Paleobotany And Permaculture from our Archives


Fern by Steve Bridger

We venture back to the archives to hear a piece by Dylan Hall and Whitney Caine as they talk permaculture with Kaz Haykowsky and Marcheen Makarewicz, two University of Alberta students who started a permaculture landscaping company. Then we hear a piece by Tasmia Nishat talking with Dr. Eva Koppelhus about plant spore fossils!

Download episode now.


What is this permaculture? Gardening design principles, an international social movement, eco-philosophy, or all of the above? Permaculture can be hard to pin down and the term has grown almost as many interpretations as there are practitioners.

Coined in the 1970’s by two Australians – David Holmgren and Bill Mollison – Permaculture was initially a contraction of permanent agriculture and has also come to mean permanent culture. The dual meaning of the word is fitting, as any hope of a permanent culture depends on a permanent food supply!

Kaz Haykowsky and Marcin Makarewicz are two students from the University of Alberta who have started a ‘Food Not Lawns’ business: Spruce Permaculture. Dylan Hall and Whitney Caine spoke with them about their personal interpretations of Permaculture.

If you are interested in Spruce Permaculture – Check out their website!


If you were to casually mention Paleobotany in a casual conversation, you’d probably get a “paleo-what-now??”

Basically, it’s the study of plant fossils. You can also get a little more crazy and talk about palynology, the study of plant spore fossils.

Dr. Eva Koppelhus, a professor of paleobotany at the University of Alberta, thinks the subject is underrated and at least deserves some of the glory that dinosaurs receive.

Here Tasmia Nishat talks with Dr. Koppelhus about the finer points of plant fossils, and why they’re super cool.

What’s Happening

Ornithologists and bird enthusiasts alike across the country cried foul earlier this month after the federal government announced that the grey jay will not be crowned as Canada’s national bird.

For 18 months the Royal Canadian Geographical Society ran its “National Bird Project”. The undertaking included an online contest as well as public debates and consultations with bird experts. After receiving nearly 50 000 votes, the grey jay was voted number one, claiming victory over the common loon, snowy owl, and black-capped chickadee.

Despite the strong response from the public, the federal government did not sanction the project and are, “not actively considering proposals to adopt a bird as a national symbol”. The Society believes; however, that the government has not cooked their goose on the proposed idea and hopes that the project has encouraged the public to learn more about Canadian birds found across the country. 

Read more here.

Download program log here.

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