Science Week Introduces Indigenous Youth to Careers in Natural Resources

Photo of young person using a trowel

Fifty-two Indigenous youth from 29 communities are in Thunder Bay this week learning about geo-caching, cartography, sustainable energy, entrepreneurship, working with concrete, and more as part of Science Week with the Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP).

THUNDER BAY, ON, July 31, 2019 – Fifty-two Indigenous youth from 29 communities are in Thunder Bay this week learning about geo-caching, cartography, sustainable energy, entrepreneurship and more as part of Science Week with the Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP).

The youth and their Crew Leaders are part of a national network of OYEP Camps, a collaborative project between industry, the province, and Confederation College and Lakehead University.

Since 2000, Outland, a division of Dexterra, has partnered with Confederation College and Lakehead University to offer land-based education training and employment programs for Indigenous youth in Ontario. To date, the partnership has resulted in over 500 participants from over 55 communities completing the programs.

“The science camp is a great opportunity for Confederation College to host Anishinaabe youth, to open up our doors to them and to showcase all the great opportunities that come with being a college student,” said Chris Paci, Chair of Engineering Technology, and organizer the camp activities at Confederation.We get them thinking about careers in engineering technology, natural resources, health and hospitality. We want the camp to be culturally relevant, engaging, fun and to let youth know that even if they didn’t think they could go to college, that there’s a place for them here. We are proud to be an ongoing partner.”

Sarah Ambroziak, National Manager, Outland, a division of Dexterra, spoke to the long-standing partnership with both institutions. “OYEP is a great example of the power of partnership. The collaborative efforts of Outland, Confederation College and Lakehead University have supported the educational and employment goals of over 500 Indigenous youth in Ontario. Each partner brings unique expertise to the program, allowing us to deliver a robust summer experience for all youth involved. We look forward to many more years of OYEP in Ontario.”

Science week, running July 29 to August 2, includes field trips to local facilities and guest speakers from Confederation College, Lakehead University and the natural resources industry. Participants have multiple opportunities to gain hands-on experience in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and natural resource fields, with a focus on Indigenous history and technology. Activities range from designing an atlatl—ancient throwing spears from the northwest region—to the exploration of stream ecosystems with underwater drones. The group will also learn about the history, policies, impacts and effects of residential schools through the Kairos Blanket Exercise facilitated by Lakehead staff.

“It is very important that today’s youth are better equipped to appreciate how an understanding of STEM and natural resource management impacts their day-to-day lives and the prosperity of communities across the north,” said Denise Baxter, Vice-Provost, Aboriginal Initiatives, Lakehead University.

“Indigenous youth from the region have a great opportunity to engage in experiential learning at Lakehead University. The Aboriginal Mentorship Program and Lakehead are honoured to host youth from the region in partnership with Outland Youth Employment Program and Confederation College,” she added.

The program will continue through mid-August. OYEP will be celebrating 20 years of delivery at Confederation College on August 14, 2019.

 

 

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Confederation College has been serving the citizens of northwestern Ontario since 1967 meeting the educational needs of students in a catchment area of some 550,000 square kilometres. Along with its main campus in Thunder Bay, Confederation College has eight regional sites located in Dryden, Fort Frances, Geraldton, Kenora, Marathon, Sioux Lookout, Red Lake and Wawa. 

 

Confederation College delivers exceptional education and training to an average of 6,500 combined full- and part-time students per year and currently has a total of 850 full- and part-time employees. Confederation’s regional economic impact and contribution is valued at $643.4 million annually.

 

Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2019 UniversityRankings place Lakehead University among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities and in 2018 Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the fourth consecutive year. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

 

For more information, please contact:

Vince Ponka, Media and Communications Officer, Confederation College

Ph: (807) 475-6137, Cell: (807) 620-0043, Email: vponka@confederationcollege.ca

 

Brandon Walker, Communications and Marketing Associate, Lakehead University

Ph: (807) 343-8372, Email: bwalker3@lakeheadu.ca

An exceptional month starts in July for Shad participants at Lakehead University

Photo of Isobel Flindall doing interviews with the media.

Isobel Flindall from Brighton, right, did interviews with Thunder Bay Television, Country and the Bay FM, and the Chronicle-Journal about Shad on Canada Day.

July 1, 2019 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

Approximately 65 young people from across Canada are participating in Shad at Lakehead University from July 1 until July 25.

Shad specializes in STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, art and math) and is for students currently completing grade 10, 11 or 12, Quebec secondaire IV, V or CEGEP I, or the international equivalent.

Founded in 1980 to help youth reach their full potential, Shad is a one-month enrichment program allowing students to interact with renowned university faculty and visionary corporate leaders. 

In a unique element of the program, the students are challenged to come up with an original solution to a societal problem they learn about in the first week. It teaches them about entrepreneurship and innovation and leaves the students seeing how they can make an immediate impact.

 

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Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Communications and Marketing Associate, at (807) 343-8177 or mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca.

 

Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2019 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities and in 2018 Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the fourth consecutive year. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

Lakehead University’s Agricultural Research Station tests a new kind of fertilizer

Photo of SuperU fertilizer

June 13, 2019 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

This spring, Lakehead University’s Agricultural Research Station has initiated a study on Urea Super Granules (SuperU® fertilizer) on canola, which responds to high amounts of nitrogen.

“I believe we are the first in Ontario to test this new fertilizer product on canola,” said Dr. Tarlok Sahota, Director of Lakehead University’s Agricultural Research Station (LUARS). 

SUPERU® is a ready-to-use premium fertilizer that offers highly effective above and below ground protection against all three forms of nitrogen loss (Volatilization, denitrification and leaching). The water-soluble granules are uniformly integrated with the dual inhibitors, NBPT and DCD, to deliver consistent performance. Backed by 25 years of research, SUPERU® has been shown to keep nitrogen where you need it, giving you the potential to increase your yield.

Research conducted elsewhere has shown that SuperU® could enhance nitrogen efficiency and optimize crop yields. LUARS will be comparing SuperU® with urea and combinations of urea and ESN and will also be trying combinations of SuperU® and ESN at 90, 180, 270 and 360 kg N application per hectare.

Lakehead University’s Agricultural Research Station has often taken initiative to test new fertilizer products or the fertilizers that were not used by area producers. In 2004, the research station initiated research on ammonium sulphate that contains two prime essential nutrients: nitrogen and sulphur.

Farmers started using it in 2005. In 2006, the research station was the first agricultural research facility in Ontario to test Environmentally Smart Nitrogen (ESN), a polymer coated slow release urea fertilizer – and Ontario farmers started using it in 2009. In the Thunder Bay area, its use increased to the extent that the Manager of the Thunder Bay Co-op has been thinking of adding two separate bins for ESN. Both ammonium sulphate and ESN helped increase nitrogen use efficiency and improve crop yields and quality of produce on farms.

 

 

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Media: Dr. Sahota is available for interviews today (Thursday, June 13) from 11 am and 3 pm.

 

Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Communications and Marketing Associate, at (807) 343-8177 or mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca.

 

 

Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2019 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities and in 2018 Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the fourth consecutive year. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

Lakehead University and Seven Generations Education Institute join forces to deliver nursing entry program

(July 23, 2019) / KENORA: Lakehead University and Seven Generations Education Institute (SGEI) are partnering this September to deliver the All Nation Nurses Entry Program (ANNEP), a nine-month certificate program designed to encourage Treaty Three members to pursue careers as Registered Nurses while remaining in their communities.

The program, open to Indigenous and non-Indigenous applicants, provides students with the prerequisites needed to enter a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) Program.

“Travelling far away from home to complete a program like this serves as a huge barrier for our learners,” says Brent Tookenay, CEO of Seven Generations Education Institute. “Opening doors to a rewarding career that starts in a student’s own community provides opportunities they may otherwise not have pursued.”

“We would like to see an increased number of Indigenous nurses working in Northwestern Ontario,” says Karen McQueen, Lakehead University Associate Professor and Director of the School of Nursing. “We hope that this program welcomes more Indigenous learners into the BScN program and the nursing workforce.”

The curriculum for the program is based on Lakehead University’s Native Nurses Entry Program and attempts to address Indigenous health and education inequities. It directly responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action 23 of increasing the number of Aboriginal professionals working in the health-care field.

The ANNEP program is being delivered at Lakehead's Thunder Bay campus and SGEI’s Fort Frances, Kenora and Sioux Lookout campuses via telepresence technology.

For more information on the ANNEP program or to apply online, visit www.7generations.org.

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About Lakehead University
Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2019 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities and in 2018 Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the fourth consecutive year. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

About Seven Generations Education Institute
Seven Generations Education Institute (SGEI) is a not-for-profit educational organization that provides secondary, adult education, post-secondary, pre-employment, school board support, language, and cultural programming to all First Nations, Metis and non-Aboriginal people in the Treaty 3 area. With main campuses in Fort Frances and Kenora, Ontario, satellite offices in surrounding First Nations communities, and a post-secondary student support office in Thunder Bay, Ontario, SGEI aims to provide community-based and student-centred learning opportunities for everyone.

Lakehead University is receiving more than $757K in SSHRC Insight and Insight Development grants and student awards

On the left is a women wearing a black cotton shirt accessorized with a necklace. She is also wearing glasses and has curly dark brown hair. On the right is a women with brown hair and blue eyes smiling against a blue background.

July 22, 2019 – Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ont.

Lakehead University researchers are receiving more than $757,000 in Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight and Insight Development grants and student awards for 16 research projects.

Some of this research will explore the use of body-worn cameras in policing and examine medical assistance in dying in Ontario.

Dr. Alana Saulnier, assistant professor in Interdisciplinary Studies at Lakehead Orillia, is receiving $62,866 to explore the use of body-worn cameras in policing through interviews with police officers as well as analysis of existing Canadian police body-worn camera policies in comparison to international frameworks over the next two years.

A team of experts in policing, criminology, science and technology studies, the sociology of work and technological change is involved in this project.

“This research is one of the first major empirical investigations exploring the use and impacts of body-worn cameras in Canada,” Dr. Saulnier wrote in her research proposal.

Dr. Katherine Kortes-Miller, assistant professor in Lakehead’s School of Social Work and the Palliative Care Lead at the Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health, is receiving $65,826 to spend two years examining medical assistance in dying in Ontario (MAiD).

“The purpose of this project is to contribute to our understanding of the experience of family and friends who accompany a loved one throughout their dying process involving medical assistance in dying in the province of Ontario,” Dr. Kortes-Miller wrote in her research proposal.

“Thank you to SSHRC for recognizing this important research and to our researchers for their dedication,” said Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation.

Funding from SSHRC also generates support from the federal Research Support Fund to offset the indirect costs of research incurred by universities.

In 2018/19, Lakehead University will receive nearly $2 million in assistance from the Research Support Fund to support the indirect costs of research, which includes costs for supporting the management of intellectual property, research and administration, ethics and regulatory compliance, research resources, and research facilities.

New SSHRC Insight and Insight Development Grants

Total funding:  $757,247

Faculty Awards

Insight Grants (three to five-year grants)

Dr. Lori Chambers, Department of Women's Studies, R. v. Ryan: A Case Study of Coercive Control, $33,540.

Co-investigator

  • Dr. Nadia Verrelli, Laurentian University

 

Dr. Charles Z. Levkoe, Department of Health Sciences, Civil Society and Social Movement Engagement in Food Systems Governance, $244,910.

Co-investigator(s)

  • Dr. Amanda K.D. Wilson, Saint Paul University
  • Dr. Patricia Ballamingie, Carleton University
  • Dr. Peter Andree, Carleton University

Collaborator(s)

  • Dr. Ana Moragues-Faus, Cardiff University
  • Diana Bronson, Food Secure Canada
  • Larry McDermott, Plenty Canada
  • Dr. Nicholas J. Rose, William Angliss Institute
  • Dr. Phil Mount, Sustain Ontario

 

Dr. Alana Saulnier, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Police Adoption of BWCs in Canada: Building Qualitative Understandings of Officer Perceptions and Constructing a National Policy Template, $62,866.

Co-investigator(s)

  • Dr. Carrie B. Sanders, Wilfrid Laurier University

Collaborator(s)

  • Dr. William McCarty, University of Illinois at Chicago

 

Insight Development Grants (two-year grants)

Dr. David Thompson, School of Nursing, Opening the Black Box of Rural Interprofessional Collaboration:  A Multiple-case Study Examining the Relationship Between Health Workers and Environments in Rural Settings, $68,805.

Co-investigator(s)

  • Dr. Erin Cameron, Faculty of Medicine, West Campus
  • Dr. Ian Newhouse, School of Kinesiology
  • Dr. Nisha Sutherland, School of Nursing

 

Dr. Katherine Kortes-Miller, School of Social Work, Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health, The Untold Stories of MAiD in Ontario:  Family and Loved Ones’ Experiences, $65,826.

Co-investigator(s)

  • Dr. Arne Stinchcombe, Saint Paul University
  • Dr. Kimberley Wilson, University of Guelph

 

Dr. Erin Cameron, Faculty of Medicine, West Campus, Preparing Students for Rural Careers:  Examining the Learning Processes and Outcomes in Rural Medical Education in Canada, $58,800.

Co-investigator(s)

  • Dr. Hoi Cheu, Laurentian University
  • Dr. Mirella Stroink, Department of Psychology

 

Student Awards

SSHRC - Doctoral Fellowships Program

  • Elizabeth Boileau, PhD Educational Studies, How do Forest School Experiences Shape Children’s Empathy and Care for the Environment? (12 months - $20,000.00).
  • Samantha Chong, PhD Clinical Psychology The Investigation of the Facial Feedback Hypothesis Among Pathological Narcissists (24 months - $40,000.00).
  • Melissa Twance, PhD Educational Studies, The Ceremony of Place: Mazinaabikiniganan as Sites of Resistance and Renewal (24 months - $40,000.00).

Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Program

($17,500 for one year)

  • Bronson Carver, Education A+Vengers: Empowering Indigenous Students through Superheroic Re-Storying, May 2019-April 2020.
  • Robin Fay, Education, Community Arts & Community Healing in Thunder Bay, September 2019 – August 2020.
  • Joshua Hawkins, Psychology, Quality of Life (QoL) and Integrated Care Management for Complex Cancer Patients, September 2019 – August 2020.
  • Abigale Kent, Health Sciences, Closing the Northern Gap: Stakeholder Perspectives on an eHealth App for Maternal Mental Health in Northwestern Ontario, May 2019-April 2020.
  • Sarah Friesen, Archaeological Science, The Evolution of Human Locomotor Behaviour: Shape Variation in the Chimpanzee Foot, September 2019 – August 2020.
  • Stephanie Potter, Environmental Sciences, Towards Management Recommendations for the Franklin Wreck Sites, May 2019-April 2020.
  • Shakira Mohammed, Psychology, Promoting Mattering to Support Adjustment in First-Year University Students, September 2019 – August 2020.

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Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Jaclyn Bucik, Marketing and Communications Associate, at 705-330-4008, ext. 2014 ormediarelations@lakeheadu.ca.

 

Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2019 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities and in 2018 Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the fourth consecutive year. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

On the left is a women wearing a black cotton shirt accessorized with a necklace. She is also wearing glasses and has curly dark brown hair. On the right is a women with brown hair and blue eyes smiling against a blue background.

Civil Engineering professor and graduate student receive award

Photo of Dr. Sam SalemDr. Sam Salem, Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, received the Outstanding Paper Award at the 6th International Conference on Applications of Structural Fire Engineering June 13-14.

He received the award at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore for a paper entitled "Fire Performance of Concealed Timber Connections with Varying Bolt Patterns," that he co-authored with his graduate student, Aba Owusu and Professor George Hadjisophocleous of Carleton University.

Experimental tests presented in this paper were conducted at Lakehead University's Fire Testing and Research Laboratory (LUFTRL), the newest state-of-the-art facility added to Lakehead University Centre for Analytical Services (LUCAS).

Lakehead University announces new and returning Canada Research Chairs

July 4, 2019 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

Three Lakehead University professors who are leading the way in innovative research have been named in the newest cycle of the Canada Research Chairs Program.

Dr. Sudip Kumar Rakshit has been renewed as Canada Research Chair in Bioenergy and Biorefining Processes for a second seven-year term; Dr. Alla Reznik has been awarded a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Physics of Radiation Medical Imaging for seven years (renewable); and Dr. Maryam Ebrahimi has been awarded a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Low-dimensional Nanomaterials for five years (renewable).

Canada Research Chairs are world-class scientists and scholars from diverse backgrounds who are working on new discoveries and innovations that help the environment, health, communities and economy to thrive.

Photo of Dr. Alla Reznik

“I am very pleased to receive such a high appreciation of my work from my peers,” said Dr. Reznik, a professor in the Physics department and Senior Scientist, Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute. “But the most important thing for me is the opportunity to make an impact in my area of research, which I believe is one of the most humane areas of science.”

For the past decade, Dr. Reznik has been developing new diagnostic tools to facilitate early detection of cancer. The ability to detect and diagnose medical conditions accurately and at the earliest stage of disease is critical for effective treatment and recovery, she explained.

While imaging devices and technologies have vastly improved the ability to visualize body tissues and processes, they are often coupled with “off the shelf” general-purpose detectors that may limit their potential value for specific medical applications.

“The primary focus of my work is to design, develop and commercialize the next generation of customized detectors to improve medical imaging applications, including breast cancer screening and minimally invasive cardiac intervention,” Dr. Reznik said.

Photo of Dr. Sudip RakshitThis is Dr. Rakshit’s second seven-year term as a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair. His focus is on developing new technologies to produce cleaner energy and chemicals.

“The challenges of replacing fossil resources by using renewable resources in an environmentally-friendly and economically acceptable manner is crucial for sustainable development and to limit climate change,” Dr. Rakshit said.

The overall aim of his work is to contribute to the development of a circular bio-economy, where materials are kept within use for as long as possible.

He has been developing processes to create value-added products, such as alcohol and biodiesel, and platform chemicals that can be used in several industrial sectors from renewable resources like forest wood and agricultural residues.

He believes integrating such processes into existing wood-based industries, pulp and paper, for example, would make the overall industry economically viable. There looms, however, the resultant environmental problem and the impact on marine and terrestrial life.

“How do you dispose of the waste plastic after use?” Dr. Rakshit asked. “You can’t put it into the rivers or lakes.”

Making plastics from woody materials is feasible, but they must have the diverse functionality of normal plastics, including being lightweight and transparent, and they must be degradable.


“We need to make plastics which are either compostable or we can break down to their original components for re-use,” he explained. “What we’re talking about is the need to complete the circle.”
Photo of Dr. Maryam Ebrahimi
Dr. Ebrahimi has carried out her research around the world, including at the University of Toronto with Nobel Laureate Professor John Polanyi. Her research lies at the border of chemistry and physics. It focuses on the fundamentals of low-dimensional nanomaterials whose properties are determined by their size, structure and growth dimensions.

“As a Canada Research Chair and an assistant professor at Lakehead’s Department of Chemistry, I am hoping to establish a motivating and inspiring scientific research program through which I can train young Canadian and international graduate students and researchers from different backgrounds, who might become the future human resources of science in Canada, and the world, at large,” she said.

“The knowledge that we gain through studying low-dimensional nanomaterials at atomic-to-molecular scale would help us engineer novel materials for a range of applications, for example 2D polymers for organic electronic devices used in displays, smartphones, sensors, and solar cells; porous nanopolymers for adsorbing greenhouse gases; biocompatible surfaces for nanomedicine applications, among others,” Dr. Ebrahimi said.

“All of which would contribute to the advancement of several technologies and industries in Canada.”

Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Lakehead University Vice President of Research and Innovation said Lakehead University is extremely pleased to have these new Canada Research Chairs approved.

“The areas of research that are being investigated by these faculty members are essential to furthering the research priorities for the University. We thank the Canada Research Program for their continued support to Lakehead University.”

The Canada Research Chairs Program is a national strategy to make Canada a leader in research and development. With an investment of $295 million per year, the aim is to attract and retain a diverse cadre of world-class researchers, and to reinforce academic research and training excellence in post-secondary institutions. There are more than 1,800 Canada Research Chairs at universities across Canada.

 

 

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Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Communications and Marketing Associate, at (807) 343-8177 or mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca.

 

 

Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2019 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities and in 2018 Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the fourth consecutive year. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

Introducing Lakehead University’s new Chair in Finnish Studies, Dr. Kari Alenius

June 21, 2019 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

The Lakehead University Finnish Chair Advisory Committee is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Kari Alenius as the ninth Chair in Finnish Studies.

Photo of Dr. Kari AleniusDr. Alenius will be in Thunder Bay for the 2019-20 fall and winter terms.

Since 2014, Dr. Alenius has served as the Head of the Department of History, Culture and Communications and as the Head of Transcultural Encounters Research Centre (TCERC) at the University of Oulu.

Dr. Alenius obtained his PhD in History from the University of Oulu and his doctoral dissertation was on the Estonian image of Finland and the Finns from the period of national awakening to the end of the Tsarist era (approx. 1850-1917). Since then, he has published numerous books and articles on the history of Estonia and other subjects.

His second monograph was on the ethnic relations in Estonia during the interwar period (1920s) and this was followed by a Finnish-language history of the Baltic States. His fourth monograph continued to study ethnic relations. This time the subject was the development of the legal status of national minorities in Germany (Weimar Republic).

He then went on to study political narratives and propaganda, focusing on the rhetoric of the Great Powers in the UN Security Council (1946-1956) in his fifth monograph. In other research projects, he has studied inter/transcultural relations, national identities, and war propaganda.

Dr. Alenius has taught a wide variety of courses at the University of Oulu. In recent years, his teaching has included Introduction to the History of Minorities; History of Propaganda, The Societal Development of Germany, 1918-1945; Finland and the Baltic Countries as an Area of Interest of the Great Powers, 1900-1945.

In addition to lectures, he has conducted graduate seminars at the M.A. and PhD levels, and he has supervised literature examinations on, for example, the History of Ethnic Relations, Historiography, Philosophy of History, and International and Cultural Interaction. 

During the 2019–2020 academic year at Lakehead University, he is conducting research on the birth of the Canadian image of Finland in the 19th and early 20th century.

Dr. Alenius will also be teaching the following courses on the Thunder Bay campus of Lakehead University:

Fall term

History/Northern Studies 2171 FA 

Finland and the Nordic Region in the 19th Century 

Mondays & Wednesdays 10 am - 11:30 am 

Winter term

History /Northern Studies 2172 WA 

Finland and the Nordic Region in the 20th Century 

Mondays & Wednesdays 8:30 am - 10 am 

Dr. Alenius will be making public presentations in Thunder Bay during his time at Lakehead University.

He is expected to arrive at the end of August, when he will begin occupying an office with the Department of History in the Ryan building.

For more information about the Lakehead University Chair visit www.lakeheadu.ca/academics/chairs/cfs

Behavioral Trials Of Farmed Elk Show Effects Of Group Feeding

Photo of elk.

By Brian McLaren, Associate Professor, Natural Resources Management

This article was originally posted by Science Trends.

Free-ranging herbivores typically aggregate when they are feeding, though at first glance, if they are making a good choice, we might ask how occupying the same area is not just a cost in terms of competition for food. Speculating why aggregation occurs and understanding how it might influence animal well-being are important pursuits in ecology and on the farm.

Knowing why aggregation occurs is in the realm of setting hypotheses. The simplest idea for aggregation among large mammalian herbivores is that they aggregate in areas where nutritional quality and availability of food are higher, and followers look to a lead animal to find these areas. Thus, herbivores are “optimally foraging” or “matching” the proportional time spent grazing to the amount of available nutrients associated with different plant communities. However, if there were additional benefits to aggregation, it becomes easier to explain why aggregation occurs where areas of higher food resources are fairly well distributed, or if forage is managed optimally by the farmer, leaving the animals free to wander at will. Proposed benefits have focused on two adaptive anti-predator strategies: “prey dilution” (the chance that any individual will be the victim of a group attack by a predator is lower with higher group sizes) and “many eyes” (replacing individual vigilance with group vigilance that leaves more time for foraging).

An experiment to test the effect of different group sizes on the comfort level animals experience when foraging is one way of assessing costs and risks in foraging because food quality can be kept constant. The classic experiment measures “giving-up densities,” or GUDs, developed by evolutionary ecologist Dr. Joel Brown in 1988. It has been most often applied in the field setting to small mammals with unrestricted access to feeding trays. GUDs are estimates of the density of food remaining at the end of an experimental feeding bout, in which food mixed with an inert substrate is supplied to individuals free to leave feeding trays at any time.

The theory is as follows: when foraging optimally in an environment where resources are distributed heterogeneously in patches, an individual is expected to feed in a patch until the energy gained by foraging just balances its metabolic, predation risk, and missed opportunity costs. An individual forager should choose to abandon a riskier patch at a higher rate of harvest, leaving behind a higher GUD than it would in a safer patch. Likewise, a dominant individual should see missed opportunities in the partially consumed trays of neighboring foragers and may leave their own tray early.

We observed group foraging in domesticated North American elk (wapiti, Cervus canadensis) that were native, three to four generations earlier, to the Canadian prairies. Our study took place in six outdoor paddocks and involved a total of 26 domesticated elk raised at Egli’s Sheep Farm near Dryden, Ontario. The property where the elk are maintained is subdivided into six fenced, open-field paddocks, ranging in size from four to eight hectares, along with an enclosed barn. We did the work in winter and we used the farm environment as a way to standardize habitat and disentangle relationships between the number of animals in a small group and perception of fear and exertion of dominance.

Our predictions were as follows. If enough individual elk each experience higher comfort levels when foraging in larger groups, then collectively they should exploit feeding trays to lower instantaneous rates of harvest, i.e. lower average GUDs, with increasing group size. If only average scanning time, the amount of time spent vigilant for perceived predators or other intruders, is consistent with the group size effect, then there is less support for lower perceived costs of predation or higher security, as foraging may be simply an uncomfortable “race with the neighbors.” This prediction is consistent with an anti-predator hypothesis for social behavior and with the idea that domesticated elk still recognize and manage fear.

Presence of dominant individuals in a group can be expected to increase average GUDs and change the feeding dynamic, particularly if subordinates cease feeding when challenged by a neighbor. This prediction is consistent with a role for direct resource competition and with observations of a shift in activity created as a result of interference as an additional cost of foraging. Observing females with calves offers a special case to observe defensive behaviors in groups. Females with their young should exhibit greater vigilance and not reduce their scanning time, as would be expected with the group size effect.

Feeding trays were wooden boxes with a top opening 53 cm by 23 cm and a depth of 20 cm. The top opening of each tray was overlaid with two pieces of heavy wire to create three equally-sized openings of 0.23 m by 0.18 m. The wire prevented spillage of the alfalfa mixture from the tray during foraging bouts. Trays were filled with a mixture of 500 g of dried, livestock-grade alfalfa pellets and 300 pieces of 2.5 cm long, 2.5 cm diameter, black polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tube. We added the pieces of pipe to the feeding trays to make the smaller alfalfa pellets more difficult to access, especially as the alfalfa was depleted. The same quantity of alfalfa pellets was used at the outset of all trials, so that the PVC provided a matrix with diminishing returns as the food was exploited through time, mimicking a natural patch.

Mr. Moreira, who stayed in a parked vehicle at unobtrusive distances ranging from 75 to 100 m to the elk groups, filmed elk foraging behavior with a digital video recorder (Digital Sony Handy Cam). Additionally, he used a 10×60 power spotting scope (Swarovski) and 10×32 power binoculars (Burris) to identify individual elk, based on a combination of unique “bite marks” on their coats and ear tags where legible. We defined dominant elk as females that moved to a second or third feeding tray and resulted in its being abandoned by another female. Dominance during one feeding trial did not imply dominance in another feeding trial for the same female.

Among 10 adult individuals tracked as focal animals through at least three trials, all but one had differences in GUDs between trials; in all these nine cases, GUDs were lower with larger group size. Throughout five trial periods of about a week each, average GUDs and average scanning time during ten-minute video samples of the foraging bouts both decreased with increasing group size. The group size effect for both GUDs and scanning time was exponential, showing most gains reached by group sizes of 10 elks. GUDs were lower when mothers were with their calves. However, with or without calves, neither scanning time nor the relationship of scanning time with group size changed. Including a parameter for dominant females in a group allowed for a stronger relationship between GUDs and group size.

That group size was related to both GUDs and scanning rate in a direction expected from the “many‐eyes’ effect suggests that, despite being free from predators, domesticated elk still perceive greater fear when in smaller groups. This interpretation of the group size effect is, however, unequivocal because the heightened perception of missed opportunities, in place of or in addition to a lower perception of predation risk, could have resulted from feeding in larger groups. However, we believe we bypassed difficulty in interpreting fear perception by using the GUD methodology. Observed lower GUDs when females were together with their calves, as well as the other results, differ from past interpretations in observing vigilance in elk groups in national parks, where habitat is a factor determining fear perception.

Dominant individuals in free-ranging groups of elk have been shown to displace their subordinates and appropriate their feeding patches whenever they perceive that group mates are encountering higher food availability, an effect that is known as “kleptoparasitism.” However, scanning time in the dominant farm animals we tracked showed contradictory patterns; it was not higher than in subordinates, nor did any other difference in the behavior of dominants occur with changes in group size. Dominant individuals were perhaps simply those more skillful at managing fear; we saw no activity suggesting that they shifted the activity of subordinates that left their trays. Thus, managing predation risk using group formation could be especially important where dominants contribute a sense of security to the whole group. Absence of opportunity for group formation or perception of cohesion could have conservation implications by impacting individual survival, in turn leading to population-level effects, both in a wild and a farm setting.

In the design of our experiment, logistical issues precluded replication of group sizes over all trial periods. Thus, changes in snow depth, ambient temperature, moon phase, and perhaps the progression of pregnancy may have affected foraging behavior between periods without our ability to describe the effects. Nevertheless, GUD methodology appears a suitable means of assessing foraging behavior across a range of group sizes. Experimentation and development of our methodology could add it to social network analysis, such that it may be used to assess foraging behavior and decisions in the individuals that form groups, testing, for example, the hypothesis that dominants take on leadership roles in group cohesion.

For the time being, we interpret captive female elk to experience greater security as their group size increases to 10. Presence of calves and of dominant females also appears to foster greater security. This information can translate to better livestock management. Pasture configuration aiming to foster closer groups feeding together could promote a healthier herd and more effective use of foraging areas. Farmers should manage groups to include calves with their dams whenever possible, and also consider the social organization of the herd to include one dominant in a leadership role.

These findings are described in the article entitled Monitoring the effects of feeding in groups: Behavioural trials in farmed elk in winter, recently published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

Thunderwolves Announce 2019 Wall of Fame Inductees

Photo of inductees.

Inductees from top left – Justin BeauParlant (male athlete), 2001-2002 Men’s Wrestling Team, Ron Lappage (Builder), Jylisa Williams (female athlete), Andrew Ritchie (male athlete), and Kelly Williams (female athlete).

June 14, 2019 — Thunder Bay, Ont.

From October 3-5, 2019, Lakehead University and the Thunderwolves will be welcoming students, alumni, and friends back to campus to celebrate the annual Homecoming Weekend.

Lakehead Athletics is especially excited to welcome back those who have been a part of the Lakehead Wrestling team, which is entering into its 50th season. Those in attendance will also witness the Wall of Fame induction of five special individuals and one incredible team.

Established in 1996, the Lakehead Athletics’ Wall of Fame has existed to acknowledge athletes, coaches, teams and administrators who have made exceptional contributions to Lakehead Athletics over the years.

“What the Wall of Fame does is highlight our history in sport,” said Lou Pero, Chair of the Wall of Fame committee.

“By recognizing various athletes who were outstanding at Lakehead University, we are able to identify that individual for their time here and what they gave to the university and also what they gave to the community and what they gave to their sport,” Pero added.

This year’s inductees consist of one Builder, two male and two female athletes, and one team.
Inductees from top left – Justin BeauParlant (male athlete), 2001-2002 Men’s Wrestling Team, Ron Lappage (Builder), Jylisa Williams (female athlete), Andrew Ritchie (male athlete), and Kelly Williams (female athlete).

Lakehead Athletics is proud to announce that Ron Lappage will be inducted into the Builder category.

Ron started making his mark on the Lakehead Thunderwolves in 1972 when he joined Lakehead University as a Physical Education lecturer and as an assistant coach for the wrestling team. During his time at Lakehead, Ron represented LU on the Northwestern Ontario Hall of Fame Board of Directors, helped establish the Wall of Fame, started the LU Judo Club, served as the Acting Director of the School of P.E. and Outdoor Rec, was the Acting Director for the School of P.E. and Athletics and was Lakehead’s Director of the School of Kinesiology.

Justin BeauParlant and Andrew Ritchie are the Male Athletes being inducted this year.

Before becoming an assistant coach for the Lakehead University Wrestling team, Justin had a very successful run as a Thunderwolves wrestler. He finished his stint on the team with three CIS gold medals and one silver. Justin also made his mark on both the National and International stages, competing in the Canada Cup in 1999, earning a 12th place finish at the World Wrestling Juniors, and finishing second at the World University Games.

Much like Justin, Andrew also came from Thunder Bay to compete on the international stage when he swam his way to a seventh overall finish in the men’s 400M individual medley at the 1976 summer Olympic Games. Andrew spent five years as a member of the national swim team, starting in 1975. He joined the Lakehead University swim team in 1977, which is when he competed in the FISU Summer Games. While at Lakehead, Andrew broke national records and won many CIAU national titles. In the 1979-1980 season, Andrew was named Male Athlete of the Year.

The two female athletes being inducted are Jylisa Williams and Kelly Williams (no relation).

Before arriving at Lakehead University in 2013, Jylisa spent time playing for Georgia State University, two years in the US Army, and one season with the Olds College Broncos where she won CCAA Player of the Year. As a Thunderwolf, Jylisa had a massive impact on the Women’s Basketball team. In 2015, she broke the OUA Single-season scoring record (506 points) and the single-game scoring record (50 points). Jylisa was the leading CIS scorer with an average of 28.8 points per game. After graduating from Lakehead, Jylisa headed overseas to play professional women’s basketball for Evo New Basket Oberhausen in the German Damen Basketball Bundesliga.

Kelly was the kind of athlete who had an impact on every game she played in, even if it sometimes went unnoticed. She celebrated success as a Nor’Westers volleyball player, and as part of Team Ontario. Kelly was a member of the Lakehead women’s volleyball team from 1988-91. In her first year, she won Rookie of the Year and the following year she was named both Captain and Female Athlete of the Year. Kelly was also named the captain of the Team Ontario Canada Games Team in 1989. After university, Kelly moved to Alberta, where she spent time coaching youth volleyball between 2014 and 2019.

The 2001/2002 wrestling team will be inducted into this year’s team category.

Coach of the Year Francis Clayton, the men’s wrestling coach, found an abundance of success in the 2001-02 season as they finished third in the OUA and second at the CIS Championship, which they hosted in the same year. The 2001/02 team saw nine athletes qualify for the CIS Championship, including Devin Kirk, who wrestled his way to a first-place finish, and Steve Raine, who was named Outstanding Wrestler. The Thunderwolves finished the championship with one gold, two silver, and two bronze medals.

The Wall of Fame induction ceremony will take place Saturday, October 5 at 11:00 AM.  All Lakehead alumni, students, fans, and supporters are invited to enjoy Homecoming 2019 and the special events associated with it. More information on the weekend's schedule of events will be posted at thunderwolves.ca/alumni/homecoming-2019/.

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