Students carry out their own research as summer projects or as part of directed studies courses.
Students have chosen to research a diverse array of topics including: understanding the population structure of a phytoplankton community to get a picture of the ecology of the oceans, which has a global impact on climate; Aboriginal knowledge and resource management; and the human dimensions of aquaculture management.
A model for transition zones and tidal rivers. Joe Gthreau, environmental studies
Joe Gothreau worked with Dr.Jeff Ollerhead to develop a model to look at transition zones and tidal rivers. "We are interested in areas where rivers are potentially dominated by a tidal influence, specifically that zone in-between the freshwater and salt where there is a lot of mixing. We want to try and identify where these are and what sort of features we can look for. My role in this is from the GIS and the remote imaging (satellite images, orthoimagery) side of things. I am trying to come up with a way to narrow that window down without actually having to keep going out into the field and test over the years where certain events are occurring. I am particularly interested in the impacts of climate change and anthropogenic influences on these watersheds. If we can map these river systems out then we can get a better idea of what the river systems could look like in the future."
Outdoor environmental education implementation: a Salem School case study, Natalie Gillis, environmental studies
As part of my honours project in Environmental Studies, I am looking into the notion of Education for Sustainable Development and Outdoor Environmental Education. There is an increasing amount of literature and evidence out there that demonstrates that children can and will greatly benefit from spending more time outdoors, and as such outdoor classrooms and outdoor environmental education are becoming more and more talked about.
Specifically, I am using a case study analysis to look at these notions, and am working with Salem Elementary School in Sackville, which is currently constructing an outdoor classroom, complete with gardens, a wetland, outdoor sitting space, and new equipment to allow students to learn about weather and energy. This summer I am researching and developing grade specific curriculum activities for teachers to use that incorporate the new features being constructed, as well as developing activities that incorporate current curriculum, and take them outside, such as language arts, social studies, math, and science. Ultimately I am working on developing an educational resource for teachers, to help them use the outdoor classroom come fall. After the summer, I will continue my honours work, and observe and assist with the implementation of the outdoor classroom.
Natalie received a Mount Allison Summer Student Research Award for her project.