Grizzly Deaths on Railways


This week on Terra Informa, we discuss the mystery involving trains and grizzly bears deaths in Banff National Park. A team of researchers from the University of Alberta lead by Dr. Colleen Cassidy St. Clair  set out on a 5 year study to look at why locomotives were derailing our grizzly population. This archive piece is done by Amanda Rooney, who sat down with Dr. Cassidy St. Clair and Jonathan Backs to find out more about this issue and how they are working to get the grizzly bear population back on track.

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Photo by: Roderick Eime on flickr


Remembering Father Goose

Bill Lishman, known by many as ‘Father Goose’, passed on December 30 after a battle with Leukemia. Bill Lishman was an eccentric artist who found he had a strong affinity for birds after he began flying ultralight aircrafts. He found joy in flying alongside flocks of ducks and saw that he could use his unique skill of flying with birds to help Canada geese in their migrations by acting as the lead bird.

He enlisted the help of his friend Joe Duff, a photographer and fellow ultralight flyer. Together, they attempted their first migration with geese in 1993. Together, Bill and Joe co-founded Operation Migration to continue their work on aircraft guided bird migration. Since then, Operation Migration has graduated from leading Canadian geese to leading the endangered whooping crane on their migratory route.

Terra Informer, Sofia Osborne, spoke with Joe Duff about his memories of the late Bill Lishman. They also discussed the invention of human-led avian migration, the status of Whooping Cranes, and the legacy of Bill Lishman.

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New York Divesting from Fossil Fuel and Oil Companies

New Marine Refuges off Coast of Nunavut and Newfoundland

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Mary Schäffer and Women, Wilderness, and Photography

Searching for Mary Schaffer cover.jpg

This week on Terra Informa,  we’re bringing you an interview with Colleen Skidmore about the story of Mary Schäffer, a distinguished exploring woman in Alberta from the 20th century.

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If you live near the Rocky Mountains Alberta, you might have heard the name Schäffer before. There’s a hike in Jasper by Maligne lake called Mary Shäffer Loop and there’s a ballroom named after Mary Schäffer in the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. At the University of Alberta, one of the residences on the University of AB campus is called Shäffer Hall.

But who was  Mary Schaffer? University of Alberta historian of photography, Dr. Colleen Skidmore, asked herself this same question before she embarked on writing her latest book: “Finding Mary Schaffer: Women, Wilderness, Photography”. Amanda Rooney and Sofia Osborne spoke with Dr. Skidmore to gain more insight into who Mary Schaffer was and why we still know her name today.

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Photo credit: Used with permission from University of Alberta Press

The Cognitive Science behind Climate Change Denial


This week on Terra Informa,  we’re bringing you an interview with cognitive scientist Stephen Lewandowsky, who talks about the concept of a post-truth world.

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Are you concerned about the spread of fake news?  That term might immediately make you think of Donald Trump scrubbing the Environmental Protection Agency’s website of references to climate change. Or it might bring to mind alt-right sites like The Rebel, Breitbart, and InfoWars.

This state of misinformation that we’re in now is often referred to as post-truth. But has the world ever really been a truthful one? And how do people process and react to fake news? Terra Informer Sydney Karbonik spoke with cognitive scientist Stephen Lewandowsky about the current proliferation of false information .

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Photo credit: Opper, Frederick Burr, Artist. The fin de siècle newspaper proprietor / F. Opper. , 1894. N.Y.: Published by Keppler & Schwarzmann, March 7. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed December 31, 2017.)

Growing together: fish and plants


Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it! This week, we’re bringing you an archive piece.

Have you ever wondered what the heck aquaponics is? Is it the same as hydroponics and isn’t that just some kind of high tech way to grow pot? As it turns out, while there is definitely a relation to hydroponics, but it’s nothing to do with Mary Jane, although aquaponic systems do seem like a smoking good idea.

A unique form of agriculture with aquatic growing systems that combine fish and plants into one symbiotic environment, aquaculture technology is sustainable, incredibly water efficient, and super cool. Stay tuned to learn all about it with us, as Charly Blais and Andrea Gallivan chat with Edmonton-based designer and entrepreneur Jonathan Luckhurst of Sea to Sky Aquaponics whos main focus has been bringing aquaponics to students across Canada.

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Photo by: Bryghtknyght in Brooks, Alberta

Eco Cars at the U of A


Come learn about eco cars with us!

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This week on Terra Informa, we give you an inside look at the University of Alberta’s EcoCar team. We had the pleasure of speaking with 3 team members (who are also students!) about their experiences on the team. Listen further if you’ve ever wondered “what on earth is a fuel cell!?”

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Photo by: EcoCar Team

Christmas trees and Bat issues


This week on Terra Informa we’ll revisit two notable stories. First we’ll take a look at how you can pick the most environmentally friendly Christmas tree for the upcoming season (the answers may surprise you), After that, we discuss the surprising challenges bats face today.

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Christmas Tree Showdown

We’re starting to get to that time of year when many of us are on the lookout for a new Christmas tree for our living rooms. We’re usually faced with one of two options: springing for the real deal, or going artificial. But who wins in the ecological showdown between the two types of trees? Each has its pros and cons, but when it when it comes to deciding which is naughty and which is nice, the answer isn’t so cut-and-dried. Before sprucing up your den this holiday season, you might want to hear some of the facts, which Hamdi Issawi will take us through.

Links: Ellipsos, Kansas State University Saint Joseph’s University

Bat Issues

Have you ever wondered how bats fit into our urban environment? This week we talk with Erin Lowe from the Alberta Community Bat program about the challenges facing bats and how to live with them happily.

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Photo by: camerabee

The Role of Municipalities in Climate Adaptation

blooming onion


This week we’re reairing an episode from our archives! This past June Amanda Rooney and Charly Blais sat down with Danielle Koleyak, an environmental project manager with the city of Edmonton. We talked about how municipalities are taking leadership in climate mitigation while also making strides for adaptation. We also spoke with Danielle about Edmonton’s newly developing climate change adaptation and resilience strategy and about the power that local leaders and municipalities have in addressing climate change issues.

Since then it has been announced that the City of Edmonton will be hosting the inaugural  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cities and Climate Change Science conference in March 2018. For more information click here.

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What’s Happening

International Mountain Day

Canadian Mountain Network is hosting a Mountain Festival in celebration of International Mountain Day. There will be a number of fascinating and free events! Highlights include: Wade Davis, the Keynote speaker at the festival, speaking  about his book “Into The Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest”,  a panel discussion on biodiversity, contaminants, and Indigenous food security in mountain places, and a talk given by photo historian and University of Alberta Professor Colleen Skidmore on her new book “Searching for Mary Schäffer: Women Wilderness Photography”. 

Change for Climate Talks

On Thursday, December 7, the City of Edmonton is hosting the Change for Climate Talks, an event to inspire Edmontonians into climate action. The event at the Art Gallery of Alberta will feature 11 speakers who will each get 7 minutes to talk about a climate-change related topic. The speakers include Edmonton’s poet laureate Ahmed (Knowmadic) Ali, Anna Ho from Paths for People, and Edmonton’s historian laureate Chris Chang-Yen Phillips.

Download program log here.