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2016 - 2017

LIMITLESS A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College

Should Albertans invest in solar PV? p. 12 Local Kids Seek Business Help p.34

5 years of Limitless p. 20 Do you need a permit to fly your drone? p.18 A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College



Ranked one of Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges for the past

800 people have toured the CSI

Net Zero The Renewable Energy Learning Centre operates as a net-zero classroom and office building thanks to solar photovoltaic, wind energy, solar thermal, and geothermal systems





3 Years

$3,724,326 Total value of money invested into Lakeland College research from 2012-2014


Regional Innovation Network

Off-Grid The Energy Cabin operates as an off grid Renewable Energy and Conservation lab


Stake Holders


Youth Entrepreneurs were engaged in Regional Innovation Network entrepreneurship programming 2



Buildings dedicated to research

Summer Students

Hired to work on research projects 2012-2016



A Team Effort

6 A new Look for Lakeland- Message from the President Lakeland’s new logo does more than look pretty. It represents student-managed learning experiences; a place to be heard; connected and relevant; future focused; and academic credibility.


12 Is Solar PV Worth the Cost Installing solar panels sounds like a great way to save money. But is it economical in Alberta? 15

The Rising Cost of Energy in Alberta

16 How we Solved our Data Management and Storage Problem Applied research needed a way to manage data from multiple renewable energy systems. This is why the Flexstation was created.

7 Research at Lakeland- Message from the Director of Applied Research Being a smaller post-secondary institution is not a bad thing. Lakeland is more agile and builds multidisciplinary teams.


8 Students Take the Lead: The Student Managed Farm 10 National Leadership Award for Lakeland College Instructor Rob Baron has taught at the college for 29 years, and is still considered one of Lakeland’s most creative minds. 11

Peter Walsh: Gold Harvest Award


Emerald Award Finalist- Mel Mathision


Meet our 2016 Summer Students


Drones- What’s all the Hype About?

19 Do you Need Permission From Transport Canada? Flying a drone you bought may not be legal. View this chart

A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College


28 20

Research Reflection



28 Removing Nutrients for a Good Cause Having too many nutrients in a body of water can cause major problems, but finding a way to remove them can be extremely difficult. At the CSI, we are testing different methods. 30

Cereal Research


Experience Innovation


Top 5 Research Moments

22 Diving in Head First Have you noticed crops growing so tall they fall over on the field? That is called lodging, and preventing it can be very beneficial to a farmer’s bottom line. 24

Student-Run Trial Targets Milk Options


Riparian Grazing

26 Moove Over- Lakeland College has a new Livestock Research Team Lakeland College students are hoping they will be able to improve the Alberta cattle industry though student-led cattle research.




JART Wraps up

32 Innovative Programming- Virtual Caregiving ELCC students create their own play program, decorate and set the layout for the activity rooms, interact with parents and other staff, and plan and prepare snacks and activities. And now they can do it all online. 34

Regional Business Accelerator

Volume 5

2015- 2016


A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College

Publication Information Limitless is published by Lakeland College Applied Research. This is the 5th volume. Throughout the magazine, you will find faces of the researchers and support staff of this growing department. Special thanks to all Lakeland College employees and partners who contributed information and photographs to this publication.

A TEAM EFFORT Five years ago, I started working as a summer student for Applied Research and witnessed the first Limitless magazine come to life. It was an “all hands on deck” effort. Through the process, I learned so much about the research department and its amazing staff.

PROJECT MANAGER Veronica Peterson ADVISOR Diane Harms CONTRIBUTORS Rob Baron, Diane Harms, Rinde Johansson, Ryan Kwasnycia, Kelly Mazerolle, Thom McAleer, Laurel Perrott, Veronica Peterson, Spencer Plant, Glenys Reeves-Gibbs, Katie Ryan, Colleen Symes, Keith Vickery EDITOR Gillian Binsted DESIGN Veronica Peterson

In the last three years, as I became the project manager and graphic designer of Limitless, I have learned to truly appreciate all of the effort our whole team puts in to make this magazine come to life year after year. When working in marketing, motivating colleagues to give you the information you need on time can be a little like herding cats. Due dates always seem to sneak up too quickly and everyone is always very busy. However, with Limitless, the research team has experienced the benefits of having one document to highlight our year of research, and they have yet to fail to give me what I need. So much has happened in terms of Lakeland College research in just five years. Research has gone from being under the Environmental department, to being its own, self-sustaining department, staffing 7 full-time employees and multiple summer students every year. Research has gained institutional support, and more faculty are becoming involved every year.

Vermilion Campus 5707 College Drive Vermilion AB T9X 1K5

This year’s magazine focuses on reflection, and summarizes the outcomes of 5 years of research. I hope you enjoy the magazine!

Lloydminster Campus 2602 59 Avenue Lloydminster AB T9V 3N7


Lakeland gratefully acknowledges NSERC support in the production of this knowledge and technology transfer publication through our College and Community Innovation Program grants.

Lakeland College is proud to be listed as one of Canada’s top research colleges

A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College


A new Look for Lakeland As you may have noticed on the cover of this issue, Lakeland College has a new logo. The logo is one element of the new visual identity we launched in August, the second phase of a branding process that started in 2014 with the development of a brand strategy. Extensive research and consultation with various stakeholders were priorities for us when we undertook the process of rebranding Lakeland. First, we had to understand our strengths. After much feedback, we determined the five elements of our brand that clearly reflect the Lakeland experience. These elements are: student-managed learning experiences; a place to be heard; connected and relevant; future focused; and academic credibility. As a leader in student-managed learning experiences, we provide our students with opportunities to gain real-word experience. Whether our students are coordinating the Fashion on a Budget show, developing a plan for installing new ground water monitoring wells, or conducting research to



determine the best milk to feed orphaned lambs, our students take the lead. When work began on developing a new visual identity to reflect our brand, our students played an important role. More than 100 current and prospective students as well as staff members provided input throughout this process. Together, they offered guidance to ensure Lakeland’s new visual identity complements the five core attributes of the college’s brand strategy. And it’s exciting to see it all come to fruition with the logo, tagline, typography and colours. The strong L icon of the logo represents the leadership of our students and references local architecture, the strength of the Prairies, the region’s landscape, and academic achievement. The gold element in the logo is a reference to the sash worn by grads at convocation. It’s also similar to a kernel of grain, an acknowledgement of our Prairie roots. It’s placed in the middle of the L as it connects the college’s two campuses together. The green and gold colours − which have served Lakeland almost since its beginning − remain.

However, the shades are richer than previous versions. Our tagline: Leading. Learning. Since 1913. refers to our student-managed learning approach and builds on our long and successful history. A tremendous amount of consultation and work went into the development of our brand, and we’re proud of the outcome. Feedback from our students and staff has been overwhelmingly positive. But we’re not done yet. The third phase of our branding process is the launch of a responsive website which will take place this fall. Keep checking With a clear purpose we are now using platforms such as this publication to tell our stories about student-managed learning, outstanding research, and collaboration with industry and organizations. And that’s what excites me most. Alice Wainwright-Stewart President and CEO Lakeland College

Research at Lakeland? For the past decade, colleges, polytechnics, and CÉGEPs (Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel) have been shifting gears to engage in applied research in a systematic way. According to the Colleges and Institutes Canada’s (CICan) 2014-15 Applied Research Survey, over 105 institutions have a dedicated applied research office and over 31,000 students are involved in applied research activities – this represents about 3% of all Canadian college students. In addition, over 10,000 students have received support to pursue entrepreneurial ideas. The last few years have been marked by consistent growth in capacity and a corresponding growth in partnerships with private industry, as colleges work with them to identify solutions to their innovation challenges. The vast majority (78%) of these partnerships are with small to medium enterprises (SMEs), which are defined as companies having 5-500 employees. Lakeland College has contributed to these trends, building our capacity to engage in applied research in key areas: agriculture, environmental sciences, energy, and entrepreneurship. Lakeland placed on Research Money’s “Top 50 Research Colleges in Canada” in 2013, 2014, and 2015. The primary metric for these rankings is research income. We don’t anticipate being on the list in 2016 as we completed several large projects, including our Canada Foundation for Innovation infrastructure development grant. While this appears to be a slowdown in the growth of applied research here at Lakeland, in reality we are well positioned to use the capacity built through those projects to engage in sustainable applied research in our core areas.

Lakeland College is engaging is applied research to facilitate excellent student outcomes that support the social, environmental, and economic life of our communities. Through applied research, students take the lead in learning and gain both hard and soft skills that will benefit both them and their employers throughout their careers. With 150 faculty members focusing on delivering programming to nearly 3750 students, Lakeland is one of the smallest mid-sized colleges in Canada. This allows us to offer a wide range of academic programming while managing class sizes and providing a friendly community atmosphere. Even with two major campuses, most faculty and staff know each other well, which helps increase our agility and ability to respond to applied research questions and access expertise from multiple disciplines. For example our energy and environmental sciences team partnered with economics and business faculty to complete the research highlighted in the article about our solar photovoltaic economic calculator (page 12).We also collaborate with the Regional Business Accelerator and the Alberta Innovation Network to help companies access resources and expertise to help them on their path to success. Since its inception, the Business Accelerator has helped over 300 companies and has made a serious commitment to help growing youth entrepreneurship in our region (page 24). Several Lakeland faculty and staff provide mentorship to companies through the RBA. Sometimes being small has big advantages!

National Applied Research: Partnered Innovation for Business and Communities

Total investment in applied research Private sector partners Student participation





















College Research Growth. From CICan “Applied Research: Partnered Innovation for Business and Communities” 2016.

DIANE HARMS Director, Applied Research

A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College





Students decide what crop to grow, and where to grow it

Students decide what fertilizer and herbicide to use and when they should be applied

Students decide when to harvest and sell the crop



Presenting at the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) 2016 Applied Research Symposium proved to be one of the highlights of the year for Austin Vavrek and Taylor Carson. The second-year crop technology students travelled from the Vermilion campus to Winnipeg for the event to present a research poster about their work with crop management intensities. They also participated in a workshop panel discussion with Lorne MacGregor, Lakeland College’s former Director of Applied Research and Commercialization, on integrating diploma students into the College’s applied research activities and the Student Managed Farm (SMF) – Powered by New Holland model. “During our panel discussion they were pretty interested about the process of moving the first-year students into manager positions and how that worked. I think they may not have seen this learning environment before,” says Vavrek, SMF crop tech research team manager. “People were really surprised to learn that we operate the College farm,” adds Carson, who’s in charge of financial analysis, reporting, and industry liaison on the SMF research team.

IN PHOTO: Austin Vavrek- Crop Technology

Their work on the College farm focused on the crop intensity trials – a three-year project on four plots of land involving three local producer partners from the Vermilion area.

Student, the Honorable Kirsty Duncan- Federal Minster of Science, and Taylor Carson- Crop Technology Student

“What we try to do is take good agronomy and farming practices from the Vermilion area to see if we can add higher inputs to try and get more yield and return on investment, or is there a point where you can’t really put much more in for what you are going to get back,” says Vavrek.

“They may have thought that Lakeland students get to take part in harvest as part of their course work, but didn’t understand the full scope of how we’re in charge of the farm business. Even being part of the SMF requires cover letters and resumés; it’s a real job that we have to apply for.”

Peas were the first crop that was tested. In 2015, students planted and harvested wheat, and have set up the 2016 crop research team with canola. “The transition will be smooth for the next team,” says Vavrek. “It involves a lot of responsibility working at the SMF, but if you own it and work at it, it will really help you to grow. It’s also work that we might start doing on our own farms when we graduate or if we take an industry job, so it definitely gives us a big advantage. Another great thing about the SMF is that you make a lot of industry connections. It’s definitely something that sets you up for success in the future.”

Taylor Carson

Learning about applied research projects from across the country and various industries during the CICan symposium was also an eye-opening experience for the students. “While there were people who didn’t know a thing about agriculture but wanted to hear about what we were doing, there was so much research work that I wasn’t aware of too,” says Vavrek, listing robot, laser, and even brewery projects as a few examples. “It was fascinating to see what else is going on,” says Carson. “It was a great opportunity to share our research work and Lakeland’s SMF concept with these industry leaders. That we are able to have these opportunities to grow, even going to this conference, it’s an incredible learning experience. Lakeland really enables us to thrive.” CICan promotes the excellence of college and institute members as the prime providers of advanced skills and applied research for social and economic development. A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College



Rob Baron is one of only four people in Canada to receive a gold level Award of Excellence from Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). For his innovation and achievements at Lakeland, Baron was awarded the gold CICan Leadership Excellence Award during the organization’s annual conference in Québec City on May 31. “I was extremely honoured that my colleagues chose to nominate me for this award. I have worked with some amazing teams for many departments over my career at the College,” says Rob Baron, Head of Lakeland College’s Renewable Energy and Conservation Program. CICan’s 2016 Awards of Excellence recognize best practices from institutions across the country. The Leadership Excellence Award recognizes that, although the entire post-secondary institution plays a learning leadership role in the communities they serve, one individual inevitably makes an outstanding contribution each year. “Rob has been a valued colleague for over a quarter of a century. The leadership he has shown both Lakeland



College and the community is immeasurable, valued, and overwhelmingly respected,” says Alice Wainwright-Stewart, President of Lakeland College. “From helping to establish the Student Managed Farm – Powered by New Holland to creating a new curriculum for agriculture and developing Lakeland’s applied research, Rob is instrumental to the growth and success of the College. He is very deserving of this prestigious award and we are very proud of his accomplishment.” Before joining Lakeland as an instructor in 1987, Baron worked in agricultural machinery research and manufacturing, specializing in fertilizer, seeding, and pesticide application. At Lakeland, Baron has exercised his passion for sharing knowledge and helping others learn through classroom instruction, course development, program development, and, most recently, leading the College’s applied research initiatives. “Rob has one of the best creative minds of anyone I have had the pleasure to work with, and has truly been a leader in every sense of the word in such a broad spectrum of projects,” says Mel Mathison, former Dean of Lakeland’s School of Environmental Sciences. “Lakeland College is a different and better college with Rob’s contributions.”

Peter Walsh: Gold Harvest Award

Retired Lakeland instructor Peter Walsh was the recipient of a 2016 Gold Harvest Award as a member of the Entomology Field Guide Team. Walsh, and a group of his peers, were recognized for their exceptional and significant contributions made to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the development and publication of Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada. They won the award in the Innovation, Collaboration and Service Excellence category. The publication, three-plus years in the making, captures 25 years of emerging pests, new science, and new pest management technologies, including biological control and biopesticides. “It’s definitely a team award,” says Walsh, a past staff advisor with Lakeland’s Student-Managed Farm – Powered by New Holland. “It was a huge job but it was fun and exciting to work on something I am very passionate about.” The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada department has presented these excellence awards since 2001. The federal department not only recognizes its staff but also people from other government departments, universities and organizations. “The students love it, they find it useful and they all want to know where they can purchase a hardcopy. For me, that is my reward, that the students see it as a learning tool and they see the value in it,” says Walsh, who taught crop technology for more than 30 years at Lakeland. Much like its predecessor, Walsh expects this most recent publication to hold its value for upwards of 10 years. And when the time comes to produce an up-to-date version, the retired instructor says he will jump at the opportunity to continue to grow an important and invaluable piece of literature.





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ARACHNID 2 Cephalothorax








Abdomen Head Thorax Abdomen




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COLEOPTERA 3 Head Thorax



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Antennae Antennae Eyes

Melvin was a supporter of the Student Managed Farm concept from its inception 25 years ago. This concept revolutionized the way that the College integrated hands-on learning for students and influenced the development of Lakeland’s applied research models. Lakeland’s Centre for Sustainable Innovation was established as a result of his championing sustainable environmental education and applied research.


Abdomen Head Thorax



Mel Mathison, former Dean of Lakeland’s School of Environmental Sciences, was a finalist for the 2016 Individual Commitment Emerald Award. Melvin Mathison joined Lakeland College in 1989 as an instructor in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Then, in 2005, he became the Dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences in a move that allowed him to develop his passion for enhancing the learning opportunities available at Lakeland College. Over the course of his ten years of leadership, Lakeland developed many new programs, built several new buildings, and established the College as a contributor to applied research in Canada. His persistence and passion for engaging students as research leaders has helped to shape the way the College engages students and allows them to lead their learning.


Forewing 6

Emerald Award Finalist



Cornicles Eye

Eye Elytra

Antennae Antennae



Legs Legs




1. Gilles San Martin, 2. Don Buckle, Sasksatoon, 8. Mark Schwarzlander, SK 3. Didier Descouens, University of Idaho, Wings Muséum de Toulouse 9. Stephen Ausmus, USDA-ARS 10. DW_Ross, 4. Muhammad Mahdi Karim, Wikipedia 5. Scott Bauer, 11. Phil Meyers, University 6. Tyler Wist, AAFC of Michigan, Ann Arbor 7. Pest and Diseases 12. Desley Tree, PaDIL Image Library,

A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College



$ 12


The solar photovoltaic (PV) industry is a small but growing industry in Alberta. In 2014, approximately 1000 grid connected PV systems generated only 0.01% of the electricity the province required. However, the growth in grid-connected PV systems has increased exponentially since 2009 when the micro-generation regulations came into effect; this removed many of the regulatory barriers and costs associated with grid connected solar PV. Alberta also has the best solar resource in Canada and can compete with sunny international locations such as Rio de Janiero and Rome. The combination of superior solar resources and the implementation of micro-generation regulation have generated a lot of interest regarding the future of the solar PV industry in Alberta. While the ecological benefits of using solar PV are clear, the economic value of this emerging technology is often unclear to many consumers. Essentially, the solar PV industry thrives in areas with lots of sunshine and high electricity costs. Alberta has ample solar resources but, because of the deregulated nature of the electricity grid, electricity costs vary depending on where you reside in the province. More specifically, the cost of generating electricity (regulated rate option) remains fairly consistent throughout the province but the delivery cost associated with the energy bill is not. The delivery charges can be broken down into distribution and transmission fees. The distribution charges cover the cost of constructing, maintaining, and operating the local distribution system. Similarly, the transmission fees are intended to cover the cost of constructing, maintaining, and operating a provincial electrical grid. Because the per-customer cost of building and maintaining a distribution and transmission system is greater in rural regions compared to urban areas, the delivery charges are also significantly greater. Further confounding the question is the fact that delivery charges will also differ depending on the rate structure classification of your facility (i.e., residential, commercial, or industrial). With commercial or industrial rate structures, the majority of the delivery costs are often fixed and cannot be avoided by reducing electricity consumption. However, commercial and industrial customers can write off the purchase of a photovoltaic system as a business expense. Also, a photovoltaic system falls under class 43.2 (renewable energy generation equipment), qualifying it to be depreciated at an accelerated rate of 50%. This is considered to be revenue because it reduces the taxes by the value of depreciation multiplied by the tax rate. A cost calculator was developed by Lakeland College researchers to determine the economic feasibility of photovoltaic systems under a number of different scenarios. Economic metrics such as simple payback period and net present value were evaluated. The payback period is an easier to understand metric; however, there are some inherent limitations. The simple payback period represents the amount of time in years required to pay back the total cost of the photovoltaic system. The limitation with this metric is that is does not take into account inflation or the time value of money. The net present value (NPV) approach does take into account these factors and discounts each annual cash flow to its value in today’s dollars. The discount rate is essentially the rate of return that could be earned on an investment in the financial markets with similar risk. Any NPV value that is greater than or equal to 0 is considered to be a worthwhile investment. A NPV value below zero essentially means investing the money into something like a Canada Savings Bond would yield a

better rate of return. The levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) measures how much it costs to produce 1 kWh of electricity from a photovoltaic system, and is calculated by dividing the total costs associated with the system by the total lifetime energy generation. It is useful to compare this metric to the cost of grid electricity. When the LCOE equals the cost of grid electricity, the photovoltaic system is said to have reached grid parity; in other words, the cost of producing electricity from a photovoltaic system is equal to the cost of purchasing electricity from the grid. The analysis showed that the only scenario under current economic conditions in which photovoltaic systems are CONTINUED



The Alberta Municipal Solar Program


The Growing Forward 2: On Farm Solar Management Program


Alberta municipal solar program will provide rebates of up to $0.75/W up to a maximum of $300,000 per project to municipalities installing solar on municipal buildings.

Growing Forward solar program for agricultural producers will provide $500,000 in provincial and federal funding towards solar energy systems on Alberta Farms. Banff Solar Photovoltaic Incentive Program

An installed solar PV system in the town of Banff is eligible to receive quarterly incentive payments from the municipal government.

A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College


considered to be a good investment is a residential home located in the ATCO zone of the province. The net present value was well above zero and the system payback was only 16 years. A residential home in the Fortis zone had a payback period of 25 years (less than the assumed 30-year service life) but the net present value was less than zero. Costs of electricity were not high enough in the EPCOR or ENMAX zone to justify a photovoltaic system, at least economically. In the large general service scenarios, none of photovoltaic systems had payback periods of less than 30 years. Photovoltaic systems could not reduce the delivery costs of electricity because most of these charges were fixed. The LCOE was the same in every scenario

at 17¢/kWh. The cost of grid electricity would have to exceed this value to make the photovoltaic system economically viable. Implementation of government incentives (some of which are already available) would allow solar PV to reach a tipping point with respect to economic viability. The conclusions made in this report are not applicable to every homeowner because their unique circumstances will change certain assumptions made in this analysis. The calculator will be published on the Lakeland College website, allowing the user to change the input variables to something more representative of their circumstances.

Residential Wire Service Provider

Simple Payback Period (yrs)

LCOE ($/kWh)

Net Present Value ($)

Atco Electric
















Simple Payback Period (yrs)

LCOE ($/kWh)

Net Present Value ($)

Atco Electric
















Large General Service Wire Service Provider

Alberta Solar Map High concentration of solar (red), to low concentration of solar (green).

Assumptions Used in this Analysis System Size (kW) Installation Type

5 Roof-Mounted

System lifetime (yrs) Annual System Production (kWh) * Annual Insurance and Maintenance Costs ($) Installed Costs ($)** % Solar Electricity Used

30 7654.6 $300 $15,000.00 75%

Rebates/ Incentives


*Annual system production obtained from observed system output of the south facing 5kW array installed at the CSI site. Assumed to degrade at 0.8% per year ** Installed cost assumed a cost $3.0/watt installed. Assumed $4000 down payment, the remainder on 4% loan paid over 10 years *** 75% of solar electricity was used in residential home, remainder sold to grid at retail rate. For large general service 100% of solar electricity was a used in the facility.



The Rising Cost of Energy in Alberta Purchasing a photovoltaic system is similar to pre-buying your electricity for the service life of the system and acting as an insurance policy against rising energy costs. For our analysis, we assumed that the cost of electricity for the duration of the service life of the PV system was 8.6 and 8.31¢/kWh for residential and large general service customers, respectively. Both of these rates were determined from historical direct energy regulated rate option prices. This is perhaps conservative given that electricity generation prices are likely to increase due the phase-out of cheap coal fired power plants and the imposition of a carbon tax. However, our analysis did take into account rising transmission and distribution costs. According to the Alberta Electricity System Operator (AESO), planned upgrades to the transmission system will result in increases in delivery charges. The distribution charges were assumed to increase at approximately 5% per year. It is difficult to accurately predict the increase in delivery costs, and even AESO will only project increases in transmission and distribution charges with accuracies of ±30 and ±50%, respectively.

Degradation of Solar PV modules As with any power generating equipment, solar PV modules are subject to performance degradation over their lifespan due to wear and tear and exposure to environmental conditions. Degradation rates have decreased as the technology has improved, allowing PV modules to reliably produce power for 30 years or longer. A study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded the average degradation rate for a PV module is roughly 0.5%/year. Further innovation may further reduce this degradation rate, allowing solar PV modules to have a longer lifespan.

WORKING FOR APPLIED RESEARCH Keith began working for Applied Research in 2014. Since day one, he has been an extremely valuable member of the team. Over the years, Keith has worked on multiple research projects, including those related to geothermal, solar, and wind power. Keith particularly enjoyed assessing the economic viability of solar photovoltaic and solar thermal systems. The analysis provided important information to consumers considering installing these systems on their homes.

“I enjoyed working with brilliant and enthusiastic individuals that helped achieve my goals while working at Lakeland”.

Keith has presented his research findings at a number of research conferences. Keith presented a paper comparing solar photovoltaic energy production of east-, west-, south-facing, and tracked arrays at the Canadian Society of Bio-engineering in Edmonton, AB. Keith also presented on the economics of residential solar PV installations at the Solar Photovoltaic Conference in Blue Ridge, AB. A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College


HOW WE SOLVED OUR DATA MANAGEMENT AND STORAGE PROBLEM Lakeland College researchers built the Flexstation data collection and information management system to solve a problem. Specifically, installed renewable energy systems have many different individual data recording and visualization systems for specific energy generation or building management tasks, but no solutions were available for complex combined systems. When you install more than one system, you want to maximize their combined performance and the Flexstation provides an easy way for that energy optimization to happen. Technologist Ryan Kwasnycia tells us more: Q & A with Ryan Kwasnycia, Research Technologist:


What exactly is Flexstation?

Flexstation combines a flexible internet gateway capable of interfacing with a wide variety of consumer and industrial data collection equipment. The data are fed to a web-based database with a wide variety of analytical tools to monitor, configure, and control sites. The system also provides a secure location for data storage, allowing the user to access and examine data collected years ago. What can you do with all that information? The web interface allows users to see the current status of all of the sensors in the building. Users can view the daily amount of energy generated as well as the daily facility energy consumption. The data can be exported or viewed in different pre-built live graphs, charts, and Sankey diagrams. Another unique feature is an alert that can be set up to send the user a warning (via email or text) if custom set-points are exceeded, for example if the solar thermal collector reaches a temperature hot enough to boil the working fluid. What do the system alerts do? Well, think of it as an alarm. As a homeowner, if the systems aren’t performing the way that they should, then you aren’t getting the best value from your investment. If they aren’t producing the energy that you expect, then if you are grid-tied you will have to pay extra for the energy you need. If you are off-grid, it might mean a cold shower. With an alert, the homeowner knows that it’s time for system maintenance. Or if the alerts go directly to a service provider, then the homeowner has peace of mind knowing that the system will always be working. Don’t most systems have that built in? Some do, but the benefit of the Flexstation system is that it has been formatted with connections to many different devices. Our custom sensors can also monitor and record data on temperature, wind speed/direction, solar irradiance, and current flows with the ability to expand using wireless XBee radios. Flexstation can also interface with commercial dataloggers, weather stations, PLCs (programmable logic controllers), and energy monitoring equipment (eGauge) to bring all of the information together. So what is next?

RYAN KWASNYCIA Research Technologist



Flexstation has proven to be an effective tool for analyzing and better understanding the systems installed at the Renewable Energy Learning Center and other locations. The software has been optimized for both desktop computers and mobile devices. The inexpensive initial hardware deployment cost makes it a useful choice in many applications. We are hoping to find a partner to commercialize Flexstation. To see the system in action, visit


SUMMER STUDENTS Both old and new staff help to make our research program a success. Meet some of the employees who made a difference this summer.

MAXI BIEDERSTADT Field Crop Research Assistant

SPENCER PLANT Research Technician

KIMBERLY LYSYSHYN Specialty Crop Research Assistant

About you

Working at Lakeland College

Favorite job or biggest challenge

School: University of Saskatchewan, BSc. in Agriculture

School: Lakeland College, Animal Science Technology

School: University of Alberta, Computing Science

Hobbies: Outdoor activities, rodeo, time with family & friends

Hobbies: Horseback riding, photography, running, biking

Hobbies: Playing guitar, cooking, game making, app development

Research Projects: JART, and occasionally assisted with small plot trials.

Research Projects: Small plot, canola intensity, and disease surveys.

Research Projects: UAV project, and the Energy Portal web app

Pokemon Go lunch dates with Maxi and Spencer.The people here are easy to work and get along with, which creates a pleasurable work atmosphere.

The people here are great to work with and create a fun work environment.

Lakeland inherently has a very personal atmosphere to it. This is nice for feeling at home almost immediately! But sometimes I want to isolate myself in my work (I’m aware I fit the Computer Guy cliché) since it helps me concentrate. Lakeland affords me that option, so I’m very thankful for that”.

Definitely not using the Jari mower! I enjoyed sampling and collecting data. I had the opportunity to come up with my own analysis of what I viewed based on this data and suggest ideas why we obtained certain results. Being able to discuss these results with Linden Lundback also furthered my knowledge.

I really enjoy crop scouting, and especially doing the surveys for Vermilion and Wainwright. I get to see something new every day and further my knowledge through it.

Biggest challenge was creating a row counting algorithm whereby an overhead image of crop rows can be inputted, and the row count is outputted. I ended up getting things working after laboriously copying pixel values into a grid on paper, to better understand how my program should read things. And yet the girls say I never got my hands dirty this summer.

A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College


DRONES: Drones. They’re everywhere! It seems everyone nowadays is talking about drones, whether it’s the news, movies, or that one friend who just has to have a drone of their own and makes sure you know about it. Let’s talk about drones. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), as they are known professionally, are finding a purpose in many different places. Here at the Center for Sustainable Innovation, we have been using a Draganfly XP-4 UAV for precision agriculture purposes to see if it can give farmers an edge when producing their crops. UAVs usually have a camera attached, which takes images of whatever the UAV is flying over. In regards to monitoring crops, you might be wondering, “how could an overhead picture tell you anything that a simple foot survey couldn’t?” The secret is in the camera itself. While a regular digital camera may produce stunning aerial photography, it wouldn’t be able to tell you much about plant health or other factors. Instead, the use of a Near-Infrared (NIR) sensitive camera can actually produce an image that fairly accurately depicts overall plant health. When light strikes a typical plant, red and blue wavelengths of light are absorbed but green wavelengths are reflected (which our eyes pick up making plants look green). The absorbed red and blue light fuels the photosynthesis process in the plant, producing chlorophyll. The more chlorophyll there is, the more light that is defined as “near-infrared” is reflected. In other words, the brighter a plant looks according to a NIR sensitive camera, the healthier it is. Therefore, flying an NIR camera over a section of vegetation and processing the resulting images gives an at-a-glance look at the overall health of the crop. This can be especially useful for analyzing preliminary plant emergence, as sections that




aren’t doing as well as others can be located and tended to in a timely manner. The wonders of UAVs in agriculture don’t end there though! Some truly information-rich images can be taken using a multior hyperspectral camera that picks up many more wavelengths of light all at once. With the proper cameras and processing, you can actually determine factors such as the species of the plant, protein content in the crop, or nitrogen content in the soil. This is absolutely crucial in the future of agriculture, as optimizations in fertilizer use will yield both environmental and economic benefits. “I haven’t heard much about [nitrogen level detection and protein detection], but I could definitely see it being useful as long as it’s accurate. It would be a lot easier to do that rather than sending plant tissue samples to the lab for testing. It would make top dressing easier and could potentially help with contracting wheat if you have an idea of what protein content will be before it’s combined.” -Derek Moses, Fourth Year Agronomy Student So why aren’t more people adopting this approach? It could be that some equipment is still incredibly expensive, even with prices decreasing every year. Current flight platforms also have difficulty covering large commercial acreages. Another possible explanation is that it is just inconvenient; maintaining the equipment can be time consuming and simply arranging a flight can border on being a hassle. Due to the relative infancy of amateur and commercial UAV flight, regulations are still evolving. If you’re flying recreationally, have no fears as you can fly to your heart’s content – within specific safety guidelines, of course. If you’re flying with a commercial purpose (i.e., imaging your crops for analysis), you must adhere to weight, altitude, and location regulations, and may need a Special Flight


Operation Certificate from Transport Canada. If you’re unlucky enough to have your potential crop-to-be-analyzed located within 9 km of an airport, helipad, or built up area, then you have even more restrictions to consider. To make a long story short, it can be a complicated process just to get a UAV off the ground, as we have experienced first-hand. Although still in its infancy, UAV use for precision agriculture is showing signs of promise. From quickly evaluating plant health to monitoring nitrogen levels in the field, the benefits of aerial observation are beginning to be recognized by both individuals and industry. Flight regulations will likely continue to be somewhat of a barrier for some producers, but as the technology advances, the pros will begin to outweigh those cons. “I think there is definitely a use for drones in precision agriculture. They allow farmers to cover a large area in a short period of time, and also make it easier to cover large fields. Some of the technology such as NDVI [Normalized Difference Vegetation Index] can be used to make recommendations and prescription maps. They’re a useful tool that can help farmers, but nothing can ever replace actually going out and walking a field to see and touch what is in it.” -Derek Moses, Fourth Year Agronomy Student

I use my aircraft for work or research Yes

It weighs more than 35 kg Yes


It weighs more than 25 kg Yes

You don’t need permission but you do have to fly safely

Sequential images captured by the UAV. These images are taken with the Tetracam ADC-Micro, a camera without an infrared light filter built in, so infrared light reflected by plants shows up as pink/red.



You must apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC)

You dont need permission, but you must meet exemption requirements

Adapted from Transport Canada A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College




Research Reflection Reflection Research is still a relatively new endeavor at Lakeland College, but we have been pleased to highlight the applied research and innovation accomplishments of our staff and faculty in Limitless over the past 5 years. This 5th edition is a chance to reflect and review some of the key capacity building investments and activities that have helped us bridge our academic mission with our innovation and community economic development mandate. It’s very hard to pick just 5 moments that make us very proud, as there have been so many achievements. Our faculty, staff, students, and partners have accomplished so much in the last 5 years. Since we couldn’t pick just 5, here are a few more: In partnership with Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, Lakeland College applied research launched the Alberta Biochar Initiative with Western Economic Diversification Canada support. The resulting network got people excited about the economic potential of innovative biochar products and production methods. Over 55 networking partners were engaged, best practices were developed, projects were completed, products were approved by the Canadian Food



Inspection Agency, and greenhouse gas protocols were submitted to the Alberta Environment. We are excited to see and support the development of this value-added product in the future. Recognizing the importance of agriculture to our region, Lakeland has made major commitments to grow both crop and livestock applied research. We have hired a new Crop Research Specialist, purchased key equipment and plan to continue to develop our capacity to engage in small plot crop research in the future. The College purchased a research herd of 50 Angus cattle and made enormous strides in the development of the Livestock Research Facility. The creation of a stand-alone Student Managed Farm— Powered by New Holland Livestock Research Team with 16 student participants will help move student-led projects forward. Research at Lakeland College has focused on finding answers to personal, local, and crucial problems that Western Canadians face. Applied Research owes its success over the years to the support of Lakeland College staff, faculty, students, research partners, and members of the community.



1 3


KEY INVESTMENTS The College has received several key capacity building investments of equipment and infrastructure from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Western Economic Diversification Canada, the Alberta Government, and other partners. THANK YOU!

In 2012, Lakeland College opened the doors of our first research centre – the Centre for Sustainable Innovation. The Centre is a test-bed for innovations in agriculture, energy, and environmental sciences. With 4 buildings and several large pieces of research equipment on site, students, researchers, partners, and community members can experience a broad array of innovation. We even have a colouring book for kids!




Student participation in research is really important to Lakeland College’s philosophy of students leading learning. The Student Managed Farm— Powered by New Holland now has both Crop Research and Livestock Research teams. Over 20 students are integrally involved in applied research in the 2016-17 academic year. Already, the crop team has designed a vertical tillage trial and our livestock team has toured other research stations across western Canada.

RBA OPENS In collaboration with community partners, Lakeland was a key supporter in the creation of the Regional Business Accelerator— a community-based business incubator and accelerator. The RBA has supported over 300 regional entrepreneurs and is a key driver of youth entrepreneurship initiatives.


2016 marks the fifth year of publishing Limitless, A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College. Research employees and College staff have enjoyed the benefits of having one document to showcase the amazing research and innovation activities that go on at the College.

June 2012


November 2013


A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College

A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College

LIMITLESS 2014 - 2015

A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College

100 Years p.10 Alberta Biochar Initiative p.8

100 Years of Living the Learning p.5

Agricultural Research p.16

Centre for Sustainable Innovation p.12

Geothermal Research p.12

Renewable Energy Learning Centre: First of its Kind p.14

Data Web Application p.18

10 Ways to Lower Your Energy Bill p. 28

Save Summer Heat for the Winter p.12

2015 - 2016

LIMITLESS A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College

2016 - 2017

LIMITLESS A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College

What is Biochar? p. 20

Impact of Drought p. 14

Should Albertans invest in solar PV p. 12

Concentrating Sunlight p.29

Which Type of Solar Panel Should You Buy?p. 34

Local Kids Seek Business Help

Specialty Crop Can Lead to a Healthier Gut p.10

Lakeland Research Has Reached New Heights p. 18


5 years of Limitless p. 20 Nitrogren Level Detection From a Drone Photo p.18 A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College

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17/05/12 10:51 AM

A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College



Diving in

Head First

Lakeland’s new research program is building capacity in eastcentral Alberta crop research. After hiring Laurel Perrott, the College’s new Crop Research Specialist, the small-plot research program got off the ground. The small-plot format allows research on a large number of practices to be performed precisely in controlled field conditions. Until now, the nearest crop research stations were located 150-200 km away from Vermilion. Opening up the east-central region of the province to crop research is an important step in ensuring crop research results are pertinent to local growers. The Vermilion and surrounding region represents one of 22 crop insurance “risk areas” in the province, and accounted for 13% of wheat production, 19% of oat production, and 17% of canola production in Alberta in 2015. Producers will now be able to see how crop varieties and management practices specifically perform in this major crop production area before making management decisions on their farm. Aside from bringing direct information of value to surrounding crop producers, the goals of the Lakeland crop research program include collaborating with industry partners and research scientists from Alberta Agriculture, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, the University of Alberta, the University of Saskatchewan and others. Some initiatives have already started. This year, two field trials studying lodging prevention in barley came to Lakeland College in collaboration with Dr. Linda Hall’s research program based at the University of Alberta. The trials are looking at how plant growth regulators (PGRs), commonly used in Europe but relatively new to Western Canada, can be used to shorten crops and keep them standing upright in the field until harvest. By bringing the trials to a new area of the province, deciphering how PGRs perform in different environmental conditions is strengthening the quality of the study as a whole. To share results with producers, Lakeland College hosted its first Small-Plot Field Day on July 22nd. Thirty-five producers from Vermilion and surrounding areas attended. This was the largest crop tour Lakeland College had ever hosted, and the event has the potential to grow in the future as research diversifies. The morning portion of the tour consisted of discussing the different cereal trials that have been happening at the College. Guest speaker Dr. Linda Hall from the U of A, alongside Lakeland College’s Laurel Perrott, discussed the barley PGRs and their trial findings. In order to apply PGRs effectively, a different kind of plant staging is used, as leaf staging is not accurate enough. This type of staging focuses on the number of nodes within the main stem and the distance that separates these nodes. Participants of the Field Day had the opportunity to get some CONTINUED



IN PHOTO: SCOTT KONIECZNY Crop Research Technologist LAUREL PERROTT Crop Research Specialist

A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College


hands-on practice using this technique with the guidance of both Linda Hall and Laurel Perrott. Next, the barley fungicide trials were discussed, where Perrott not only explained the importance of spraying fungicides in a wet year such as 2016 but also showed participants the difference between plants that received a fungicide at different stages or plants that received no fungicide at all. The wheat in-season nitrogen trial brought about a good discussion as producers shared their successes with adding nitrogen at different stages of plant growth; Perrott also had the opportunity to share her findings with the trial. Ryan Adams from Crop Production Services and Jarrod Bolwell from Webb’s Crop Services also participated by discussing different barley and wheat varieties. Mat Vercaigne from the U of A rounded off the morning of cereal research with his findings on foxtail barley herbicide control in wheat production. After lunch, members of the canola industry presented canola variety demonstration plots to growers to aid in variety selection for next year. Perrott also discussed the economics of canola production while touring Lakeland College’s canola management intensity trial. Thanks to the excellent grower turnout and the behind-the-scenes hard work of summer students and technical staff support from Maxi Biederstadt, Kim Lysyshyn, and Scott Koneiczny, the Field Day was a great success. The future looks bright for the Crop Research program at Lakeland College.

MAT VERCAIGNE University of Alberta Master’s Student

Student-Led Trial Targets

Milk Options

Milk and milk replacer are being put to the test with orphan lambs at Lakeland’s Student Managed Farm (SMF) – Powered by New Holland.

For Lakeland, this trial has established a viable orphan sheep program at the SMF that will help the College to retain triplet genetics.

The brainchild of Tara Sturges, an Animal Science Technology graduate, this student-run “sheep trial” has been underway since the first orphan lamb was born on February 28, 2016. Rather than sell the orphan lambs, which was the case in the past, the lambs were divided and fed either whole Jersey milk – donated by the SMF dairy team and chosen for its high fat content – or acidified milk replacer.

“It’s been an incredible learning opportunity for our students. They’ve taken ownership of it and have gone well above the normal responsibilities of the SMF team. This trial is a win all around. It’s producing valuable data that we can use no matter where we go with it” - Tara Sturges, Animal Science Technology graduate.

In total, 16 orphan lambs participated in the trial. “You spend extra money raising orphans, so is it worth it to raise them or sell them? This will prove one way or another if the acidified powdered milk replacer is the way to go,” says Sturges, the trial’s project manager and former SMF sheep purebred genetics manager. The lambs were fed based on body weight and kept in pens designed for each age range until they were weaned. At the beginning of the trial, orphans were fed around the clock, four times per day. To maintain this feeding schedule over five-weeks, everyone on the SMF sheep team helped along with members of the first-year sheep and production team and veterinary medical assistant students. “Both pens were remarkably healthy and seemed to be holding their own weight-wise. I would definitely like to know what comes out of the massive amounts of data we collected,” says Sturges, who’s currently in Norway completing a three-month agriculture exchange program on a sheep farm.





GRAZING What is a riparian area and why are they important? Riparian areas are the areas where water-tolerant plant species grow around wetlands, lakeshores, and stream and river banks. These areas are important for many reasons: they act as filters trapping sediments and contaminants before they reach water bodies; they provide shoreline stability and decrease erosion of banks and shores; they store water energy and help reduce the impact of floods; and they serve as important wildlife habitat. Degradation of riparian areas is a common occurrence and ranges from developments built in floodplains to livestock grazing. Heavy grazing or overuse of an area can decrease the health of the riparian area by increasing the amount of bare ground, introducing invasive species, and eroding banks and shorelines. These negative impacts can decrease water quality of the affected water body, and reduce the ability of the riparian area to carry out functions such as sediment and contaminant trapping or flood damage mitigation. At CSI, we are beginning to inventory wetland plant species in Lakeland College wetlands as well as measure water quality parameters. A pre-assessment was carried out in 2015 with recommendations to fence several wetlands to exclude cattle and restore natural function to the riparian areas. Only one wetland, a dugout, was fenced off and off-site water was provided. Our aim is to develop a collaborative sustainable, and realistic approach to improve the overall health of College wetlands. We are also reassessing a fenced off riparian area in Vermilion Provincial Park and have developed a set of protocols to be used in the reassessment as well as for future monitoring. The goal here is to assess whether the fencing has improved the health of the riparian area that had been degraded due to livestock use. Previous student involvement focused on studying the amount of biomass produced in the area through assessments of grazing cages that had been set up in the area for three years prior to fencing. New student involvement may take the form of yearly riparian assessments in the fenced area. Improving riparian health on the local scale is very important in the long run. Many small improvements will lead to positive changes in the overall health of the local watershed that, in turn, lead to positive changes in regional watersheds. These positive changes can improve the services provided by riparian areas, ensuring that wildlife have habitat, water quality is protected for the future, and the damage caused by flood events is reduced.

A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College



Lakeland College has a New Livestock Research Team




Increased enrolment in the Animal Science Technology program combined with the desire to increase Lakeland College’s capacity in applied and practical research for the livestock industry has resulted in the development of a Livestock Research Team, the newest addition to the Student Managed Farm (SMF) — Powered by New Holland. The Student Managed Farm gives Lakeland students a comprehensive understanding of modern agribusiness, including the information and confidence they need to make good decisions that take into account the complexities of today’s food industry, from competitive crop selections, to hightech tools to help maximize production, to turning a profit in an international market. The mandate of the new SMF research team is to manage Lakeland’s livestock research projects as well as a new herd of cattle to be used by the College for research projects and demonstrations. Students will manage the Livestock Research Facility in terms of timing of projects, and will also establish relationships with producers, industry stakeholders, and other applied research organizations to determine which research trials will most benefit the industry. The commercial beef SMF team was given the task of sourcing 50 replacement heifers that would be suitable for this type of production system. A call for tenders was put out by the College and a short list of offers were visited and evaluated by Lakeland students. In the end, the commercial team was happy to acquire 50 head from former Lakeland graduates Jess and Tanya Parsonage of Maple Creek, SK. The team selected the heifers from this operation because of the maturity of the breeding program as well as the uniformity of the cow herd. The first project with the research herd is already underway. In partnership with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, the heifers are being tested in Lakeland’s GrowSafe feed bunks in a feed efficiency trial aiming to develop a selection index of cattle for residual feed intake. Other SMF teams include those focused on crops, sheep, dairy, commercial beef, and purebred beef. Q & A with Geoff Brown:


What will the Livestock Research Team add to the Lakeland experience? This new team is quite exciting for us. It opens up a lot of opportunity for us to connect Lakeland graduates to industry, and provides yet another avenue for employment.

Why did you buy research cattle? We felt it was necessary for the team to still be managing a livestock unit for it to attract students, and so we decided to establish a herd of research cattle that could be managed by the students. Because we already demonstrate a purebred beef herd and an intensively managed beef herd, we thought it was a good opportunity to run a group of cattle under a less intensive system to more effectively mimic current beef production practices such as extended grazing and calving on pasture. Tell us more about the 2016-2017 livestock research team This is the first year for the newly formed Livestock Research Team. The students are responsible for identifying projects that are important to the livestock industry and balancing that with what is possible in our environment. They will be working on how to timetable and prioritize projects as well as manage economics by identifying our costs and finding ways to fund our projects. Part of this is developing a network of industry partners, which connects our students to industry and benefits them after they graduate. Students apply to specific SMF teams in their first year and we were pleased that 16 students signed up, making it one of the largest Student Managed Farm teams on the livestock side here at Lakeland! A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College


THOM MCALEER Research Technician, Biomaterials


FOR A GOOD CAUSE Water, the most precious resource on Earth, has been in danger for many years. Freshwater resources are slowly dwindling, and at the same time becoming more and more polluted. A worldwide problem is the eutrophication of freshwater. Famous limnologist David Schindler has carried out extensive research regarding eutrophication, which led to the ban on phosphates in detergents. Eutrophication is the enrichment of water bodies with plant nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) from external sources. Increased fertilizer use in croplands and increased livestock production in watersheds can lead to higher nutrient loads reaching water bodies causing eutrophication. The negative impacts of eutrophication are changes in water quality, changes in aquatic organisms, and possible depletion of oxygen in the water leading to fish kill. The most detrimental impact of eutrophication is the possible increase in the amount of blue-green algae in the water. Certain blue-green algae species can release toxins into the water that can cause headaches, stomach and muscle cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, skin irritation, promotion of liver cancer, and even death. The Centre for Sustainable Innovation is looking at possible methods of reducing the dangers of eutrophication by removing nutrients right out of the water. An innovative method of nutrient removal is through the use of floating islands. These are thick mats of recycled post-consumer plastic that



float on the water surface and can be vegetated with waterloving plants. The plants grow above the water on the island while their roots grow underneath in the water. Nutrients are removed by the plants and also by biofilm, the green slime found underwater, which will grow on the bottom of the floating island and the plant roots underneath. We restored a wetland in 2014, called the CSI Pond, to use as a natural area to carry out experiments and as a resource for student learning. Several agricultural and environmental science classes have toured the area and also used the pond and surrounding reclaimed native grassland for outdoor laboratory learning experiences. One year after creation, the wetland was used in an experiment designed to compare the use of differing soil mediums in floating islands. This spring, the CSI Pond was divided in two with a lake divider curtain, with each side containing a floating island. Lake divider curtains are made of durable plastics. The top contains styrofoam and floats on the water surface, while the bottom is weighted with chain and sinks into the sediment at the bottom of a water body. This effectively divides a single water body into two separate water bodies. Lake divider curtains have been used for many years to isolate sections of lakes for environmental research. Recent use of a lake divider curtain isolated a section of Lake Winnipeg to facilitate a study of eutrophication of the lake.

Installing the floating islands

Lake divider curtain

Floating island after one season of growth

In our summer experiment, we will compare the efficiency of floating islands at removing agricultural nutrients from water. One side of the pond will be naturally circulated while the other side will hopefully benefit from added man-made circulation provided by a solar-powered submersible water pump system. The system has been created to circulate water from the bottom of the pond onto the top of the floating island. Water sampling will be carried out on each side of the pond weekly throughout spring and summer. The water will then be analyzed for ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and reactive phosphorous levels. If the knowledge we gain proves useful, this type of system could be installed in any water body to help improve water quality by aiding in the removal of nutrients and thereby reducing eutrophication. The system could be scaled up for larger water bodies, meaning that a larger pump system could be used and the floating island water surface area cover could be increased. Interested parties might include agricultural producers, municipalities, counties, or any party wishing to clean up their water body. This type of innovative thinking could be what helps make this world a better place!

The perforated poly pipe system on top of the floating island and connected to the submersible pump

A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College



CEREAL RESEARCH IN PHOTO: SCALD DISEASE ON BARLEY With a strong background in cereal agronomy, Laurel Perrott is leading the cereal research that is taking place at Lakeland College. There are three main themes to this year’s cereal research trials: in-season nitrogen fertility, optimal fungicide timing, and lodging prevention. Perrott is studying the effect of applying additional nitrogen fertilizer on different varieties and classes of wheat after the wheat crop has emerged either early or later in the season. Because cereal varieties have varying nitrogen use efficiencies, Perrott hopes to determine which wheat varieties are responding to additional nitrogen and which ones are not, and at which nitrogen application timing. Determining this will prevent over- or under-application of nitrogen fertilizer, which will benefit both the environment and the bottom line of crop producers. Barley foliar fungicide timing is also under study. Fungicides are used commonly in cereals to protect the green leaf area in the upper canopy so that the plant can continue producing the carbohydrates needed to fully fill the grain head until the end of the season. A fungicide will provide an approximate 14-day window of protection from fungal diseases that kill the photosynthesizing leaf area, and Perrott is studying the most effective and economic window for their application in Vermilion area conditions. On warm and wet years (like the 2016 growing season), fungicides are an even more important tool because fungal leaf disease thrives in wet conditions. Perrott is testing fungicide timing under normal and high disease pressure to help direct growers with longer or shorter crop rotations on the best fungicide application timing.



Lodging in cereal crops is a major headache for producers and a problem area that Perrott is addressing with her collaborative research. Lodging occurs when wind and heavy rain flattens the previously standing crop onto the ground, reducing yield, grade, and making harvest with a combine time consuming and difficult. Until recently, the tools available to growers to combat lodging were variety selection and low nitrogen fertility. Unfortunately, varieties that stand well do not always perform adequately in other agronomic areas, and low nitrogen fertility reduces yield. Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are a relatively new tool available in Western Canada. Although not yet registered on barley, the two PGRs under study are being tested for their ability to shorten the stem of the crop and to keep it standing, despite high nitrogen fertility. The promising results of the study will be used to help direct the appropriate rate and application timing for PGR product registration, and in so doing add another method to the farmer toolbox to combat lodging in cereal crops in Western Canada. Perrott plans to expand the program as soon as possible to include collaborative oilseed and pulse crop research. The Vermilion crop insurance risk region was responsible for 8, 8, and 17% of the province’s dryland flax, field pea, and canola production in 2015, respectively, and regional research is needed to support production practices. As the small plot program builds capacity in personnel and equipment into the future, exciting and valuable possibilities will be brought to the front yard of one of the province’s main crop producing areas.

EXPERIENCE INNOVATION Lakeland College’s Centre for Sustainable Innovation (CSI) represents a vast land base with many different co-located research facilities. The CSI hosts the Renewable Energy Learning Centre (RELC), the off grid Cabin, the Electronics and Fabrication Lab, and the Bio-Energy Centre. The site also features a research and student lab water retention pond, a gasification unit, Jerusalem artichoke plots, and a solar concentrator capable of reaching temperatures in excess of 2,000 °C. However, the CSI is not just a research centre but also a local tourist attraction. Over the years, hundreds of local residents and companies have toured the facility at open houses, including the annual Green Energy Doors Open event. The 2016 Green Energy Doors Open event had multiple speakers sharing information on green building and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, as well as an Alberta Agriculture and Forestry presentation on the growing forward on-farm solar PV program. The Centre is also very kid-friendly! Research coordinator Andrea Kastendieck has toured many children’s groups through the facility. School classes, childcare groups, the Girl Guides and many community groups have all toured the Centre. The kids have loved learning about the CSI’s renewable energy, and have been fascinated with our not one, but two, net-zero facilities (the RELC and the Energy Cabin). The kids also enjoy the coloring book we have created to make learning about renewable energy easy and fun. If you are interested in touring our facility let us know! We love to share what we are learning!

LINDEN LUNDBACK Lead Researcher, Jerusalem Artichoke

JART WRAPS UP For the past three years, Lakeland College has been working to develop an agronomic package for Jerusalem artichokes to enhance their potential for farm scale production in Alberta. Large-scale equipment has been tested for artichoke planting and harvesting and processes for growing Jerusalem artichoke have been developed. Once the final report is complete, the results should provide the backbone of knowledge enabling Alberta farmers to successfully grow Jerusalem artichoke. Why would farmers want to grow Jerusalem artichokes? Jerusalem artichoke has a very high concentration of inulin, which is a sugar, fat, and flour replacement that has the advantage of containing about 30% of the food energy of carbohydrates thus resulting in less comparable calories to the consumer. The Jerusalem artichoke project has garnered the most public interest of all of our projects. Hundreds of people have come to the Centre for Sustainable Innovation to see the crop for themselves and talk to lead researcher Linden Lundback.

A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College


Innovative Programming

Virtual Play Program The Gamification of Education


Human Services knocks down the walls of a 32 year old tradition. Many institutions offer Human Services programming. What sets Lakeland College apart from other Institutions is the innovation involved in its delivery. In Lakeland College’s School of Human Services, students learn to teach new skills, build relationships and promote healthy lifestyles with children, youth and adults. Programs include American Sign Language and Deaf Culture Studies, Child and Youth Care, Early Learning and Child Care, Educational Assistant, Community Mental Health and Sign Language Interpretation. Human Services programs are offered both online and face-to-face. One of the essential components of the Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) program is the practicum. Each semester of study in Human Services programs contains a four week practicum at the end. Students in their second year have been running a Play Program practicum for the past 32 years. The diploma students work together to lead a child care program for the members of the community. They create an infant toddler room, as well as a preschool room and offer free child



care for a total of four weeks. They create the menu, provide the snacks, plan and implement activities and field site visits for children ages 0 to 5. Duplicating this essential and unique part of the Early Learning and Child Care diploma course proved to be a challenge when it came time for online diploma students to complete the student-led Play Program practicum course. In online studies, students are required to complete the academic portion of their course work over a ten week period and then spend the next four weeks of their semester in a child care setting completing their practicum. In many instances, online students are already working full-time in their field and cannot leave their position for four weeks to visit a different child-care centre to complete the necessary practicum. Lakeland’s Human Services team wanted their students to have the opportunity to have a child care experience outside of their day-to-day employment. This resulted in the creation of our Virtual Play Program Practicum. In collaboration with Desire2Learn (D2L), Lakeland’s learning management system, a simulated practicum situation was developed that allowed online students the ability to create their own play program where they can complete their final practicum virtually.

“Lakeland is truly what I wanted and needed from a distance program. I felt that I could contribute my own ideas and the instructors helped guide my thoughts. Lakeland wanted students to challenge themselves and engage others. The program is the epitome of distance education.”- Past ELCC Student

Students have the opportunity to engage with one another on discussion boards, which has proven to be an effective studentled teaching experience as well. “The first discussion board featured more than 150 posts. It blossomed,” says Joanne McDonald, Instructor and Chair of Human Services. “By the end of the practicum, the students were so engaged and into the discussions they were teaching each other about things that they do in their centres. The learning community that was created was so exciting to observe. I have no doubt they truly met the outcomes for the course.”

The Virtual Play Program practicum mirrors the face-to-face version. Online students work together to create a parent handbook, are in charge of budgets, virtually shop for toys, plan menus and organize activities. The interactive software also presents students with a range of scenarios to work through in their online child care program. Students have to move around the room removing objects that are not safe before the simulation begins. “We’re the only college in Alberta that offers the play program practicum and the online students needed to have the chance to experience it,” says Kelly Mazerolle, Program Head. “We created our own online characters who come to the virtual program with their parents. The students are given choices on how they react and decide what to do throughout the scenarios. If they make a mistake, the licensing officer arrives and closes them down. We made her look really stern,” says Mazerolle with a laugh.

“When I started this journey, I never imagined I would have learned so much. Before I began taking ELCC classes, I questioned why we were being asked by licensing to do all the things they required. It didn’t take long before I realized what it was all about. I have been challenged, frustrated, elated, and confused. My instructors have been there every step of the way, always giving constructive feedback, and ready to answer any questions I might have.” -Sara Johnston ELCC Diploma graduate. The success of the online Human Services program is due in large part to the delivery method that is used. All courses are taught asynchronously which allows participants the ability to balance work, family and schooling at the same time. With 319 students taking online courses, instructors play a vital role leading learning as they provide information, respond to discussions and questions, and create a community of learners that extends beyond the traditional classroom setting. A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College



“Our parents told my sister and I about Dickie Dee when they were kids and we thought a mobile ice cream treat vending bicycle was a good business. While I know I could ride the bike and my sister could help with other duties, we lacked basic business understanding. I was eager to sign up for Biz Kids where I learned about running my own business. I also got a $100 start-up grant. Vermilion might be small, but it is a large chunk of land and I couldn’t go everywhere every day. We learned a lot about checking inventory and my sister and I improved our quick math skills. Hopefully that shows up in school this year! We made special trips to the seniors lodge and other groups requesting the bike and if we were at community fundraisers we donated $0.50 from each sale to the cause. I even wrote a letter to city council asking them to create a youth business license as business license fees are expensive. I am encouraging my friends to pursue entrepreneurship so we can work together and make our mark in the Vermilion economy.” Nathan James, Proprietor Icycle Bicycle, Vermilion, AB Vermilion Chamber of Commerce, Winner of the Junior Entrepreneur of 2016 Award 34


2016 has been a really busy year for the Regional Business Accelerator. We became part of the Alberta Innovation Network, developed a leadership institute, taught a record number of Junior Achievement courses in local schools, and hosted our region’s first design jam and kids design thinking summer camps, all while continuing our regular business support services such as business planning, marketing support, and referrals to professionals and mentors. As a local non-profit dedicated to nurturing start-ups and helping established businesses expand, all of our activities are undertaken to encourage entrepreneurship and the development of local business ventures. Whether we are teaching young entrepreneurs basic business skills, helping executives develop a leadership strategy, or connecting business owners to professionals and mentors, we do all things “business”. For the past year we have been housed at Lakeland College in Lloydminster and have been working closely with students and staff to develop student focused events and programs on campus. “We are immensely proud of the 36 youth entrepreneurs that participated in the 2016 Biz Kids program that we ran in partnership with Community Futures,” says Glenys Reeves-Gibbs, Executive Director of the RBA, “Their energy and enthusiasm was wonderful to see. Many have shared that they are already starting to work on their ideas for their 2017 businesses!” We became a member of the Alberta Innovation Network and established the East Central Alberta Innovation Network in partnership with Lakeland College. As members of the provincial network, we will have access to more resources, support, and information. This is big news for us and our business community, as through this partnership we will be able to better serve regional business owners and entrepreneurs and increase their access to provincial programs. Going forward, we will be working very closely with Alberta Innovates and their new Technology Development Advisor in Lloydminster, Kara Johnston. We are very excited about what we will be able to accomplish together in the next year.


We also implemented the Lloydminster Leads Leadership Institute. This is an intensive leadership development course designed to help business and organizational leaders gain important skills to accelerate business growth. The course has been very successful, and we hope to offer similar programs again next year in Lloydminster as well as other surrounding communities. Once again, we are excited about the number of entrepreneurs and businesses we have had the opportunity to work with over the past year. Their creative and innovative ideas inspire us at the Regional Business Accelerator in our work. We look forward to continued work in this area as well as continuing partnerships for new and future programing.

A Celebration of Research and Innovation at Lakeland College


Agricultural Sciences

Interior Design Technology

Health & Wellness

Street Rod Technologies

• Agribusiness • Animal Health Technology • Animal Science Technology • Crop Technology • General Agriculture • Veterinary Medical Assistant • Western Ranch & Cow Horse

Health Care Aide

• Bachelor of Applied Science: Environmental Management • Renewable Energy & Conservation (Online)

Environmental Sciences majors

• Bachelor of Applied Business: Emergency Services • Emergency Services Technology Firefighter • Firefighter Training

• Automotive Service Technician • Carpenter • Electrician • Gasfitter • Heavy Equipment Technician • Instrument Technician • Parts Technician • Steamfitter-Pipefitter • Welder

Trades & Technology Pre-employment

• Conservation & Restoration Ecology • Environmental Conservation & Reclamation • Water Conservation & Management • Wildlife & Fisheries Conservation

• Electrician • Instrument Technician • Welder


• Accounting Technician

Fire & Emergency Services

Business Administration majors

• Accounting • General Business • Marketing • Real Estate Appraisal & Assessment • Small Business & Entrepreneurship

Human Services


• American Sign Language & Deaf Culture Studies • Child & Youth Care • Community Mental Health • Early Learning & Child Care • Educational Assistant • Sign Language Interpretation

• Heavy Oil Operations Technician • Heavy Oil Power Engineering

Contact Information: Vermilion Campus 5707 College Drive Vermilion AB T9X 1K5 1 780 853 8400 Or call us toll-free at 1 800 661 6490



• Esthetician • Pre-Employment Hairstylist

Trades & Technology Apprenticeship

Environmental Sciences

Lloydminster Campus 2602 59 Avenue Lloydminster AB T9V 3N7 1 780 871 5700

University Transfer

• Bachelor of Arts • Bachelor of Commerce • Bachelor of Education • Bachelor of General Studies • Bachelor of Science • Bachelor of Social Work • Bachelor of Hygiene • Pre-Dentistry • Pre-medical Lab Science • Pre-Medicine • Pre-Nursing • Pre-Nutrition • Pre-Pharmacy • Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Online and Blended Learning

Limitless 2016  

Limitless is published by Lakeland College Applied Research and Innovation. Special thanks to all Lakeland College employees and partners wh...

Limitless 2016  

Limitless is published by Lakeland College Applied Research and Innovation. Special thanks to all Lakeland College employees and partners wh...