Carleton University – Environmental Science Projects

Since 2016 we have been working with Carleton University to sponsor local stewardship projects for the Environmental Science Group Project course for third year students.  The course has been led by Dr. Susan Aitken since 2018.

OSC and its community partners provide background information to the students and specify what information they want to receive as the project deliverables.  The course and OSC’s projects offer students multiple benefits – field experience in environmental stewardship, team work in a research project, learning to work with other organizations, and delivering usable results – all relevant to real jobs in environmental science.

2021 Projects

A Straight Line to Habitat for Bees – in partnership with Biodiversity Conservancy International (lead).

Using the hydro corridor at Pinhey Sand Dunes, students identified local bumble bee species and assessed them in the context of global trends.  They also made recommendations to BCI for optimizing habitat including planting native species to support bumble bee populations.

2020 Projects

Citizen Science Case Study – in partnership with the Ottawa Field Naturalists’ Club.

Students assessed use of citizen science applications as tools for scientific study.  In particular they analyzed the potential of iNaturalist observations for monitoring rare, at risk, and regionally significant species.

Urban Butterfly Sanctuary at Pinhey Sand Dunes – in partnership with Biodiversity Conservancy International (lead).

Students researched butterflies and endangered Lepidopteran species that have been observed in the Ottawa area, and examples of butterfly sanctuaries that have been established in other locations. Information will be used by BCI in their establishment of a butterfly sanctuary in the unique habitat of the Pinhey Sand Dunes.  Learn more:  http://www.biodiversityconservancy.org/butterfly-sanctuary-2

Petrie Island Tree Inventory Analysis – in partnership with Friends of Petrie Island (lead).

In 2019 and 2020, a detailed inventory of trees on Petrie Island was conducted by volunteers and summer students, resulting in over 1000 observations in iNaturalist.  Students analyzed the data for species diversity and distribution, maturity, disease and beaver predation trends, and other factors.  Learn more:  https://www.petrieisland.org/tree-inventory-2019-2021

Rock Elms – A Native Tree in Decline? – in partnership with Ottawa Field Naturalists’ Club (lead).

Students researched Rock Elm and Dutch Elm Disease and analyzed iNaturalist observations of dead Rock Elm trees, which will inform conservation and advocacy for this under-appreciated species.  Read about their results in our post:  Rock Elm: A Native Species in Decline?

2019 Projects

Pinhey Sand Dunes Project – in partnership with Biodiversity Conservancy International.  The Pinhey Dunes students recorded 6 insect species, looked at lessons learned from other dune restoration projects worldwide, and developed a questionnaire and pamphlet to improve public knowledge about what makes the site ecology special.

Carp River Restoration Site Monitoring of Seeded and Invasive Plants – in partnership with Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority.  The Carp River students recorded 19 plant species in a 350m stretch and identified three invasive species:  wild parsnip, flowering rush, and phragmites.  They also looked at five citizen science projects  and recommended a public awareness event and use of iNaturalist to promote yearly collection of data to see how the site flora change over time.

Students enter observations into iNaturalist along the Carp River. (Photo from the students’ final report.)

2018 Projects

Students and Dr. Aitken on the trail in the Carp Hills.
  1. Pike and Muskie Habitat Evaluation in the Rideau watershed (Mosquito Creek) in partnership with the Riverside South Community Association and Rideau Valley Conservation Authority;
  2. Plants for an Urban Meadow, using the Morgan’s Grant hydro corridor project for the study in partnership with the Briarbrook Brookside and Morgan’s Grant Community Association (BMGCA);
  3. Pollinators in an Urban Meadow, using the Morgan’s Grant hydro corridor project for the study in partnership with BMGCA;
  4. Development of interpretive information for a trail in the Carp Hills in partnership with the Friends of the Carp Hills; and
  5. Students at the future Rouncey Park in Stittsville.

    Use of public space to support Urban Food Forests in Ottawa, using Rouncey Park in Stittsville for the study in partnership with Sustainable Stittsville.

Read student Hilary Hale’s blog from the Pollinators in an Urban Meadow project.

2017 Projects

Led by Dr. Steven J. Cooke, the Group Research in Environmental Science Project course for third year students undertook four out of five projects submitted by the OSC.  The students  tackled a diverse array of topics related to local environment issues that are a focus for the OSC and other partner organizations:

  1. Carp River Restoration Project Study,
  2. Morgan’s Grant Restoration Project 2017,
  3. Westboro Beach Area Stewardship Project, and
  4. Carp Barrens Conservation Strategy Project.
Dr. Steven Cooke and students beside the habitat pond at the Carp River Restoration area.

2016 Project

Our inaugural project set the foundation for our long-running Morgan’s Grant Greenspace Revitalization Project.  Dr. Kringen Henein led the Environmental Science Group Project course.

Urban Restoration – A Field Study & Site Assessment at Morgan’s Grant Hydro Corridor.

Students at the Morgan’s Grant site. (Photo from their presentation.)

From the student’s final report.  “The Morgan’s Grant hydro corridor, located in Kanata, Ottawa, was assessed for the purpose of carrying out a restoration process within this site. Before assessing the area, research was done into different types of restorations and their benefits, the geology and soil type of the area, and the dominant invasive species surrounding the site. This research aided in determining what type of restoration would be most suited for the area as well as what characteristics of the corridor should be tested. Field work was carried out at the hydro corridor to determine what vegetation was present as well as to determine a variety of soil characteristics . . . “.