Spotlight on Environmental Studies and Sciences

Prof Richard Westwood

Prof Richard Westwood

Environmental Studies and Sciences combines many different perspectives to understand the changes in our environment. It explores human impacts and provides a framework to develop solutions for environmental programs. Students obtain either Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees and can choose from seven different subject areas including Chemistry, Forest Ecology, Forest Policy and Management, Global Environmental Systems, Issues in Sustainability, Urban Environments or a joint program with Red River College in Applied Environmental Science.

Professor – Dr. Richard Westwood – saving Prairie butterflies

Poweshief Skipperling

Poweshiek Skipperling

Manitoba is home to some unique butterflies, including two species on the verge of collapse. Recent estimates suggest that there may be fewer than  150 “Poweshiek Skippering” butterflies remaining in the world, with most of them found around the Tolstoi, Gardenton and Stuartburn areas. The “Dakota Skipper” butterfly also faces extinction with probably less than a 1,000 remaining, in the Interlake and Oak Lake areas in Manitoba. Both species rely on tall grass or mixed grass prairie, a shrinking habitat. Dr. Richard Westwood, Chair of Environmental Studies and Sciences, is working with a group of researchers here and in the U.S. that is dedicated to helping these few remaining butterflies survive, and to identify areas where it could be possible for them to thrive again. “These butterflies are pollinators, and part of our natural heritage. They have inhabited Manitoba for thousands of years and it is in our

Dakota Skipper

Dakota Skipper

hands to protect this biodiversity.” Dr.Westwood will share his research findings at a February 2016 conference on Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species in Saskatoon.

 

 

 

 

Meagan Warkentin

Meagan Warkentin

Student – Meagan Warkentin – ecological restoration

Meagan Warkentin has a tangible career goal: to take what has been discarded and return it to nature, a process known as “ecological restoration”. That could involve fixing up abandoned mine sites or oil wells. The 4th year student is specializing in the forest ecology stream (Bachelor of Science, Honours) and is investigating Master degree programs once she graduates in Fall 2016. Originally from Vita, Manitoba, Warkentin says she comes from an outdoorsy family and finds the field work in Environmental Studies and Sciences “awesome.” One course, offered in conjunction with University College of the North, involved building a shelter in the woods outside The Pas and overnighting  there — in the snow. This August she’ll take a field course situated in the Sandilands Provincial Forest. “We really get to know our professors in this department and we have a very active Forestry Students’ Association.

Kris Watts

Kris Watts

Graduate – Kris Watts – protecting our environment

As an Environmental Protection Officer with Manitoba Hydro, Kris Watts spends much of his time creating environmental protection documents that identify sensitive sites and mitigation measures  that field crews use to protect those areas during construction.  He says the work is both varied and satisfying.  Watts graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and Sciences in 2011, and he says the degree allows for many career directions. “There is real diversity in the program with courses in biology, forestry, policy, field skills – it is well-rounded and can be applied in so many different areas.” He says the most memorable part of his time at UWinnipeg were the small class sizes and close relationships that formed which continue today, and the “very passionate, and very current professors.” Watts has been employed with Manitoba Hydro for six years.

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