Dawn's Blog and General News Items

Banksias were my favourite Australian genus

The common names of many Australian plants are the same as those in Britain. Yet these plants have no taxonomic relationship to their namesakes from Britain. Landing in the southwest of Australia in April 2018 for a month reminded me of the time that I arrived in Capetown, South Africa. Everything ecological was different. While […]

An introduction to New Zealand biodiversity with Dr. Victoria Metcalf

In the fortnight that I’ve been back in Toronto, I’ve been catching up with my online work now that I’m back on the rapid & reliable download side of the digital divide, and also digesting and reflecting on my pretty epic four-month trip. While visiting YorkU’s international partner,  Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, for four weeks, […]

My #SciComm (not Cricket) Tour of India, Bangladesh, Australia & Pakistan

There truly is nothing like a well-planned and structured sabbatical for giving professors the intellectual and emotional space to reflect on and crystallize what their previous five to six years of long days and hard work has been most fundamentally about. This is why, in my view, where they still exist, the sabbatical should be […]

Wikipedia Editathon Chronicles Part 2

In Wikipedia Chronicles Part 1 (January 30, 2018) I posted about my plan to hold a Wikipedia edit-a-thon at Visva Bharati University, West Bengal, India. I held a mini Ada Lovelace Day Wikipedia Editathon for my third Science Communication Workshop on March 20th. During my time (January to March 2018) as a visiting professor, I […]

Digital Divide Chronicles Part 3

  This is the last leg of my four-month sabbatical trip to Asia and the southern hemisphere. I've met wonderful new colleagues, taught incredible students and learned a huge amount. I've been in India (2.75 months) with a side-trip to Bangladesh,  Australia (3.5 weeks) with a side-trip to New Zealand. Now, I'm in Pakistan for […]

The Canada-India project, CIPRI, started with a conversation about the arctic

I have been in Delhi, and in one of its many surrounding suburbs (Greater Noida), this past week, with YorkU colleague, Dr. Nivedita Das Kundu, networking and building CIPRI (Canada-India Project for Research and Innovation) connections for the York Centre for Asian Research. Nivedita, a political scientist and International Relations scholar, lived, studied and worked in […]

From Ecotourism Practitioner to Teacher & Researcher

I've been giving some lectures in the Biodiversity and Conservation course at Visva Bharati. So far, I've introduced students to arctic and forest ecology in Canada, and yesterday, I gave my first ever lecture on ecotourism, which is a topic in the course. Broadly speaking, ecotourism is the kind of tourism where people seek out […]

Digital Divide Chronicles Part 2

I began my career as a field ecologist on the remote shores of Hudson Bay, where I spent between two and four months off the electrical grid for five successive summers (1980-84). That's me at far left, with a rifle for polar bear protection. A generator charged the car battery that powered the radio that […]

Wikipedia Editathon Chronicles Part 1

When Wikipedia first launched in 2001, students quickly discovered its articles and started citing them in their written work. In the early 2000s, when I began to use TurnitIn to analyze student essays and lab. reports for plagiarism, I would often find entire paragraphs lifted from Wikipedia. Plagiarism aside, most professors, including me, banned Wikipedia from being cited in […]