How to help cities improve planning for natural disasters

Many municipalities don’t have evacuation plans in place

How to help cities improve planning for natural disastersAs natural disasters like fire, extreme heatwaves and flooding are on the rise globally due to a changing climate, cities are looking at how they can be better prepared. According to Stephen Wong, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Alberta, many communities lack clear evacuation plans, and communication to residents is inconsistent across jurisdictions.…

Seasons come and go, but where did they get their names?

Plants "spring" forth and leaves "fall" but what about the other two seasons?

Seasons come and go, but where did they get their names?Last fall when I looked out my door, most of the leaves had fallen, the nights were very chilly and there truly was frost on the pumpkins. Now, as the end of the winter season approaches, I thought again about the seasons and how they got their names. I simplistically thought I could come up…

Containment key to managing invasive species in Alberta lake: study

New research yields critical information on Chinese mystery snail

Containment key to managing invasive species in Alberta lake: studyNew research led by University of Alberta scientists could help contain the spread of the Chinese mystery snail, an invasive species whose discovery in a southern Alberta lake is as enigmatic as its name. “Chinese mystery snails have been found throughout Eastern Canada and most of the continental United States, but to find them in…

Is the majestic bald eagle making a comeback?

In the 70s, bald eagles, like many raptors, were devastated due to exposure to pesticides

Is the majestic bald eagle making a comeback?The majestic bald eagle never fails to arouse awe in observers fortunate enough to spot it. In the 19th and 20th centuries, it variously was considered common to rare in North America, depending primarily on where you lived. They historically nested in 45 of the 48 contiguous United States but have declined dramatically since. One…

How to build resilience and boost your mental health

Seven simple tips to help you cope with anxiety and depression in trying times

How to build resilience and boost your mental healthWave after wave of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is taking a heavy toll on our collective mental health, causing depression and anxiety. “Everyone’s going through it: the amount of fear and anxiety, the fragility of life, people wondering about their own well-being and what happens if they get sick and how quickly things can change on a dime,”…

Animal indicators abound in the wild if you can follow the clues

There are hundreds of clues all around us. Sights, smells, holes in trees, nests, songs and much more

Animal indicators abound in the wild if you can follow the cluesI’d like to introduce you to the signs that wild things leave when they share our landscape. We already know birds sing and come to bird feeders, and that animals leave tracks. But what other clues do they leave to tell us they were here? There are hundreds of ways we can see what shares…

Smart drone technology helping protect birds from industrial hazards

Researchers, industry partners using automated tools to keep birds safe

Birds will be more protected from landing at oilsands sites through a new research project involving University of Alberta computing scientists and Aerium Analytics, a drone technology company. Working with Imperial Oil Ltd., the researchers will fully automate tracking tools to better detect and deter birds from touching down and nesting on industrial areas like…

Manufacturing human organs … with farm animals

Every year, 200 to 250 Canadians die while waiting for an organ transplant

Manufacturing human organs … with farm animalsIn an unprecedented surgery, a 57-year-old American with serious heart disease had a heart transplant with a genetically-modified pig’s heart on Jan. 7. Almost two weeks later, the patient is reportedly still doing well. This surgery was a first, performed by a team from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. It’s among the first…

Since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Oh, the weather outside is.... wonderful! Ontarians are making the most of a huge snow storm

Since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snowThere’s no day like a snow day. In that same vein, there’s no column like a snow day column! On Monday, Toronto and most of southern Ontario got hammered by one of the biggest snowstorms in this region in many years. Toronto was originally supposed to get 25 to 35 cm of snow, according to…