Fall 2017

Newsletter Archive


My Summer in the Wetlands: Alyce Straub

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I began attending Mount Royal University last year to finish my Bachelor of Science degree after taking a few years off. I was a little nervous to return to university, but I have been especially lucky to take a variety of courses at Mount Royal that have reminded me of my love for the natural world. Taking conservation biology in the winter semester, I was inspired and excited to see that there are ways that nature and humans can live in harmony; then I was given the chance to work on a conservation project this summer and actively participate in citizen science.

Tracy Lee, of the Miistakis Institute, gave a guest lecture to my conservation biology class early in February, informing us about the exciting world of citizen science and Miistakis' new citizen science project. Their exciting project, "Call of the Wetland," aims to gain extensive data on amphibian presence within Calgary by getting the public involved and exploring Calgary's wetlands, all while gathering data. During the semester, my class was given the opportunity to actively help in the preliminary stages of the project and trial run the app before the project launched this spring.

Carrying on with what we started during the winter semester in conservation biology, this spring I began a research project with my professor, Melanie Rathburn. We worked closely with the Miistakis Institute and the "Call of the Wetland" project, exploring wetlands and collecting data to determine what environmental variables in an urban environment affect amphibian presence within the city. My summer consisted of testing different environmental variables, collecting data from wetlands around the city and analysing the findings. I had the chance to actively participate in a citizen science project and interact with community members, offering information about Calgary's wetlands. Not to mention, I got to hear and see quite a few amazing amphibians!

This summer provided me with invaluable experience and the knowledge and advice I gained from working closely with many different professional scientists cannot be measured. I was very lucky to spend my summer studying Calgary's wetlands.