Geographers in the News

2017-2018 Academic Year

GIS Student Poster Competition

All students from the Faculty of Social Science and any students who have a supervisor within the Department of Geography, are invited to participate. The poster competition aims to encourage geospatial thinking and to award outstanding students in GIS learning and research. Posters are to be submitted no later than Sunday, November 12, 2017 to Kathy Tang (ktang28@uwo.ca). Read more


Dr. Gordon McBean Approves of Western's Inter-disciplinary Approach to Climate Related Changes

"Wind engineers, hydrologists, social scientists, physicists, sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists and geographers are all needed to examine and mitigate a host of climate-related changes to the environment." Read more


Parliamentary Health Research Caucus - Indigenous Health Research in Canada

Chantelle Richmond, an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, was invited by Research Canada to participate in the Parliamentary Health Research Caucus on Indigenous Health Research in Canada. This event was attended by a number of Members of Parliament including local MP Kate Young, Dr. Carolyn Bennett (Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs) and Dr. Jane Philpott (Minister of Health). Read more


Congratulations Prof. Jeff Hopkins: 2017 CAG Award for Excellence in Teaching Geography

Jeff Hopkins is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography who has taught over 4500 undergraduate students at all levels and is one of our most effective instructors. We are delighted that Jeff Hopkins has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the CAG Award for Excellence in Teaching Geography. Read more


CTV News Interviews HEAL's van der Werf on Household Food Waste

PhD Candidate Paul van der Werf and Professor Jason Gilliland from the HEALab in Western’s Geography Department want to learn more about why households waste food, so that they can develop and test interventions to tackle the food waste problem in Canada. This research is being undertaken in collaboration with the City of London and will help inform their municipal strategies for organic waste management. The multi-disciplinary team, which includes co-investigators Dr. Jamie Baxter, Dr. Godwin Arku (Western Geography), and Dr. Jamie Seabrook from Brescia University’s School of Food & Nutritional Sciences, was recently awarded an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Their research was recently featured in The Londoner and CTV news. Take the survey at www.foodwaste.ca


Gordon McBean announced as Winner of the International Meteorological Organization Prize

The World Meteorological Organization has announced that Gordon McBean, Professor Emeritus in the Geography Department, Western University, is Winner of the 62nd International Meteorological Organization (IMO) Prize. The IMO Prize, the most important award in meteorology, is named after WMO’s predecessor organization the International Meteorological Organization and is awarded annually to scientists that have made outstanding contributions to meteorology, hydrology and geophysical sciences.


2016-2017 Academic Year

Western’s researchers are the 2016 recipients of the prestigious Henry Cowles Award

Western’s researchers are the 2016 recipients of the prestigious Henry Cowles Award for Excellence in Publication in Biogeography for the 2016 paper "Agriculture causes nitrate fertilization of remote alpine lakes" in Nature Communications. Congratulations to Beth Hundey, Sam Russell, Fred Longstaffe, and Katrina Moser.


Study shows link between food insecurity and poor mental health

In a recent research study published in the journal of Social Science & Medicine, Health Geography PhD candidate Kilian Atuoye, highlights elevated mental distress in heads of households where food insecurity is moderate to high. The study was conducted with nearly 1,500 household heads in the northwestern region of Ghana, Africa, where food insecurity is an issue. Read more.


Congratulations to Western Masters Student Michael Allen

The Board of Urban Environment has awarded Michael the Excellent Oral Presentation Student Award. His presentation, "A Climatology of Urban Surface Heat Islands Derived from Hemispherical Radiometric Surface Temperatures", can be found here.


Professor Stooke's book included in the prestigious CHOICE List of Outstanding Academic Titles 

CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries a publication of the ACRL,  publishes a list of their chosen Outstanding Academic Titles every January, from the previous year. Only ten percent of approximately 7,000 eligible reviewed titles are awarded and Geography's own Professor Philip Stooke's book  The International Atlas of Mars Exploration volume 2 is one of the winners. Congratulations Professor Stooke!  Read more


Meet Jamie Voogt, the new Chair of Geography

Many thanks to Professor Isaac Luginaah for his term as acting chair and welcome to the new chair of the Georgaphy Department, Associate Professor Jamie Voogt. Read more about the Jamie in Social Science News Letter


Geography student's team wins Western's Challenge Challenge

Geography student Robert Celik, together with Linta Mustafa and Anisha Khanna, both in Health Sciences, won this year's World's Challenge Challenge competition with their proposal Addressing teh sustainability of contemporary agricultural food systems. The winning team will compete in the first International World's Challenge Challenge in May 2017. Western News


When health meets geography, difficult truths come to the fore

Maclean's Magazine recently published an article featuring Dr. Chantelle Richmond. The article looks at how the new field of health geography explores the connection between wellness and environment, and leads to some sobering truths. Read more.


Geography (UDP) Alumni Reception, Wednesday, November 30th at 5pm

Dan Shrubsole, Assistant Dean, Faculty of Social Science and Jason Gilliland, Director of the Urban Development Program, invite Geography and Urban Development Program alumni to join them for a cocktail reception at Char No.5 Whisky Bar at the Delta Toronto. Details


Western Geography's Urban Development Program (UDP) - Experiential Learning Opportunities

Last year Western Geography's UDP with the support of the Imran Jaffer Foundation, a summer internship with Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) was initiated. Dianne Ramos, the inaugural recipient reported that she learned a lot of the basic knowledge of real estate having experience in many different departments throughout the summer. Details


Western Geography Research Funding exceeded $1.7 million in 2015-2016

This reflects the continued high level of research activity within the Department.  Over the last 3 years, the Department’s funding has exceeded $1.7 million, and the total funds since 2007 is in excess of $12 million.  More information on the Department’s research labs cab be found here.  


Western Geographers win 2015 SPIE Best Paper

Congratulations to Western Geography Professor Jinfei Wang and Dr. Xiaodong Huang who won the 2015 Best Paper Award on Theoretical Innovation in SPIE society for their paper “Simplified adaptive volume scattering model and scattering analysis of crops over agricultural fields using the RADARSAT-2 polarimetric synthetic aperture radar imagery”. SPIE Article. Details


Drought study sounds another ‘wake-up call’

Western Geography professor Katrina Moser partnered with UCLA professor Glen MacDonald and Illinois State University professor Amy Bloom, on a paper examining the effects of greenhouse gases on drought in California. The paper, published last week in Nature Scientific Reports, looks at how natural climatic forces contributed to centuries-long, and even millennia-long periods of aridity in California over the past 10,000 years. Details


Western Geography PhD candidate Paul van der Werf supports “Fight Against Food Waste” Act

Paul van der Werf recently travelled to Ottawa to participate in a press conference at the National Press Gallery on Parliament Hill. He was there to support NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau’s private member bill the “Fight Against Food Waste Act”. (see 6:30 of video for his remarks). Details.


NEW Geography Weather Station

Western Geography has recently installed a wireless weather station close to the Social Science parking booth. The output from the station is available in both real time and as archived records for teaching and research. The data will be used to support student course and lab work in physical geography courses. Details


NEW Geography field course to the Pearl River Delta

Western Geography is one of three universities that will be participating in a 10 to 12-day Field course in the Pearl River Delta of China for Geography Major and Specialization students. The dates have yet to be finalized but the course could start as early as May 15 and be completed by June 15 2017. The overarching theme of the Field Course is proposed to be: Change, growth and sustainable development. Details.


Western Geography's Urban Development Program (UDP) - Experiential Learning Opportunities

Last year Western Geography's UDP and with the support of the Imran Jaffer Foundation, a summer internship with Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a leading financial and professional services firm specializing in commercial real estate services and investment managemen, was initiated. Dianne Ramos, the inaugural recipient reported that she learned a lot of the basic knowledge of real estate having experience in many different departments throughout the summer. 'Tenant representation, database and research, investment banking, human resources and project development services were the departments that I was able to get involved in and help out. It was interesting to see the collaboration and the intelligence within the office. Everyone was so supportive in answering my questions which helped me learn a lot about not just JLL but the whole real estate industry. It was an extremely valuable internship experience that gave me a taste of where I would be after my four years at Western.' See Dianne's letter.


Western Geography Research Funding exceeded $1.7 million in 2015-2016

This reflects the continued high level of research activity within the Department. Over the last 3 years, the Department’s funding has exceeded $1.7 million, and the total funds since 2007 is in excess of $12 million. More information on the Department’s research labs cab be found here.


Western Geographers win 2015 SPIE Best Paper

Congratulations to Western Geography Professor Jinfei Wang and Dr. Xiaodong Huang who won the 2015 Best Paper Award on Theoretical Innovation in SPIE society for their paper “Simplified adaptive volume scattering model and scattering analysis of crops over agricultural fields using the RADARSAT-2 polarimetric synthetic aperture radar imagery”. This paper developed a simplified adaptive volume scattering model to describe the scattering from the crop canopy to monitor the crop growth by the Polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (PolSAR) imagery collected by Canadian RADARSAT-2 satellite. This paper is published in the Journal of Applied Remote Sensing (JARS), which is published online in the SPIE Digital Library by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and optimizes the communication of concepts, information, and progress among the remote sensing community. SPIE article.


Drought study sounds another ‘wake-up call’

Western Geography professor Katrina Moser partnered with UCLA professor Glen MacDonald and Illinois State University professor Amy Bloom, on a paper examining the effects of greenhouse gases on drought in California. The paper, published last week in Nature Scientific Reports, looks at how natural climatic forces contributed to centuries-long, and even millennia-long periods of aridity in California over the past 10,000 years. Details


Western Geography PhD candidate Paul van der Werf supports “Fight Against Food Waste” Act

Paul van der werfPaul van der Werf recently travelled to Ottawa to participate in a press conference at the National Press Gallery on Parliament Hill. He was there to support NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau’s private member bill the “Fight Against Food Waste Act”. (see 6:30 of video for his remarks). The Act seeks to among other things establish a National Food Waste strategy to: raise public awareness of food waste through a national campaign; put in place the tools needed to allow consumers to reduce food waste; facilitate the donation, by the private sector, of blemished but edible food products to community organizations and food banks; study various ways of reducing the environmental impact of the production of unused food resources; and establish food waste reduction targets. Paul’s PhD research with supervisor Dr Jason Gilliland in the Human Environments Analysis Lab at Western aims to gain a better understanding of food waste generation and composition, as well as its economic, environmental and social impacts, to develop interventions that motivate households to reduce their generation of avoidable food waste. See this site and his blog foodisfood.ca and tweets @allfoodisfood highlight for his ideas on how to quantify and reduce the wasting of food.


NEW Geography Weather Station

Western Geography has recently installed a wireless weather station close to the Social Science parking booth. The weather station has a variety of sensors for measuring air temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, solar radiation, evapotranspiration and UV indices. The output from the station is available in both real time and as archived records for teaching and research. The data will be used to support student course and lab work in physical geography courses.

To view the real time weather visit: http://www.weatherlink.com/user/uwogeography Click Summary at the top of the page for additional measurements. For access to the archived data, please contact the Department’s Laboratory Supervisor, Erika Hill (ehill5@uwo.ca).


2015-2016 Academic Year

Western Professor Jason Gilliland Speaking at Parliament Hill

Jason Gilliland Parliament Hill May 2016Western Geography Professor and Human Environments Analysis Lab (HEAL) Director Jason Gilliland was at Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 9 to speak to federal MPs, Senators, and numerous representatives of various NGOs at an event entitled “Pediatric Research and Child Health in Canada”. Dr Gilliland was invited to speak to Parliamentarians about his research on the built environment and children’s health, with particular emphasis on how the environment matters for healthy active living and childhood obesity. The event was organized by Research Canada, with the support of Parliamentary Health Research Caucus Chair, MP John Oliver, Past Chair Senator Kelvin K. Ogilvie, and NDP Representative Carol Hughes. More information about the HEAL can be found here.


Western geographers publish in Nature Communications

Congratulations to Elizabeth Hundey (PhD 2014) and Katrina Moser (Associate Professor), who along with Fred Longstaffe and Sam Russell published an article entitled  "Agriculture causes nitrate fertilization of remote alpine lakes" in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.The research team used a novel stable isotope technique to differentiate between various sources of nitrate to high mountain lakes in Utah, USA.  They found that 70% of nitrates in these aquatic systems are anthropogenic and arrive at the lakes via the atmosphere.  These nitrates originate from upwind agricultural activities (60%) and fossil fuel combustion (10%).  A comparison of these data to other North American alpine lakes suggest that the human influence on nitrate contents of alpine lakes is not an isolated phenomenon. The findings indicate that greater attention should be paid to agricultural practices in order to protect these important water resources and biodiversity hotspots. Press release.


Geography takes CAGOnt by storm

Western Geography was well represented at the 2015 CAGOnt hosted by Carleton University on October 23-24, 2015. 13 students presented papers, three of which won best papers. Congratulations go out to: Sarah Mason, PhD candidate who won a Doctoral Student Paper Award; Illy Diaz, MA candidate who won a Masters Student Paper Award; and Adrian Buttazoni, BA Honours Double Major (Political Science/Geography) candidate who won the Undergraduate Student Paper Award. WELL DONE! Of the 74 oral presentations, 11 current and 5 former UWO students made an appearance. A special congratulations to Sarah Mason who was elected Vice President of CAGOnt. She is currently finishing up her term as Student Representative on the Executive Committee. Evan Cleave will continue for one more year on the Executive as Secretary. For a full listing of presenters, SEE HERE.


CTV covers PhD candidate Paul van der Werf’s waste audit work

Department of Geography PhD Candidate Paul van der Werf was featured in a CTV news story in Simcoe County about waste composition analysis. Paul’s company, 2cg, undertakes extensive waste composition measurement for municipalities and companies who use this data for waste management planning purposes. Paul is also using these waste audits to collect detailed information on food waste, which he is using in support of his PhD dissertation research "Quantifying Food Waste Generation and the Development of Food Waste Reduction Interventions” under the supervision of Professor Jason Gilliland. Watch Video


London water pollution research could ripple far

Thames River Experimental Stream Sciences Centre  grand opening photoAdam Yates a geography professor at Western University is leading research studies that colleagues say could change the way watersheds are managed around the world. Yates wants to determine the point at which a healthy stream turns bad and believes he can find the answer in specially-designed artificial stream channels behind a wastewater treatment plant in London.

The Thames River Experimental Stream Sciences (TRESS) centre allows researchers to study the effects of nutrients and other river contaminants by using models of flowing streams to give watershed planners and managers insight into potential outcomes of land use activities near moving waterways.

London Free Press - London water pollution research could ripple far
London Free Press - How much is too much?
Video - New Western-led research facility looks to protect our rivers


Opening of the Thames River Experimental Stream Sciences Centre

photo of Thames River, London OntarioWhen: Monday, October 19, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.
Where: Adelaide Pollution Control Plant: 1201 Adelaide St., London, ON

Please join us for the grand opening of the Thames River Experimental Stream Sciences Centre (TRESS), led by Western University geography professor, Adam Yates . Working with partners at the City of London and the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, and with funding from the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council, Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Yates has constructed a facility where researchers can use artificial streams to evaluate the effects of chemical and physical changes to stream environments. This collaborative centre will facilitate research informing management activities aimed at enhancing and protecting the health and heritage of the Thames River, as well as rivers across Canada and around the world.


Western Geography's Chantelle Richmond selected to RSC's College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists

Professor Chantelle Richmond has been named a member of the Royal Society of Canada's College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Chantelle's research is based on a participatory model that explores the intersection of Indigenous people’s health, knowledge systems and connection to land. With a greater goal of improving Indigenous health equity, she engages in community-based methodologies that empower Indigenous voice and vision in health and social research.

The members of the College will address issues of particular concern to new scholars, artists and scientists, for the advancement of understanding and the benefit of society, taking advantage of the interdisciplinary approaches fostered by the establishment of the College. Chantelle joins our own Issac Luginaah, who was selected in 2014.  Western News article.


Gilliland and Van Kesteren talk to Board of Health about Active & Safe Routes to School

Western Geography Professor Jason Gilliland and alumni Emily Van Kesteren were invited to the Middlesex-London Board of Health meeting on September 17th to speak about their university-community collaboration around Active & Safe Routes to School (ASRTS). Emily is a Public Health Nurse on the Healthy Communities and Injury Prevention Team with the Middlesex-London Health Unit and co-chair of ASRTS committee, a community partnership with representation from numerous organizations throughout the Ontario counties of Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford, and the cities of London and St. Thomas. Emily completed her MA in Geography with Dr Gilliland in the Human Environments Analysis Lab at Western, where she conducted thesis research on children’s active transportation. The two main goals of ASRTS are to promote physical activity and to improve safety of children on their journey to and from school, using comprehensive health promotion strategies such as engineering, engagement, education, research, and policy development. The HEAL Team, under the guidance of Gilliland and Dr Andrew Clark, leads the critical elements of data analysis and program evaluation for ASRTS activities.  See Board of Health report on ASRTS by Dr Mackie, Medical Officer of Health.


Karen Van Kerkoerle receives Western Staff Excellence Award

Karen Van Kerkoerle, Western Geography's Cartographic Specialist, one of this year's recipients of a Western Staff Excellence Award. It recognizes her outstanding work as a cartographer, her support of graduate and undergraduate students to develop their cartographic and visual design skills, her ongoing contributions and leadership within the Canadian Cartographic Association, and her longstanding leadership of the Department's United Way Fundraising drive and Talent Show. In other words, this award recognizes Karen for being herself - intelligent, positive, personable, resourceful and a leader. More information can be found in today's edition of Western News


Western PhD Graduate Marylynn Steckley discusses agrarian displacement and food (in)security in Haiti on CBC Radio’s Ideas Show

Marylynn Steckley (Western Geography PhD 2015) discussed how some of the development initiatives promoted by wealthy nations is contributing to food insecurity in Haiti on CBC Radio'’s Ideas show. A recipient of a PhD SSHRC doctoral scholarship during her studies, Marylynn spent over six years in Haiti, both as an aid worker and researcher. Read for further details on the interview.


Congratulations to Doctoral Candidate Sarah Mason

Sarah won the American Association of Geographers, 2015 Rural Geography Specialty Group Student Paper Competition! Her paper, based on her PhD research was titled "The Plant is Up and Running and the Wounds are Yet to Heal: Biosolids Facility Siting, Community Conflict and Emotional Geographies in Rural Ontario" While it was a tight competition, as all of the submissions were of very high quality, the judges thought that Sarah's paper was creative, grounded solidly in the rural literature, and had tangible results that could be used to help solve ‘real life’ problems. The judges also noted that Sarah handled herself in a very professional manner, and was able to field questions in a thorough, yet succinct way. Congratulations Sarah!


Congratulations Dr. Gordon McBean

Gordon McBeanDr. Gordon McBean has been awarded the University of British Columbia Alumni Award of Distinction for 2015. The Award will be presented at a Celebration on October 27, 2015. A leader in climate science, Dr. Gordon McBean has led global efforts to raise awareness about climate change impacts and played a key role in the development of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and in 2007, with his IPCC colleagues and Al Gore, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He is now President of the International Council for Science. Congratulations Gordon!


The First Annual Imran Jaffer Memorial Soccer Tournament

The first Annual Imran Jaffer Memorial Soccer Tournament was held at Bayview Glen High School in Toronto on June 6. Sixteen teams particiapted and a good time was enjoyed by all, as seen on the video link. Imran Jaffer was a student in Geography's Urban Development Program. The Imran Jaffer Foundation was formed to improve the quality of lives of youth by providing educational opportunities through scholarships to those who merit them as well as those in need, thereby contributing towards enrichment in the lives of youth - the leaders of tomorrow. Funds generated by the Foundation will support a number of initiatives, including student awards and infrastructure/equipment needs within Western Geography. All these undertakings will make a difference and have a lasting impact - much like the life of Imran Jaffer. Chair of the Geography Department, Dr. Dan Shrubsole (on left), attended the tournament. Thanks to all those who organized and supported the event, and who participated on a team.


Professor Chantelle Richmond named 2015 recipient of the Canadian Association of Geographers Julian Szeicz Award

Chantelle RichmondThis award recognizes her career potential by a Canadian geographer at an early career stage, and her outstanding research achievements in the area of the geographies of Indigenous Health, with a focus on applied Community Based Research and knowledge translation. Since becoming an independent researcher, her major research milestones include a prestigious CIHR New Investigator Award (2010-2015), and more recently, Dr. Richmond was the recipient of the highly competitive Early Researcher Award, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (2014-2019). Her achievement of these two major awards is congruent with her success rate on research grants. Since 2007, she has secured over $4.3M from Canadian Tri-Council Granting Agencies, Government Departments, and Non-profit organizations to collaborate with various First Nation communities and Aboriginal organizations. We congratulate Chantelle on being the 2015 recipient of the Canadian Association of Geographers Julian Szeicz Award, and wish her continuing success in the future [Read More].