Season's Greetings from GIER

View In Browser

GIER December 2022 Newsletter


Funding Opportunity – GIER’s 2022-2023 Small Grants program is OPEN!

GIER’s Small Grants Program seeks to promote interdisciplinary research and scholarship relating to the environment from all seven Colleges at the University of Guelph. While all areas of environmental research are eligible for this program, for 2022-23, GIER is particularly interested in proposals that address one or more of the following strategic areas:  

  • Human-Environment Systems: Humans can both positively and negatively affect environmental systems. GIER is committed to better understanding the two-way interactions between humans and the environment, including—but not restricted to—problems around invasive species, climate change mitigation, conservation and restoration, land-use management, and pollution control. 
  • Indigenous Environmental Research and Engagement: GIER acknowledges the importance of Indigenous knowledge, perspectives, and values on environmental stewardship and hence looks forward to cultivating stronger relationships with Indigenous scholars and communities to advance reconciliation and decolonization initiatives at the University of Guelph. 
  • Environmental Arts meets Environmental Sciences: Society is confronting unprecedented environmental challenges, but practitioners have come to an agreement that most environmental challenges are at their core human issues. Artistic invention can empower individuals and societies to understand the past, to imagine futures, and to create empathy and resilience. GIER is interested in projects, both scholarly and artistic, that address these areas. 
  • Environmental Communication and Knowledge Translation: We are faced with many ‘wicked’ environmental problems which are interrelated and go beyond traditional scientific fields. To tackle these challenges, scientists need to engage with those outside their field or profession. GIER is interested in research projects that engage in new ways across these disciplinary boundaries and/or with the public or policy-makers. 

Full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty (including Emeritus) at the University of Guelph may apply for the program.

Applications are due Friday, January 20, 2023, at 5:00pm.

For more information, and to apply, please see the official call for applications HERE.

For questions or information on our Small Grants Program, please email

Interdisciplinary SSHRC Opportunity

For those considering applying to the SSHRC Insight Development Grant (IDG) (due internally on January 26, 2023, and externally on February 2, 2023), GIER would like to highlight that the Tri-Agency Interdisciplinary Peer Review (TAIPR) Committee pilot is continuing this year. This committee provides an option for researchers working in interdisciplinary research to direct their application to a review committee with expertise from across the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, engineering, and health sciences. The social sciences and humanities must be the primary research area for the IDG call, and interdisciplinarity must be a key characteristic of a proposal, where the project goals could not be achieved without an interdisciplinary approach.

For more information, see the UofG research alert.

Climate Creatives Challenge

GIER Director Dr. Madhur Anand will be a judge on this year’s Climate Creatives Challenge – a series of design competitions to support new and novel approaches to climate change communications. This year’s theme is Ecological Change: How can we communicate the impacts of climate change on a habitat and/or species and the benefits of mitigation, adaptation and resilience? Enter the challenge between December 1, 2022 – January 13, 2023.

Welcome to Julia Lawler - New GIER Officer

We are pleased to welcome Julia Lawler into the role of GIER Officer. Julia has a bachelor of environmental studies from the University of Waterloo and a master’s of bioscience, technology and public policy from the University of Winnipeg. She has worked with several NGO’s and community organizations, and is excited to offer these skills and experiences to GIER. Julia and her family are new to the Guelph community and look forward to exploring all the natural beauty Ontario has to offer.

We would also like to say a thank you and farewell to Liane Miedema Brown, our wonderful GIER Officer for the last year and a half. Liane successfully planned many events and facilitated new relationships in her role with GIER. She is moving on to focus on her research - we wish her all the best!


In Partnership: Ecological Restoration for a Better World!

GIER and The Arboretum have partnered on several collaborative events as part of the UN Decade on Restoration. Most recently, Dr. Emily Gonzales led a workshop at The Arboretum titled, “Ecological Restoration for a Better World!”  

Dr. Gonzales is a UofG alum (MSc Zoology, 2000) with a PhD from UBC. She’s currently chair of the Society for Ecological Restoration's Science and Policy Committee and supports a $21 million/year restoration program at Parks Canada. On September 10, Dr. Gonzales hosted a three-hour hands-on workshop for a sold-out gathering of students and practitioners exploring the topic of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and learning how to apply the Ecological Recovery System tracking tool using Arboretum lands as a case study.  

In Partnership: Writing the Environment

GIER partnered with the Eden Mills Writers Festival (EMWF) this fall to host an author reading and discussion. Merilyn Simonds, author of Woman, Watching, Julia Zarankin, author of Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder, and wildlife ecologist and GIER Affiliate Dr. Ryan Norris joined host and GIER Director Dr. Madhur Anand (scientist, poet, and birder) for a conversation on how the science and art of birding, along with the act of writing about it, requires deep intelligence, curiosity, and leaps of creativity. This was the fourth event in GIER’s 2022 Environment Bound series.

YESWriters Field Guide Completed  

This fall, GIER and 10 contributors completed the GIER YESWriters Field Guide as a follow-up to the Young Environmental Science Writers (YESWriters) workshop hosted on campus in July 2022.

The Field Guide is a unique, interdisciplinary workbook designed by representatives from four of the University’s seven colleges and six departments. The workbook invites readers and writers to engage with the surrounding environment as both an environmental scientist and a creative writer. GIER is currently working on ways to distribute the Field Guide to interested young environmental science writers. Thank you to our wonderful contributors: Olivia Blumenthal, Jeannette Hicks, Quratulain Dar, Mackenzie Wiebe, Liane Miedema Brown, Dr. Madhur Anand, Catherine Bush, Dr. Scott Krayenhoff, Dr. Ryan Gregory, and Kate Sutherland.

ENVIRONS: A Fall Gathering

ENVIRONS: A Fall Gathering was hosted on October 28, 2022. This unique event invited researchers and creators from all disciplines at the University of Guelph to explore questions of human-environment relationships. GIER partnered with the Art Gallery of Guelph to host this event, which was held in the main gallery space during the showing of Qautamaat (“everyday”), an exhibition speaking to Inuit ideas, images, and objects evoking aspects of daily life and relationships that are distinctly Inuk.

GIER welcomed artists, researchers, writers, and thinkers from across North America to discuss questions of interdisciplinary environmental research, and to present on work that bridged the gap between the arts and sciences. Featuring poets Forrest Gander and Rae Armantrout, as well as an international panel of presenters, this event highlighted the synergistic work that GIER seeks to initiate between and across the disciplines.

The Biodiversity Crisis: Conversation in Canada and Beyond

On November 24, 50 attendees gathered at The Bookshelf for a discussion of the current biodiversity crisis and the COP15 meeting.

Environmental policy expert and GIER Affiliate Dr. Noella Gray (University of Guelph, Department of Geography, Environment & Geomatics) led the discussion and was joined by Mike Schreiner MPP (Green Party Leader) and Dr. Madhur Anand (Director, GIER).

The event centred around the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is meeting in Montreal until December 19, on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehà:ka Nation, to negotiate and adopt a new ‘Global Biodiversity Framework,’ as the world continues to experience critical levels of biodiversity loss.

The Biodiversity Crisis is part of an event series that GIER started in order to connect the public and non-experts with experienced environmental researchers within our network as part of GIER’s work to make environmental research more accessible. This series has been initiated in partnership with The Bookshelf.

Reconciliation is necessary and important in its own right, and this is a conversation as Canadians we’re all having, however, it is also necessary to support the transformative change we need in conservation.” – Dr. Noella Gray

Some Highlights of GIER Affiliates in the News

Have news to share with us?

Please send your stories, updates and ideas to