered by spawning salmon. This is the subject of new research by UNBC Professor Dr. Ellen Petticrew and PhD student John Rex and published in December 2008 issue of Nature Geoscience, one of the world's most prestigious environmental journals.

Community Toolkit Approved

The Board of the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition endorsed moving ahead with the “Community Transition Toolkit”, led by Geography Prof. Greg Halseth. This toolkit will help community leaders and senior staff prepare for community transition in response to changes in local resource industries and local economies. The toolkit was developed in partnership with the Community Development Institute at UNBC and the BC Ministry of Community Development.

New Faces

In September 2008, geographer Dr. Sarah de Leeuw returned to UNBC, where Sarah earned her MA in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2002 (English/Geography), as Assistant Professor in the Northern Medical Program. Sarah is offering the Aboriginal Geography course (GEOG 403) in the fall 2008 semester.

Forensic Anthropology and Human Rights Presentations

Dr. Clyde Snow and Fredy Peccerelli (Executive Director, Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation) travelled to UNBC in November 2008 and offered two presentations on the issues of forensic anthropology, human rights, and the search for the disappeared in countries including Guatemala, Bosnia, Argentina and Turkey. The visits were organized by graduate student Cristian Silva and sponsored by many programs across campus.

Fredy Peccerelli, Cristian Silva, Dr. Richard Lazenby, Dr. Catherine Nolin & Dr. Clyde Snow

Cristian Silva, Dr. Richard Lazenby, Dr. Clyde Snow, Dr. Catherine Nolin & Fredy Peccerelli

Guatemala Field School Presentation

 Canada's Connection to Mining, Human Rights & Social Justice in GuatemalaDr. Catherine Nolin and nine UNBC participants who travelled to Guatemala in May 2008 presented an evening of images, reflections, and dialogue on October 8, 2008. The presentation Violent Development: Canada's Connection to Mining, Human Rights and Social Justice in Guatemala was attended by close to 200 people.

Seminars and Workshops

Dr. Brian Menounos attended a climate change seminar hosted by the Canadian Columbia River Forum 27-28 October. The seminar was in Cranbrook, BC, and Brian presented about the current state and future fate of glaciers in the Columbia Basin. Brian also hosted a Fall 2008 Workshop for the Western Canadian Cryospheric Network October 2-4th. 40-50 members of the research team that Dr. Menounos leads met at UNBC where various research findings were presented.

Our Receding Glaciers

Dr. Brian Menounos

Dr. Brian Menounos and Dr. Roger Wheate along with doctoral student Matt Beedle (among others) are conducting a study of the effect of global warming on glaciers in BC and Alberta.

Care of the Body Workshop

In early September, Dr. Neil Hanlon travelled to Durham, England as an invited participant in the "Care of the Body" Workshop hosted by the Department of Geography at Durham University. The title of Neil's presentation was "Regionalization and the re-territorialization of health care in northern BC."