My neighbour the osprey in all its grandeur

These magnificent birds often nest in odd places, such as the light standards and hydroelectric towers

My neighbour the osprey in all its grandeurThe waterfront of Port Perry, Ont., is hosting new neighbours. Two osprey have taken up residence right in the middle of town on the waterfront. These magnificent birds inspire awe but often nest in odd places, such as the light standards and hydroelectric towers. A pair has nested for years at the ball fields at…

Forestry grad harvests his passion for the outdoors into a career

Fergus McSween is applying his new knowledge of forests, plants and animals to help protect them

Forestry grad harvests his passion for the outdoors into a careerFergus McSween loves the outdoors. Growing up in Calgary, he spent much of his youth outside the city, roaming Alberta’s forests as a Scout, on school outdoor education trips, or camping with friends and family. “Nature is so peaceful and tranquil. It’s a place where I can be myself, turn my brain off and just…

Indigenous knowledge sorely lacking in Canadian education system

Age of Enlightenment partly responsible for the destructive colonial logic that has wreaked so much havoc among Indigenous peoples

Indigenous knowledge sorely lacking in Canadian education systemThere is a wisdom principle known as wâhkôhtowin underpinning how Cree peoples fundamentally see the world. Literally, it means kinship but refers more widely to the interconnectedness of human beings with each other and with all other forms of life. According to Dwayne Donald – freshly appointed Canada Research Chair in reimagining teacher education with…

Passion for nature sparks a career in environmental education

Julie Ostrem has spent her life building relationships with the land – and wants to help others do the same

Passion for nature sparks a career in environmental educationWhen Julie Ostrem was a child, she spent most of her time outdoors on her family’s acreage just outside Sherwood Park, Alta., playing with earthworms and collecting bugs. These critter-filled hours, paired with family camping trips and her mother’s influence, shaped how she viewed the world around her. “My mother really taught me why caring…

Plant diversity minimally affected by intensive cattle grazing: study

The large-scale study adds to the understanding of how different grazing practices affect the land

Plant diversity minimally affected by intensive cattle grazing: studyThe way ranchers graze their cattle doesn’t make much difference in plant diversity on the land, according to a U of A study. That’s important because plant diversity is a useful metric to gauge the resilience of a landscape, including rangeland used by cattle producers, says Jessica Grenke, first author of the study. Researchers compared adaptive…

Does the internet make us better naturalists?

While the amount of information available is astounding, it is usually hard to find the answers

Does the internet make us better naturalists?When I was a kid, we didn’t have cellphones, the internet or even computers. Facebook, TikTok, Tumblr, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram or myriad other social media platforms didn’t exist. Add to that the many apps that are available to help us learn bird songs or identify everything from plants, mammals and insects to mushrooms, and we…

A watershed moment – rethinking our relationship with water

Maricor Arlos grew up around water, but when she came to Canada she found purpose in sustaining it

A watershed moment – rethinking our relationship with waterGrowing up in the Philippines, a country in the western Pacific Ocean made up of 7,107 islands, Maricor Arlos didn’t think much about the water that surrounded her. With no central sewage system, many households in the Philippines have septic tanks or other forms of decentralized waste collection that would be cleared out periodically without…

New approach using species traits could be critical for conservation efforts

Examining characteristics could help scientists better predict how climate change will affect all life

New approach using species traits could be critical for conservation effortsIt’s not enough to understand what the effects of climate change are. Society needs ways to get ahead of these changes, to predict them before they actually happen. And when it comes to conservation, the approach scientists use to study species in the wild could be critical to these predictions, according to a recent research…

Uptick in avian flu cases poses little threat to humans

Risk of transmission to people and pets is very low unless you're regularly in contact with birds

Uptick in avian flu cases poses little threat to humansIf the recent increase in avian influenza cases has you concerned, you likely have nothing to worry about and don’t need to take any added measures, according to a University of Alberta expert on influenza in birds. As with human flu, there are a variety of strains of avian flu, explains Katharine Magor, a professor…

Discovery offers new clues to lichens’ evolutionary advantage

New research challenges understanding of organisms that have been textbook cases since late 1800s

Discovery offers new clues to lichens’ evolutionary advantageOur understanding of the marriage of fungus and algae in the formation of lichen is being upended by a University of Alberta research team whose work is rewriting the biology that introduced symbiosis to the world. “New discoveries happen with symbiosis all the time, but the exciting thing here is this is the symbiosis that…
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