Research Projects Underway in the Biosphere

The Beaver Hills Biosphere has received support from Mitacs to undertake four diverse research projects in the biosphere. Learn more about Mitacs and the focus of these interesting projects.

Mitacs is a national not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for 20 years. Mitacs builds partnerships between academia, industry and the world to create a more innovative Canada. Through federal and provincial funding support, Mitacs partners with organizations to enable them to hire post-graduate students to undertake specific research driven projects. This leveraged support provides organizations with important data, ideas and innovation to fuel their work.

In 2018, the Beaver Hills Biosphere received support from Mitacs to undertake four different research projects that will support partner needs and identify opportunities for various efforts and programs. With the rich natural and cultural history of this UNESCO designated biosphere, these research projects will support the development of inventories of data and research that inform various efforts and strategies.

Within the Biosphere, these four projects are focused on:

  1. Communicating the Impacts of Climate Change. A post-doc student from the University of Alberta has partnered with a lead professor to undertake research on communicating the impacts of climate change. The project will explore how environmental educators can help ensure the public understands the science behind climate change, realizes their role in addressing this issue, and feels empowered to do so.
  2. Identifying Connections Between People and Place. This project will focus on the close connections between people and place in the Beaver Hills landscape in modern times. Documented through archival research, oral history interviews, field work, and social gatherings, the graduate student assigned to this project will delve into and gather different perspectives of what the landscape means to various stakeholders, as told through stories of people and place.
  3. Understanding and Enhancing Inter-agency Collaboration. A graduate student from the University of Alberta will facilitate and evaluate the Beaver Hills Biosphere communications approach in order to understand and enhance inter-agency collaboration in the environmental education and heritage interpretation sector of the BHB.
  4. Exploring and Documenting Indigenous Histories of the Beaver Hills. The Beaver Hills were once the home of various Indigenous groups who were displaced by western settlement and the creation of native spaces that excluded the area. This project intends to combat this colonial erasure through an examination of the Indigenous history of the Beaver Hills, with a focus on Nehiyawak, Niitsitapi and Métis histories.

Following the completion of these research projects in winter 2020, the BHB will review and ultimately share the information gathered through the development of projects such as art installations, digital storytelling and more. Please stay tuned for the outcomes of these projects and we encourage you to learn more about Mitacs.