News & events

Elanor Setton says Montreal's blower ban more than hot air

A suburb near Montreal is looking to implement a seasonal ban on leaf blowers through the summer. Dr Eleanor Setton, Co Director of the Spatial Sciences Research Lab here at UVic, spoke to the National Post about the health effects of these machines including noise, fuel emissions and airborne particles. Read the full article here. This story was also carried by other outlets including the Times Colonist and The Province.

In memory of David Chuenyan Lai, C.M., Ph.D.

David Chuenyan Lai, C.M., Ph.D., was one of the Geography department's longest-serving faculty. Included in his numerous achievements and titles are his status as Professor Emeritus of Geography, Adjunct Professor of Pacific and Asian Studies Department, and Research Affiliate of the Centre on Aging at the University of Victoria. He was an Advisory Professor at East China Normal University, Shanghai, and Southeast Asian Research Institute of Hainan University, Haikou, China. Dr. Lai left an amazing scholarly legacy over his 35 years with UVic. Dr. Lai rendered exceptional service in fostering knowledge and understanding the Asia-Pacific region, he shared his knowledge of Asian culture and history with countless students who have since become inevitably inspired by his wit and honesty. His research interests included development of Chinatowns, history of Chinese Canadians, and the urbanization of China. In the last decade of his academic carrer, his research interest was extended to the field of aging. He was a co-investigator in Dr. Neena Chappell's research projects on the Chinese Elderly in British Columbia, and Health and Well-being of Chinese Seniors in Canada. He has over 260 publications which include 26 refereed academic articles, nine books and two edited books. The department is honoured to have provided a platform for Dr. Lai to extend his knowledge, influence and joy of learning, and we look forward to following the development of his legacy through the ongoing work of former students and colleagues. Explore Dr. Lai's work via Google Scholar here.

Nathan Bennett, PhD. Alumnus, wins Conservation Award

UVic Geography Alumnus and PhD Nathan Bennett has been recognized with a 2018 Early Career Conservationist award, presented by the Society for Conservation Biology. As stated by the Society, Bennet's research “had provided critical insights into the role of indigenous people in conservation in Canada, the relationship between small-scale fishers and marine protected areas in Thailand and the Mediterranean Sea, and the effective and equitable governance of marine protected areas globally”. UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

Dan Smith's 500th and final issue of GeogNews

Longtime Faculty member and former president of the Canadian Association of Geographers, Dan Smith, has released the final and 500th issue of Geog News, the news digest of the CAG. The Department would like to take this opportunity to recognize Dan for the outstanding role he has played for the CAG, and for geography in Canada generally. This is a remarkable accomplishment, and a fitting legacy. Read the full final issue and Dan's editorial from June 7th, here.

Chris Darimont named Raincoast Research Chair in Applied Conservation Science

UVic conservation scientist and geography associate professor, Chris Darimont, uses applied research to confront problems and opportunities in sustainability in the Great Bear Rainforest on BC’s central coast. On May 30, Darimont was named the Raincoast Research Chair in Applied Conservation Science at the University of Victoria.

Maleea Acker Recognized for Teaching Excellence

Geography PhD student Maleea Acker was awarded a REACH award in Teaching Excellence earlier this Spring, and is currently profiled on the UVic Geog home page along with other recipients. “She was positive, enthusiastic, passionate and very approachable,” writes one former student of Maleea Acker, who brings her expertise in the arts and the social sciences together in the classroom, encouraging students to think beyond discipline boundaries. Acker is a writer, a poet and a fantastic teacher. She’s known for her ability to connect with students, her dedication to experiential learning, to including Indigenous history and perspectives in classes, and to incorporating the emotional and personal aspects of human geography into her labs. See all the winning profiles here.

UVic study: Increased Arctic access could harm whales

The Canadian Press interviewed Geography's Lauren McWhinnie regarding a new study she co-led on the impacts of increased vessel traffic on marine mammals in the Arctic as a result of melting sea ice. The research, to be published in Ocean and Coastal Management next month, reviewed vessel management tools for viable use in an Arctic environment and recommends two tools: a voluntary exclusion zone and a voluntary speed reduction zone. The article was shared by the Globe and Mail and CTV News online. CHEK News also reported on the story. G&M CTV (Source: CP) CHEK UVic News

Lauren McWhinnie : In defence of the Salish Sea

Lauren McWhinnie was interviewed by the Times Colonist about the deployment of hydrophones along BC's coast to monitor the impact of human activity on the area's marine ecosystem. The project, known as the Salish Sea Acoustic Monitoring and Educational Outreach Project, is a partnership between Ocean Networks Canada and the Vancouver Aquarium. The Salish Sea Acoustic Monitoring and Educational Outreach Project uses data from a triangle of hydrophones installed at East Point, on Saturna Island, to monitor the impact of human activity on the area’s marine ecosystem, particularly the endangered southern-resident orcas and other whale species. McWhinnie says, “We have noticed that the whales stop calling each other when the marine environment is busy [when ships are passing] and resume when it quietens down.”Read the full article here.

David Atkinson talks forecasting science and traditional lifeways

David Atkinson, associate professor of Geography, spoke to CBC North about new research on how detailed weather forecasts could be more useful for traditional ways of life. Dr. Atkinson and his team are trying to come up with a better way to predict weather in these communities, because research shows northern weather forecasts are not detailed enough. The University of Victoria project is focusing on the N.W.T. communities of Sachs Harbor, Tuktoyaktuk and Ulukhaktok.Dr. Atkinson says that community knowledge is key to the research being conducted by his team, since community members "have a culture of observing." Read the full article here:

Jackie Ziegler Talks Wildlife Tourism in Hakai Magazine

Uvic Geography PhD candidate Jackie Ziegler was recently interviewed by Hakai Magazine about the ethics of wildlife tourism. Zielger notes that daily hand-feeding, conducted by tourism companies to sell whale-watching experiences, has serious implications on their natural mobility and migratory patterns The article also cites a new study Ziegler led on whale shark tourism in Oslob, Philippines. Hakai

Rosaline Canessa Interviewed about new federal support for whale research

Geography's Rosaline Canessa was interviwed by CTV-VI, CBC Radio and CFAX about an exciting funding announcement by the federal government. Fisheries and Oceans Canada Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced the funding recently in Vancouver as part of $3.1 million for research focused on the issue of underwater noise. The funding supports the work of three UVic researchers: Canessa, who will lead the vessel disturbance study; Francis Juanes the lead investigator for the chinook salmon research; and Stan Dosso, who will lead the echolocation research. Their research will increase knowledge of how noise from human activities is impacting the resident whales and chinook, and affecting the quality of the marine environment. Only 76 whales remain in the southern resident population, which forages for chinook salmon in its core range off southern Vancouver Island. UVic News

Darimont et al's new article: "hallmarks of science" missing from wildlife management

Recently published in Science Advances, UVic Geography's Chris Darimont and fellow authors make the case that the "hallmarks of science" are missing from North American wildlife management policy. Contrary to the claims of resource management companies who often defend controversial policies as adhering to science-based approaches, Darimont et al found that less than half management systems in the US and Canada meet indiicator criteria. The article's proposed evaluation framework and findings provide guidance for adopting a science-based approach to safeguard not only wildlife but also agencies from potential social, legal and political conflict. Read the full article here.

Jutta Gutberlet receives 2018 Provost's Engaged Scholar Award

Dr. Jutta Gutberlet has received the 2018 Provost's Community Engaged SCholar Award. This award celebrates the integration of outstanding UVic scholarship, teaching and community engagement. The title, Provost's Engaged Scholar, is awarded to tenured members of faculty who have achieved great distinction as community-engaged scholars. A professor in the Department of Geography and the director of the Community-based Research Laboratory (CBRL), Gutberlet's participatory and action-oriented research focuses on development challenges, including: participatory resource management, food security, sustainable livelihoods, waste governance, and qualitative research methodology. Her prior work includes teaching posts at the University of Newcastle in Australia, the coordination of an international research project between the University of Tübingen, Germany and the Federal University of Mato Grosso, Brazil. She has also worked on international development projects with the United Nations (FAO). In Gutberlet's words, "involving communities and local stakeholders in my work is important to me because it creates momentum for the research process to become an emancipatory praxis which contributes to a better understanding of everyday political, economic, and environmental realities. These processes allow communities to empower themselves to achieve greater social and environmental justice." To learn more about her research see: The 2018 Provost's Engaged Scholar Award ceremony is on Thursday March 8, 2018 from 4-6 PM at the Salal Room in the University Club. The event is free and open to faculty, staff, students and the general public. If you plan to attend, please RSVP ( by March 2nd. Download the event poster for more information.

3M Teaching Fellow Pamela Shaw in Maclean's

3M Teaching Fellow Pamela Shaw was profiled in Maclean's, with a focus on her career as an educator of urban planning. Shaw spent two decades working in urban planning roles across Alberta and British Columbia, but was lured back to academia by the University of Victoria’s Larry McCann, who accepted her as a Ph.D. student and quickly put her in front of a classroom, where Shaw found another passion.“Every day I have the extraordinary opportunity not only to teach, but to help students find their path—find their way to something that sets their minds alight,” she says. “What an incredible job to have! Every day, I leave the campus knowing I’ve helped students move one more notch toward their full potential.” Read the full profile in Maclean's.

Aleck Ostry Health Research Awarded CIHR Funding

Health geographer Aleck Ostry has been awarded support by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to investigate the critical health data gaps that exist for Indigenous communities in BC. “Accurate and culturally appropriate health data that is under the control and ownership of Indigenous communities is essential to determine overall health and possible changes in health,” says Ostry, “especially as these communities increasingly face difficult environmental health challenges due to climate change and industrial development.” Ostry says the CIHR grant will help develop a system of health indicators that are adapted to best fit the unique conditions faced by Indigenous people in some of BC’s most remote communities.

Wildlife politics: a numbers game

UVic conservation scientist Dr. Chris Darimont wrote an editorial piece on trophy hunting that was published in the Globe and Mail. This article accompanies a news release on the same subject entittled “Wildlife Politics” and a feature in Ring story. In a recent opinion letter published in Nature, a group of international conservation scientists with Darimont as leader author, applauded the provincial government’s ban on grizzly bear trophy hunting in BC. This comes as a positive move away from the leveraging of ‘political populations’ in government reporting.

Victoria street named for racist politician up for debate

The Times Colonist spoke to Reuben Rose-Redwood for today's front-page story in the lead-up to a public meeting taking place tonight. The event—a community discussion on the topic of whether Trutch Street should be renamed—is being sponsored by UVic's Committee for Urban Studies, with the Indigenous solidarity working group. UVic's Trutch residence was renamed earlier this year.

Geographers take aim at grizzly-bear hunting ban

Researchers in UVic Geography's Applied Conservation Lab have strong opinions about loopholes in BC's recent grizzly bear hunting ban. "Let’s face it: Grizzlies are hunted for trophies. Grizzly hunters kill to feed their egos, not their families. Additionally, and despite pre-election rhetoric, the new government is missing an opportunity to craft policy that aligns with ethics and economics."

Geography PhD creates virtual environment for coastal planning project

Today, Rob Newell will walk across the convocation stage with his PhD in Geography, the final steps in a research project that involved a lot of virtual and real-world walking. For his research, Newell applied cutting-edge technology to develop a virtual reality experience that takes visitors on a tour of Sidney Spit park, over land and underwater, using visualization tools.

Alumnus launches software to assess earthquake risk in Greater Victoria

Last week, UVic Geography alumnus Ben Kerr launched an online tool that allows local home and business owners to predict the impact of an earthquake on their property. Kerr says, "The idea is to give people more information to use when they come up with family response plans and preparedness.” The software went live on Oct 19, just in time for the Great BC Shake Out, an annual event that raises awareness about earthquake safety.

Confederate memorials and the unjust geography of memory

Reuben Rose-Redwood co-authored an opinion piece for Atlantic's CityLab on the practice of naming streets after celebrated figures and what it can symbolize for different communities. He discusses the implications of renaming spaces and toppling monuments, pointing out that they often coincide during times of change in politics or societal values.

Arctic live dive to be Canadian first

Maeva Gauthier, incoming Geography PhD student and Fish Eye Project co-founder, hosted Canada's first live broadcast dive under the Arctic Ocean. The "live dive" was organized by Maeva and Fish Eye Project co-founder Mike Irvine in partnership with the UVic-led Ocean Networks Canada, the Canada C3 expedition, as well as Ocean Wise and Polar Knowledge Canada. The dive was streamed from the north dock in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut this past Sunday.

Ken Josephson receives Social Sciences Excellence award

Geography's Ken Josephson was recently celebrated at the Faculty of Social Sciences Excellence Awards for his work with connecting communities. He received the 2017 Meritorious Staff Contributions Award for his "enthusiasm, resourcefulness, and passionate commitment to the department and the Vancouver Island community."

Coffee cup sustainability: Geography student encourages alternative options

For a UVic Sustainability Project campaign, filmmmaker and geography student Levi Hildebrand took part in a video stunt that involved having dirty coffee cups dumped on him, with the aim of drawing attention to the number of paper coffee cups that are used on campus. CBC News interviewed Hildebrand and reported that the video has been viewed tens of thousands of times on several social media sites. Read the full article at CBC News.

Why men trophy hunt: 'Showing off' and the psychology of shame

Dr. Chris Darimont co-authored an opinion piece published today in the peer-reviewed journal Biology Letters that suggests modern-day trophy hunting is actually status-seeking behaviour that can be traced back to our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Los Angeles Times and the Huffington Post have picked up the story so far. Read the full articles at Los Angeles Times and Huffington Post.

For archive news older than September 2013, see the Geography News Archives.

Making It: A Celebration of 30 Years of the Camosun College Fine Furniture Program

Duration: Wednesday-Saturday 10-4 June-August Thursdays 10-8
Location: Legacy Art Gallery Downtown 630 Yates Street, Victoria BC, V8W 1K9

Spirit Walk- Walking Meditations

Duration: 10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m.
Location: Lobby of the Interfaith Chapel - parking lot #6

MSc Oral Defense - Josée Belcourt

Duration: 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Location: BWC A319

The Chair Experience: Interactive Tour with Ken Guenter & Cam Russell

Duration: 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Location: Legacy Art Gallery Downtown 630 Yates Street, Victoria BC, V8W 1K9

Climate Change, International Law and the Green Economy.

Let's Talk About Teaching

Duration: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Location: HHB and MAC D

Let's Talk About Teaching

Duration: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Location: HHB and MAC D