The Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. (HMDC) is contributing $420,000 to enhance the field experience of students and staff at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador. The funds will support the Department of Earth Science’s core field schools, the development of a new environmental geology and geophysics field school and field safety leadership training opportunities.
“Memorial University earth science graduates are highly sought after by industry and academic institutions around the world because of the high calibre of the geoscience program,” said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, Memorial University’s president and vice-chancellor. “This generous gift will enable the Department of Earth Sciences to increase student participation by offering additional field school opportunities and eliminating financial barriers. On behalf of the students, I thank HMDC for their ongoing support of Memorial and the students we serve.”
“Geoscientists are integral to the success of the oil and gas industry,” said Jamie Long, president, HMDC. “Our employees look forward to sharing their experience with Memorial students by participating in the field school field trips, which are an important component for students.”
The Department of Earth Sciences’ undergraduate programs strive to take full advantage of the spectacular geological setting of Newfoundland, utilizing field locales across the island that sample a diverse suite of geological provinces. They also provide the third- and fourth-year undergraduate students with the opportunity to participate in international field courses that serve to increase the depth and breadth of student experiences.
“Our field schools are the cornerstone of our undergraduate programs in geology and geophysics,” said Dr. John Hanchar, head, Department of Earth Sciences. “As a fundamental part of the experience-based learning environment we cultivate, field schools serve to inform and contextualize the classroom experience.”
The first two-week field trip using the HMDC funding has just concluded. Twenty-two undergraduate students, two faculty members, a graduate student and a staff member visited areas of geological interest in southern California and Nevada to view geological features analogous to what was present in Newfoundland and Labrador more than 500 million years ago. Plans for next year’s field trip to Chile and Bolivia are already underway.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Memorial’s earth sciences undergraduate students,” said Bronwyn Moore, one of the students who participated in the trip. “The field school gave us the chance to experience the vast geology of California and Nevada under the guidance of Memorial professors. Future trips like these will undoubtedly be the highlight of many students’ academic careers.”