Scotty creek research station

Field Courses

Cold Regions Eco-Hydrology Field Course (Hoarfrost River Homestead)

Cold Regions Research Centre

Hoarfrost River Homestead

10-17 February, 2018

The Cold Regions Research Centre (CRRC) at Laurier is offering an intensive field-based course on the physical principles of cold regions eco-hydrology and water resources. Factors governing eco-hydrological processes in cold regions landscapes will be discussed including precipitation, interception, energy balance, snow accumulation and redistribution by wind, plant physiology, plant-snow interactions, over-winter moisture redistribution in vegetation, snow and soil properties, and coastal/lake processes. Each will be framed within the context of the subarctic Boreal Shield, a distinctly Canadian landscape. Students will be exposed to an overview of each subject, with recent scientific findings and new cutting edge theories, tools and techniques.

The course will take place at the Hoarfrost River Homestead on the remote, eastern edge of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. The homestead is just a few kilometres south of the tree-line and as such, offers unparalleled access to boreal forest, taiga and tundra land-covers, in addition to coastal and lake environments. It is also on the shore of the deepest portion of the deepest lake in North America. The immediate area of the homestead was severely burned during the 2014 fire season, with profound effects on local ecosystems and hydrology.

The course will focus on field examinations to expose students to cold regions eco-hydrological phenomenon, state of the art field instrumentation and measurement techniques, including the use of un-manned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Field activities will be complimented by numerical and essay assignments to develop skills in problem solving and in synthesizing eco-hydrological concepts. Each day will start with a condensed lecture on the primary subject, followed by field activities to examine the processes and measurement techniques relevant to the lectures. Points of interest on the land, lake and along the shore will be reached by snowshoe, ski, dogsled, and snowmobile. These scientific activities will be complimented by a traditional knowledge component led by an Elder from the community of Lutsel K’e.

Course Objectives

Students will emerge from the course with a deeper understanding of cold regions eco-hydrological processes and feedbacks. The course is intended for senior undergraduate students with an interest in hydrology and/or ecology who are looking to broaden their understanding of cold regions eco-hydrological systems and processes. This bio-physical science course is quantitative in nature and so a foundation in quantitative methods in the context of hydrology and/or ecology is recommended.

This course aims to describe and explain:

  • The physical principles and processes that govern cold regions eco-hydrology, with special reference to Canadian winter conditions,
  • Mass and energy balance calculations and their application in eco-hydrology,
  • Linkages and feedbacks among hydrology, ecology and biogeochemistry.

Evaluation

Students will be evaluated with a literature review on an eco-hydrological process selected in consultation with one of the course instructors (50%), and a quantitative exercise based on collaborative fieldwork by small groups of students while in the field (50%). Both the literature review and the quantitative exercise will be due no later than April 4, the last day of classes of the 2018 Winter Term.

Preliminary Meeting

Prior to the field trip, there will be a planning and logistics meeting during the week of Jan. 8, 2018. Students enrolled in GG499V will receive advanced email notification of the day, time and location of this meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss logistics and to provide course handouts and other reading materials.

Registration

All students taking this course are required to enroll in GG499V at Laurier. The registration fee is $1040. This covers the cost of the use of the facilities, meals and accommodation at the Hoarfrost River Homestead. In addition, students will cover the cost of their airfare to and from Yellowknife, and their hotel accommodation for one night in Yellowknife. Students will be able to take advantage of the special rates negotiated by Laurier for these flights and for the hotel accommodation.

Non-Laurier students must complete a “letter of permission form” provided by their home university. The home university of the non-Laurier students will provide more information on the credit transfer process.

Application

To apply, please send by email attachment to Bill Quinton at wquinton@wlu.ca with the following:

  • A brief (500 word) letter explaining why you are interested in taking this course, and
  • A copy of your academic transcript (an unofficial copy is sufficient).

Important Dates

  • Sept. 29: Last day to submit application.
  • Oct. 15: Successful applicants will be notified.
  • Oct. 31: Last day to submit the course fee ($1000)
  • Nov. 15: No refunds after this date. Refunds can be made prior to this date, but $100 will be retained to cover the cost of administration.

For Further Information

  • For questions about course content: Bill Quinton at wquinton@wlu.ca
  • For queries related to registration: Sorina Ciucurita at sciucurita@wlu.ca
  • For information related to transferring the GG499V course credit to your home institution, contact your department chair or Dean’s office.
  • For further information contact artsinfo@wlu.ca or 519.884.0710 x3891.

 


 

Cold Regions Eco-Hydrology Field Course

Cold Regions Research Centre

Scotty Creek Research Station

11-18 March, 2017

The Cold Regions Research Centre (CRRC) at Wilfrid Laurier University (https://coldregions.ca) is offering an intensive field-based course on the physical principles of cold regions eco-hydrology and water resources. This course counts as a High School credit and as a credit toward the Environment and Natural Resources Technology Program (ENRTP) of Aurora College.

Students will learn about the factors governing eco-hydrological processes in cold regions landscapes including precipitation, interception, energy balance, snow accumulation and redistribution by wind, plant physiology, plant-snow interactions, over-winter moisture redistribution in vegetation, snow and soil properties, and greenhouse gas (GHG) flux processes. Each will be framed within the context of the southern Taiga Plains ecoregion. Students will be exposed to an overview of each subject, with recent scientific findings and new cutting edge theories, tools and techniques.

The course will take place at the Scotty Creek Research Station (SCRS), 50 km south of Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories. The SCRS (https://www.scottycreek.com) has operated since 1999 and is one of the largest research stations of its kind in northern Canada. It is also uniquely positioned in one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth, where very high rates of permafrost thaw have caused widespread conversion of forests to wetlands, with profound effects on local ecosystems, water resources and greenhouse gas fluxes. The course will focus on field examinations to expose students to cold regions eco-hydrology, field instrumentation and measurement techniques, including the use of un-manned aerial vehicles (UAVs), a 25 m GHG flux tower used in collaboration with NASA scientists, and other state-of-the-art scientific infrastructure.

Field activities will be complimented by a written assignment designed to develop skills in problem solving and in synthesizing concepts. Each day will start with a condensed lesson on the primary subject, followed by field activities to examine the processes and measurement techniques relevant to the lessons. Points of interest on the land will be reached by snowshoe and snow mobile. These scientific activities will be complemented by a traditional knowledge component led by Elders from Fort Simpson.

Students will emerge from the course with a deeper understanding of cold regions environmental processes and feedbacks. The course is intended for senior high school students with an interest in environmental science, water resources, hydrology and/or ecology who are looking to broaden their understanding of cold regions eco-hydrological systems and processes.

To download the Course Outline, click here

To download the Course Advertisement, click here.

To download the Scotty Creek brochure, click here.

Presentation the high school students gave to their classmates: PDF