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SUBJECT: Grenfell: Humber River Basin Project featured at Research Networking Session
DATE: Dec. 11, 2008

              Sir Wilfred Grenfell College's Research Office held a Research Networking Session recently featuring presentations from and for participants, partners, and stakeholders in the Humber River Basin Project.
              Some 45 researchers and stakeholders from Grenfell College and Memorial's St. John's campus as well as other academics and non-academics spent the day discussing their work and its importance to the region and the province.
              A number of international researchers have joined local partners to participate in the Basin Project, including Dr. Sharon Billings of the University of Kansas.
              Dr. Billings, who is partnering with a number of participants from the Grenfell and St. John's campuses, spoke about how temperature increases from climate change affect how much carbon is stored in the soil or lost to the atmosphere.
              "Blending my research focus with the geosciences and geographic information systems will help expand our field to better predict how these ecosystems will function in the future," said Dr. Billings. "Ultimately, this interdisciplinary approach will help us predict how these ecosystems will serve the surrounding communities, as well as how they will function in the global environment."
              Her partners include Dr. Martin Moroni, Canadian Forest Service-NRCan, Dr. Susan Ziegler, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Science at Memorial's St. John's campus, and the Basin Project leader and Grenfell's associate vice-principal (research), Dr. Wade Bowers.
              "The Basin Project provides us the means to address the critical and pressing global issues including land-use management, sustainability, and climate change," said Dr. Bowers. "It also presents enormous opportunities to forge strategic alliances and partnerships that showcase Grenfell College and the region as a world-class platform upon which to develop graduate programming and research which ultimately lead to enhanced regional capacity and opportunities for economic diversification. This initiative is a clear example of how we can build research capacity in the region."
              One key participant and presenter in the initiative was Randal Greene, a graduate student with Memorial University's Geography Department, whose work is supported by the Institute for Biodiversity, Ecosystem Science, and Sustainability. He said the network session demonstrated components of the project that relate closely to his work, and others that were new to him.
              "It also speaks to the integrative nature of a relatively small campus and broad initiatives like the Basin Project," said Mr. Greene, adding he was pleased to have the opportunity to present and receive feedback on his research on GIS-based participatory decision making for land management.
              Mr. Green's work is also integrated with the research program of Joan Luther, CFS-NRCan, another presenter at the session. Ms. Luther's research, which is one of the major thrusts of the CFS research lab, explores the role of multi-criteria approaches to integrated land management issues in a risk analysis framework.
              The Humber River Basin Project (HRBP), a major research program led by Grenfell College, is a comprehensive and integrated approach to ecological assessment and long-term monitoring. The basin represents a valued and important asset of western Newfoundland and serves as an excellent platform to develop knowledge and generate models for addressing critical issues surrounding resource management and sustainability. Data generated from benchmarking and long-term assessment will help inform decision-making by managers and stakeholders challenged with land-use planning and policy formulation.
              The Humber River Basin Project continues to expand its activity level through 2008-2009 and is preparing for expanded collaborations in 2009-2010. Under the umbrella of the Centre of Environmental Excellence, the project involves strong collaboration among local agencies including Natural Resources Canada, the Institute for Biodiversity, Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Innovation, Trade, and Rural    Development, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.     
              Cutline 1 (250): Joan Luther, CFS-NRCan, presented a risk assessment talk at the Grenfell College Research Networking Session. Photo by Dean W. Strickland.
Cutline 2 (281): Participants at a recent Research Networking Session marked the occasion with a group photo. Participants attended from all over the province, from other parts of Canada and from other countries. Photo by Dean W. Strickland.

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