July 8, 2019Print | PDF
Professors, students and staff in Wilfrid Laurier University's Faculty of Science are using their knowledge to grow scientific curiosity and increase community connections.
The Faculty of Science contributed to outreach initiatives on campus and in the wider community during the 2018-19 academic year. The initiatives, ranging from on-campus youth programs to supporting curriculum at local schools, are designed to inspire scientific curiosity among youth and build meaningful community relationships.
Ken Maly, who served as interim dean of the Faculty of Science during the past academic year, says community outreach is a priority for the faculty.
“Engaging with the community and helping inspire curiosity in others makes the work we do meaningful,” says Maly. “I am very proud of faculty, staff and students who have eagerly contributed to many impactful activities that help bring science to the community.”
During the spring, students from Jennifer Baltzer’s lab served as judges at Westmount Public School’s annual science fair. Baltzer is a Canada Research Chair in Forests and Global Change and an associate professor of biology. Her students met with Westmount’s budding scientists, listened as they explained their projects and asked follow-up questions. This is the second year students from Baltzer’s lab participated as judges at the Westmount science fair.
Baltzer is also currently working with educators at Camp Heidelberg, an outdoor education centre operated by Waterloo Region District School Board, to develop hands-on programming for Grade 9 students about the impact of climate change on Ontario’s forests.
Baltzer recently installed sap flow sensors on several sugar maple trees at the education centre to monitor the trees’ water use, a critical component for growth. In the fall, Grade 9 classes will collect sensor data and compare it against local climate data. Their findings will contribute to Smart Trees Smart Kids, an international project that shares information from sap flow monitors installed on trees around the world to measure the impact of climate change.
The past academic year also marked the first time the Faculty of Science has participated in Science Odyssey, a 10-day national celebration of discovery and innovation designed to engage and inspire Canadians through activities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Faculty members welcomed community members into Laurier’s lab spaces, providing family friendly, hands-on science experiences.
During recent years, the Faculty of Science has also worked in partnership with other Laurier departments to create experiential learning opportunities that bring the sciences to life in new ways for elementary and secondary school students.
The Aquatic Science Outreach Network for the Grand (AquaSONG) Project is a full-day, hands-on water science experience for high school students that introduces concepts such as water contamination, sampling, filtration and laboratory analysis. The program has been offered in partnership with Laurier’s Centre for Cold Regions and Water Science since 2016.
The Faculty of Science and Laurier’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives offer Mama Aki: Mother Earth Science Camp, a five-day overnight camp experience for Indigenous youth in Grade 7 and Grade 8 that explores topics from Ontario’s science curriculum through an Indigenous perspective. Campers from across Ontario participate.
Read more about the Faculty of Science in the community:
We see you are accessing our website on IE8. We recommend you view in Chrome, Safari, Firefox or IE9+ instead.×