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Student achievement

Grenfell environmental science student research recognized

Teaching and Learning

By Melanie Callahan

From bees to squirrels and trees to soil, Grenfell Campus’s environmental science student research is complex and relevant.

It’s also award-winning.

Two winners

Four students from Grenfell attended the Science Atlantic-Environment conference held recently at the University of New Brunswick in Moncton.

From left are Heather Spicer and Jasmine Pinksen, environmental science students at Grenfell Campus.
From left are Heather Spicer and Jasmine Pinksen, environmental science students at Grenfell Campus.
Photo: Submitted

Heather Spicer received the second place award for undergraduate oral presentation. Jasmine Pinksen received the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre Award.

“We heard about the Science Atlantic conference from friends and faculty who attended in previous years,” said Ms. Spicer.

“I was interested in participating this year because it was the first opportunity to go and present at a conference of this sort. It was a really great experience and gave me a chance to talk about my honours research.”

Future scientists

Ms. Spicer, an imminent graduate who hails from Pasadena, N.L., presented her thesis, titled Red Squirrel and Eastern Chipmunk Distribution in Western Newfoundland.

Her research is a two-part project. As one part, she asked elementary school students to conduct acoustic surveys and individual interviews with family and friends in order to document squirrel presence and abundance across much of Newfoundland.

For the second part, Ms. Spicer conducted monthly surveys of red squirrel activity in two locations, Corner Brook and Pasadena, to determine at what level red squirrels will respond to calls.

Ms. Spicer intends to pursue graduate studies in the future and has taken a position with the federal government, related to a citizen science project, commencing this spring.

Work to be proud of

Ms. Pinksen is also a soon-to-be graduated environmental science student and is from Port-au-Port, N.L. She presented on her investigation into whether cutovers — areas of land where the timber has been felled and removed — are potential bee habitats.

Ms. Pinksen spent the last two summers researching bees in the cutovers around Corner Brook, looking at bee abundance and diversity to determine if there is an ideal cutover age, e.g. 3-7 years, that bees prefer as suitable habitat based on the foraging vegetation present.

Ms. Pinksen says the conference provided her with the opportunity to present work she is proud of and to gain experience of presenting in front of her peers.

Two other students from Grenfell also presented: Victor Valdez’s project was titled Regeneration Constraints for Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus L.) in Western Newfoundland, and Marli Vermooten presented on the topic of Assessment of Physicochemical Properties of Agricultural Soils Treated with Biochar, Dairy Manure and Inorganic Nitrogen in Western Newfoundland.

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