I was in Toronto a week ago as a participant for what was a great conference on supporting and assisting graduate student development. As I’m want to do, I live-tweeted the keynote. Dr. Doug Peers’ talk turned out to be a really interesting and spot-on critique of the way that graduate school gets done today. I spent some time today piecing together Peers’ keynote using my, and other conference-goers tweets. A read through the document will provide an overview of just some of the issues facing Canadian graduate students and graduate programs today.
Hosted in Montreal next spring, this congress is kind of like the Olympics of the environmental education world: held biennially, it draws together academics and practitioners from around the world. I just submitted an abstract for a paper that is largely based on my dissertation research. Here’s the 250 words-or-less abstract:
Bird-watching remains one of the few ways that people continue to have direct experiences with wild animals; animals which are increasingly recognized as indicators for the overall health of ecosystems worldwide. Birders, as a community of practice, offer an opportunity to investigate how adults engage with non-formal environmental learning about the more-than-human world. With little more than an interest in birds and the right kind of technology, a motivated person has the opportunity to participate in citizen-science projects, the likes of which have been recognized as a source of â€œgoodâ€ scientific information about bird populations. Yet, birders are not a heterogeneous group and birding is not a heterogeneous act. Echoing Harawayâ€™s notion of partial perspectives, local knowledge about birds is created within a mediating web of relations. This paper describes the preliminary findings of a qualitative research project, using a modified approach based on grounded theory, which investigates the multiple practices of birding. Looking behind official accounts of birdwatching, the project describes the multiple ways that birds, places, practices and knowledges are produced. Meaningful bird conservation and by extension, a sustainable relationship with the more-than-human will require the committed attention and action of a wide variety of human stakeholders. The results of this research offer an opportunity to examine the varied motivations and behaviours that citizens of our Western society engage with bird life.
We’ll see if it gets a nod…
I would have liked a bit more time between Boston and Rondeau, but no dice. So I’ve been spending this week getting prepared for next, editing book reviews for the CJEE and getting ready for my next gig. It’s been–and will continue to be–a busy spring. I’ll be back in Toronto May 11th for three night before I’m off to direct the Camp Arowhon Outdoor Centre. Ollie gets to come with me to camp, so that should be fun (and Heather gets a break looking after the dog).
OK, back to work–tonight’s task? Clean the desk so I can find my “research in provincial parks” permission form. Whoops!