SACKVILLE, N.B. — Mount Allison students are taking their learning outside the classroom and into the community with a new class devoted to climate change adaptation. Team-taught by geography and environment professors Mike Fox and Georgia Klein, this is the first year the community adaptation to climate change class has been offered.
In addition to Fox and Klein, the class meets with and hears from a number of local researchers and knowledge holders examining different parts of the climate change picture.
Fox says, “We’ve really drawn on our regional resources to help address and illustrate what the local community will face with regards to climate change. Many of our colleagues in geography and environment, as well as individuals from local organizations such as planning commissions, municipalities, schools, and politicians have been guest speakers in the class. It’s been wonderful to have so many voices and resources in the class, making for a very unique experience for our students.”
Klein says, “The course is distinct in its set up as the students are working in groups where they choose their own project, performprimary and secondary research, and communicate the results, sharing findings with key groups and decision makers. This process, along with the work the students have done with local organizations, has made for a very collaborative approach to communicating methods for climate change adaptation in our region.”
Fourth-year environmental sciences student Stuart Murray ofRiverview, NB agrees, “I’ve done so much in this course outside the traditional classroom setting. Presenting in local schools, going to town council, working with local researchers and organizations has contributed greatly both formally and informally to my education.”
His classmate Ethan Duffany, of Saint Johnsbury, VT adds, “Combining theory and practice for this class has been a great experience. I’ve enjoyed taking the materials we’re learning and adapting them for younger students in the community. There’s a higher sense of awareness around climate change than I thought there would be among Sackville students.”
The class has also received funding from the Atlantic Climate Adaptation Solutions Association and is looking to extend its reachbeyond New Brunswick’s borders. Students are currently collaborating with both the Sackville and Amherst Planning Commissions and on March 28 they will welcome Kristina Ford, a city planner who worked in New Orleans following HurricaneKatrina in 2005, to deliver a public lecture on campus.
Climate Change Awareness Week will be held in Sackville andthe surrounding area from March 10-16. Organized in part by the seminar class, RCE Tantramar (Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development), and EOS Eco-Energy the week will see many activities and displays related to climate change held in downtown Sackville. Events include the premiere screening of the documentary Climate Change in Atlantic Canada, produced by Mount Allison professor and Canada research chair Ian Mauro and his team of researchers, as well as special presentations and displays organized by Mount Allison students in collaboration with local schools and community groups.