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The AQUA Program hosts Community Panel Discussion regarding a proposed Oyster Farm in Antigonish Harbour

More than 250 community members from the Antigonish area attended the Tuesday 13 August 2019 Panel Discussion to learn more about a proposed Oyster Aquaculture operation to be located in Antigonish Harbour.  Several AQUA students attended and a special thank you to AQUA volunteers Brenna Martell and Aaron Cogger!

Panelists included:  

Dr. David Garbary: outlined the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture process to apply for and obtain permission to locate any aquaculture operation within the Province.

Mr. Ernie Porter from Town Point Consulting Inc.  - the Proponent.  Mr. Porter outlined the importance of aquaculture for rural NS communities, and he detailed his proposed aquaculture operation.

Friends of Antigonish Harbour, a local non-governmental organization (NGO).  Two representatives provided biological rationale, and economic arguments, against the establishment of an oyster aquaculture operation in Antigonish Harbour.

Dr. Tony Miller, StFX Biologist, presented information about the importance of the natural environment of Antigonish Harbour and many of the wild inhabitants.

Mr. Kerry Prosper, Mi'kmaq Elder and Knowledge Keeper at StFX, talked about changes that are coming, both due to global climate and to society. He stressed that working together may be the way forward and he hoped that where we see change that adaptation and cooperation would result.  

This type of community engagement is what StFX university is about.  In addition, the interdisciplinary nature of the topic - aquaculture, business, biology of the harbour and proposed sites, water currents and tides, economic development, societal concern,etc. - fits perfectly with the purpose of the AQUA Program.


Two AQUA students receive major research awards

Brenna Martell and Megan Fraser will develop valuable academic and leadership skills, conducting research in fulfillment of their AQUA 400 Work Terms and with respect to their AQUA 450 Senior Research Projects, with StFX professors, as follows:

Irving Research Mentorships (The Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership) 

Megan Fraser; Biology and Aquatic Resources; J. Williams (Biology).

The project focuses on Boat Harbour, Pictou County, NS; a body of water that has been receiving effluent from a nearby mill for ~ 50 years.  Megan will be conducting experiments designed to understand what types of marine grasses and small organisms might be able to live in the pre-industrial sediments of Boat Harbour once remediation of the site is complete.

RBC Foundation Research Awards (The Mulroney Institute of Government)

  Brenna Martell; Aquatic Resources and Public Policy and Social Research. Advising                         faculty member: P. Kikkert, Irving Shipbuilding Research Chair, Mulroney Institute of                         Government, Public Policy and Governance.

  Project title: Assessing Community-Based Capabilities for Oil Spill Response in the Kitikmeot                                       Region of Nunavut.

As climate change increases maritime activity in the Canadian Arctic, a strong community-based oil spill response capability is essential. This project will examine the different policies, plans, and resources in place for oil spill response in the communities of the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut.

Each student was awarded a minimum of $6,250 to conduct research during the summer of 2019.  Both of these research project satisfy requirements for AQUA 400 Work Term/Internship.  Additionally, the research undertaken by these students will result in a senior research paper and a poster that will partially satisfy requirements for the AQUA 450 Capstone course/Senior Seminar.


Congratulations to all 2019 Aquatic Resources Graduates!

The May 2019 graduating class of Aquatic Resource major students is as diverse as always, including: 3 Honours students (M. Ragan: BSc Honours Anthropology and AQUA  +  M. Besaw and O. Pushie: BSc Honours Earth Sciences and AQUA), 4 BSc Biology and AQUA, 4 BA Public Policy and Social Research and AQUA, and 1 BA Economics and AQUA.

Several graduates will go on to Graduate School for Masters degrees at the University of Ottawa (Earth Sciences), StFX (Earth Sciences), and Dalhousie (Resource and Environmental Studies); while others will seek employment, apply for International Internships, etc.  Regardless of where they go, we wish them great success!


Congratulations to Mary Besaw and Olivia Pushie for successfully defending their BSc Honours Earth Sciences undergraduate theses 

On Thursday 4 April 2019, both Mary and Olivia defended their respective theses:

  Olivia Pushie:

  K-feldspar Analysis of Niobium-Yttrium-Fluorine (NYF) Type Pegmatites 

  Olivia will continue her eduation at StFX in a Master of Science (Earth Sciences) degree program.


  Mary Besaw:                                                                                                           

  Geochemical Characterization of K-feldspars from Lithium-Cesium-Tantalum Type Pegmatites

  Mary will begin a Master of Science (Earth Sciences) at the University of Ottawa in 2019.                                   



Monica Ragan successfully defends her BA Honours Anthropology with Subsidiary in Aquatic Resources undergraduate thesis (5 April 2019)  CONGRATULATIONS!

Monica will begin her Master's degree at Dalhousie University, in the School for Resource and Environmental Studies, in 2019.



September 2018: Meadow Green AQUA 100 River Restoration Field Trip


AQUA student, Olivia Pushie, receives UCR Award to conduct research for her AQUA 400 Work Term/AQUA 450 Senior Project

Ms. Olivia Pushie, third from left, is a BSc Honours Earth Sciences and major Aquatic Resources student who received a StFX Student Research Award and University Council for Research (UCR) Award valued at $4,500. She will work with Dr. Alan Anderson on research centered around examining pegmatitic rocks important for critical metals typically used in lithium ion batteries, electronics, cellphones, etc.

“The research I plan on conducting will help us to understand the origin and processes involved in the formation of ore mineralization so that we can devise better models for future exploration. Being awarded the UCR Student Award opens so many doors for me academically. Not only will I be able to conduct and contribute valuable research to the field of earth sciences, but I will also be able to further my own knowledge in something I am very passionate about, mineral/resource exploration,” she says. 


2017 AQUA 100 River Restoration Activity a Success!

Friday 15 September turned out to be a great day .. sunny and warm .. as the AQUA 100 class, accompanied by Jim Williams, AQUA Program Coordinator, Kris Hunter, BIOL Dept., and Lynn Patterson, AQUA Program Asst, headed to North River, Antigonish County.  Kris shared his wealth of knowledge about river restoration techniques and why these are important for the health of rivers ecosystems.  Everyone got wet and dirty repairing river structures, digging out silt from the bottom of river pools, and removing most of a vegetation pile that was hindering the passage of fish!  Their reward?  A 6 foot Subway sub and munchies before returning to the StFX campus and completion of crucial volunteer service that keeps local rivers in great shape for fish and other organisms that depend on riparian habitat.







AQUA student completes UN Intensive Summer Study Program (June 2015)

StFX student Isaac Turner is back on campus after participating in the United Nations Intensive Summer Study Program, hosted by Seton Hall School of Diplomacy and International Relations in New York in June. He says the experience impacted him on a number of levels.

“First and foremost, it opened my eyes to what opportunities there are to work with an organization like the UN and how to best go about pursuing those jobs,” says the BA honours political science student with subsidiary in aquatic resources from Kentville, NS, who was one of this year’s MacBain/Riley International Fund Award recipients. He used the award to fund the experience.

“Secondly, it gave me the chance to meet people who come from a wide range of backgrounds and to build connections that will extend far past the culmination of the program. In both cases, I think that my experience in New York has put me in a good position moving forward once I am finished at StFX.

“As a young person interested in working in the field of international relations, having the opportunity to participate in the UN Intensive Summer Study program offered a unique opportunity to meet other young people with similar interests, and to learn from individuals working directly with the UN,” Mr. Turner says.

“I arrived in New York with a working knowledge of the purpose of the UN and its functions, but left with both a better understanding of its political dynamics, and a greater appreciation of the complexity of the field of multilateral diplomacy.”

What was the experience like?

“In one word, intensive,” he says.

Full Article


GOING GREEN: Solar Panels on Bloomfield Centre Roof (spring 2015)

People passing by Bloomfield Centre may not notice something is different about StFX’s Students’ Union building. But indeed, 40 new solar panels have just been installed on the roof in a student-led initiative this is ever moving the university in a green direction.

A student group, working with Facilities Management, on the project submitted a proposal to StFX Vice-President Finance and Administration Andrew Beckett, successfully requesting that two per cent of the facilities renewal fee go towards this project.

“The purpose of the solar panel project is to not only to reduce the carbon footprint of the university, but also to start bringing more green initiatives to campus,” the student team write in their report. “To many perspective students, this is a very important factor in selecting a post-secondary institution as the climate change threat looms more and more over the younger population.”

The Sustainability Office, with Ms. Henderson as internal officer and external officer Victoria Cullen (Economics and Aquatic Resources student), have been working with Facilities Management Energy Supervisor, Kevin Latimer, to kick start a student-led solar panel project.

Full Article


AR student in Korea as participant in international youth event for water (April 2015)

“It was a life-changing experience. I kind of had a general idea of what I wanted to do, now I have a much clearer idea of what I want to do,” says Alex Miller, who will start his senior year at StFX in September, taking a Bachelor of Arts with honours in political science and a subsidiary in aquatic resources.

He was among 70 international youth, aged 18 to 25, who participanted in the World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW) in Gyeongiu, South Korea. Immediately following, he was also a participant at the 7th World Water Forum April 12-17.
Mr. Miller was one of five individuals selected last May [2014] at the North American Youth for Water Gathering, held in Quebec City, to represent North America as delegates of the WYPW, held in the framework of the 7th World Water Forum.
By participating in the World Water Forum, the young parliamentarians had opportunity to promote their involvement and ideas for water and sanitation, to meet and discuss ideas with international decision-makers and international stakeholders, and share their action strategies and commitments within this international event which welcomed over 35,000 people.
“The most prominent thing that came out of it were the connections I made with students in the water sector and with workers in the water sector who share an interest and passion for water and the environment. That was the most valuable,” Mr. Miller says on the experience.
The experience also provided a few ideas of what he wants to do after graduation.
Mr. Miller says after meeting a professor from a school in the U.K., he is now considering doing a master’s in water law there. He also connected with several organizations that offer internships and opportunities for recent graduates.
The information discussed at the meetings was also a fantastic learning opportunity, he says, as it expanded on what he’s learned in Canada into an international context.
Full Article


Taylor Mason, 4th year AQUA, and Isaac Turner, 2nd year AQUA, were part of the organizing committee for this weekend’s Leaders Summit @ X: Developing our Great Traits (24 & 25 Jan. 2014)

Mason talked about the different perspectives on leadership which are bound to be expressed as students come together. “I think that is when it really sparks you,” she said about the sharing of ideas. “I’m excited to see that happen for myself and others.”

     She also spoke about the hands-on approach with the workshops that will leave participants with something tangible to take home, beyond the inspiring messages.

     “[The summit] is a great opportunity for students to build their leadership skills and listen to people like Mark Tewkesbury and Debbie Muir who have tremendous leadership capabilities … are internationally renowned,” said Turner. 

Full Article


22 March 2012: Aquatic Resources Students earn awards in several categories at StFX's 10th annual Student Research Day

Students have the chance to dramatically improve their presentation skills as they must present their work to adjudicators who are not in their departments.

It’s almost graduate level research most students are doing, said event organizer Dr. Angie Thompson.

Topics for the day ranged from factors effecting Canadian banking performance during the financial crisis, to violence, masculinity, and concussions in the NHL; from changing negative perceptions of public breastfeeding through exposure, to effect of social media on the antecedents of brand trust.

As the event started, Dr. Thompson encouraged student participants to pat themselves on the back. “You’ve risen to the challenge to present your research in a different domain. You should be proud of yourself. I certainly am.”

The Community-Based Research Prize, sponsored by StFX Service Learning went to:

Korey Mabee, Aquatic Resources and Biology

SafetyNet-RX Awards, sponsored by the SafetyNet-RX Research Lab and Dr. Todd Boyle, Canada Research Chair:

Gold = Andrea Flynn, Biology and Aquatic Resources

Gold = Leah Beveridge, Biology and Aquatic Resources

Bronze = William Daniels, Business Administration with Aquatic Resources

StFX Bookstore Student Research Day Awards:

Silver = Seth Rutner, Interdisciplinary Studies in Aquatic Resources



Summer 2011

AR students are working and volunteering in Canada and around the world...

JUSTIN is completing his AQUA 400 Work Term in The Bahamas. He is working with the Cape Eleuthera Institute Flats Program and researchers from The Bahamas and universities in the United States.

RACHEL spent the month of May in Grenada working as a research assistant with Ocean Spirits, a conservation organization focused primarily on protecting marine turtles. She is finishing up her summer in Portland, ON, where she is completing an internship with the Centre for Sustainable Watersheds (CSW).

CHELSEY is currently (July and August 2011) participating in an archaeological field school in Italy!

LEAH and ANDREA are conducting research along the beaches of the Northumberland Coast, Nova Scotia, as part of their Biology Honours and Aquatic Resources research.

March 2011

AR senior student - Ms. Carly Eagles - was awarded the Asadulla-Bibijan (Science) Award for her research and poster presented at the 9th annual Student Research Day (24 March 2011) at StFX.

June 2010

Second year ISAR (Public Policy and Social Research) student - Justin Lewis - begins a Research and Education Internship at the Cape Eleuthera Institute in The Bahamas!

June 2010

ISAR Work Term (AQUA 400) students successful in obtaining aquatics-related work or volunteer positions for the summer of 2010.

Students are employed by the Canadian Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), a research group studying water and wastewater, the Atlantic Coastal Action Program (ACAP), the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) as a Fish and Wildlife Assistant, an Ontario Conservation Authority as a Water Resources Technician, Environment Canada (PEI) to study endangered Piping Plovers, a university researcher to study invasive species in wetlands, etc.

While gaining valuable hands-on work experience, students will be developing their senior research projects (AQUA 450) based mainly on the work they are conducting during the summer!


AQUA students win awards at Student Research Day event | 26 March 2010


Senior Aquatic Resources students present posters on Student Research Day each year.  Posters are derived from the research each student conduct the summer before their final year of study, usually as part of the AQUA 400 Work Term/Internship.

Prize winners this year:

Community Service Learning Award: Jonathan Gallant, Aquatic Resources

Asadulla-Bibijan Awards of Excellence: Cora MacDonald, Aquatic Resources

StFX Bookstore Awards: Second Level: Kraig Porter, Aquatic Resources