Dawn's Blog and General News Items

New Indigenous People & Plants Trail at Royal Botanic Gardens, Hamilton

The new Indigenous People and Plants Trail at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton, Ontario, opens to the public on Monday 18th September 2017. The trail, located in Cootes Paradise, teaches us about how plants were used by the Anishinaabe people. I found a great journal article about Anishnaabe ethnobotany in NW Ontario, by Davidson-Hunt, Jack, Mandamin & […]

Envirothon is a team-based environmental science high school contest

The Toronto Envirothon Workshop at #YorkUniversity on April 13, 2017. Envirothons are team-based #HighSchool science competitions that have been around for decades in Canada & the USA. Students form clubs supervised by dedicated teachers, and learn about #Forestry, #Wildlife, #AquaticBiology & #soilscience. A one day, intensive workshop runs ahead of the local, regional competition. The […]

From university professor to University Professor

At last week's York University convocation for the Faculty of Science and Lassonde Engineering School, I was made University Professor. That's me with the Dean of Science, Dr. Ray Jawawardhana. But, I'm already a university professor, so what does this mean? University Professor is an honorific title that exists at many North American universities, including University of Toronto […]

Gardening for biodiversity & local food in Carolinian Canada

Two excellent Canadian documentaries, The End of Suburbia (2004) and Escape from Suburbia (2007), discuss the enormous implications of our unsustainable North American car culture, which has spawned sprawling suburbs and gridlock in southwestern Ontario, and the Greater Toronto Area. These films include fascinating conversations with "futurists" about how people will convert their (sub)urban lawns into vegetable patches to grow local […]

More public science: appearing on the ZDF series, Infestation!

  I doubted that much could top discovering that my 2013 Skype chat about plant defences got me a movie credit in a science fiction feature film! But, you never can tell where science outreach and engagement will take you. Just a few weeks after hearing about my Botanical Consultant film credit, some of my other Public Science led to just as unexpected an […]

How doing public science led to a credit in the "Flora" movie

These days, science communication, outreach, and engagement are all the rage. But when I joined York University's Biology Department as an assistant professor in 1990, the notion, that part of our responsibility, as taxpayer-funded professors, might include spending valuable time away from research, talking with non-academics, other than our students, was rather a minority opinion amongst many YorkU faculty. Since […]

Science Fairs & Science on Ice at York University

The annual Science Fair is a right of passage for many aspiring, young scientists. I've been fortunate (if that's the right word), to experience them as both a judge, and a parent. Back in the 1990s, I was blown away by the creativity and enthusiasm of the young citizen scientists when I was a judge at the annual […]