Welcome to Our 2021 Adventures
Something for everyone:
Scientific advances, social issues, general knowledge
(If not already on our mailing list, click here to subscribe to our Newsletter and to get meeting notices)
Please Note: The May 10th & June 28th lectures have been switched
The lectures will take place every Monday morning from 9:30 am (social) for 10 am (start) to around 11:30 am. commencing March 29, 2021, virtually via Zoom
Creating Aspen Grove
Inspiration for our upcoming gardening season . . . we travel back in time to 2005 then fast forward to 2021 joined by botanist Robert Pavlis in his journey to transform a desert landscape into the beautiful Aspen Grove, right here in Guelph.
Ice Age fossils from the permafrost of Canada's North
Dress warmly today, and wear your insulated rubber boots! You’ll need them in Whitehorse, Yukon, where spring comes in slowly, and we are greeted by Yukon paleontologist Dr. Grant Zazula, to inspect the wonderfully rich world of Yukon ice- age fossils.
Fossils of woolly mammoths, giant beavers, camels and other mammals have been recovered from the permafrost of Yukon for well over 100 years. Now, cutting edge techniques like radiocarbon dating, stable isotope analysis and ancient genetics are revealing wonders about how these ancient animals lived and what they can tell us about climate change in the North.
The Plight of North Atlantic Right Whales
Our destination Campobello Island in the Bay of Fundy. Here we meet Dr. Moira Brown, Senior Scientist with the Canadian Whale Institute/Campobello Whale Rescue Team.
North Atlantic Right Whales have been listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act since 1970. Today researchers estimate there are about 400 North Atlantic Right Whales (best estimate is that there were 409 at the end of 2018) with fewer than 100 breeding females left.
Fauna Foundation: Canada's Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Meet visiting primatologist and Associate Director Dr. Mary Lee Jensvold, in the chimpanzee sanctuary, Carignan, Quebec, on research leave to the Foundation from the Anthropology Department and Primate Behavior and Ecology Program at Central Washington University, Washington, U.S.A.
Fauna is a protected sanctuary for traumatised former biomedical research chimpanzees and other neglected and abused animals.
Through sanctuary, conservation and education, it aims to foster a better understanding of all animals while exploring our ethical responsibility for the well-being of all earth’s creatures.
What’s it like to be a lowbush blueberry shrub in Sudbury
We’re off to Sudbury to meet an old Summer Lectures friend, Prof. Emeritus Joe Shorthouse. Some members will remember our noteworthy Summer Lectures Club trip in 2016 when Prof.
Shorthouse helped us explore aspects of the regreening of Sudbury.
“Because they are adapted to growing in harsh habitats, lowbush blueberry shrubs played a key role in the regreening of Sudbury,” observes Prof. Shorthouse. “They have so many tricks up their botanical sleeves, it is possible to consider them the most ‘intelligent’ plant in Ontario.”
Building a City from Scratch
Today we fly to Berlin, Germany with acclaimed Ryerson University lecturer Shermeen Beg.
For 44 years after the devastation of WWll, Berlin evolved under two very different regimes. With the fall of the the Berlin Wall in 1989, the city needed to be rebuilt. Ms. Beg will focus on some key buildings that changed the city’s landscape as seen through the lens of some “Starcitects” such as Daniel Libeskind, Norman Foster, Peter Eiseman and more.
Shedding Light on the Dark Universe: Searching for Dark Matter at SNOLAB
We now know that the Universe contains “dark matter,” a distinct form of matter that does not interact with light. In fact, there is about five times more dark matter than “ordinary” matter like that found in atoms and molecules. We know that dark matter exists by observing its gravitational effects, but we have not yet been able to detect it directly. Some of the leading experiments attempting to detect dark matter are located at the SNOLAB facility in an active nickel mine 2kms below the surface near Sudbury, Ontario. In this presentation Prof. Alex Wright will describe the evidence for dark matter, and introduce SNOLAB and some of the experiments located there
May 17th (Note change in speaker)
Impact of humans on a tropical ecosystem.
We are bringing forward a talk from the drawing board for 2022 by the interesting and adventurous Biological Sciences Prof. Jonathan Shurin of the University of California, San Diego.
Prof. Shurin has kindly stepped into the breach to take us on a romantic journey to meet the world’s largest invasive mammal species, the hippopotami that escaped from late drug lord Pablo Escobar’s private zoo to find hippo heaven in Colombia’s steaming Magdalena River and a safe niche in the hearts and minds of many Colombians. On the way Prof. Shurin will describe his studies of the impact of humans on a tropical ecosystem.
Victoria Day - No lecture
Curating atrocity from a human rights perspective
Curator Dr. Jeremy Maron will discuss the representation of the Holocaust and the Tutsi Genocide in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The presentation will include a screening of the CMHR’s newest short documentary, The Power of Community: Seeking Justice after the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
Chiixuu tll iinasdll - Nurturing Seafood to Grow: Undersea stories from Gwaii HaanasIn Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site at the southern end of the remote archipelago of Haida Gwaii, Gwaii Haanas marine ecologist Dr. Lynn Lee and Council of the Haida Nation shellfish biologist Gwiisihlgaa Dan McNeill are working together with many other collaborators to restore balance among people, sea otters, abalone, fishes, kelp and more. Join us for stories about kelp forest restoration, the natural return of sea otters, and the intricately intertwined lives of people and place.
Beyond Subsistence Farming
University of Guelph Prof. Manish Raizada has developed low cost technologies that help farmers in Sub- Saharan Africa and South Asia to utilize natural, biological resources in place of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides. Working with farmers on the steep hillsides in the foothills to the Himalayas in Nepal, his team have been able to increase yields and fight climate change.
Controlled Environments in Space
The research of Prof. Mike Dixon, Director of the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility (CESRF) at the Universjity of Guelph is focused on plant growth in controlled environments. He explains how his facility is developing biological life support systems for application in space exploration and surprisingly on earth.
Lessons from chimpanzee sign language studies
We are greeted once more by Dr. Mary Lee Vensvold. Mary Lee has dedicated her career to studying chimpanzee communicaton. As an associate professor in the Anthropology Department and Primate Behavior and Ecology Program at Central Washington University, she is on research leave at Fauna Foundation, to continue studying two chimps from CWU, Tatu and Loulis, who know American Sign Language.
The future of climate policy? Keeping Fossil Fuels in the Ground
Waterloo University Associate Professor Angela Carter explores new approaches to climate policy, with a wave of countries banning exploration, including France, Belize, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain and Germany. She reflects on what this might mean for Canada and our “petro-provinces”.
In search of a blue frog
We’re off to the steaming tropical jungles of Suriname . . . a journey into
the heart of the Surinamese rainforest, on a quest to find one of the rarest amphibians on Earth (Dendrobates azureus) with with award-winning author and University of Toronto Associate Professor Andrew Westoll, who wrote the national bestseller, The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary.
James Bay hydro electric Project: La Grande shield, boreal, water, energy and Canadian civility
We visit James Bay hydro electric Project: La Grande shield, boreal, water, energy and Canadian civility with Professor Emeritus and founding President of Computational Hydraulics International, Bill James. Runoff flowing in rivers of the north central highlands of Quebec powers the country’s largest renewable energy project, evidently benignly, safely, cooperatively, amicably and productively. For now!
Architect Shermeen Beg takes us on a tour of Jing-jin-ji Metropolitan Region, Capital Economic Zone of the People's Republic of China.
It is the biggesturbanized megalopolis region in North China. It includes an economic region surrounding the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin, along the coast of the Bohai Sea.This emerging region is rising as a northern metropolitan region rivaling the Pearl River Delta in the south and the Yangtze River Delta in the east. In 2016 Jing-jin-ji had a total population of 112 million people and was as populated as Guangdong, the most populous province of China.
Meet the Woman who Loves Giraffes . . . and see her movie
After we’ve viewed the movie, University of Waterloo zoologist, biologist, feminist, author, and recipient of the Order of Canada Anne Dagg will answer questions about her research, and the slowly evolving gender-based world of academia and work environment supporting female researchers.
Beyond Racial Trauma
In light of the Black Lives Matter initiatives, Mental Health Advocate and Practitioner Bart Campbell explores the myriad ways in which racial prejudice, intended or not, hurts and diminishes us all. He gives a less-than-stellar assessment of what it is like to be a member of a visible minority in "colour-blind" Canada, and shows us how we can all play our part to move beyond racial stereotypes and reduce racial trauma.
Prerequistes for Civil Life: Functioning Drains and Empowered Women
What happens to the dirty bathwater when the world’s cities and populations take a shower, and by deduction, ultimately to modern civilization itself, depends, more than you’d think, on the efforts of environmental engineers and the global education of women. University of Guelph Professor Emeritus and founding President of Computational Hydraulics International, Bill James gives his perspective on the endurance of modern civilization