Science Communication

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 […]

Hear about the latest UN Climate Change talks on January 4, 2018

In 2009, Annette Dubreuil and I obtained observer status from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This not only allowed members of the pan-university organized research unit, the Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (2004-2015), but any and all York University members interested in climate change-related research, education and administration to attend […]

What Trees Talk About features the excellent research of Canadian ecologists

I'm always thrilled when one of my colleagues contacts me, to alert me to their research hitting the mainstream media. On November 26th, 2017, CBC's Nature of Things, which is  introduced by Dr. David Suzuki, broadcast an absolutely fabulous documentary on the ecology of Canada's boreal forest: What Trees Talk About. I loved the programme […]

Growing International Ada Lovelace Day in Canada

In October 2017, professional communicator, and designer of #ThatOtherShirt, Elly Zupko, came to Toronto with her family, to give the 3rd International Ada Lovelace Day Lecture (see her great talk above). International Ada Lovelace Day is one of several initiatives, such as Soapbox Science, founded by women in the last 10 years, with the aim […]

Biology Graduate Students Bring the Bioblitz to YorkU

My friend and colleague, Guelph professor, Dr. Shoshanah Jacobs (left, with her new son) invited me to give a guest talk in her first year Biology course: Discovering Biodiversity. I introduced the bioblitz concept in my talk, and encouraged students to join in with one, or to even organize a bioblitz of their own. The general […]

Must-read books for scientists: 2. The Invention of Nature

When I launched this lab website in 2013, I had a vague idea that I would write one to two posts a year, in which I urged fellow scientists to read some book that I had found particularly inspiring or educational. My first post in 2013 was about Stephen Clarkson and Stepan Wood's A Perilous Imbalance. Sadly, Stephen Clarkson […]