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Outreach Events

Registration information

Parents may register their children that are ages 5-16. To do so, email us at CSEE.outreach.2015@gmail.com. Please provide the number of participants and their age (s), and list the letters (below) that correspond to the activities in which they will be participating.  PARENTS MUST ATTEND with their children throughout the activities. You must register before attending the event. Participants should bring a lunch.


Science Skills competition (8:30-11:30 am):

(A)   Identification Blitz (8:30-9:15am): participants will compete in their ability to identify a diversity of prairie species in photos. Biology 218

(B)   Ecology and Evolution (9:25-10:10am): participants will be tested on their knowledge of ecology and evolution in hands-on activities. Biology 218

(C)   Scientific Instructions (10:20-11:05am): participants will be shown a structure built out of a mystery material and must write on paper how to make it. Then those written instructions will be used to build the structure without seeing it. Biology 218

(D) Species at risk (11:15-11:45am): participants will work in groups to use clues to find the location of threatened prairie species (as cardboard cut-outs) in the context of management and conservation. Biology 218

(E) Crafts (11:45am-1:00pm): Participants have the chance to make creative crafts that inspire them to explore the natural diversity in their everyday environment (e.g., coloring/activity sheets, plant presses, and bug jars). This is a come-and-go event. Biology 218

(F) Scavenger hunt (1:00-1:45pm): Just for fun! Explore the biology museum to learn about animal evolution! Participants will be provided with a questionnaire, and will use the museum to help answer questions about fish, amphibians, dinosaurs, reptiles, birds, and mammals! An answer key will be provided online after the hunt, and volunteers will be available to lend a hand. Biology Museum

(G) Photo contest: up to 3 photos taken by the participant (ages 5-16) may be submitted by email (CSEE.outreach.2015@gmail.com) before 21 May 2015. Photo editing is allowed so long as it is done by the participant. The categories are (1) managed landscapes and (2) general ecology and evolution.  

Awards (2:00pm): Ribbons and certificates will be given out for top performances in age categories for the different activities. Biology 218

(H) Birds and bats for kids (6:30-7pm): bat (Mark Brigham, University of Regina; Craig Willis, University of Winnipeg) and bird (Alex Chang, University of Saskatchewan) researchers will share and talk about their preserved specimens. Afterwards we will walk together to Health Sciences for the public lecture (below). Biology 218 

Public lecture (7:30pm): Mark Brigham (University of Regina) and Craig Willis (University of Winnipeg) will be speaking about their research on the ecology and conservation of bats. For more information, go to: http://csee-scee.ca/?page_id=25. Thorvaldson 271

Nature Poetry (3:00pm): Please join us for food and drinks with Madhur Anand, reading poems from her new book ‘A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes’. This activity is generally suited for young adults. For more information, look at the tab below. GSA Commons

Public lecture - Bats!

Dr. R. Mark Brigham


Dr. Brigham is a Professor of Biology who joined the Faculty of Science at the University of Regina in 1990. He completed his B.Sc. at Queen’s University, M.Sc. at Carleton University, Ph.D. at York University, and Post-doc at the University of Calgary. His research focuses on the behaviour and ecology of bats and nightjars (nocturnal insect eating birds). His graduate and undergraduate students are addressing questions about the context in which these animals use metabolic depression (torpor and hibernation) as a means of saving energy during periods when food availability is low. He also has students conducting ecological studies of endangered species of birds and mammals with a goal to understanding the reasons for and reversing population declines. He has authored or co-authored over 150 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He also received the University of Regina Alumni Awards for Public Service; for Teaching and for Graduate student mentoring. He teaches Introductory Biology, Ecology, Vertebrate Biology and an upper level course focused on evolutionary aspects of Animal Behaviour. In 2006, Dr. Brigham received the Gerrit S. Miller Jr. Award from the North American Symposium on Bat Research for outstanding service and contributions to Chiropteran Biology.

Honours Students Supervised: 31; Summer NSERC Students Supervised to date: 26, Graduate Students supervised: M.Sc to date: 33, in course 5; PhD to date: 8, in course 4.

Aside from his formal teaching duties, Dr. Brigham is a strong proponent of bringing Science and his research to the public, since they ultimately fund that research and Universities in general. He regularly (10-20 times per year) gives "bat talks" to school groups, naturalists organizations, service clubs, and in Provincial Parks. Bats provide perfect vehicles for popular talks as they are often misunderstood by people and thus can be used to make a case for why apparently "esoteric" research can have an important impact. Partly for this, he was awarded the 2008 Joseph Grinnell award by the American Society of Mammalogists for long term contributions to Education about Mammalogy. Dr. Brigham is the only Canadian to have received this award.

Dr. Craig Willis

Dr. Craig Willis is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Winnipeg. He joined UW in 2006 and was the University’s first Chancellor’s Research Chair from 2011-2014.

Craig decided on a career studying wildlife after taking a field course on bats and nocturnal birds from Mark Brigham and two colleagues as an undergraduate. He did his undergraduate work at Queen’s University, M.Sc. at the University of Guelph, Ph.D. with Mark at the University of Regina and then a NSERC post-doc at the University of New England in Australia studying thermoregulation in bats and marsupials. Mark’s passion for public outreach and engagement rubs off on his students and Craig is no exception. He and his students at the University of Winnipeg are now also very active in the community and “bat talks” are now a common occurrence in Manitoba. 

Craig’s research focuses on hibernation biology and social behaviour of bats and, as a result, he has been heavily involved in the effort to understand white-nose syndrome (WNS) since this devastating wildlife disease was first discovered in 2007. WNS has killed millions of hibernating bats in North America in only a few years, causing the fastest decline of wild mammals ever observed. Environment Canada has recently listed three bats species as endangered as a result, including what was formerly our most common and widespread North American species the little brown bat. Public engagement has been critical to the WNS research and response effort so far and will certainly be important to any potential solution. Craig and his students are actively pursuing ‘citizen science’ opportunities to address WNS and help bat populations respond and hopefully recover.


Nature Poetry

Madhur Anand’s poetry has appeared in literary magazines across North America and in the anthology The Shape of Content: Creative Writing in Mathematics and Science. She co-edited the anthology Regreen: New Canadian Ecological Poetry. Anand completed her Ph.D. in theoretical ecology at Western University and is currently a professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph. She lives in Guelph with her husband and three young children.

Here is the link to the website for more details: http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/249874/new-index-predicting-catastrophes#9780771006999