SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
  13 September 2012
Volume 13 Issue 9

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Regional Spotlight: Prairie Northern Chapter, New Challenges, New Logo!

Jon Doering and Sarah Crawford, PNC 3rd Annual Meeting Student Committee

Southeast Regional Chapter
The SETAC Prairie Northern Chapter Logo designed by graduate student Dana Moore (University of Guelph).

The 3rd annual SETAC North America Prairie Northern Chapter (PNC) conference was held on 15 June 2012 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. There were 80 attendees from across Canada, from Prince Rupert, BC in the west to Halifax, Nova Scotia in the east, a range of 6,200 km (3,800 miles for our American cousins)! Hosted by David Janz and Markus Hecker of the University of Saskatchewan, the meeting’s theme was "Risk Assessment in Northern Ecosystems: Opportunities and Challenges." The day explored a wide variety of topics with 13 platforms and 21 posters presented by undergraduate and graduate students, including the effects of PCBs on avian migratory behaviour, responses of fish communities to selenium exposure, and characterization of the fate of pharmaceuticals in constructed wetlands. Some highlights of the program included the outstanding keynote presentations given by three plenary speakers, Susan Cormier (USEPA), Mark Wittrup (Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment), and Jon Martin (University of Alberta). As well, an open discussion was led by Larry Kapustka (SLR Consulting) regarding carbon-offset proposals for the upcoming SETAC North America 33rd Annual Meeting in Long Beach, California.

The PNC meeting provided an opportunity to unveil the winner of the chapter’s logo contest, and the new logo. Congratulations to Dana Moore (currently in his PhD program at the University of Guelph, but previously from the University of Manitoba) for his amazing logo submission (pictured below)! The design reflects the range of environmental challenges and ecosystems within the regional chapter.

Student presentations were especially strong this year, with platform presentation awards going to Jon Doering (University of Saskatchewan), Kathryn Kuchapski (University of Lethbridge) and Tracy MacDonald (University of Saskatchewan). Poster presentation awards went to Amber Tompsett, Jovana Tomic and Philip Garvey (all from the University of Saskatchewan). However, as always, everyone did a very good job! Additionally, three fun “Gopher Awards” were given in the form of a Gainer the Gopher (Saskatchewan’s football team mascot) to acknowledge the largest poster (Shawn Beitel, University of Saskatchewan), furthest travelled student (Pouyan Mahboubi – Northwest Community College) and coolest research location (Sarah Beattie, University of Manitoba).

The meeting wrapped up at a local pub with an evening full of food and entertainment. The weather held out long enough for some fun times on the volleyball courts, where people were seen playing in their conference attire...real prairie dedication!

For the first time, a two-day workshop titled Environmental Causation was hosted by the NSERC CREATE Training Program in Human and Ecological Risk Assessment just prior to the PNC meeting, drawing 30 attendees. The workshop, instructed by Dr. Susan Cormier, discussed modern techniques in determining causation of environmental problems under a variety of circumstances, and showcased a number of interesting case studies and useful resources for students and established professionals alike. The aim is to match these workshops with themes of future PNC meetings to enhance the experience for all attendees.

Overall, it was a very successful meeting for a new and quickly growing regional chapter! The 4th annual PNC chapter meeting will be held June 2013 in Lethbridge, Alberta. We look forward to seeing you there!

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