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Campus Initiatives To Green The Oil Sands PLUS:

TRASH TALKING Greening Edmonton’s Garbage

HERB APPEAL A Green Remedy For Feeling Good

GREEN KEEPERS A Six-Pack Of Very Green Grads

Special Inside: Alumni Recognition Awards Winners Win Your Grad Year In $$$$ Photo Contest

Going Green The U of A’s commitment to the environment goes beyond being one of “Canada’s Top 30 Greenest Employers”

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features On the cover: Anne Naeth, ’76 BSc, ’85 MSc, ’88 PhD, U of A professor of Ecology and Land Reclamation, with a Quaking Aspen in her campus lab where she is working on a method to reclaim Alberta land that has been disturbed by oil sands mining.

See the inside back cover for your chance to win your grad year in $$$$ with the Alumni Association’s unbelievably easy (and fun) Photo Contest!


Testate Testament


Green Keepers


Shades of Green


Herb Appeal


Time for an Oil Change?


Trash Talk


2009 Alumni Recognition Awards

A pair of U of A grads prepare a will that they can live with

Six grads go the extra mile when it comes to going green

Take a trip to Costa Rica with an adventure-guide-in-training

A new Alberta plant that may be the cure for what ails you

Now a little good news about Alberta’s oil sands behemoth

Edmonton’s winning ways in putting the “use” in “refuse”

Celebrating outstanding almuni

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Your Letters Our readers write to us


Bear Country Goings-on around the U of A


Landmarks Accolades, honours and other milestones

50 Bookmarks University pages to be proud of

ISSN: 0824-8125 Copyright 2005 Publications Mail Agreement No. 40112326 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to Office of Alumni Affairs, University of Alberta, Main Floor, Enterprise Square, 10230 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, AB T5J 4P6

52 Alumni Events Our alma mater branches out

53 Class Notes Keeping classmates up-to-date

60 In Memoriam Bidding farewell to friends

64 Tuck Shop Taking a page out of the past

HERE’S HOW TO REACH US ... E-mail your comments, questions, address updates, and class notes to Join the Alumni Association’s online community at Call the New Trail reader response line at 780-492-1702. To advertise in New Trail contact Bonnie Lopushinsky at 780-417-3464 or New Trail, the University of Alberta Alumni Association magazine, is published quarterly (circulation: 130,000). The views and opinions expressed in the magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the University or the Alumni Association. All material Copyright ©. New Trail cannot be held responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs.

The phrase “to everything there is a season” is probably remembered by most people as being from The Byrds 1965 song, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” (the song was actually written by Pete Seeger and is pretty much a literal adaptation from the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes). In the Bible, as in the song, the words are meant to convey the idea that there is a proper time and place for everything, from birth to death, to fade in and fade out, to begin and end. Such it is that a new season has begun in the life of the Office of Alumni Affairs and New Trail. After 28 years at the helm of the Office, Susan Peirce retired as Director of New Trail and Executive Director of the Alumni Association. As of this writing, a successor to the legacy of alumni engagement that Susan has left behind her has yet to be hired, and her office — once a hive of activity — sits strangely vacant and dark as it waits for a new presence to animate it once again. At this point, no one knows who will be chosen to fill her shoes and what new ideas or innovations he or she will bring to the position. So much has changed since Susan first took up her job in 1981 that the only thing known with any certainty is that some sort of change will be inevitable, even if it’s only in the personality of the person taking over the position. New Trail is also entering its own season of change. This issue — our “green” issue — is the first to be printed on Forest Stewardship Council certified paper. The intent of the FSC system is to shift the paper market to eliminate habitat destruction, water pollution, displacement of indigenous people and the violence against people and wildlife that can accompany logging. FSC certified papers contain wood fibre from well-managed forests, post-consumer recycled content and other controlled, forest-friendly sources. As well, in the months to come the magazine — that has been evolving in a sort of organic fashion over the years that I’ve been editor — will be freshened up and given a new look as it attempts to keep pace with the remarkable achievements of the U of A and its alumni who, hand in hand, are heading into a second century of excellence. Kim Green Editor, New Trail

S TAY I N T O U C H On the Move? To keep receiving New Trail wherever you go call 780-492-3471 or 1-866-492-7516 (toll-free in North America) or e-mail your address change to Autumn 2009

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Supervising Editor Rick Pilger Editor Kim Green Associate Editor Sarah Ligon Contributing Editor Jodeen Litwin, ’90 BSc Art Director Lisa Hall, ’89 BA Advisory Board Deb Hammacher Ruth Kelly, ’78 BA John Mahon, ’76 BMus, ’83 MBA Douglas Olsen, ’86 BSc, ’88 MBA, ’92 PhD OFFICE OF ALUMNI A F FA I R S

Executive Director [vacant] Associate Director/Manager, Alumni Education Programs Rick Pilger Associate Director/Manager, Alumni Branches Gina Wheatcroft, ’94 BEd Executive Project Manager Coleen Graham, ’88 BSc(HEc), ’93 MEd Finance and HR Administrator Jacquie Reinprecht Coordinator, Alumni Branches Andrea Porter, ’03 BCom Assistants, Alumni Branches Cristine Myhre Coordinator, Alumni Chapters John Perrino, ’93 BA(RecAdmin) Assistant, Alumni Chapters Vi Warkentin Communications Manager Kim Green Communications Associate Sarah Ligon Assistant to the Director Diane Tougas Assistant, Alumni Education Angela Tom, ’03 BA Coordinator, Graphic Communications Lisa Hall, ’89 BA Coordinator, Electronic Communication Services Debbie Yee, ’92 BA Coordinator, Alumni Recognition Jodeen Litwin, ’90 BSc Assistant, Alumni Recognition Ishani Weera, ’04 BA Manager, Marketing and Special Events Tracy Salmon, ’91 BA, ’96 MSc Assistant, Alumni Services Ann Miles Coordinator, Alumni Special Events Colleen Elliott, ’94 BEd Assistant, Alumni Special Events Jennifer Jenkins, ’95 BEd Coordinator, Students & Young Alumni Chloe Chalmers, ’00 BA HOW TO CONTACT THE OFFICE OF ALUMNI AFFAIRS

Write to us at: University of Alberta, Main Floor, Enterprise Square, 10230 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, AB T5J 4P6 Phone: 780-492-3224 or toll-free in Canada & the U.S. at 1-800-661-2593 Fax: 780-492-1568 E-mail: To advertise in New Trail contact Bonnie Lopushinsky at or 780-417-3464.


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Campaign Correction

Executive Committee President Jim Hole, ’79 BSc(Ag) Past-President / Vice-President Nominating & Bylaws Heike Juergens, ’72 BA, ’79 MEd, ’87 PhD Vice-President, Alumni Engagement Brent McDonough, ’77 BSc, ’79 BEd Vice-President, Awards Deni Lorieau, ’73 BA Vice-President, Scholarships Jane Halford, ’95 BCom Vice-President, Student Life Cornell Lee, ’01 BSc(Dent) ’03 DDS Board of Governors Representatives Dick Wilson, ’74 BA, ’75 LLB Bill Cheung, ’86 LLB Senate Representatives Kerry Day, ’80 LLB Judy Zender, ’67 BA Secretary Stephen Leppard,’86 BEd, ’92 MEd, ’03 EdD Faculty Representatives Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences Anand Pandarinath, ’93 BSc(Forest), ’00 MBA, ’00 MForest Arts Colleen Judge, ’87 BA, ’90 MA, ’99 PhD Augustana Stacey Denham Gibson, ’95 BA (Augustana), ’98 LLB Business Jane Halford, ’95 BCom Campus Saint-Jean Deni Lorieau, ’73 BA Dentistry Cornell Lee, ’01 BSc(Dent), ’03 DDS Education Don Fleming, ’76 BEd Engineering Glenn Stowkowy, ’76 BSc (ElecEng) Graduate Studies Marlene Keanie, ’86 BEd, ’01 MEd, ’07 EdD Law Bryan Kickham, ’71 BA, ’74 LLB Medicine Richard Fedorak, ’78 MD Native Studies Heather Taylor, ‘97 BA(NativeSt) Nursing [vacant] Pharmacy Rose Anne Lawton, ’73 BSc Physical Education and Recreation Hugh Hoyles, ’66 BPE School of Public Health Grant Frame, ’87 BSc, ’93 MHSA Rehabilitation Medicine Anne Lopushinsky, ’79 BSc (Speech/Aud) Science [vacant] Members at Large Terry Freeman, ’82 BCom Brent McDonough, ’77 BSc, ’79 BEd Academic Representative Frank Robinson Ex Officio Students’ Union President Kory Mathewson Graduate Students’ Association President Jennifer Landry Honorary President Indira Samarasekera Vice-President (External Relations) Debra Pozega Osburn [acting] Executive Director, Alumni Association [vacant]

On page 12 of the Spring issue there is a listing of donations associated with Campaign 2008. One relating to CN donating “$1 Million to establish the CN Professorship in International Trade in the

Faculté Friend

Faculty of Law and the Western

I was thrilled to finally see an article on Faculté Saint-Jean [Spring 2009, “Campus St.-Jean —a little Francophone gem”], and I am sure that my peers must be as thrilled as I am. Faculté Saint-Jean is comprised of a dynamic group of people, and, as you found out, we are very much all connected. You can never underestimate the power of our connection. There is a lot going on at my faculty, and coverage from time to time will help you discover the richness and the family atmosphere it encompasses.

Centre for Economic Research

Naaznin Jetha, ’95 BEd, ’07 MEd Markham, ON

position and associated activities

[WCER] in Business in the Alberta School of Business” is incorrect. CN funding to the School of Business was allocated to establish the position of CN Executive Professor of CanadaU.S. Trade Relations, working with the WCER to undertake activities to promote greater awareness and understanding of international trade and economic issues, particularly the importance of the Canada-U.S. trade and economic relationship. The CN funding of this has allowed for the initiation of a broad range of activities to

Picture imPerfect

enhance knowledge of interna-

On page five of the New Trail Winter 2008–2009 issue you printed a letter from Everett McCrimmon, [’51 BSc(Ag)] but a photo of a classmate accompanied it. Here is a copy of the correct photo from the 1951 Evergreen and Gold.

versity for business—and for

Sheila M. McLaggan, ’49 BSc(HEc) Calgary, AB

using the WCER as the base of

Editor’s Note: Oops. We did a wrong head count and inadvertently printed a photo of Walter L. McNary who was in McCrimmon’s graduating class.

’77 MBA

tional trade issues at the Unigovernment—including staging a number of conferences, bringing in international speakers, and preparing research reports, publications and opinion pieces. The CN contribution to the School of Business for this purpose has been well-used in expanding attention to international trade and economic issues activities. Helmut Mach, ’72 BCom, (Director, WCER, CN Executive Professor of Canada-U.S. Trade Relations) Edmonton, AB

The New Trail

was extremely proud of his years at the

I am writing this to express my regret and sadness at the total absence of any word [in New Trail] on the death of Gordon Brown, ’42 BA, on January 1, 2009. Amazing, considering Gordon was an editor of The New Trail. In 1998, Gordon donated his collection of Baedeker travel guides—the largest in Canada—to the University. The gift was received with the proper fanfare, and the University even published a handsome booklet titled, “An Exquisite and Rational Enjoyment: From Early Travel Books to Baedeker Guides.” Both Gordon and I visited the University—and the collection— several times since that donation. Gordon

University and kept in touch with various

SweepStakes A classmate of mine contacted me because she thought one of the people in the photo [“Clean Sweep,” Spring ’09, pg. 56] looked as if it could be me. Not, however. I played broomball for the Aggies from 1969 through to 1973. From the clothing I think your photo is earlier than that. To confirm my memories, I dug out my Round Up magazines from my undergraduate years, and in the last two, 1972 and 1973, there are broomball photos. We played on skates but wore our usual pants, often jeans, and had bibs with numbers on them for identification. Somewhere along the line a number of us knitted and wore light blue sweaters (to match the blue on our graduating hoods) that we also sewed Ag faculty crests on. You can see some of these

departments over the years. In view of the above, I wonder why not a word was said about his death? Francine Brown (Mrs. Gordon Brown) Victoria, BC Editor’s Note: We offer our condolences on the passing away of J. C. Gordon Brown and regret the fact that word of his passing escaped our attention. Brown was one of the distinguished editors of the University of Alberta alumni magazine that began life as The Trail before being reborn as The New Trail, and which is now known as New Trail. The New Trail began publishing under that name in 1942, under the editorship of F. M. Salter. Gordon Brown first appears as editor in 1947 (in 1946 he was

sweaters in the 1973 photos. If you have access to these records, you can look on page 28 in the 1972 edition and pages 33, 34 and 35 in the 1973 edition. Rosemary (McCormick) Brown, ’73 BSc(Ag), ’74 MSc(Ag) Caroline, AB

Thanks x 2 I very much appreciate receiving every issue of the University of Alberta magazine. Thank you very much for sending me this excellent publication. Denis Goodale (professor emeritus) Edmonton, AB New Trail really is a very good alumni magazine in general. I am also a McMaster alumnus, and my wife is a UVic grad (as well as McMaster and Grant MacEwan). So we read four different alumni magazines! U of A stands out for sure. Paul Zehr, ’98 PhD Victoria, BC

appointed as the first permanent alumni secretary at the U of A). That same year he left Edmonton for Ottawa to take up a position at the Department of External Affairs as a Foreign Service Officer. The Second World War veteran (he enlisted in 1942 and was discharged with the rank of lieutenant in 1946,) who was born in Shropshire, England, would go on to take up diplomatic postings in such locales as Beirut, Cyprus, Pretoria, Rwanda, Zambia, Zaire and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Brown wrote a book about his experiences in the diplomatic corps titled: Blazes Along a Diplomatic Trail. He died suddenly in Victoria, BC, on January 1, 2009, a day before his 87th birthday. (To view digital archives of The Trail and New Trail from 1920 to 2006 go to and click on “publications.”


first PhD student, and his ruthless

I have just read the Spring 2009 issue of New Trail with the usual interest. It brought back many memories, including the fact that the name of E. A. Corbett [’63 LLD (Honorary)] is maintained in Corbett Hall. In his role as Extension Department director, Corbett used to arrange a week in spring for young farm children—such as me—to visit The University. He was also noteworthy for helping to establish the Banff School of Fine Arts. The mention of our beloved organic professor Rube Sandin reminded me of a conversation he had with Ray Lemieux [’43 BSc, ’91 BSc (Honorary)]. After he graduated, Sandin asked Ray where he was going for post-graduate work. Ray said he had a fellowship with Dr. ________ at the University of Toronto. Sandin’s reply was, “If you go there I’ll never speak to you again. Why not go to Dr. Purves at McGill?” Which he did. I was Dr. _______’s

reputation had spread in the intervening years and Sandin wanted to spare Ray the experience. Also, during 1956–57, I was on sabbatical at Cambridge with professor Sir Alexander Todd (later Lord Todd, who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1957), thus I enjoyed the article by Joel [’95 BSc] and Lesley Dacks [’98 BSc] about their time in Cambridge. While I was there, Ray Lemieux visited, and we were invited to “high table” at King’s College where we were surrounded by pictures of famous former graduates—quite an experience! I am also glad that Ray’s name—as well as that of Harry Gunning [’83 DSc (Honorary)], who was a fellow PhD candidate at the U of T with me—is attached to the Gunning/ Lemieux Chemistry Centre. Elvins Y. Spencer, ’36 BSc, ’38 MSc London, ON Autumn 2009

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exclusive technology transfer agent for the U of A and commercialization service provider for the Edmonton region TEC Edmonton Edm monton is a joint joint venture between betwe een

Letters By George

Editor’s Note: By

I’ve had a wonderful

request, here is an

response to the recent

archived photo of the

article concerning

missing St. George’s

U of A iconic objects

banner. If you have

that have been “lost

information that may

and found” [“Forget

contribute to its where-

Me Not,” Spring ’09, pg. 35]. In

abouts, please contact Ellen at

fact, the first e-mail was from my

former boss, President Emeritus Myer Horowitz, ’59 MEd, ’90 LLD (Honorary). The most e-mail have come from three experts on the St. George’s Banner: Jennifer Salahub; Gail Sundstrom Niinimaa, ’77 BSc; and Lucie Heins, ’05 BSc, ’08 MA. We all wonder if New Trail would publish an image of the banner that is still missing in the hopes that a reader may have information that will lead to its recovery. Ellen Schoeck, ’72 BA, ’77 MA Edmonton, AB

Repatriates My wife, Irene, and I had the pleasure recently of attending the U of A’s “Celebration of Philanthropy” at the Winspear Centre. It was a great venue with a wonderful program. There was an added highlight for me and that was having another chat with the enduring and well-known Bill Kent, an engineering graduate from the class of 1931 and the only U of A celebrant of a 75th reunion. He’s not only very interesting, he also travels to

Edmonton by bus from his home in Langley, BC. It was our first visit to the Winspear Centre after returning from Eastern Canada a few months ago. And it was especially meaningful because back in 1951 we attended the honorary degree graduation banquet at which Francis Winspear, [’51 LLD (Honorary)], and Harriet Winspear, [’99 LLD (Honorary)], were the special guests that we were seated with since I was on the Senior Class Executive at the time. Seeing this magnificent facility for the first time after so many years was quite something. I would also like to let you know that I have saved and reread New Trail over the years, a great magazine and a nice reminder of the “good old days.” John Basaraba,’51 BSc(ChemEng) Edmonton, AB

Going to the Chapel I enjoyed the article on Cambridge [Sping 2009 pg. 29], but it contained two errors in the section on King’s College. One: The college chapel at King’s, although splendid, is not a cathedral; the cathedral church is, as noted later, in Ely. Two: Evensong is a distinct service and so is not a mass; it is a simple service and does not involve bread and wine, the elements of a mass or communion. Alexander L. (Sandy) Darling, ’76 MEd Dundas, ON

We would like to hear your comments about the magazine. Send us your letters via postal mail or e-mail to the addresses on page 2. Letters may be edited for length or clarity.

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bear country

Birds of a Feather I

n the wee hours of May 4, a female peregrine falcon — the same one that nested there last year —laid an egg in a nest atop the Clinical Sciences Building on the U of A campus. That initial egg-laying—captured on camera as part of the Peregrine Webcam Project— was followed by the laying of another egg on May 6 and two more on May 8 and 11, respectively. The Webcam project is the joint effort of a number of groups, including the Environmental Coordination Office of Students, the Alberta Public Interest Research Group and the U of A’s Engineering and Infrastructure services. As well as providing interesting viewing, the project is meant to serve as an important component to campus sustainability because it creates awareness of endangered species that exist within our immediate environments. The first three all-white chicks hatched on June 13, followed a day later by the fourth. The birds were later banded—something they, and their parents, weren’t too keen on— with red, black, yellow and white

bands. Yellow band was the first to fledge (or fly) on July 21, followed by red band on July 24 and black band on July 28. Unfortunately, white band—who had a very short flight on July 21—disappeared sometime between the evening of July 22 and early morning on the 23rd. Despite an extensive search, white band could not be located. An adult peregrine falcon—a carnivorous raptor—can reach speeds of over 320 kilometres an hour in a dive, making it the fastest animal in the world. Once endangered due to pesticides such as DDT—which caused the female to lay thinshelled eggs that were easily broken—the birds can now be found on every continent except Antarctica.

Fibre Optics Y

ears of the agriculture industry looking at ways to get more out of the plant fibre it generates led to a 2007 provincial report titled: Alberta’s Fibre Roadmap: Getting Value from Every Fibre—Making the Most of Alberta’s Lignocellulose Resource. From the recommendations in this report was born the Alberta Bio-Refining Conversions Network (BCN). To be headquartered at Edmonton’s Agri-Food Discovery Place on the main campus at the U of A, BCN is being directed by David Bressler, a professor in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science. Although agricultural scientists had been making steady progress in fibre research for some time, it took the report to galvanize government into action. “The report showed us that gaining more value from agriculture and forestry fibres can be a new untapped resource,” says Doug Horner, Minister of Advanced


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David Bressler

Education and Technology. “We’re now targeting some of the products that aren’t currently being used, such as crop and forestry residues or by-products left from animal rendering. In the future, this may lead to items like fats becoming environmentally friendly fire retardants, crop by-products becoming food additives, and forestry pulping waste becoming a source of electricity and heat.”

The BCN is jointly funded by the provincial government ($3 million) and private sector partners, including local and international companies ($500,000). The BCN will also be able to access the Alberta Biomaterials Development Centre, a forest fibre research centre that will be sited at both Agri-Food Discovery Place and the Alberta Research Council’s facility in Vegreville, AB. The BCN aims to connect experts in the fields of thermal, biological and chemical science in an interdisciplinary and inter-agency environment where researchers, producers and entrepreneurs will all work together to find biosolutions that advance a zero-waste approach to the products developed by its participants. “We’re excited to play the coordinating role, matching disciplines and technologies to solutions,” says Bressler. “The Network will provide access to research facilities and also the talented people and experience that multi-partner projects like this need to bring new ideas to the next stage of development, including prototyping and field testing.”

Tree Line I think that I shall never see A poem as lovely as a tree.... Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree. “Trees,” Joyce Kilmer


igging holes in the earth to extract the resources below ground is not exactly forest friendly. But Simon Landhäusser, ’94 PhD, a professor in the Department of Renewable Resources, has been given a five-year opportunity to see what he can do to help re-establish the trees after the land they once grew on has given up its treasures and been infilled once again, readied for reclamation. As the new industry research chair in forest land reclamation (supported by EPCOR, Shell, Suncor, Syncrude and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) in the Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environment Sciences, Landhäusser will study tree seedling quality, site conditions and planting techniques that provide the optimum conditions for the quick regeneration and establishment of a natural tree cover. Initial research will focus on aspen, which naturally regenerates from its root system, but since they’ve been ripped up (literally) by the roots, Landhäusser will be looking for robust seedlings that can quickly establish themselves in this harsh environment. “It’s a stressful environment for a seedling,” he says, “and we don’t have much experience in growing aspen yet. Sitting out there in the open with the sun beating down and with limited moisture, the seedlings have to be quite hardy.” Although the forest industry has been re-planting logged land with seed-

lings for decades, their advantage is that the forest floor is very little disturbed. But in the case of open-pit mining such as in oil sands extraction, everything is removed, and the soil has be returned to the dig and brought back to life. “You have to develop a new forest from scratch,” says Landhäusser. “But the sooner we can provide forestdependent species with a security blanket (the canopy from the aspen) the faster we can kick-start the redevelopment of forest ecosystems on these disturbed landscapes and create stable forests that will, over time, resemble natural systems.”

House Work of A civil and environmental engineering professor Mohamed Al-Hussein wants to put the “pre” back in “prefabricated” as a way of greening the housing construction industry. Although the prefabricated building industry — which prefers to refer to its products as being built “off-site”— has been operating for decades, Al-Hussein thinks it’s time that more builders did away with all that wasteful, arbitrary and inefficient on-site framing, wiring, plumbing, drywalling and painting that generates a haze of greenhouse gases. “All that material, all those trucks and people coming and going every day,” says Al-Hussein. “Estimates are that building a home between 1,200 and 1,600 square feet generates about 55 to 100 tonnes of CO2, while also heating a home while it is being built (to keep temperatures optimum, not just for the workers, but for things like drywall compound and paint) can generate another five tonnes of CO2 a month. We think we can cut that in half.” Al-Hussein and his team have been working for the last couple of years on computer-assisted design and other artificial intelligence software they’ve been developing to streamline the house-building process. The “parts” for the house are made in an off-site factory and then assembled on the foundation that’s been poured for the house. The goal is to cut the construction time by more than 60 percent while reducing home construction costs by 20 percent. “We’ve got it to about 30 homes a month and capacity to go to 40 or 45, though demand for new homes has slowed a bit recently here,” says Al-Hussein.


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Seeing J

ames Thorsell, ’62 BSc, ’09 LLD (Honorary), was recently on campus to accept his honorary degree and deliver a convocation address. A world expert when it comes to national parks and heritage lands and a leading international authority on conservation, Thorsell spoke of once seeing the ruins of an ancient city and making the connection between resource depletion and the collapse of that once thriving metropolis. “The misuse of natural resources seemed like a puzzling and preventable tragedy to me,” he said. “It hit me then that the man-nature nexus was what I wanted to specialize in.” And so he did. Thorsell began his career working for Parks Canada in Banff, AB, and was an early pioneer of sustainable development and natural conservation before making a name for himself with the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. His field experience covers more than 700 protected areas in 90 countries including Antarctica, the Serengeti, the Galapagos Islands and Mount Everest. He has evaluated more than 175

Solar Solace Here comes the sun Here comes the sun And I say It’s alright — George Harrison


ith our present-day technological know-how we can extract about 25 percent of the roughly 1.6 billion barrels of oil trapped in Alberta’s oil sands. That amounts to approximately 400 billion barrels of oil— which can still only provide as much energy as the sun puts out in three hours. So if we could trap just a day’s output of the sun’s energy we would have on hand more energy than about four oil sands put together.


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Green sites nominated for World Heritage listings, resulting in almost one million square kilometres of land and sea being protected under this prestigious convention. Thorsell, who grew up in Wetaskiwin, AB, was also the first to recommend that the Rocky Mountain parks and Waterton Park in southern Alberta be designated World Heritage Sites. Thorsell, who admitted to the convocating students that he had personally seen more “wounds” on planet Earth than he cared to remember, closed out his address with some slightly more hopeful lines that can be found chiseled into a large memorial wall for Victorian industrialist Alexander Morton (1844-1924), which is located in Darvel, East Ayrshire, Scotland: “The wonder of the world, the beauty and the power, the shape of things, their colours, lights and shades; these I saw. Look ye also while life lasts.” Go to to watch a video of Thorsell.

chemists, engineers Now imagine the roof of your and physicists made house studded with little plastic their breakthrough photovoltaic cells, solar panels by introducing a onethat soak up the sun’s rays and billionth-of-a-metreprovide power for everything thick compound from the TV to the fridge. U of A between two layers of researchers at the National Institute for Nanotechnology have the plastic solar cell Jillian Buriak helped bring that possibility that give it that 30 closer to reality by developing a method percent boost in efficiently when conthat increases the efficiency in plastic verting the energy into usable electricity. photovoltaic cells by 30 percent. While Although still far from having a not as efficient in harvesting the sun’s product they can take to market, the energy as the high-grade silicon-based researchers have taken a big step forsolar panels, the advantage of using ward to developing a commercially plastic to harvest the sun’s energy is that viable product. And while Buriak it’s cheaper and thus lends itself more admits that the plastic cells will probaeasily to mass commercialization. bly never be as efficient as silicon, she “This is our first big result that we’re says, “The point is the cost. By making really happy to talk about,” says chemthe plastic cells inexpensive, and thus, istry professor Jillian Buriak, who helped manufacturable, is where we think we lead the project. Buriak and her team of can have an impact.”

landmarks  U of A sports business student Carline Muir powered the Canadian women’s 4 x 400metre relay to a gold medal performance at the 2009 Summer Universiade in Belgrade, Serbia. Muir took the team out to a sizable lead in the first Carline Muir lap — a lead the remaining three runners never relinquished— to take home Canada’s first gold in a track event since the World Universiade Games in Edmonton in 1983. The medal marked Muir’s second trip to the podium at the Universiade, as the 2008 Olympian earlier took home a bronze medal in the 400-metre final, finishing just fourtenths of a second slower than her relay teammate, Esther Akinsule, who nosed her out for the silver medal. In other athletic news, U of A Golden Bears volleyballer Joel Schmuland, ’09 BA, and, respectively, Edmonton native Annamay Pierse—were named the male and female Canadian Interuniversity Sport athletes of the year. Three days after being named CIS player of the year, Schmuland capped off a dream weekend earning tournament-MVP honours and winning his third CIS gold medal— his first at home— in his final outing as a Bear. Pierse, who trains in Vancouver, recently set a world record in the 200metre breaststroke at the world aquatic championships in Rome.

Spencer Leiske (2) roars in behind Joel Schmuland en route to the Golden Bears second national title in as many years.

 A pair of U of A students— Lisa Szabo and Christopher Cox, ’08 MSc — are the fortunate recipients of a 2009 Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship that will see each of them receive up to $180,000 in support of their research. Cox is working on documenting languages, in particular, Plautdietsch— the traditional language of Russian Mennonites— while Szabo’s research focuses on global and local interconnections between Canadian nature writings, bioregionalism and ecology. “The Trudeau Scholarships are among the most prestigious scholarships in Canada, so we are delighted to have two of our students become Trudeau Scholars,” says U of A provost, Carl Amrhein. The Trudeau Scholarships are awarded to Canadian students who are expected to become national and international leaders in their fields, and each Trudeau Scholar receives mentoring from highly regarded national and international leaders who make up the Trudeau Foundation community in their respective disciplines.

Tanya Prochazka

 University of Alberta music professor Tanya Prochazka was recently inducted into Edmonton’s Arts and Culture Hall of Fame. Prochazka, who was born into a family of professional classical musicians in Melbourne, Australia, and trained as a cellist at the Paris Conservatoire, was playing the classical music scene in London when her husband, a neuroscientist, was offered a job with the Alberta Heritage Foundation. Twenty-three years after moving here, Prochazka is still playing with the city’s symphony orchestra, and many of her students now play with the group. Michael Phair, U of A director of community relations and former city councillor, was also recognized by the City in the builder category.

John Verderas (centre, back row) posing with fellow attendees of an annual symposium held at Pigeon Lake, AB.

 Recent U of A grad Hiromi Koriyama, ’09 BSc(Pharm), scored the highest mark of any student in the country on this year’s Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada examination. Koriyama is the 12th student from the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in the last 20 years to take home the George A. Burbidge Memorial Award for the top mark in the nation . “I kept telling people I was waiting for another letter saying that they had made a mistake,” says Koriyama. “It’s a little embarrassing to be singled out, but I’m happy it has made my parents and friends proud.” The Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada examination is a requirement for licencing in Canada. The exam contains two sections— a multiple choice and a written section — that evaluate a student’s proficiency on current pharmacy practice. In other pharmacy news, the Faculty has obtained U of A Board of Governors approval to begin offering a doctor of pharmacy degree program (PharmD) beginning in September 2010 (it currently offers a PhD degree). The degree status still needs confirmation from two Government of Alberta ministries, but that’s most likely to be a formality. Hiromi Koriyama

 John Vederas, a professor in the U of A Department of Chemistry, had his fundamental contributions to the fields of bio-organic and medicinal chemistry recognized recently when he signed his name into the records of the Royal Society, whose other signatories include the likes of Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Vederas was named to the United Kingdom’s National Academy of Sciences along with 43 others, who were recognized for their exceptional contributions to science, engineering and medicine. The Royal Society is the world’s oldest scientific academy in continuous existence and has been at the forefront of enquiry and discovery since its foundation in 1660. Vederas’ work centres on understanding the chemistry used by nature in the assembly of biological molecules, in particular the attempt to identify antimicrobial peptides that preserve food and also have great potential as antibiotics against organisms resistant to current therapy. This year’s inductees into the Royal Society came from all over the world, but Vederas is grateful for the 32 years he has been teaching and researching in his corner of the world. “I am very fortunate to have fantastic collaborators from the biochemistry department, in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences and in biological sciences,” he says. “Having outstanding scientists around me is a wonderful thing and one of the things that has kept me here.”

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Kathy and Maurice with their daughter, Grace.

Testate Testament Kathy Fitzgerald, ’92 BA, writes about how she and her husband, Maurice, ’93 BCom, came to be on a U of A honour society list


amily and friends are often surprised to see our names on the University of Alberta’s Quaecumque Vera Honour Society list, the donor recognition group for people who have included gifts to the U of A in their wills or other estate plans. They are incredulous when they ask how we — a one-income family with a young daughter — could possibly provide for the University in our estate. After all, wouldn’t we want to provide for our daughter if something should happen to us? After Maurice and I were married, we were happy to include charitable


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gifts in our wills. Giving was something we did regularly, and, since we had no dependents, it made sense to include something in our estate plans should anything happen to both of us. We were footloose and fancy-free, and if we were to leave this world at the same time, we were just fine with giving everything away. But with the birth of our daughter, Grace—as happens with most people in this situation—everything changed. Our world suddenly revolved around this incredible new person in our lives. We started thinking about such previously far-fetched concepts as

registered education savings plans, safety ratings and food allergies. Cloth versus disposables diapers was now a question worthy of debate, as were sleep schedules and potty training methods. Determining how to instill good values also suddenly became a priority, along with how to teach the importance of community and set a good example. One of the most important decisions we had to make together was how to update our will to take into account our new reality. Like most new parents, the idea of dying and leaving our beautiful child alone in this world was not something

we wanted to think If, God forbid, about. But parentsomething did hap“Our estate plans ing comes with pen, our families responsibilities and would be devasmay change as our ensuring that our tated, and we did daughter would be not want to leave daughter grows... provided for in the them with the extra unlikely event that burden of handling but the need to something should our estate. happen to both us Our motivation support our was a critical one. in having our So we arranged affairs in order had community and be guardianship and not changed when agreed that all of we became parents. part of something our financial We still wanted to resources would be have a proper will bigger than us devoted to Grace’s to not only ensure upbringing, educathat our wishes are will not.” tion and future carried out, but needs. Then we also to spare our met with our lawyer to discuss our survivors the difficulties that can wishes and had a new will drawn up. arise without one. Reviewing the draft of our new will, After some discussion, we decided I noticed with some disappointment that, in the event of the unthinkable that we no longer had included a charhappening, we wanted to divide our itable gift in our plans. There was no estate between family members and way I would consider shortchanging two of our favourite organizations: our daughter. But giving had always The Stollery Children’s Hospital been important to me, and it felt odd Foundation and the University of to leave it out. I believe that we are all Alberta. As a graduate of the Faculty together in this world and no one of us of Arts, I wanted to direct our gift to can make it on their own. Whether we that faculty, and Maurice was agreereceive help in the form of a parents’ able (seeing as the U of A does not comfort room at the children’s hospidirect charitable gifts to RATT).* tal while our child is in the neonatal When we signed off on everything, intensive-care unit, or in the form of a I felt good about our decision and bursary while trying to make ends relieved that our affairs were in order. meet at school, we all have times Our estate plans may change as our when help is needed, and most of us daughter grows and our family also have opportunities to give it. changes, but the need to support our So when our lawyer inquired as to community and be part of something our intentions in the event that somebigger than us will not. I trust that our thing should happen to all three of us, wills will remain in the filing cabinet, at first I was stunned. As a parent, it unused, for a long time, but am comwas hard enough to think about our forted by the knowledge that our curchild growing up without us, but it rent will reflects everything important was inconceivable to consider someto us: our family and our values. thing awful happening to her. I braced Kathy Fitzgerald is an Edmonton myself and looked at Maurice; this was area writer, mom and proud U of A one scenario we had not discussed. alumna. After a deep breath, I knew this *A campus bar on the 7th-floor of the Students’ Union Building. was something we had to think about.

How the Fitzgerald’s Gift Works Kathy and Maurice have made a specific bequest in their will naming the Faculty of Arts as a beneficiary. When they notified the University about their bequest, they accepted an invitation to become a member of the Quaecumque Vera Honour Society. This donor group is composed of individuals who have included the University in their estate plans. Each spring, the University hosts a luncheon on campus for members of this group. Including a charitable bequest in your will is an effective method of supporting the University without compromising current living standards. One of the many ways of making a gift to the University, bequests are usually one of the largest gifts an individual can make. Charitable bequests can help reduce the tax payable by the estate, thus allowing more of the estate to be used as desired. If it is your intention to include the University in your will, or you would like to learn more about how to do so, we would be pleased to hear from you.


Address:____________________________ ___________________________________ Telephone:___________________________ e-mail:______________________________ Please contact us at: Development Office Gift Planning Unit Enterprise Square 3rd Floor, 10230 Jasper Avenue Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4P6 Telephone: 780-492-0332 Toll Free: 1-888-799-9899 e-mail: Autumn 2009

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Green Keepers

A six-pack of grads make the grade when it comes to being green

Consensus Maker


ebecca Reeves, ’04 BSc, (pictured above) has spent her whole career in one environmental position or another, working to conserve what’s left of Alberta’s wild heritage and natural environment. She’s currently the Parks Land-Use Framework Planner for the province of Alberta. And, she says, there’s one big difference now that she’s no longer working in the non-profit sector: “I don’t have to worry about fundraising for my own job anymore.” Reeves worked for five years in the non-profit sector, most recently as the executive director of the Eagle PointBlue Rapids Parks Council, a multistakeholder community organization that works cooperatively with Alberta Parks to plan, manage and fund two new protected areas near Drayton Valley, the first such arrangement with Alberta Parks.


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In her new job, Reeves is helping to coordinate the engagement of the Alberta Department of Tourism, Parks and Recreation as it unites with other government departments in what is being called a new Provincial LandUse Framework Initiative. This new land-use proposal includes creating seven regional plans that will encompass the current 500 provincial protected areas as well as look at creating new parks regions. “My focus has always been parks, new parks and protecting the landscape,” she says, “so it doesn’t get better than this working in Alberta, and I’m very exciting about the possibilities.” Reeves—a former seasonal conservation officer who was also the lead researcher and writer for an extensive 2007 study called The State of Alberta’s Parks & Protected Areas —also likes the idea that the approach to the Parks Land-Use Framework includes a cross-

ministerial initiative where people will work collaboratively to come up with consensus decisions on a new approach to managing Alberta’s diverse landscape. “I like the collaborative, interdisciplinary process as the way of moving forward,” says Reeves, who credits her environmental science professors at the U of A with taking the same approach and making “things so exciting and so applicable to what I’m doing now. My professors were really, really inspiring, just incredible people who were genuinely committed to not only teaching us, but connecting us to what was going on in Alberta and making personal commitments to ensuring what we were learning was not only applicable to the workforce, but also to our lives and our community. My professors really got me engaged in the community right away and helped me make connections that have lasted to this day.”

Linda Mackie

Lindsay Coulter (right) demonstrates how to make homemade candles on the Vancouver TV show, Urban Rush, with Michael Eckford and Fiona Forbes.

Green Queen


indsay Coulter, ’99 BSc, is “David Suzuki’s Queen of Green,” providing media commentary on everyday things the public can do to live more sustainably. Having once been called the “weasel woman”—when she worked in the boreal forests collaring critters— and then “the owl lady”— when she worked in the grasslands showing farmers and ranchers how to protect the endangered birds — Coulter looks on her new title as quite a promotion. In addition to writing for Suzuki’s Nature Challenge newsletter and website, she makes frequent appearances on the Vancouver talk show, Urban Rush, showing viewers how to make such things as their own furniture polish, shampoo, even toothpaste, and she just finished recording a series of daily radio spots for the James Pattison Groups of radio stations. “It’s great to pass on information on issues that people want to learn about,” says Coulter, “especially translating the science jargon down to something everyday folks—like my parents— can act on.” Coulter also practises what she preaches —including planning an environmentally friendly 2006 wedding to her partner Steven Coulter, ’04 MSc. She scrapped the paper invitations in favour of e-vites, bought organic flowers and recycled gold wedding bands, and even purchased carbon offsets for guests flying in from abroad. But most of what Coulter advocates is on a smaller scale, echoing the mantra of David Suzuki, that “each person working towards a different world may

seem powerless and insignificant, but all of them can add up to a force that can become irresistible.” On the Suzuki Foundation website, the self-styled “green” answer to Martha Stewart gives video demonstrations in her tiny Vancouver kitchen on little things we can do at home to make a big difference, from making your own beeswax candles to cooking tasty (and sustainable) sablefish fillets. She’s even developed her own “micro” line of non-toxic, environmentally friendly cleaning products called “Harm Less.” Right now, they’re only available out of her kitchen, but she’s happy to show you how to make your own. Read Coulter’s tips for “green” living at

Tree Hugger


randy Burdeniuk, ’06 BDes, is the co-founder of EcoAmmo, an Edmonton-based sustainable design firm. Before she teamed up with Stephani Carter to create EcoAmmo in 2007, Burdeniuk worked for three architectural firms, where she used her U of A degree in industrial design and developed her knowledge of green products and materials to help facilitate the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for new buildings. (Other members of the EcoAmmo team include Andrea Pelland, ’05 BA, and Arden Tse, ’95 BSc, ’99 BCom.) “As an industrial designer, I am a trained problem solver,” says Burdeniuk. “And, as a company, EcoAmmo helps facilitate the LEED certification process and ensures that the vision of a green

building is maintained all the way through the design and construction process.” Burdeniuk—who teaches a course called “Green Design” in the U of A’s residential interiors program offered through the Faculty of Extension—is also a volunteer with MADE in Edmonton (where she first met Carter in 2006). MADE is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to heighten the public’s awareness and ability to appreciate art, design and architecture, and, in turn, increase the demand for good art and design in the local community. As a small-business owner, Burdeniuk understands the necessity of finding that balance between environmental sustainability and financial practicality. “It’s important to consider the environment and your impact on it in all things you do,” she says. “However, as a new business owner, it is also important to choose solutions that are realistic and to not get overwhelmed. Our business-first attitude is really important to note, but it is beneficial for the environmental movement as well. Time and time again the best solutions I have seen are ones that are good for the environment and for business, making them more realistic as longterm solutions for a healthier planet.” Visit for more information. Autumn 2009

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Captain Carbon


Dirt Farmer


ric Chen, ’95 BSc(Ag), owns and operates an organic farm called Peas on Earth that has been bringing certified organic vegetables to Edmonton-area farmers’ markets for the past 10 years. For Chen, organic farming isn’t some new fad, it’s an ancient concept— and a no-brainer at that. “For thousands of years, people survived without putting anything artificial into the land, so why should we be dependent on artificial input now?,” says Chen, who uses no herbicides or pesticides on his 24hectare farm outside St. Albert. “I believe that Mother Nature has given us a balanced system, and I don’t think we can do better than that.” Although Chen has only been running his own organic farm for the past 10 years, he’s been farming since his family arrived in Canada, via Laos, back in 1979. His first job was at a market garden, and since he first dug his hands into the “good ole black soil” at the age of 15, he’s been hooked. “My grandma was a farmer in China, and back then they didn’t use anything,” he explains. “She showed me how to farm — how she grew things in China —and seeing was believing.” His organic granny, he adds, lived to the ripe old age of 97. His wife, Ruby Chen, ’95 BCom, took to farming a little more reluctantly than he did. She’s originally from Hong Kong


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and had no intention of being a farmer’s wife, but, “the fastest way to the heart is through the stomach,” as they say, and Chen eventually won her over to the idea through the quality and taste of the vegetables he grew. The couple—they met in “English 101” at the U of A—are about as close as you get to a live-work partnership, making excellent use of their U of A degrees: Eric does the farming; Ruby the sales and bookkeeping, and, more recently, she’s begun promoting organic food in several appearances on CTV. “I’m very proud of my Ruby,” says Chen. Like all farming, organic farming is hard work. During the short but intense Alberta growing season, Chen is in the field 80 hours a week and at the farmers’ market by 5:00 a.m. on Saturdays. Of course, organic farmers have the added challenge of having to do it all without herbicides, pesticides or genetically engineered seed. And, as did many Alberta farmers, Chen took a beating this past season, with the combination of late frost and drought, and the cutworms, which disproportionally affected organic farmers, nearly wiping out his early harvests. Still, he’s firmly rooted in the organic movement: “I’m convinced we don’t need a whole lot of additives to grow great produce,” says Chen, “just rain, sunshine and the excellent Alberta soil.” You can find Peas on Earth online at

nly four years out of university, Brad Rabiey, ’05 BSc, has established the first and only full-cycle carbon offset company in Alberta. Through his company, The Carbon Farmer, individuals and businesses can purchase credits that offset their greenhouse emissions and, in return, Rabiey plants portions of his family’s farm in Manning, AB, with trees, which he commits to managing for the next 60 years. Over the life cycle of the forest, the trees store carbon in their branches, trunks and roots — an amount that can be independently calculated and sold as credits. For instance, someone taking a roundtrip flight from Edmonton to Toronto creates just over one tonne of emissions, but they could offset that amount by purchasing a single credit from The Carbon Farmer for $15. So far, Rabiey has sold 260 credits to everyone from newlyweds offsetting their destination wedding in Mexico to a California bed and breakfast looking to go carbon neutral. And in July, he announced a new partnership with Edmonton’s Fairmont Hotel Macdonald for a “Green Stay” package that runs through December 2009. The idea to return portions of the family farm to the northern Alberta forest it once was came to Rabiey a few years ago when he and his wife, Rebecca, were trying to figure out what to do with the land that had been in his family for two generations. “We determined that we didn’t want to continue with more conventional farming, we wanted to find a way to do something more sustainable,” explains Rabiey. “And selling carbon offsets would return our farm to an environmentally sustainable production level and help address some of the issues the world is facing in terms of habitat loss and climate change.” The first people he had to sell on the plan, though, were his parents. “It’s taken my dad a little while to come around to the idea,” says Rabiey. “He’s been a grain farmer his whole life. He helped pick the roots out of the soil when it was first cleared, so the concept of planting trees on

Biker Chic


laire Ellick, ’04 BSc(CivE), once described herself as a “bike ninja” who just happens, as she says, “to have the wonderful opportunity to combine my love of riding with my profession.” As an engineer for sustainable transportation for the City of Edmonton, Ellick does strategic planning and design to help facilitate a more bike-friendly environment in the City. She’s sort of the City’s “road warrior,” whose responsibilities lie with the on-road cycling crowd and not their off-road brethren, as she tries to make bicycle commuting over city streets a little more user-friendly. However, in truth, she’d rather be bouncing along a bumpy trail on her mountain bike. “Mountain biking has been my most constant favourite,” she says, “getting outside to enjoy the natural beauty we’re so lucky to have in this province.” She first got hooked on cycling through competing in triathlons, where, she says, “I figured out pretty quickly that I’d rather be riding my

bike than running, swimming or doing anything else. Cycling has always been one of my greatest passions, and it’s a bit of dream come true to be able to use my engineering degree as a conduit to having a tangible input into city policy as to how bikes are incorporated into the transportation mix in an urban environment.” Globally, more people commute to work by bicycle than by automobile. In fact, hundreds of millions of citizens in China, India and a dozen countries in Europe use a bicycle to get to work. There are over 1.4 billion bicycles in use worldwide (compared to about 550-600 million automobiles, not counting trucks), and around 100 million bikes are now manufactured annually—more than double the number of cars. “Cycling more and driving less is just common sense in so many ways,” says Ellick. “As well as being good for the environment, cycling saves money and time— and both those things when it comes to the waistline, as you don’t have to go to the gym to workout or pay for a membership. Now that’s a win, win scenario.”

land he helped clear has been challenging.” As a matter of fact, the 26-year-old had to plant most of the 3,000 trees currently in the ground by himself, but he named the forest “Dad’s Forest,” in honour of his father. And Rabiey hasn’t turned his back on farming entirely. He has long-term plans to transition the rest of the farm to organic vegetable cultivation. But in the meantime, he’s got his hands full managing his forest of two-year-old lodgepole pines and working as a renewable energy consultant for the provincial government. “I really see the two jobs as interrelated,” he says. “I wanted to find a way to keep the farm and care for the land but also to have an impact on a larger environmental scale. So far I’ve managed to make it work. It’s all about finding a balance, after all.” Visit to find out more about The Carbon Farmer. For more information about the Fairmont’s “Green Stay” visit macdonald/HotelPackages/. Autumn 2009

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By Myka Jones, ’07 BDes ust before my head disappeared under water, I seemed to stop— freeze-frame style—and ponder what, exactly, had brought me to my present situation: being hurled into a fierce class five rapid on Costa Rica’s Rio Pacuare. Sheer madness was all that came to mind. But with my raft capsized and all eight of my fellow passengers, plus our guide, being swept downstream, that split second was all I had to ponder my plight. Miraculously, I reached dry ground thanks to a rope tossed from shore. (Apparently, indigenous fishermen gathered here for the daily catch of floundering gringo.) White-knuckled and shaking, all I had time to offer my rescuers was a jittery “Graçias!” before I jumped back in my rubber boat to sail after the 40-odd people I was nominally in charge of keeping alive and smiling. After all, I was on the clock, and my work was rushing downriver fast. It’s all in a day’s work, though, for an adventure guide-in-training in the wilds of Central America. Plunging into the rapids of the Rio Pacuare was just one of my job requirements last summer as a tour leader-intraining with International Student Volunteers (ISV). I had already volunteered with ISV in Costa Rica during a break from my studies at the University of Alberta in 2005, so I guess you could say I knew what I was getting into when I returned for three months in 2008 as an employee. Every summer, ISV student volunteers spend two weeks on a site-specific project in community development, conservation or youth education, followed by another two weeks spent exploring the country’s natural wealth. As a tour leader-in-



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An unexpected swim often greets rafters taking on the fierce class five rapids of the Rio Pacuare.

training, I was there to help ensure that tours stayed on schedule and that the students learned and had fun, and that meant that I participated in all activities: kayaking through caiman- and toucan-inhabited canals, horseback riding through lush farmland, rappelling beside 60-metre waterfalls, and ziplining through ancient rainforests. But more than just exhausting my adrenal glands, the experience gave me a unique perspective on both sides of the burgeoning field of “eco-tourism” and an intimate knowledge of one of the most naturally “green” countries on Earth.

The “Rich” Coast Although dubbed “the rich coast” after Christopher Columbus first caught glimpse of it in 1502, Costa Rica was later ignored when its thick jungles, high-altitude passes and lack

of precious resources drove its Spanish colonizers farther north to establish their seat of rule in Guatemala City. Ironically, these obstacles, which left the country open to centuries of neglect, are the very attractions that have provided it with a thriving tourist industry today. With about a quarter of its land declared “protected national parks or areas,” this 51,000 squarekilometre country — a little smaller than Nova Scotia — leads the world in protected area relative to land size. It also has an incredibly rich biological biodiversity: roughly five percent of the world’s known plant and animal species call Costa Rica home. Jaguars and ocelots still prowl among the heliconias, orchids and ferns, while the forest canopies are home to hummingbirds and macaws, tree frogs, monkeys and sloths.

(Left) A two-toed tree sloth. (Right) Tracks made by a sea turtle shuffling ashore to lay her eggs and then lumbering back out to sea.

It may not have been historically wealthy, but Costa Rica’s natural riches makes its people very “rich,” indeed. According to the New Economics Foundation, the nation ranks first on its Happy Planet Index, which rates the happiness of people’s lives relative to their lifespan and their efficient use of the Earth’s resources. Costa Ricans are so happy, in fact, that the nation abolished its army in 1948, and, unlike much of the rest of the Americas, it has not seen civil war since. The country’s reputation as a safe, unspoiled and exotic destination draws over two million visitors annually, and tourism — particularly “eco-tourism”— is one of the country’s fastest growing industries.

Mean Green EcoConfused Machines But not all eco-tourism options are created equal. If anything became clear during my summer as a tour leader, it was the muddy puddle separating what is advertised and what is exercised. ISV, the tour company I worked for, offered genuinely ecologically responsible travel options. However, several of the places I routinely visited in my travels would give a one-time visitor a “green-washed” impression. Take, for instance, Costa Rica’s Tortuguero National Park. In Spanish,

tortuguero can be translated to mean “full of turtles,” and the park contains one of the most important nesting beaches for green sea turtles in the world. Yet a better name might be “full of tourists,” as the park sees 50,000 tourists flank its shores and canals annually. During our stay in August, it resembled a zoo. Hotels and spas were hastily cropping up along freshwater

Maleku dialect is beginning to vanish, along with the traditional way of life.

concerns were being neglected at the expense of the turtles, which provided such lucrative opportunities. What should have been an environmental success story has appeared to have converse effects on the people of Costa Rica. The influx of money has brought with it problems with hard drugs, explained our group’s young captain who sported a gold watch and flashy sneakers. Yet it has allowed others to pursue further education in the capital, San Jose. Situations like this illustrate just how difficult it is to assess the overall economic, social and environmental impact of tourism on a region — and reveal the inadvertent shadiness inherent in anything labelled “eco-friendly.”

Pura Vida? canals just outside the park’s boundaries, and cocktails were being served to the tune of falling trees. The two-stroke motors of water taxis coughed up exhaust on the waterways, and bold capuchin monkeys snuck scraps from the dining tables. Although tourism financed conservation efforts, created jobs for locals in the nearby village, and helped restore the numbers of green sea turtles — which had been hunted to near-extinction in the 1950s — it cut with a double-edged sword, and myriad

Pura vida, or, literally “pure life,” is a tremendously popular and versatile phrase in Costa Rica, sort of equivalent to “cool” in English. Representing kinship and the will to enjoy life, this catchy idiom is a typical response to “how’s it going?” or used when greeting or parting. Fluency in Spanish isn’t necessary for travel here, but pura vida, along with por favor (please) and graçias (thank you) will take you pretty far, and any effort is warmly appreciated by the locals. The first time I travelled Autumn 2009

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(Left) Volcán Arenal during one of its frequent eruptions. (Right) A guest room at Selva Bananito.

to Costa Rica, I didn’t know any Spanish, but I quickly learned enough to engage in simple conversations on the bus, in grocery stores, etc. However, one particular experience offered a rather embarrassing lesson in numerals. Stopping by the bank to stock up on cash, I asked the young gentleman behind the counter for what I thought was “$400 in bills.” Raising an eyebrow, he told me it would take a few minutes. After disappearing into the back for what felt like an eternity, he reemerged carrying two large plastic bags. Each was filled with the equivalent of $200 — in coins — and weighed close to seven kilograms! After we both blushed apologetically, realizing the mix-up, we set the full line of customers behind us into a chuckling frenzy. Such incidents are becoming much more rare in Costa Rica. As the tourism and technology sectors have grown, so have the prevalence of English and foreign dollars. The foreign influence has also led to the dwindling numbers of an indigenous tribe, the Malekus, who live near the second-most active volcano in the world, Volcán Arenal. La Fortuna, the town closest to the volcano, houses trendy hot springs and is a bustling 18

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hive of tourist activity. Most Malekus now earn their livings through local tourism in the sale of tribal art, such as colourful painted masks, and cultural presentations they put on in replica Maleku villages. Following ISV’s circuit, I visited one such replica village five times during my summer as tour leader. Striking up

eign music, fashion, medicine and food into the homes of Malekus and Costa Ricans alike. But as the tribe slowly integrates into the local population, the Maleku dialect is beginning to vanish, along with the traditional way of life. He said he was sad to see his tribe and its traditions fade, but he saw such change as inevitable.

Rising to the Challenge

Maleku masks for sale in a replica village.

friendships with locals there was certainly one of the more poignant aspects of the job, introducing me to a human dynamic a one-time visitor might not discover. One particularly gracious gentleman, a Maleku guide and interpreter, described his dilemma to me at a soda, or diner, after work. In addition to basics such as running water and electricity, recent growth had brought for-

While change is inevitable, there were two companies I worked with that took responsible and sustainable growth to heart. Selva Bananito, which I visited five times, is a stunning world-class ecolodge located 30 kilometres south of the Caribbean port city of Limón. Its 11 cabins and one common dining hall, or rancho, were well off the beaten path and provided an Old World escape. Built entirely from salvaged wood, the rustic yet handsome cabins had solarheated water, clay water filters and natural waste purification systems. Visitors to Selva Bananito could choose from a variety of adventure and nature tours, all designed to produce minimal ecological impact, and the owner, committed

(Left) A volunteer enjoying recess with local schoolchildren, and another touring a pineapple plantation (right).

to reducing the carbon dioxide emissions associated with air travel, spearheaded a carbon-neutral strategy for guests, who could purchase carbon offset credits through the lodge in exchange for reduced rates. (To research carbon offsetting options for your own travels, try visiting Carbon Catalog or EcoBusinessLinks, whose websites are listed at the end of the article.) Rios Tropicales, our whitewater rafting partner, has been internationally recognized for its commitment to conservation. In addition to employing the top guides on its tours on the Pacuare, it’s actively involved in the local indigenous community, supporting the building of health clinics, schools and sustainable organic produce and coffee bean operations. Spending a few nights in Rios Tropicales’ secluded jungle lodge after rafting in was a definite highlight of the trip, and stayovers there always included some cliff jumping and low-key rock climbing. The food they served had a particularly local flair. On the first night, they served us enormous plates of “Jungle Chicken”— essentially chicken and rice jazzed up with your choice of corn, peppers, heart of palm, tomatoes, macadamia nuts, cheese and

more. And in the mornings, hearty breakfasts of pancueques (pancakes), huevos revueltos (scrambled eggs), fresh fruit and coffee were enough to rouse even the soundest sleepers for earlymorning bird watching.

Slowing it Down a Nibble Although most of our outings involved pretty high-energy activities — snorkelling, tree climbing, kayaking and horseback riding — taking time out to sample the local cuisine allowed us not only to stock up on much-needed calories but provided us with deeper insight into the origins of our food. Tours of pineapple, coffee bean and banana plantations offered a fascinating journey into the life cycles of some of our most beloved snacks and beverages. I will never look at a banana the same way again, knowing the work that goes into harvesting them. Banana bunches, which sprout up to 200 bananas or so each, must be hacked down from the trees by machete and hoisted onto hooks lining a conveyor cable. We saw one man towing 25 bunches at a time — over 900 kilograms — on a “bunch

train” attached to his waist. He would then run them down the cable through the Caribbean lowlands, the hottest and most humid region of the country, to the processing station where they were to be cut, sized, sorted and packaged. I particularly enjoyed traditional Costa Rican dishes, which are heavily influenced by the influx of the Jamaicans first brought to the country as slaves in the 1800s. A typical lunch, or casado, includes rice and beans with sides of meat and salad, plantains and cheese. On the coasts, rice and beans, a favourite dish throughout the Caribbean, is usually served with fresh coconut and spices, and its inland counterpart, gallo pinto, is flavoured by the nation’s prized Lizano Salsa. Appetizers, or tapas, tend to be fried foods such as patacones (plantains), chicharrones (pork) and empanadas, but fresh fruits and veggies are always in season, and mangos — which you can pick right off the trees — are unlike anything you can find in Canada. While western fastfood chains were prevalent in the larger cities, I always stuck to the local diners, where the licuados (fruit milkshakes) in blackberry, avocado and papaya were particularly delicioso! Autumn 2009

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To be a mentor, you don’t need superhuman qualities, just human ones. Spending as little as an hour a week with a young person can make a difference. There’s a waiting list of young Albertans who can benefit from your life experience. Find out how you can help at

Live, Learn and Vote As my contract came to an end, my perspective of Costa Rica began to change. Out of the once-alien landscape of canopied forests and cobalt blue oceans, a familiar theme began to emerge: animals, people, plants — all things — were simply making the most of life. Some took advantage, some were taken advantage of, and the tourism industry was no exception. But as consumers, we vote with our pocketbooks, so supporting providers who take into account the environmental, social and economic impact of their projects can go a long way toward making a positive difference. Some people argue that the negative effects of eco-tourism outweigh the benefits and that everyone should just stay home, but I disagree. Experiencing the tastes, sights, smells, sounds and textures of a foreign place is a refreshing reminder that the world is a truly extraordinary place. And certainly if everyone just stayed at home, the economies of places such as Costa Rica would collapse, and the local environment would suffer as a result. So while my summer as an eco-tour guide scarcely qualifies me as an expert, I did learn that there is a lot one can do to ensure a greener vacation or travel experience. Here are a few small tips I picked up along the way that are useful from Calgary to Costa Rica, and anywhere in between. Myka Jones has recently unloaded her backpack in Calgary, where she helps visitors explore natural and manmade wonders at the Telus World of Science.

(Above) Rios Tropicales lodge. (Left) Maintaining a “wheelie” on a calm section of the Rio Pacuare.

Things to consider… When packing: • Travelling light is not only easier on you, it’s easier on the environment. • Pack biodegradable toiletries such as those available at MEC, Nutters and Planet Organic Market. • Bring reusable eating utensils (bowls, water bottle, etc.), so you can avoid disposables. • Wear long sleeves and pants instead of bug repellant. • Invest in rechargeable batteries for cameras, electric razors, etc.

When choosing accommodations: • Is it locally owned and operated and does it contribute to the local community? • What was taken down to put it up? • Does it have energy-saving features?

When buying souvenirs: • Will the artisans be paid a fair price for their goods? • Was anything damaged in order to create it? • Was it organically and fair-trade produced? • Do I love it enough to keep and/or use it forever?

When choosing transportation: • Can I walk, bike or take public transit? • How can I offset the carbon dioxide emissions of my air travel?

Mentioned in the article: International Student Volunteers Inc. (Packaged tours for university students) Rios Tropicales (Rafting, kayaking, packaged tours) Arenal Mundo Aventura (Zip-lining, rappelling, horseback riding, Maleku presentations) Selva Bananito (eco-lodges, packaged tours) Carbon off-setting information

Myka cracking a coconut. Autumn 2009

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Herb Appeal T

hink of Siberia. Pause on that thought. What comes to mind? Perhaps Edmonton in winter? Now think of a potential crop, an herb, actually, that really doesn’t mind that climate, in fact, needs it to properly establish itself. Drawing a blank? That’s because you’ve probably never heard of Rhodiola rosea. You can be forgiven for not being aware of this hardy Albertagrown herb as the first rhodiola harvest in the province only came in last year. “This plant originates in Siberia and that’s one of the reasons it works so well here,” says Dave Maruszeczka, ’76 BSc(Eng), one of the original group of 20-or-so growers who took the government of Alberta up on its invitation to try growing something a little different on their property. After attending some meetings and signing up for the trial, Maruszeczka picked up the seedlings from Alberta Agriculture — they came from Norway — and began his relationship with rhodiola. And you really can’t call it anything but a close, personal relationship, as Maruszeczka has taken to courting his 12,000 plants so as to entice them to reveal their secrets and disclose their inner lives. 22

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So what is Rhodiola rosea (its second name comes from the fact that the root has a slight rose scent to it)? “Rhodiola rosea,” says Maruszeczka, “is a root crop that needs four years in the ground, maybe five, to acquire enough of the active ingredient called rosavin to be beneficial. Other biological substances contained in the roots are salidroside, rosarin and rosiridin.” And what benefits do you get from taking the rhodiola that’s available in health food or vitamin and supplement stores in concentrated capsules? Well, there’s an abundance of good things attributed to the herb that include increased physical endurance; longevity; resistance to high altitude sickness; and treatment of fatigue, depression, anemia, impotence, gastrointestinal ailments, infections and nervous system disorders. This is not to say that Maruszeczka, the other Alberta Rhodiola Rosea Growers Organization (ARRGO) members, or the government of Alberta endorse all of these purported attributes of rhodiola. Specifically, they’d be happy if the plant — from a class of plants known as “adaptogens”— was officially

Bo-Kim Louie

A clinical trial this fall at the University of Alberta just may help lead the way to a new multi-million dollar Alberta crop

Dave Maruszeczka at home with his fledgling rhodiola crop that is taking root in the plastic trays behind and in front of him.

recognized as helping the body adapt to stress while strengthening the immune, nervous and glandular systems; increasing resistance to fatigue; and improving cognitive and memory function. That’s still a pretty long shopping list but one that Maruszeczka is willing to back up with personal experience.

(Left) Rhodiola taking root in a plastic container before being transplanted to the land (right), where it competes for space with weeds.

“I should have been taking it years ago,” says Maruszeczka, who only began taking his own product following an ARRGO meeting. Maruszeczka, a retired engineer, is one of the organization’s nine directors as well as the de facto project lead on a new facility being readied near Thorsby to process the herb. It was Susan Lutz, ’94 PhD, provincial senior development officer at Agricultural and Rural Development (“she’s known by us growers as ‘the mother of rhodiola’”), who suggested to him at the ARRGO meeting that, if he was growing it, he should be using it. “I’ve been taking it for about a year now,” he says. “The big thing is energy. In fact, people with fast metabolisms shouldn’t take it before going to bed because they’ll be up all night trying to figure out what to do with themselves. My short-term memory over time has also improved dramatically. I used to go into town and meet some of my neighbours that I see fairly regularly, and I couldn’t remember their names. So I started taking this stuff, and I’d say about a month or two later my memory started to improve.” ARRGO members have commissioned clinical trials of their own to

support their claims that rhodiola can ease stress-induced fatigue (a claim that’s been made for centuries — the Russians even give it to their Olympians and cosmonauts — but still has to be clinically proven if it’s to be marketed

“Probably 99 percent of what’s currently on the market comes out of Siberia as wildcrafted material.” as having such benefits). The majority of the funding for this study came from AVAC Ltd., a not-for-profit Alberta company that invests in research initiatives and early-stage commercial businesses. The provincial government and industry players — such as members of ARRGO — kicked in other monies. The fact that ARRGO members put their own money down on rhodiola’s future

was not lost on Lutz, who really got behind the rhodiola rush at that point. The light first went on for Lutz in Anaheim, California, while she was listening to talks at the Natural Products Expo West that annually attracts about 50,000 members of the natural health products industry. She had only peripherally scanned the proposal for the commercialization of rhodiola that had landed on her desk in 2003. But at the conference in California the word “rhodiola” was on the lips of just about every presenter having anything to do with natural health products, leading Lutz to think she should look a little closer at the proposal sitting on her desk back in Edmonton. “Everybody knows about echinacea, for example,” says Lutz about rhodiola’s potential. “Industry experts believe that Rhodiola rosea could one day be in the top 10 of medicinal herbs, if only someone could learn to cultivate it. As far as we can see, rhodiola has the potential to be an $80-million plant in North America, and we can’t think of any reason why Alberta can’t eventually capture 25 percent of that market.” To help capture that market — as well as lend scientific street cred to the Autumn 2009

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Rhodiola Research B

rian Heidecker, Chairman of the University of Alberta’s Board of Governors, was one of the dignitaries on hand at the signing of the agreement between the Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences, Alberta, and its four-member alliance—the University of Alberta, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Alberta Research Council. The Institute has three priority research areas: foods for health; sustainable agricultural production; and industrial bio-refining and bio-products from agricultural materials. Of the three research areas mentioned above, the foods for health program consists of an integrated research team whose own three primary research initiatives are Rhodiola rosea as a natural health product; bioactive lipids from canola and flax to make better heart-healthy oils; and production of antibodies from eggs. U of A is also home to one of Canada’s agri-food research parks—Agri-Food Discovery Place (AFDP)—which focuses on crop utilization and bioactive discovery as well as meat safety research. Rhodiola

herb’s efficacy — there’s a clinical trial planned for this fall using U of A nursing-student subjects titled: “Rhodiola rosea for mental and physical fatigue in nurses.” For six weeks, half of the subjects will be given a daily dose of between 425-to-850 mg of the real McCoy while the other half will be given a placebo. The primary objective of the trial is to assess whether rhodiola improves the quality of life for nurses involved in shift work. “The University of Alberta is frontand-centre in rhodiola research,” says Sunita Vohra, professor in the Department of Pediatrics and director of the Complementary and Alternative Research and Education (CARE) program. “Raimar Loebenberg — a professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences — has been a key player in the rhodiola product development. And Larissa Shamseer — a U of A grad student and part of my CARE research program — led the review of 24

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(Left) Inside the rhodiola root. (Right) Dried and cubed rhodiola.

research will also be undertaken at AFDP, a world-class innovative research, training and technology transfer facility located on the University of Alberta farm that focuses on food safety and value-added processing of food and industrial products. In collaboration with the U of A faculties of science, engineering and medicine, AFDP has, in its short existence, produced over 153 refereed journal articles, had 13 patents either issued or submitted, created two spin-off companies, and trained over 190 grad students and post-doctorate fellows who are in positions around the globe. As well, the AFDP has received over $7 million in research funding, been invited presenters at over 140 national and international meetings while also garnering numerous highly prestigious national and international awards.

Rhodiola rosea and coordinated the development of the clinical trial.” “We make capsules out of the extract,” says Loebenberg, who created the U of A Drug Development and Innovation

“The University of Alberta is front-andcentre in rhodiola research.” Centre. This new facility will focus on stage-one development of pharmaceuticals, meaning researchers there will develop products for prototyping studies, next-stage clinical trials and eventual regulatory approval. “If somebody has an idea, we can get the clinical trial materials developed here and tested in the clinics,” says Loebenberg. “We put the puzzle together. In that

“The main thrust of the research at Discovery Place is about transforming the agriculture industry from a commodity focus to a value-added focus,” say Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences Dean John Kennelly. “The problem with agriculture in Canada is that if you’re in the commodity business, it’s kind of a race to the bottom in terms of prices.” This is because producers are competing with the lowest-cost producers in the world, he explains. “Now, what we’re saying is, let’s be innovative, let’s come up with new products that have a real market demand. And if we can produce those products that are innovative, high-quality and serve a particular need, the return to our crops, to our agricultural sector, is going to be much greater.”

way, we developed the rhodiola extraction method and provided the placebos. Without that the rhodiola study would not be possible.” “The U of A Faculty of Nursing has also been a key player,” adds Vohra. “So from my end this rhodiola study involves four U of A faculties: pharmacy, medicine, nursing and the school of public health.” Add in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences (plus engineering, as represented by Maruszeczka), and that brings the total to six U of A faculties all investigating ways to get the most out of rhodiola. One thing that’s already known for certain is that the tolerance of the herb for Alberta growing conditions is a match made in heaven. The surfacegerminating seeds are as small as dust, so there’s no way they can be put on the ground and left to germinate without most of them just disappearing. So the seeds are germinated in soil-filled

trays that have been covered with plastic. During late winter the trays are placed outside in the cold because they need a month or so of frost. “Basically you seed the tray and put it outside in the snow,” says Maruszeczka. “The thing’s gotta see the cold. The seed’s hard shell needs the cold to crack it.” Once you plant the seedlings in the ground you water them in once and walk away. Maruszeczka planted his first crop just prior to the drought of 2003 that parched his acreage near the town of Ryley, AB. “I thought I was going to lose them all,” he says, “because our philosophy was not to baby them but to see if they’d stand up like a field crop. What happened is that they survived quite well. And based on the results of those first trials, we basically determined that this was the shining star.” There are now over 100 rhodiola growers in the province. “We’ve got a couple of growers who have 60,000 plants on about 4.5 hectares,” says Maruszeczka, whose own plot is home to a lot of dandelions. “But they also run a market garden business and so have the people on hand to look after the plants. I’d hire people out

here, but where am I going to get them? You won’t find a high school student who will even look twice at you.” For Maruszeczka, who grew up on a farm about 30 kilometres east of his current location, growing a lot is much less important than finding out how to grow it best. “I’m not in it for the money,” he says. “I’m looking for information that I can pass on to everyone else.” Maruszeczka wants to be the man behind the curtain who helps to bring about Lutz’s vision of eventually growing a new all-Alberta crop on a commercial scale that can go right from the field to the medicine cabinet with minimal fuss, bother or maintenance in between.

What the price will be when commercial-scale Alberta rhodiola hits the world market nobody knows. Checking at a vitamin and supplements store revealed a price for 60 capsules (two different brands) of $27.50 for the 500 mg ones and $16.99 for the 250 mg. But there is a market out there for the herb. Germany recently expressed an interest in buying five tonnes of Alberta’s crop when that much is available. “In the longer term we’re going after a natural health product,” says Maruszeczka, as rain clouds gather behind him that may provide some much-needed moisture to the dry earth on this late June day. If so, it will be only the second shower he’s seen all summer. “We’re not there yet. But we’re close. Mark my words, based on all the things we’ve learned, rhodiola is going to be a word in people’s minds in years to come.” —Kim Green

Bo-Kim Louie

ARRGO: The Alberta Rhodiola Rosea Growers Organization ( began life late in 2007 as an alliance between the original group of rhodiola growers and the Alberta Natural Health Agricultural Network. ARRGO is a next generation co-operative where members buy their plants — you can buy as few as 1,000 — from the co-op and purchase a contract to sell back the grown plant for processing. It also acts as a grower’s resource centre providing advice and assistance as required. “ARRGO provides excellent information to get started as well as ongoing support to help with all aspects of the growing process,” says grower Nicole Svitich, ’92 BSc, ’95 BEd, who, along with her husband, Lyle Svitich, ’91 BSc, ’93 BEd, have started growing 1,000 plants on a little over half an acre. Currently, herbal companies can sign up to buy the 2009 Rhodiola crop. In the future, ARRGO hopes to become a one-stop rhodiola nexus for growers, wholesale buyers and retail consumers. Autumn 2009

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Time for an By Sarah Ligon


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f you’ve been to the pump recently, there’s a chance you’re driving around with a piece of northern Alberta in your tank. For the past 40 years, since Suncor opened its first processing plant outside of Fort McMurray in 1967, some 470 square kilometres that were once Alberta’s boreal forests have been cleared off, scooped up, separated and refined into the light sweet crude our society runs on. Interestingly, the hot water process for separating the valuable bitumen from the “worthless” oil sand was pioneered at the University of Alberta in 1926 by Karl A. Clark, a campus-based researcher for the Alberta Research Council and later a professor of mining and metallurgy. Since then, the process itself has been refined and upgraded so that daily output now exceeds a million barrels of oil per day (bbl/d) and is expected to reach 3.5 million bbl/d in the next decade. When you consider that for every barrel of oil sands oil that reaches the pump, over two tonnes of earth have been dug up and processed, then more of the earth’s surface is

being altered in northern Alberta than at any other place or time in history. Given the scale of the enterprise, the industry’s environmental footprint is impossible to ignore; however, for years environmentalists had been sounding the alarm and celebrities staging fly-over campaigns without ruffling too many feathers. Then came the ducks. In April of 2008, more than 1,600 migrating ducks died after landing on an oil sands tailing pond, and this remote corner of northern Alberta finally had the world’s full attention—and its scrutiny. In the months that followed, several prominent international media outlets published scathing critiques, including a 20-page cover story in the March 2009 issue of National Geographic, and the death of the ducks became a rallying point for activists who said “dirty” oil was taking too great a toll on the environment. Mike Hudema, ’00 BEd, ’05 LLB, an Edmonton-based spokesman for Greenpeace Canada, made headlines last year when he and other activists entered the Syncrude tailings

Oil Change? pond where the ducks had died and erected a banner over a tailings pipe that bore the image of a skull and the slogan, “World’s Dirtiest Oil: Stop the Tar Sands.” As much as activists like Hudema would like to see the oil sands shut down entirely, with billions of dollars worth of oil yet to be extracted that is unlikely to happen. The oil sands wealth that underlies some 150,000 square kilometres of Alberta’s boreal forests—an area roughly the size of the state of Florida—is estimated to contain up to 1.7 trillion barrels of synthetic crude. Even if only a fraction of that can be recovered, say 10 percent, that still makes it the second largest oil reserve in the world, after Saudi Arabia. With the complicated geopolitical situations affecting the world’s other oil exporting countries, big consumers of oil, like the U.S., will likely import more of northern Alberta’s oil in the future, not less. At present, Canada is already the United States’ number one source of imported oil and supplies it with more oil than all the Persian Gulf nations combined.

Still, no matter how you look at it, with today’s methods for producing unconventional oil, more land gets disturbed, more water polluted, and more energy consumed than with conventional oil production. Currently, oil sands mining operations are licensed to divert up to 445 million cubic metres of fresh water from the Athabasca River each year, or enough to meet the annual water needs for a city of three million people. Similarly, it is estimated that by 2012, oil sands operations will consume two million cubic feet of natural gas every day, enough to heat every home in Canada. And whatever number you put on the industry’s controversial CO2 emissions, it is still the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases emissions in Canada and one of the reasons the country abandoned its 2020 Kyoto Protocol goals. Despite a brief slowdown corresponding with the recent dip in oil prices and the recession, all signs now point to a huge upswing in production in the years to come. Several oil companies are opening new mines: in February, the oil company CNRL went on-line with its

new Horizon mine, which produces 100,000 bbl/d; and in May, Imperial Oil announced plans to go ahead with its proposed Kearl mine, which will begin producing another 100,000 bbl/d by 2010. And almost every other company with projects in northern Alberta has projected increases in production. So as oil sands extraction ramps up, the question is not if the environment will be harmed but by how much. Researchers at the U of A are working hard to find ways to lessen the environmental impact, with projects that look at everything from radically shrinking the industry’s water needs to projects that attempt to reclaim the tailings ponds—which critics argue are threatening the health not only of migratory ducks but of the humans who live downstream. What follows are profiles of a few—and only a few—of these academics and the groundbreaking research they are doing at the U of A. It may be comforting to know that although Albertans helped create the problems that resulted from oil sands extraction, the solutions may come from Albertans as well.

Autumn 2009

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Selma Guigard, Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering s Selma Guigard sees it, the answer to many of the Alberta oil sands’ environmental problems lies at the bottom of a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee. Her solution, “supercritical fluid extraction,” may sound like just a $10 buzzword, but it is the same technology coffee companies have used for decades to decaffeinate a cup of joe. And, if the associate professor of environmental engineering is right, her application of this waterless technology to the oil sands’ water-intensive bitumen extraction process might just be the billiondollar idea that makes the industry’s lamentable water use— and its toxic tailings ponds — a thing of the past. Here’s the problem: in order to extract a single barrel of bitumen from the murky goop that is the Alberta oil sands, oil companies need 12 barrels of water, of which two to four barrels



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must be fresh water drawn from the Athabasca River. When you scale that up, taking into account that conservative estimates put oil sands production at one million barrels per day, then you are looking at draining as much as 445 million cubic metres of freshwater from the river’s tap every year. In addition, after the bitumen is extracted, the companies are left with enormous tailings ponds — a toxic mixture of water, sand, clay and residual amounts of bitumen— which now cover 130 square kilometres of northern Alberta that were once boreal forests. By 2040, they are projected to grow to over 310 square kilometres, an area three times the size of Vancouver. Guigard thinks she’s hit upon the solution. Instead of using water to extract the bitumen, she uses a carbondioxide-based “waterless” solvent that

Maxwell House has been using supercritical fluid extraction for decades to make decaffeinated coffee in devices such as the one shown being installed here.

has been heated up and pressurized to the supercritical level. If you remember those phase diagrams from your school days, you’ll recall that substances come in three different forms: liquid, solid and gas. The state of the substance changes depending on the pressure and temperature it’s subjected to. However, there’s actually a fourth phase, where a substance is neither a liquid nor a gas but something in-between—a supercritical fluid. For carbon dioxide, that phase occurs when it’s heated to 31°C and subjected to about 73 times atmos-

Michael Holly/U of A Creative Services

Chris Evans/The Pembina Institute

pheric (or ambient) pressure. At this phase, carbon dioxide is fluid like water, but behaves like a gas. “When carbon dioxide is at the supercritical stage, it can penetrate into solid matrices—it can really get into the nooks and crannies,” explains Guigard. “So if you have a chunk of sand, and the sand particles are packed quite closely, then the supercritical fluid can move through that quite easily.” As the supercritical CO2 moves through the oil sand ore, it separates the bitumen from the sand and dissolves the bitumen. After the clean sand is carted away, the pressure and temperature are brought down to normal, and the supercritical carbon dioxide returns to its gaseous form and is siphoned off, leaving pure bitumen—the stuff later upgraded into gasoline. Except for trace amounts of CO2 that are lost in the process, this is a “closed loop” process, meaning the solvent is available to be used again and again. “It’s the same way Maxwell House decaffeinates its coffee,” explains Guigard in layman’s terms. “You have these big reactors that are several storeys high, and they put the coffee beans in there, and they ramp up the pressure and temperature, and they flow carbon dioxide through and the caffeine moves out of the coffee bean and into the supercritical carbon dioxide. Then they take that supercritical carbon dioxide out of the reactor and lower the pressure and temperature until the caffeine can no longer dissolve in the fluid, so they get pure caffeine and decaffeinated coffee beans. It’s a similar process with oil sands ore.” So far, she’s been using carbon dioxide as the solvent, “but it might not even be the best one,” she chimes in. “It is just probably the cheapest, and we know it works.” Although Guigard’s research applies only to surface mining, which makes up about 20 percent of all oil sands production, because of the scale of the operations, the benefits of this waterless process — both environmentally and economically—are still potentially huge. Surface mining operations would no longer need to tap into the limited resources of the Athabasca River. Nor

The Suncor upgrader plant.

would they create the toxic tailings ponds that critics argue are leaking 11million litres of toxic water into the surrounding environment every day. In addition, this process could make use of more of the 30-year legacy of tailings ponds as a delivery mechanism for the mined oil sands. At present, the oil sands ore is delivered from the mine to the reactors for extraction on enormous man-made rivers of recycled water.

“We have to bring new technology on slowly so that [industry] can adapt.” However, for the current hot-water extraction process to work, the water needs to be of pretty high quality, and, increasingly, industry is faced with the not-so-happy choice between improving that water quality by diluting it with freshwater from the Athabasca or expensively treating it. With Guigard’s process that delivery water can be of a much lower quality—it could even come straight from the tailings ponds. “The quality of the water they use right now is crucial for extraction,” she explains. “They need pretty decent quality water. We anticipate that for our process it doesn’t matter what the quality of water is—we could potentially use tailings water.”

Similarly, some of Guigard’s preliminary modelling has shown that her process could require less energy consumption. “Less energy means less of a carbon footprint and less greenhouse gas emissions,” she says. That’s a benefit not only to society but to industry as well. “That’s one of the reasons I’m working so hard—I just see this as a win-win situation.” And if that doesn’t give a jolt to your system, then perhaps someone replaced your regular coffee with Folger’s Decaffeinated Crystals. In fact, looking at Guigard across her crowded desk makes you wonder if perhaps someone did switch her regular coffee with decaf. The youthful academic looks as if she’s a bit tired of having to make her case again and again. Just this past spring, she’s appeared on the Business News Network and in special features in The Globe and Mail and the Edmonton Journal making the argument for funding for supercritical fluid extraction—specifically for the $1 million in funds she needs to take her research to the next level. So far, she has tested her theories at the bench—or lab—scale, and the results are impressive. Experimenting with contaminated sands, her process yielded extraction efficiencies just under the 90 percent that is the industry standard right now, and she’s working on the recipe for a CO2-based solvent that will match or beat that. But she needs funding to create reactors large enough to test the process on a larger scale before the research can be applied in the field, and Autumn 2009

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trying to convince them of is that it’s not necessarily something that would have to occur overnight. With any new technology you can’t bring it on that quickly, it has to be able to fit in with the existing infrastructure. And with the current mining process and the hydro-transportation, we could fit nicely into that. It wouldn’t change that substantially. We have to bring new technology on slowly so that they can adapt.” And how long would it take before we might see wholesale change in the Alberta oil sands? For the oil and gas industry, explains Guigard, 10 to 15 years is the shortest time scale for introducing new technologies—especially in the oil sands because of their enormous scale —and that’s what she’s shooting for at the moment. Right now, she’s in talks with interested partners for a three- to five-year pilot project that could be conducted at the University. If all goes well, the results from that “micro” pilot would enable them to begin a “macro” pilot, lasting another three to five years, in Fort McMurray. “And then, hopefully, if all goes well, we could try it out with someone with a substantial lease and could do a demonstration pilot.” “If we stay with the status quo,” says Guigard, “the extraction technology and the methods they’re using now, we know what’s going to happen, the tailings ponds are going to grow. They’re going to use more water, and we won’t be able to stop it. So do we stay with the status quo or do we change things? There is room for change. We need to change. And it can be a win-win situation for everybody.” Whether or not oil companies want to start thinking about change, change is on the horizon. “It’s coming,” says Guigard, her enthusiasm rising. “There’s more and more pressure. People are just seeing these tailing ponds grow and grow, and the reality is, the oil sands operations are expanding, and there’s going to be less and less water available to them, so they have to figure out a way to use less water.”

Michael Holly/U of A Creative Services

she needs it before other researchers working on waterless extraction technologies beat her to the punch. And so far, no one’s throwing change in her coffee cup. “We’ve tried to get funding from the federal government,” she says. “But they say this is ‘an industrial problem of commercial value,’ and industry should fund it. And then industry says, ‘Oh, it’s still basic research, and so government or somebody else should fund it.’ So we’re in between a rock and a hard place.” Industry funding for research effectively dried up last year when oil prices took a nosedive to just $33 (USD) per barrel. “With the price of oil as low as it was, companies couldn’t even think about new technologies,” says Guigard. “There was no money for investment and research. When the price is too high, there’s no time for investment and research. You just put your head down and go, go, go. So you’ve got maybe a day or two when the price is just right, and that has been a challenge. But one thing about low oil prices is that it slowed things down enough for people to start thinking about the future. I think right now, where we are at around $70 per barrel is not a bad place to be.” Now that industry is again open to listening, they might be surprised by what Guigard has to say. Preliminary modelling conducted by her collaborator Warren Stiver at the University of Guelph has shown that her process costs about $20 a barrel for mining and extraction, which puts it on par with the cost of the current hot-water extraction technology. “When we’re talking to industrial partners, they said, if we’re on the order of $20 per barrel, we’re doing well and they would consider it.” Of course, that figure doesn’t take into account the cost of completely revamping the infrastructure the industry has been investing in for the past 30 years, and no matter what the price of a barrel of oil, they are unlikely to be excited about that. “That’s a big challenge,” admits Guigard, “but what I’m

Julia Foght, hile Selma Guigard is looking at how to prevent the creation of future tailings ponds, her collaborator in the Department of Biological Sciences, Julia Foght, ’76 BSc, ’85 PhD, is looking at what to do about the 30-year legacy of tailings ponds we already have on our hands. Foght’s research focuses on the solid tailings—the particles of sand, silt, clay and hydrocarbon floating around in the tailings water after it’s been run through the bitumen extraction process—and how to make them settle faster. The faster they settle, the more water is available to skim off the top for recycling back into the extraction process and, thus, the less fresh water is needed from the Athabasca River to keep up with production demands. The hope is that by speeding up this process, the existing ponds—so big that they can be seen from space on Google Earth—need not double in size again, as they have done in the past four years.


Alumni Affairs

Graduate student Carmen Li, ’07 BSc, examines columns of oils sands tailings undergoing biodensification.

Professor of Biological Sciences Ironically, the key to this massive settling process are bacteria so small they cannot be seen by the naked eye. In fact, for years no one knew that these naturally occurring microbes were already present in the tailings ponds— and hard at work. Foght was first tipped off to their presence in 1985, when the oil sands company Syncrude asked for a microbial survey of the tailings ponds. Although the Syncrude tailings ponds had been around for almost a decade, no one really knew what was growing in them. At first, she was skeptical, “I thought there wouldn’t be much there, because what kind of microbes could possibly live in that gunk? There’s no oxygen and the bitumen is extremely hard to degrade.” But, sure enough, the ponds were chock full of microbes — billions per litre — though at the time no one knew what, if anything, they did.

Then, in the mid-90s, bubbles started erupting on the surface of Syncrude’s largest tailings pond, and these bubbles were full of methane. “The only reasonable way to explain it was that there were bacteria out there producing methane, just like they do at the sewage treatment plant or at a landfill, or when you have bubbles coming out of the gooey bottom of a prairie pond,” she recalls. This piqued Foght’s interest, and, along with a number of her U of A colleagues, she began investigating the process at work. What they found was that at a certain stage in the life of a tailings pond, hydrocarbons left over from the bitumen extraction process were stimulating a family of microbes called methanogens to produce the gas bubbles. And based on Syncrude’s own internal monitoring, one remarkable side effect was that the tailings in the

methane-producing ponds were beginning to settle much more quickly than before. Foght has termed this process “biodensification” and has made understanding the science behind it the focus of her current research. To grasp the significance of Foght’s research, one must first understand the scale of these ponds and how they work. After the bitumen is extracted from the oil sand, what’s left is something called “tailings slurry,” a murky, grey mixture of water, sand, clay, hydrocarbons and trace amounts of bitumen. Foght, holding up a small bottle of the slurry, likens its consistency to “runny toothpaste,” and it looks a lot like the water in an actual pond after you’ve stirred up the sediment. The water portion of the slurry can eventually be recycled back into the extraction process. (About 85 percent of the water used in the extraction process is recycled tailings water.) But the trick is separating it from the solid tailings—the sand and clay. At present, the only tool the oil companies have is time. They pump the slurry into 35-metre-deep tailings ponds and wait for the solids to settle to the bottom. And they wait and wait and wait. This can take years— even decades—and while they wait, these tailings ponds grow and grow and grow. In fact, “pond” is really a misnomer. The Mildred Lake Settling Basin, begun by Syncrude in 1978, is now among the Autumn 2009

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David Dodge/The Pembina Institute

The Syncrude oil sands uprader and tailings pond.

the settling-out by as much as 10 times the normal rate. In her campus lab, Foght points out a pair of two-litre glass cylinders that illustrate her findings. Both contain the mature fine tailings found in the tailings ponds, and in both you can see the methane bubbles working their way up the runny, toothpaste-like goop. In the control cylinder, a 10 ml sliver of water, no bigger than your thumbnail, has separated out on top. In the other, where she has added a carbon amendment, a 100 ml pool of water —about as deep as your hand is wide—floats on top. “And this is the difference after just three to four weeks,” she says, obviously proud. “And it’s not just the volume of water, it’s the speed at which it happens. The unamended tailings will eventually give you this 100 ml of water, but it’s going to take months, years, who knows how long, whereas this one gives you water that’s available to reuse right away.” Applying this discovery in the field is still a long way off. Right now, Foght and her colleagues have their sights on a pilot program three years down the road, and they want to be sure of the basic science at work before attempting to reproduce the experiments in the field. From there, applying Foght’s work to the massive scale of the tailings ponds is a challenge she’ll gladly leave to the engineers. But she can already imagine how it might work: a flow-through system, much like at a sewage treatment plant, where the existing tailings are pumped out of the ponds, given carbon amendments to stimulate the methanogens, resulting in water that is recycled back

into the extraction process and a thicker tailings slurry that is deposited into a final reservoir for eventual reclamation. The whole process might take weeks or months, instead of years or decades. One key intermediate step to this process will have to be trapping the methane produced by the biodensification. After all, methane is a greenhouse gas—and a highly explosive one at that. But it’s also one of the cleanest-burning fuels we have. “So is there some way we can encourage the methane to be produced, but we trap it and use it on site as a clean burning fuel?,” she asks. That’s another question she’ll leave to the engineers. Still, it’s hard not to get excited about research that not only addresses the oil sands’ problems of water-use and the legacy of tailings ponds, but may even replace some of the carbon-intensive extraction methods with a cleaner-burning fuel. “To be clear,” warns Foght, lest we don our rose-coloured glasses, “what we’re doing is only a stop-gap measure. We’re not going to make the tailings ponds disappear overnight. It’s just a way, in the interim, of reducing the impact until something better can be found.” But even that may be cause for cheer to a public increasingly troubled by the bad news being reported from northern Alberta. “People are out there wringing their hands about the tailings ponds, not sure what to do other than say ‘shut them down.’ But we are applying sound science to a really big problem, and there actually is the potential to do something about it in the short term.”

Michael Holly/U of A Creative Services

largest man-made structures on Earth. Its retaining walls, which are 21 kilometres in circumference and hold 220million cubic metres of tailings, are bigger than the Hoover Dam, bigger even than the Great Wall of China. If Foght and her team can figure out how to get those tailings to settle faster, then more water is available to quickly recycle back into the extraction process and less fresh water needs to be drawn from the Athabasca. If you can cut down water demand by even a few percent, you can save millions of litres of fresh water per year. The savings—to the Athabasca, to the lands that it feeds, even to the oil companies — could be huge. In her labs on the U of A campus and at the University-owned Oils Sands Tailings Research Facility in Devon, Alberta, Foght and her students and colleagues are not just studying the basic science of biodensification, about which little is known, but they are also feeling about for ways to speed it up. What’s amazing about biodensification is it’s still such a mystery. “Here we are 10 years after we first saw the methane bubbles, and we still don’t know what’s happening,” she laments. “But we do know there’s a correlation between the methane production of these microbes and the settling out of the water and the more compacted solids.” What Foght thinks is happening is that hydrocarbons present in the tailings slurry— the trace amounts of solvent that escape recovery after the extraction process — trigger the methanogens to produce the methane, and that, in turn, causes the solids to settle. To identify the mechanism at work, Foght and her colleagues are using DNA-sequencing to find out which of the 100 species of methanogens present in the murky goop are key to the activity. It’s a tedious process, much like what you see in an episode of CSI; however, it takes a lot longer than the 44 minutes of the television show. Meanwhile, the U of A researchers are looking for ways to manipulate these microbes that will cause them to work even faster. So far, in controlled lab experiments, they have found organic carbon amendments that stimulate the methanogens and increase

Anne Naeth, Professor of ooking at a photo of an open pit mine in the Alberta oil sands, you’d be forgiven if you just threw up your hands at the possibility of ever returning the land to something approaching its original state. Everything that once lived or grew there has been stripped away to a depth of up to 50 metres and carted off in trucks almost four storeys high. What remains is a barren wasteland of sand and stone that looks more like the fictional shadowland of Mordor, from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, than anything you might encounter in the real world. But Anne Naeth, ’76 BSc, ’85 MSc, ’88 PhD, a professor in the Department of Renewable Resources, insists that such a landscape can be as green and teeming with life as the Edmonton River Valley, which can be


seen from the window of her 8th-floor office, stretching out for miles beneath a sunny Alberta sky. What manner of pixie dust would you need to pull that off, you might wonder? In fact, the key to restoring more than 47,000 hectares of land — mostly boreal forest — affected by oil sands mining lies in some very real dust that Naeth and her graduate student, Dean Mackenzie, ’03 BSc, ’06 MSc, have been studying for the past six years. LFH materials, as these earthy particles are known, are a combination of plant propagules — the seeds, roots, tubers and clippings from which new plans grow — and a hefty dose of nutrientrich compost. They are literally the “litter” of the forest, and the underlying layers of partially and well-decom-

Dean Mackenzie

Ecology and Land Reclamation Land reclaimed with LFH materals after three years’ growth.

posed organic matter (the “fibric” and “humic” layers). Although it was long known that these LFH materials were useful for improving soil quality in land that had been strip-mined or contaminated, Naeth’s big idea was that applying the right recipe of LFH materials could regenerate the diverse plant community that was there before the land was disturbed. “And it just worked beautifully,” she says. “This was one of those really successful projects where it has worked even better than we thought it Autumn 2009

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would, because we didn’t realize the number of plants that would grow from it.” Blueberries, raspberries, lilies and wild geraniums are just a few of the more than 100 species that grow in profusion on the test sites that Naeth and Mackenzie have planted—over 10 times as many plant species as grow on sites reclaimed with traditional practices. One of the biggest problems in reclaiming land affected by oil sands extraction is the near-impossibility of acquiring seed for many of the species native to the boreal forests. Only about five percent are available commercially, and the rest are either expensive or only available in small amounts. However, by using LFH materials, oil sands companies stand to save a bundle—and the environment will reap the rewards. According to Naeth and Mackenzie’s modelling, it would cost between $150,000 and $250,00 per hectare to achieve the same plant densities using traditional out-planting methods that they can achieve using only the wealth that was lying on the forest floor. Even with the aid of LFH materials, you might think it would take a long time to regenerate a forest from land that has been stripped bare, but in fact, says Naeth, the change is relatively rapid. Apply a little LFH on the top of a bed of new soil, and in two to three years you will have an early successional community—a dense covering of onemetre plants such as marsh reed grass, June grass, strawberries and asters. In five to six years, you’ll have a two- to three-metre understory, with a lot of trembling aspen and jackpine peaking out from beneath the undergrowth. Naeth hasn’t been working with LFH materials long enough to know what type of mature forests it might produce, “but the plants that I’m working with— the grasses, the forbs, the flowers, the mosses—those plants grow very quickly, and so you get a community that grows very quickly.” (Incidentally, Naeth’s colleague in the Department of Renewable Resources, Simon Landhäusser, has just received a prestigious NSERC Chair to research ways to restore native trees— and merchantable timber—to reclaimed oil sands sites. See page 7.) 34

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What’s surprising in talking with Naeth, a gregarious and voluble woman with a dark pixie cut and an impish grin, is that for years the precious LFH materials were just swept up and thrown in the rubbish bin with the rest of the overburden. “Prior to our research, companies could do what they wanted

“All of the research that we’ve been doing shows this works, and it’s time for the oil sands companies to take this research and apply it because we know it works.” with LFH,” she says. “They could put it back in the pit, they could dump it elsewhere. It wasn’t viewed as being a valuable material. We have shown that it is valuable, and now the government has said that they can’t just throw this stuff away any more, they have to use it.” Here, she’s referring to a 2007 Alberta law—enacted in response to her and Mackenzie’s research recommendations—that requires oil sands companies to use the LFH materials they remove from new mining sites. How best to use this valuable and limited resource is a question that has kept Naeth busy ever since. Generally, LFH is found only in the top 10-15 cm of soil. Dig much deeper, she learned, and it becomes diluted with too much soil. Skim off the top, and you aren’t left with much to work with, “Basically, there’s not a lot of it, and we could use a lot more than what’s there.” She has a number of current research projects looking at how to get the biggest bang for your LFH buck. Will just a dusting suffice, or do you need a smooth layer? Are you better off taking the LFH and spreading it over an entire site, or can you use little clumps of it to create micro-

sites, which will then fan out to cover a larger area? And how long can you store LFH before it loses its viability? The question of storage was of vital importance to oil sands companies. “The reality of the situation is that the oil sands companies are removing the LFH so they can mine the area, but then what do you do with it, where do you put it?,” she asks. “Ideally, you would take it to an area close by, where you could spread it around, but there may not be areas that are ready to be reclaimed. In fact, maybe it’s going to be three or four years before there’s land that’s ready to be reclaimed. So can the companies stockpile this material and then reuse it when they have a site that’s ready? We found out that you can’t.” According to Naeth’s and Mackenzie’s research, stockpiles of LFH materials lose much of their viability after only three to six months. “It’s still good as an organic soil amendment, but it doesn’t have the ability to generate a plant community,” she says. “Only the odd plant, like a wild geranium, will survive because you’ve created very inhospitable conditions for the seed, where the gases build up and there’s no air, so the seed just dies.” So what do you do with this earthen gold if you have nowhere to put it and you can’t stockpile it for later use? One of the ideas put forward is a sort of LFHtrading scheme, where if Company A has LFH materials and no place to seed it, and Company B has land ready to be reclaimed but no LFH materials, then Company B should be allowed to use Company A’s LFH. “What hasn’t been figured out yet, from a legal or regulatory perspective, is would it be appropriate for Alberta Environment to say they have to share?,” says Naeth. “But what we do know is that you can’t not use this material, and you can’t stockpile it because it will lose its seed viability.” The final results to these and many of Naeth and Mackenzie’s studies of LFH materials will be ready in a year or two, and Alberta Environment has already stated that industry must follow their recommendations when clearing new sites and reclaiming old ones. “All of the research that we’ve been

David Dodge/The Pembina Institute

(Left) The Suncor Millenium Mine north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. (Below) PhD student Dean Mackenzie applying LFH materials on a research site north of Fort McMurray.

doing shows this works, and it’s time for the oil sands companies to take this research and apply it because we know it works,” says Naeth. “I know it may sound too easy, like I’ve neglected to talk about the difficulties, but the biggest obstacle is money, really, and the will and the commitment of companies to say they will implement what the research has shown they can do.” But, in many cases, it’s the oil companies that are knocking on her door. “The industrial support is very strong. When I was first starting out, I would apply to companies for funding, but I haven’t been doing that for many, many years. Now they come to me. They say, ‘We’ve got this problem, can you set up a research project to solve it?’” Almost every oil company operating in northern Alberta contributed funding for her LFH projects: Syncrude, Suncor, Total, CNRL, Petro Canada, Albian Sands, Imperial Oil. At present, she has industry-sponsored LFH field projects operating on the site of an abandoned coal mine in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia; on a limestone quarry outside of Eckshaw, Alberta; and in the Jasper, Waterton Lakes and Elk Island

parks, where tourist overuse, historical contamination and industrial overdevelopment have severely degraded the landscape. In addition to her LFH research, Naeth has been studying how to reclaim tailings ponds and the dykes that surround them. To date, no one has been able to reclaim any of the tailings ponds in northern Alberta, but Naeth and her colleagues at the University of Alberta have found several native plant species that will not only survive but will thrive on top of the tailings slurry. She also hopes to develop a planting method that, in cooperation with other engineering applications, will go some way toward shrinking the monumental amount of water currently stored in the ponds, “We’re looking at plants that use a lot of water. So if we grow them in the tailings, might they actually help with the dewatering process?” In greenhouse experiments, plants such as sunflowers, mustards and raspberries have been shown to form micro-sites, dry little islands of vegetation, on top of tailingslike water. She is just now beginning a field project with Suncor and hopes to

see results in three to four years. In the meantime, the mere fact that areas stripped by mining and flooded with toxic tailings can be reclaimed should give us all cause for hope, although it flies in the face of public perception of the oil sands. “A lot of people think you cannot get plants to grow in the material that’s left after oil sands mining takes place,” says Naeth, “but plants do grow there. Reclamation is achievable, and it doesn’t have to take 50 years to do it.” To prove this, Naeth pulls out a picture. It was taken by Mackenzie at the site of a former Syncrude mine, about 61 kilometres north of Fort McMurry, just three years after they planted it with LFH materials. “Somebody can go and walk their dog out there and not know they’re on a reclaimed area,” she says. “They’ll find blueberries and rose bushes, grasses and trees. And a nutrient analysis of those blueberries would show them to be better than what you could find in a grocery store. The public should take some comfort knowing that pretty soon we will start seeing areas that have been reclaimed—and reclaimed well.” Autumn 2009

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TRASH TALKING A U of A grad’s guide to good garbage by Kim Green


sk Larry George, ’64 BPE, if he likes what he’s doing and you’ll see this glow come over him as he seems to swell up from inside as an even bigger smile is superimposed over his already beaming countenance. “I love what I’m doing,” he says. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d get this. I used to be just a jock,” says the former physical education teacher. “I coached junior and senior high school wrestling, basketball, soccer, you name it. But now I’m excited about what the Edmonton Waste Management Centre [EWMC] is doing as a team.” About 13 years ago George was seconded from his teaching job—he also taught outdoor and environmental education, science and mathematics— to take on the role of leading educational tours around the City of Edmonton’s waste management centre at the eastern edge of the city. The goal was to tie in the on-the-ground, vanguard work the City was doing to enhance its recycling


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capabilities with the classroom work on the same subject that elementary students were doing. Pickers have to move quick to snatch unwanted material from the paper stream rolling past them on conveyor belts. Larry George: “We were burying “We’re supplement- everything that people threw out.” ing what they’re getidea to employ teachers to, well, teach ting in the classroom,” George says, about what’s going on at the world “showing them how compost is actuleader in waste management. He’s on ally made.” By all measures that mututhe second of his two-year ongoing ally beneficial relationship has worked contracts and will probably end up out very well. George guided over being the new George— if the old 7,000 people around the EWMC site George ever fully retires —some day in his first year on the job. Now his down the road because, as he says, successor, Brant Maidens, ’90 BEd, “This is a totally fun job.” takes around 8,000 students (most in Grade 4 who have “Waste and Our He even has a bit of fun with the World” as one of their science units), class of Grade 4 and 5 students in the teachers and parents through the varivideo presentation he gives during my ous recycling processes, while in semivisit prior to taking them out on the retirement (three days a week) George grounds. About the compost that still handles another 5,000. EWMC makes on site and then sells, Maidens has also been seconded he says to the group of eager students: from his teaching position with the “Do you know your parents pay us to Edmonton Public School Board as take away your garbage. Your parents years ago the City thought it a good are buying their garbage back from us,”

A front-end loader pushes all the household waste—much of which is composed of biodegradable material—into a hole in the “tipping floor,” where it will begin its long journey into becoming viable compost. Garbage turning into compost in the gigantic aeration hall (right): “It’s unbelievably smelly in there,” says George. “Maybe two or three times a year I go in there with some university tours that want to have the experience. When I do, my wife has a change of clothes waiting for me in the garage when I get home.”

he smiles. “Pretty good deal.” (Another pretty good deal is the approximately $20,000 a month that EWMC makes on the refundable bottles, cans and cartons that end up in a garbage truck but are diverted from the landfill.) But the big money is in the composting facility—a massive structure the size of seven football fields. It’s the largest composting operation in North America and is designed to handle all the organic garbage coming out of the average household. “About half of the garbage coming out of a home in Edmonton is composed of biodegradable material,” says George, whose official business card title is “environmental educator.” “That’s a resource for making compost. Our compost plant produces about 50,000 tonnes of compost a year. We sell it to farmers and landscapers and the City of Edmonton and whoever else wants it. If we made more than 50,000 tonnes we could sell it.” How it works is that the garbage trucks drive into the building and dump their contents on the concrete floor where workers look for anything in the loads that is not compostable or might gum up the works. Then every-

thing that’s left over is shoved into a hole in the floor where the garbage bags are shredded and their contents exposed in their long journey to becoming viable compost.

An aerial view of the composting facility showing the tipping floor and aeration hall.

The household waste is mixed with sewage sludge as it travels for two days down long rotating tubes that do a complete rotation about once a minute. The material is then screened through a large trommel drum—a rotating cylindrical screen—where anything larger than a softball is removed from the process. Once everything that can’t be composted is removed the material ends up in the aeration hall that’s the size of

about four football fields. There it takes approximately 32 days for the organics to be turned into compost that is cured for another four to six months before being ready for market. “As we stand now,” says George, “about 60 percent of what we get from the residential sector is being either composted or recycled. The other 40 percent is going to landfill. It can be something as simple as the plastic bag the garbage comes to us in or an old garden hose. But a lot of the residuals that go into the landfill contain carbon. The next step for Edmonton is to shred all that material that can’t be composted or recycled and feed it into a biofuels facility that can turn these materials into methanol and ethanol.” The biofuels facility—built by Enerkem GreenField Alberta Biofuels, with funding from the Alberta Energy Research Institute—is anticipated to be operational in 2011 at which time, says George, “the diversion rate from landfill sites will reach approximately 90 percent and we’ll have completely adopted the attitude that garbage is a resource that you can do something else with.” Autumn 2009

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hen the new composting facility was built at the EWMC, it encroached on some natural wetlands, where ducks and geese can be seen paddling about and deer occasionally stop by for a drink. “When I take tours around, the biggest thrill for the kids is when we have to stop the bus to let a mother duck and her ducklings waddle across the road to the water,” says George. “I just turn off the bus and watch because there’s no getting the kids attention away from the ducks.” But before any of that in situ wetland was filled in, the area it occupied was carefully measured so that after construction was complete an equal amount of wetland could be added so that the total acreage of the small marsh remained exactly the same. That was a small price to pay for conserving waterfowl habitat and something that Katherine Packman, a graduate student in the Department of Rural Economy in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Katherine Sciences, would like to Packman see others follow. To that end, Packman has put a dollar figure on what it would cost to restore previously drained wetlands that once provided habitat for such environmentally friendly creatures as ducks, frogs and insects: $1,150 per acre. That’s the amount she came up with based on her study of 36 farms in southern Manitoba when she estimated how much money would be needed to re-establish wetlands on those lands, factoring in machinery costs, loss of crop-land production, labour and consulting fees. “By putting an actual cost to wetland restoration, the element of the unknown is removed,” says Packman. “The information may encourage farmers to make the investment when they realize it is within their budgets, thus bringing back something that has a significant environmental benefit when brought back to the prairie landscape.”


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Standing below the leading edge of the glacier of debris in the landfill site it’s clear why we have to move away from merely burying our refuse. About a hundred feet up a constant parade of trucks discharge their detritus while bulldozers struggle to keep up with the pace as they push the garbage over the cliff, so the whole scene looks like some nightmarish and crumbling Tower of Babylon guarded over by marauding gulls and crows. This is what Edmonton is trying to alleviate and is among the best at the world at coming to terms with. However, landfill of some sort will probably always be with us as some things are beyond recycling, and all one can do is try to make all the processes as benign—and fruitful— as possible. To this end, the 80-hectare landfill that will top out at 47 metres above ground has about 70 gas extraction wells drilled into it. Landfill gas is typically a mixture of 50 percent methane and 50 percent carbon dioxide. Other landfills often just burn off the gas so it doesn’t build to dangerously explosive levels, but this process contributes to global warming. In Edmonton, the methane is used to fuel gas-fired engines that power an EPCOR-owned-and-operated electrical

The leading edge of the 80-hectare landfill site that recently topped out at 47 metres above ground, and Brant Maidens posing with bales of crushed aluminum: “This is a totally fun job.”

generating facility connected to the Edmonton distribution grid that provides electricity for about 5,000 homes, which amounts to a greenhouse gas reduction roughly equivalent to taking 44,000 cars off city streets each year. Another private sector initiative at the EWMC is the Global Electric and Electronic Processing facility, which takes apart old televisions, computers and other e-waste to reclaim the valuable metals—such as gold, silver, copper and mercury—inside them as well as the various components of glass, metal and plastic.


Brant Maidens (left) with Larry George in the Global Electric and Electronic Processing facility, where everything from gold, silver and copper to glass, metal and plastic are reclaimed for recycling.

The EWMC is also home to the Edmonton Waste Management Centre of Excellence (EWMCE), a non-profit corporation formed by the City of Edmonton in partnership with the University of Alberta, the Alberta Research Council, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, AMEC Earth and Environmental Services and EPCOR. The mandate of this organization is to investigate new and sustainable ways to handle waste and to market that knowledge. The facility’s executive director is Jerry Leonard, ’86 PhD, who is on secondment from the U of A, where he is a professor of bioresource engineering. Through his composting research, Leonard became involved with the City of Edmonton’s Waste Management Branch in 1996 and set up the EWMCE as a non-profit corporation in 2003. “Waste management issues and problems are researched here in a laboratory setting,” says George. “They’ve

done such simple but effective studies as finding out the best size for a wood chip when you’re composting wood. This Centre has agreements signed with cities in China that want to replicate what we’re doing here. So now we’re signing licencing agreements with our proprietary material. “People come from all over the world to see what we’re doing here and take some of those ideas back home,” continues George, while standing in the administration building in front of a map of the world that’s become a pincushion for the hundreds of people who’ve marked where they’ve come from to get here and take some valuable lessons about how to manage waste back home with them. But, as George points out, the reason Edmonton’s waste management systems exists as it does now was not initially because of some big goal statement. “It’s because we had a garbage

“People come from all over the world to see what we’re doing here and take some of those ideas back home.”

aryl McCartney, environmental engineering professor at the U of A, was the supervisor for a green challenge project taken on by a group of U of A students under the leadership of Dallas Demontigny, ’08 BSc. In his graduating year, Demontigny’s team was one of four groups across Canada to win a competition from the TD Friends of the Environ- Dallas Demontigny ment Foundation, beating out nearly 90 other teams to take home $25,000 (a dollar amount matched by the U of A) to finance their Paper Cut program. The money was used to fund a paper audit on campus aimed at cutting down on the amount of paper used as well as looking into a campus-wide switching over to more sustainable paper sources certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council. The final report—submitted to the U of A Office of Sustainability by Michael Rawson Clark, ’07 BSc, executive director of the Campus Sustainability Coalition, and Debra J. Davidson, director of the Environmental Research and Studies Centre — used the School of Public Health’s (SPH) paper consumption behaviours to represent a typical academic and administrative unit on the U of A campus. Based on the paper audit, the SPH was able to reduce its environmental footprint by approximately 23 percent while saving almost $4,000 a year. The report goes on to “recommend that a wide-scale behavioural change program be initiated at the University of Alberta,” noting that the U of A purchased 126,539 reams of copy paper in 2008 and that by implementing the changes incorporated in the SPH, the U of A could see savings of over $200,000 annually. “It’s important for a university to take a lead on reducing paper use,” says McCartney, “since about 60 percent of campus waste is paper.” Demontigny says that the Paper Cut program also focuses on educating staff and students about paper usage. “Even making small changes,” says Demontigny, “such as printing on both sides of the paper, or even changing the margins on draft documents, can make a big difference. “We want to help the University of Alberta and other campuses reduce their environmental footprint,” he continues. “Universities, after all, play an important part in setting examples that influence change.”

Autumn 2009

new trail


crisis back in the 1980s,” he says. “We were burying everything that people threw out, causing all the landfills to fill up at an alarming rate.* So the waste management people said we’d better go looking for another site to use when this one’s full. But everywhere they went—which included about 100 locations within an hour’s drive from Edmonton—they ran into the NIMBY phenomenon. . . Not In My Backyard.”** So the City was forced to resort to plan B— which they didn’t have at the time. But it was clear that the City’s residents and those outside the City who are also impacted by waste issues wanted a system that was convenient, affordable and sustainable. It took a dozen years, but in 1992 the City finally came up with a 30-year strategic plan to deal with waste management in Edmonton. This is where George almost gets choked up as he is clearly as proud of this system as he would be of his own son or daughter bringing home Olympic Gold. George’s life may be garbage, but he wouldn’t have it any other way as he looks out at the work in progress that is the EWMC and where he has spent the past 13 years preaching the gospel of garbage and says: “Had we found another nearby landfill I probably wouldn’t be here, nor would we have the composting facility or the 30-year strategic plan that has so far served us so very, very, very well.” *Edmonton’s Mill Woods and Rundle Park golf courses are both built on top of former landfill sites. **There are still landfills for Edmonton’s garbage. One is the privately owned west Edmonton landfill operated by Waste Management of Canada. Another is located in Ryley, about an hour’s drive southeast of the city — a drive that’s now a whole lot more perilous (the EWMC landfill site closed in August) as about one semi-truck full of material destined for the landfill site in Ryley leaves the EWMC every 10 minutes. Nearby residents have already nicknamed the landfill site in their vicinity Mount Ryley. Once the biofuels facility is added to the EWMC site the traffic headed to “Mount Ryley” should ease considerably.


new trail

Autumn 2009


he University of Alberta is truly green and gold,” says U of A president Indira Samarasekera. “Green in terms of our commitment to environmental sustainability and gold in terms of being winners and leaders as we achieve our sustainability goals.” Those sustainability goals saw the University recently ranked by Maclean’s magazine as one of “Canada’s Top 30 Greenest Employers.” In the magazine’s special green issue it made note of the University’s 35-year-old recycling program and made special mention of the U of A’s $25-million energy management program that will save more than $1.7 million in utility costs and reduce CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes annually; the “green demolition” program that encourages salvage and reuse of building materials during renovations and demolitions; sustainable cleaning practices that include using environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals; and the fact that the University has a program in place to compost organic kitchen waste from its dining facilities as well as landscaping waste. The U of A has also recently purchased hybrid mail trucks. As well, Triffo Hall (formerly the historic South Lab) became the first project at the University to be registered with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) association. The building has already passed its first review for Gold LEED certification and is, as of this writing, undergoing its second review. (When completed, the new Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science will have a LEED-Silver equivalent rating.) In March of this year, Triffo Hall also received the Sustainability Award from the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction.

Originally constructed in 1915 as the South Lab, the newly refurbished and renamed Triffo Hall was renovated to a Gold LEED certification standard.

This award recognizes steel structures in which steel has been used or re-used as part of a sustainable development project that aims to improve the environmental impact of the structure by using established and innovative design, standards and technologies. “We knew from the start we would approach the project from a sustainability standpoint,” says Laura Plosz, an associate with Johns Group2 Architecture Engineering. “Steel was the primary structural material, so we decided to work with it.” The ability to re-use the existing steel structure and construct new elements with steel contributed significantly to the sustainability of the project. Of the existing steel, 99.5 percent was retained; of the new steel material, 100 percent is recycled. “That means it’s also 100 per cent recyclable,” says Plosz, “which is one of the most fantastic aspects of using steel.” Another recent undertaking at the U of A is the creation of the Office of Sustainability — a central hub for campus initiatives that encompass energy conservation, the environment, climate change, water and human health. In addition to promoting green-thinking in all

University endeavours, it will also enlist the expertise of scholars and research centres across disciplines to educate students on the importance of sustainability in today’s world. “It’s part of our responsibility to ensure that no student should emerge without an understanding of what sustainability means within their specialization,” says Colin Soskolne, academic co-coordinator of the new office and a professor of epidemiology in the Department of Public Health Sciences. (In August, Trina Innes was announced as the Office’s director and will assume her position effective September 8.) Ventures such as the U of A’s Office of Sustainability are not unique on Canadian campuses, but what sets the U of A endeavour apart is the calibre and quantity of the many experts on energy, the environment and climate change currently at work on campus. “If we can somehow harness some of these energies and provide mechanisms for students to come and do cross-faculty, interdisciplinary master’s and PhD work [in sustainability studies], we’ll leapfrog pretty quickly over most parts of the world,” says Soskolne.

2009 Alumni Recognition Awards Thursday, October 1 Francis Winspear Centre For Music, Edmonton A CELEBRATION OF UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENT Through leadership in business and communities, advances in science and scholarship, accomplishments in athletics and the arts, and service to humanitarian efforts — University of Alberta alumni bring honour to themselves and their alma mater in a multitude of ways. The Alumni Recognition Awards honour University of Alberta alumni for their significant contributions to society.

Alumni Honour Award Recognizing the significant contributions made over a number of years by University of Alberta alumni in their local communities and beyond Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh, ’84 MEd, is a scholar, teacher, and communications expert who has contributed extensively to the establishment of education policy for the Republic of Ghana. A professor in communication studies at the University of Ghana, he is also the Chief of Atwima Apemanim, a village of about 400 in the Ashanti region of Ghana, where he has advanced community projects, including a children’s library, a kindergarten, and a resource centre for teachers and nurses. Keen to inspire others to think globally, he co-teaches the Global Citizenship Field Experience (in rural Ghana) course for the University of Alberta.

Sandra Bromley, ’79 BFA, is an award-winning artist, humanitarian, and change agent whose work builds social awareness. Her Gun Sculpture, produced with Wallis Kendal, ’69 BEd, was created from deactivated firearms and was exhibited internationally at the World’s Fair in Hanover, Germany; the United Nations in New York; and in Seoul, Korea. A Canadian Consortium for Human Security Fellowship on women and post-war conflict societies led to her participation in a series of conferences on the plight of children. Her social activism reached closer to home in 1998 when she co-established the ihuman Youth Society, a non-profit crisis intervention centre dedicated to helping youth in despair.

Randy Marsden, ’89 BSc(Eng), is a recognized leader in the field of assistive technology. His company Madentec has helped more than 20,000 people suffering from paralysis, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, and head injuries communicate by using adapted computers and communication devices, involving specialized equipment that detects cheek movements, blinks, sips, and puffs. His company has been recognized with numerous industrial design and technology awards, including the 2008 ASTech Societal Impact Award. His products are available worldwide, with some portions licensed by Microsoft. For his clients, the communication devices that he has created have been called “life-changing miracles.”

Barb Bromley, ’47 Dip(Nu), ’48 BSc(Nu), is a tireless volunteer and dedicated nursing professional who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the health and well-being of residents of the Northwest Territories. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Northwest Territories Registered Nursing Association, which led to her founding role with the Yellowknife Association of Concerned Citizens for Seniors. A community leader and activist, she successfully lobbied the NWT Government to have new facilities built for the elderly and for Alzheimer’s care in Yellowknife. Her contributions have been recognized with a Canada Volunteer Award, and she is a Member of the Order of Canada.

William Leslie Kent, ’31 BSc(Eng), at 101, is one of the U of A’s oldest graduates participating in Reunion Weekends and branch meetings. He enjoyed an illustrious 41-year career as a civil engineer, building major structures across Canada, beginning with the Lion’s Gate Bridge in Vancouver, and continuing with hydro plants, dams, bridges, buildings, causeways, and canals. After retirement, he worked with First Nations people in British Columbia on nine distinctly different infrastructure projects. He also volunteered in the Philippines, supervising construction of a tuna canning plant. He is an honorary member of the Gold Key Society.

R. Vance Milligan, ’78 LLB, an appointed Q.C. and senior partner with Bennett Jones LLP in Calgary, is a visionary leader and advocate for the rights of Albertans with disabilities. For more than two decades, he has served as chair of the Alberta Paraplegic Foundation, helping to advance spinal cord research and build awareness about the obligations of society to fully integrate all of its citizens. He is active in numerous community agencies and professional organizations, and his efforts have led to improvements to the Alberta building code as well as advocacy for accessible housing for seniors and Albertans with disabilities

Hugh A. Robertson, ’63 BA, ’66 LLB, is a respected legal educator and community leader who has made significant contributions to his profession both locally and abroad. The executive director of the Legal Education Society of Alberta for 23 years, he is past-president of the National and International Legal Education Associations, former chair of the Edmonton United Way, and past chancellor of St. Stephen’s College. Internationally, he has taught in China, Vietnam, and Africa and has led CIDA and UN missions in Zimbabwe and Laos. He is currently a member of the Governing Council of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association. He was appointed Q.C. in 1990. Allan Scott, ’68 BSc(Eng), has demonstrated strong leadership and commitment to Alberta’s business and volunteer communities. From 2002 to 2007, he served as president and CEO of Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC). Under his leadership, Hall D, the much-acclaimed venue at the Shaw Conference Centre, was constructed. Joining forces with the U of A along with the EEDC, he helped launch TEC Edmonton to support start-up companies. Since 2002, he has served as board chair of the Art Gallery of Alberta, where, as chief fundraiser, he has raised more than $88 million towards rejuvenating the gallery and arts in Edmonton.

William J. Sharun, ’72 BSc, ’74 DDS, is a highly respected dental professional and community-minded volunteer. He has worked in dentistry at the local, provincial, and national level, and was president of the Alberta Dental Association and governor of the Canadian Dental Association. Internationally, he has led teams on seven dental missions in Third World countries. He served as chair of Edmonton’s Ronald MacDonald House’s $11-million capital campaign and is president of the University of Alberta Dental Alumni Association. In recognition of his significant contributions to society and his profession, the Alberta Dental Association recently honoured him with its Award of Excellence.

Allan G.P. Shewchuk, ’84 LLB, who was appointed Q.C. in 2002, has provided countless hours to numerous legal, academic, and community organizations. A dedicated professional, he strives to ensure that the public understands the good work that lawyers do to make society a better place. His is also devoted to helping others through his teaching and guidance on finding “work-life balance.” The balance in his life comes from his family, his law practice, teaching Italian cuisine, hosting television-cooking shows, and doing humanitarian work in the Horn of Africa with his wife.

Thomas E. Siddon, ‘63 BSc(Eng), is a former professor, acoustical engineer, MP, and federal cabinet minister. While in government, he successfully negotiated Canada’s role in the U.S.-led Space Station, established the world’s first policy for sustainable management of fish habitat, and led the negotiations concluding the Nunavut Final Settlement Agreement. Since leaving public office, he has remained active as an environmental leader, lecturer, and board director of numerous organizations. He was recently honoured with the 2009 Okanagan Water Leadership Award and currently serves on the Blue Water Advisory Panel for the Royal Bank of Canada.

Alfred Earl Dennis Wardman, ’93 BMed, ’95 MD, is a compassionate physician, innovator, and indomitable spirit whose determination is not defeated by circumstances. He is the first Aboriginal person in Canada to complete specialty training in both public health and addiction medicine, and he works as a community medicine specialist while also practicing clinical medicine in a methadone maintenance clinic in downtown Vancouver. A recognized expert on Aboriginal health, he often represents First Nations people on matters pertaining to public health and addiction issues and is working towards the application of telehealth technology to connect physician services to isolated First Nations reserves in B.C.

Allan A. Warrack, ’61 BSc(Ag), a U of A professor emeritus of business has demonstrated strong leadership and commitment to Canada on the political, academic, and volunteer fronts. After graduate studies at Iowa State University, he came back to his alma mater, where he taught in the agricultural economics department, was founding director of the Master of Public Management program, and served as vice-president (administration). In 1971, he entered politics and was appointed as minister of two portfolios, making him the first, and only, U of A academic to serve as an Alberta cabinet minister. He has served on many public and private boards and is a member of the National Research Council of Canada. Brian Webb, ’73 BFA, is an award-winning dancer, choreographer, artistic director, and producer whose innovative vision has contributed to the vibrancy of the arts community in Edmonton and beyond. For 30 years the Brian Webb Dance Company, which he founded, has taken a collaborative approach to re-energize contemporary dance, which has successfully produced the largest contemporary dance season west of Toronto. He also lends his talents to the wider arts community through his involvement as director and past president of the Edmonton Professional Arts Coalition, past chair of the City of Edmonton’s Salute to Excellence awards, and as the artistic producer of the Canada Dance Festival at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. continued>

Alumni Honour Award continued Sandra B. Woitas, ’80 BEd, ’96 MEd, is a visionary educator who continues to push boundaries to champion top-notch programming for marginalized youth. Among her initiatives, she led the City Centre Education Project, which brought seven inner-city schools and communities together to improve learning environments and opportunities for 1,700 disadvantaged children and their families. She took this learning further during her recent secondment to Alberta Education, where, in partnership with Alberta Health Services, she built 32 school-based integrated mental health service sites across the province. A tireless advocate for public education, she is also a highly sought after public speaker on the issue of bullying.

Alumni Centenary Award for Volunteer Service Recognizes alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment, dedication, and service to the University of Alberta

Gordon E.W. Barr, ’72 BSc, ’74 BA, ’77 LLB, an appointed Q.C., has generously given of his time, talents, and energy to numerous University of Alberta initiatives and programs. A partner with the Edmonton law firm Barr Picard, he has brought his professional expertise to the University as a member and past president of both Alumni Council and the Alumni and Friends of the Faculty of Law Association, where he drafted the initial bylaws. He is a past member of the U of A Senate, and he continues to serve on the Faculty of Science Excellence in Teaching Award Selection Committee. His enthusiasm and passion for all things U of A shine through in all the roles he has taken on involving his alma mater.

Ralph B. Young, ’73 MBA, is an accomplished business leader who uses his business talents to serve a wide range of charitable organizations. As president and CEO of Melcor Developments Limited, he has given back extensively to the community and his alma mater, serving on the University of Alberta’s Alumni Council, its School of Business Advisory Council, and its Board of Governors. In addition, he contributes significantly to countless educational, professional, and cultural boards, such as the AHFMR and the Citadel Theatre, and he was chair of the City of Edmonton 2004 Centennial and the 2004 Legacy Project of Churchill Square.

The Honourable Dr. Lois E. Hole Student Spirit Award Celebrates student spirit and the many contributions students make to the betterment of the University community and beyond

Eric Fung, ’09 MD, while a student at the U of A, balanced academic excellence with an exemplary record of leadership and service — both on and off campus. Committed to student affairs and advocacy, he served as the president of the University’s Medical Students’ Association and as a western regional representative of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, where he brought attention to the soaring costs of medical training in Canada by organizing student delegates to meet with MPs in Ottawa. A volunteer with the U of A’s SHINE Clinic, he was also a board member of the Clean Scene Network for Youth, which provides drug abuse education. A musician who played alto saxophone with the U of A’s Syncope Jazz Band, he is now completing his residency program in psychiatry at the University of Calgary.

Alumni Horizon Award Recognizing the outstanding achievements of University of Alberta alumni early in their careers Jeff DiBattista, ’95 MSc, ’00 PhD, is an emerging leader in the field of structural engineering. His work includes several Edmonton landmarks, including the National Institute for Nanotechnology, the Edmonton Clinic, and the PCL Centennial Learning Centre— the first Alberta private sector building to receive LEEDTM Gold certification. A principal with Cohos Evamy integratedesignTM, a national engineering, architecture, and interior design firm, he has worked to establish the firm’s award-winning professional development program. He also collaborates with the U of A’s undergraduate civil engineering program, co-founding and supporting the fourth-year structural design competition. An associate adjunct professor in the University’s engineering department, he is highly regarded for his mentoring leadership and tireless advocacy for higher education.

Fay Fletcher, ’84 BPE, ’94 MSc, ’04 PhD, is breaking new ground in the field of community-based, collaborative research practices. Through her work, she has built partnerships with a wide-range of community organizations, providing services to immigrant and Aboriginal communities that engage people from various cultures. She is an exemplar of universitycommunity engagement. Through collaborative partnerships, she has developed valuable teaching materials and programs, improving access to postsecondary education for Aboriginal students and has served as co-leader on three International Indigenous Summer Institutes. She held a joint appointment with the U of A’s School of Public Health and the Faculty of Extension, but recently joined Extension full-time to focus on her community-based research.

a leading expert on Law and Democracy in Canada, has published numerous scholarly articles, many of which have been cited in Supreme Court of Canada decisions. His stellar law career started when he was a student at the U of A, receiving numerous scholarships and serving as co-editor of the Alberta Law Review. Today, he is a partner with Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Calgary, where he represents multinational corporate clients in complex litigations. In 2007, he completed his doctorate in law from Columbia University, and he was named a rising star by Lexpert magazine in their annual “Top 40 Under 40” list of Canadian lawyers.

’08 PhD, serves as a role model for young Canadian researchers. Her groundbreaking work on the importance of a feminist analysis of war and conflict garnered her a prestigious, one-year post-doctoral fellowship at the Belfer Centre for International Security and the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government— the first Canadian to be awarded this post. Published in esteemed journals such as Security Studies, her work has been shaped by her insistence on pushing the boundaries of traditional international politics and her experience in the field, including interviews with more than 50 female soldiers. In July 2009, she started an academic position at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

Alfred Orono Orono, ’00 BA, Mark Haroun, ’03 BA, is an

Colin C.J. Feasby, ’98 LLB,

Megan H. MacKenzie,

accomplished television writer and playwright quickly making his mark through his work and community involvement as a mentor to young writers. He began writing at 18 and launched a number of successful works at various theatre festivals in Edmonton. In 2005, his play A Giraffe in Paris debuted at the Citadel Theatre to sold-out audiences and won a Sterling Award for Best Production for Young Audiences. This 2008 recipient of the Canadian Authors Association-Book Television Emerging Writer Award is a senior story editor and writer for the CBC TV series Heartland, and he won a Rosie at the 2009 Alberta Film and Television Awards in the best screenwriter drama category.

’03 LLB, a respected lawyer, is a passionate champion for social justice. A former Ugandan child soldier during the liberation war of 1979, he was able to escape his captors while in a Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army-controlled area. He fled to Kenya and received UN protection. He was sponsored by the World University Service of Canada to study at the U of A. Driven by personal experience, he is a powerful voice for human rights and protecting rights of children. In July 2009, he was promoted to Appeals Counsel in the Appeals and Legal Advisory Division of the Office of the Prosecutor for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He is currently completing the LLM program at the U of A.

Alumni Award of Excellence Celebrating outstanding, recent accomplishments of University of Alberta graduates Tim Lee, ’99 BDes, was the 2008 recipient of Canada’s leading visual-art prize, the Sobey Art Award, presented annually to a contemporary Canadian artist. He was lauded for the visual and historical complexities of his work, in which he commonly uses photography and video to replicate and re-imagine seminal moments in art history and popular culture. Since 2001, his work has been exhibited and collected internationally at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, Madrid’s Reina Sofia National Museum, and Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum. He is now working in Berlin as a DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst) scholar, which is a German academic exchange program.

Colin D. Oberst, ’92 BEd, made hockey history with his musical score, Canadian Gold. His Celtic-flavoured composition was selected from more than 14,500 submissions to become the new theme song for Hockey Night in Canada, the country’s longest-running TV program. This accomplished musician, songwriter, and producer for Octavo Productions has been teaching for the past 13 years, and he is currently an elementary and junior high school music and art teacher with Edmonton Catholic Schools. In addition, he has composed several school board theme songs and commercials, and he has fronted several original rock bands, being featured on local radio stations and on MuchMusic.

Tara Whitten, ‘07 BSc, a former member of Canada’s national cross-country ski team, has done a kick turn into the sport of track cycling, garnering international attention. In 2009, she won the National Time Trial Championships, the Tour of P.E.I. Stage Race, a silver at the Track World Cup in Copenhagen, and a silver at the Track Cycling World Championships in Poland. She currently holds the Canadian record in the Individual Pursuit. Off the track, she is working on her PhD in neuroscience for which she has been awarded scholarships from Alberta Ingenuity and NSERC.

Sports Wall of Fame Recognizing the contributions of alumni as athletes and builders of university sport John B. Barry, ’74 BPE, ’79 MA, is a fervent supporter of university sport. As a student he won a total of six national championships, holding places on Canada’s team at the Pan Am Games and the World Student Games. His successes continued as head coach of the Golden Bears wrestling team, where he developed numerous winning athletes and received the CIAU Wrestling Coach of the Year award in 1978. He has coached Canadian national teams at the Commonwealth Games, the Junior Pan American Games, and the Junior World Championships. For the past 25 years, he has served as director of operations and assistant dean in the U of A’s Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, leading the building of Foote Field and the Saville Sports Centre. Recently, he was the director of the U of A’s 2015 Universiade bid.

Donald MacKay Newton, ’54 BPE, ’54 Dip(Ed), has been a strong voice dedicated to the advancement of physical and health education. As a student athlete at the U of A, he starred as a point guard on the Golden Bears basketball team, winning four back-to-back Western Canada Interuniversity Athletic Union championships. The jump shot, which he learned during trips to the U.S., became his trademark skill, and one that he introduced to Alberta. He went on to teach and coach at schools in Lethbridge, Edmonton, and Calgary and at the Universities of Saskatchewan and Calgary. As an administrator, he served at the provincial level of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, as president of Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, as well as on the Canadian Commission on Education to UNESCO.

Kevin Primeau, ’77 BPE, has made outstanding contributions to the sport of ice hockey. As a player and coach of the Golden Bears hockey team, he won three national championship titles, served as team captain, and was named MVP at the national tournament level. After graduation, he played professionally in the WHA, the NHL, European-pro leagues, and was an assistant captain of the 1980 Canadian Olympic hockey team. An injury in 1983 redirected his career into coaching. He served as assistant coach of the Golden Bears, the Edmonton Oilers, and as the head coach of top European teams. The founder of Potential 100, which establishes hockey development projects, he remains dedicated to volunteering and fundraising to support amateur hockey.

Distinguished Alumni Award The Alumni Association's most prestigious award recognizing living graduates whose

Sheila Addleman Photography

truly outstanding achievements have earned them national or international prominence

F. Ann Hayes, ’61 Dip(RehabMed), ’68 MD

Lewis E. Kay, ’83 BSc

A shining example of pioneering spirit, Ann Hayes is a compassionate physician who is making a significant contribution to humanity by providing educational opportunities to vulnerable, marginalized girls in Africa.

A brilliant scientist, Lewis E. Kay is internationally recognized as being in the forefront of the development and application of NMR spectroscopic methods for the study of protein structure and dynamics.

pediatrician and pharmaceutical clinical researcher, Frances Ann Hayes has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the wellbeing of marginalized children. In 1984, while on staff as a pediatric oncologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, she volunteered in the pediatric department of Makerere University in wartorn Kampala, Uganda. She returned in 1986, and during this stay she adopted an orphaned infant girl, which cemented her bond with Ugandan children. She adoped a second daughter in Memphis three years later. In 1990, after serving as a visiting professor in pediatric oncology in Brazil, Hayes established a career in the pharmaceutical industry. From 1992 to 2002 she held various positions with Immunex Corp., eventually becoming senior vice-president for clinical research. After retiring from Immunex, Hayes re-established her commitment to children in need by establishing two organizations. The Danica Children’s Foundation, named for her two daughters, funds projects in health and education for children mainly in the Seattle area. As an expression of her continued commitment and connection with Uganda, she founded and continues to be the major supporter of Concern for the Girl Child, a non-profit agency providing educational opportunities, social support, and health care for orphaned girls in poverty stricken areas of Uganda.

ne of the world’s leading chemists, Lewis E. Kay is recognized for his cutting-edge research in biomolecular nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. He has been instrumental in developing new three- and four-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance methods for obtaining pictures of complex biomolecules. This revolutionary work has led to important discoveries, helping researchers understand the underlying biological characteristics of diseases. This understanding has increased the probability of finding ways to cure or prevent diseases such as cancer. As a researcher and professor of molecular genetics, chemistry, and biochemistry at the University of Toronto, Kay has mentored numerous post-doctoral fellows and graduate students. He has published an impressive number of peer-reviewed articles, including publications in Nature and Science, and is listed in the Institute for Scientific Information’s database of top-cited researchers — making him one of the most cited chemists in the world. He has received numerous honours, including election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is a recipient of the Wilbur Cross Medal of the Yale University Graduate School, the highest honour the school bestows on its alumni; the Royal Society of Canada’s Flavelle Medal; and the Founders Medal from the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Biological Systems.



Owen Egan


Distinguished Alumni Award

Frank T. MacInnis, ’68 BA, ’71 LLB

Lawrence A. Mysak, ’60 Cert(Arts), ’61 BSc

A respected business leader with a lengthy record of giving back to the community, Frank T. MacInnnis has demonstrated keen insight into global issues.

Lawrence A. Mysak is internationally acknowledged for his pioneering research and inspiring teaching as a climatologist, mathematician, and oceanographer.

rank T. MacInnis is a towering figure in the construction profession. Under his exemplary leadership, EMCOR Group has become the world’s largest specialty construction and facilities services company. It has been consistently named by Forbes magazine as one of “America’s Most Admired Companies” due to its high ethical standards and foresight of vision. MacInnis got his start in the construction industry in 1975 working with the Paris-based company Spie Batignolles SA. Projects took him around the world, giving him a global perspective and considerable experience with international markets. In 1978, he moved to the United States when he was named chair and CEO of H.C. Price Construction. In 1994, he joined JWP and under his steadfast leadership as CEO and president, more than 200 acquisitions and 30,000 employees were successfully reorganized to create EMCOR Group. Committed to giving back to the community, MacInnis sits on numerous professional and charitable boards. He has generously supported his alma mater, serving as a guest lecturer in the law faculty, sponsoring scholarships, and developing the MacInnis Centre in the U of A’s Law Centre.



champion of the environment, Lawrence A. Mysak has spent his career helping improve our understanding of natural climate variability and global change. He is internationally regarded for his work on air-ice-ocean interactions and the modeling of glacial and warm climates. His work on the Northern Seas of Canada has stimulated extensive research on the Arctic climate system. In 1967, after earning his doctorate from Harvard University, Mysak joined the faculty at the University of British Columbia. In 1986, he moved to McGill University and in 1989 was appointed Canada Steamship Lines Professor of Meteorology. He has supervised 75 graduate and post-doctoral students. Mysak has made outstanding contributions towards the development of national institutions that further science and engineering in Canada. He is the founding director of McGill’s Centre for Climate and Global Change Research, and he served as president of the Royal Society of Canada’s Academy of Science. His contributions have been recognized with more than 27 national and international honours. He is a Member of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and was the first Canadian to receive the Alfred Wegener Medal from the European Geosciences Union, reserved for scientists of exceptional merit.

REFLECTIONS As summer rolls to a close and the University begins to settle into its second century, it’s time to take stock of where we’ve been and where we’re headed. Where we’ve been is, of course, easier to ascertain. It’s been a remarkable century of achievement for the University, a record of accomplishment that New Trail has been around to record almost from the beginning. But where we’re going, while more fun to contemplate, is not as easy to ascertain. One direction most everyone is attempting to go these days is toward a more sustainable and environmentally friendly business model. We’ve attempted to address that concern in this issue with a series of “green” stories that put the spotlight on grads involved with such things as Edmonton’s world-leading waste management system and the innovative and interdisciplinary research being conducted at the U of A to clean-up the oil sands and tailing ponds. We’ve also got stories on a new crop for Alberta that’s eco-friendly and has the potential for a huge economic return as well as some short pieces on some other U of A “green” grads. The magazine itself is trying to do its part to lessen its footprint on the environment. This issue of New Trail is the first to be printed on Forest Stewardship Council ( certified paper. FSC is an international certification and labeling system that guarantees that the forest products used by consumers—such as magazine producers—come from responsibly managed forests and verified recycled sources. Of course, that’s just a small piece of a much larger puzzle, a puzzle the University is also attempting to put together with its own efforts to “green” everything on campus from the way it treats food waste to its $25-million energy management program that will save more than $1.7 million in utility costs and reduce CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes annually. These sustainability initiatives saw the University recently ranked by Maclean’s magazine as one of “Canada’s Top 30 Greenest Employers.” As most of you know, my day job involves a lot of greenery (for those who don’t know, I’m the co-owner of Hole’s Greenhouse & Gardens). But, however green is my own valley, it can always look—just as the University and New Trail are doing—for better ways to do what’s best for the little blue planet we all call home.










dmonton native Raymond St. Arnaud, ’75 BA, used this Photoshopaltered picture called “Observer at a Crucifixion” as the cover image for his book version of The Dysfunctional Photographer. The 100 images in the book were originally photographed in 2008 as part of an image-per-day blog of the same name that he created. He also created another similar blog called “The Forced March.” “Both blogs,” says St. Arnaud, “were essentially mirrors of what I encountered in day-to-day living. There were no ‘change the world’ goals. The images have been forced in Photoshop to my current explorations in contrast and colour.” Involved with the visual arts since 1968, St. Arnaud began exhibiting in group and one-person shows in 1969 and has since been in around 150 group and solo shows in gallery spaces across North America. His work is in government, corporate and private collections. To see more of St. Arnaud’s work go to

Jim Hole, ’79 BSc (Ag) Alumni Association President

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bookmarks True Story By Marty Chan, ’90 BA Illustrated by Lorna Bennett True Story is about the boy who cried wolf, or in this case, cat. A sneaky kid blames his two tuxedo cats for causing the mess in his bedroom and the disaster in the kitchen. When his kitties create a “cat-caphony” of noise at night, the boy claims he’s innocent, but his pleas fall on deaf ears. His dad doesn’t believe him no matter how loudly he cries, “true story.” (Ink Jockey) The Canadian Landlord’s Guide: Expert Advice to Become a Profitable Real Estate Investor By Peter Mitham, ’94 MA, and Douglas Gray Business journalist Peter Mitham teams up with best-selling real estate author Douglas Gray in this comprehensive guide to managing rental properties. Whether you’ve already got an extensive real estate portfolio or you have a basement apartment you want to rent for the very first time, this book is aimed at helping you navigate the complex maze of tax issues, legal rights and landlord obligations. It includes a wealth of sample documents, rental forms and checklists, and offers tips for building successful tenant relationships and managing the time you spend on your rental properties. (John Wiley & Sons) Becoming an Effective Psychotherapist: Adopting a Theory That’s Right for You and Your Client Derek Truscott, ’83 BA Psychotherapists often find it overwhelming to choose from the scores of theoretical approaches available. Author Derek Truscott presents the nine leading systems of psychotherapy and how each is practised. Uniquely, he shows therapists how to adopt a theory that is compatible with their personal world view and how to adapt it to honour the world view of their client. (American Psychological Association) 50

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We Are All Treaty People: Prairie Essays By Roger Epp, ’84 BA In his collection of essays —some of them personal, some poetic, some political—Epp considers what it means to dwell attentively and responsibly in the rural West. He makes the provocative claim that Aboriginal and settler alike are “treaty people” and retells inherited family stories in that light. He reclaims the rural as a site of radical politics and aligns himself with contemporary farm people whose livelihoods and communities are now under intense economic and cultural pressure. Epp, a professor of political studies and the dean of the University of Aberta’s Augustana Campus, has lived most of his life on Treaty Six land in Alberta and Saskatchewan. (University of Alberta Press) Designer Genes Ken Harrington, ’70 BSc(Ag) According to author Ken Harrington, God has invested each of us with the “genes” that enable us to live extraordinary lives and make a positive difference in the world; however, doing so requires the application of character. Harrington, a pastoral elder and trainer, identifies five key components to character: humility, trust, patience, joy and integrity, and in this book he shows, through biblical and personal examples, how readers can fulfill each one. (Destiny Image) The Indian Commissioners: Agents of the State and Indian Policy in Canada’s Prairie West, 1873-1932 By Brian Titley, ’80 PhD Between 1873 and 1932, Indian policy on the Canadian prairies lay in the hands of a government appointee known as the Indian commissioner, who had considerable authority within his domain. The extent of his influence was determined not just by his ability to articulate policy

positions and concerns but by his political connections and the force of his personality. Here, Titley offers sketches of the lives and careers of the six Indian commissioners and provides unique insight into an important, yet little explored, aspect of Canadian prairies history during a time when assimilation was still the modus operandi. (University of Alberta Press) St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, Edmonton: A History (1902-2002) By Serge Cipko, ’95 PhD An exhaustive and wellresearched history, this book follows the St. Josaphat congregation in Edmonton from its earliest days as a congregation of two, through the long process of establishing a cathedral church on 97th Street, and, finally, to the present, as the parish home of some 600 families. Published in a single volume, in both English and Ukrainian, it includes a plethora of snapshots from the church’s 100-year history, as well as photos of the original art that adorns its interior. (St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral) Available from St. Josaphat, 780-422-3181. A Chronicle of Commerce: A History of the School of Business at the University of Alberta By William Preshing, ’51 Dip(Ed), ’52 BEd, ’57 BA As it approaches its own centenary, the University of Alberta School of Business (est. 1916) has emerged from a small department with six students to become one of the top business schools in North America in terms of research, teaching and community involvement. Preshing, a professor emeritus who has been affiliated with the school for nearly 50 years, tells the story of its origins and development as well as its place within the larger contexts of Albertan and Canadian history. (Alberta School of Business) Available from the Alberta School of Business, 780-492-4083.

In Bed with the Word: Reading, Spirituality, and Cultural Politics

Heavy Burdens on Small Shoulders: The Labour of Pioneer Children on the Canadian Prairies By Sandra RollingsMagnusson, ’03 PhD Although the term “child labour” carries negative connotations in today’s society, it was the order of the day on the Canadian prairies only a century ago, when youngsters laboured alongside their parents — working the land, cleaning stovepipes and chopping wood. By shouldering their share of the chores, these children learned the skills necessary for the difficult life on a prairie family farm. Rollings-Magnusson, a professor of sociology at Grant MacEwan College, uses historic research, photographs and personal anecdotes to describe the kinds of work performed by children and how each task fit into the family economy. (University of Alberta Press)

By Daniel Coleman, ’95 PhD

Reviewed by Sarah Ligon


his book begins with a single image: that of a young boy, six years old, away from his family at boarding school for the first time, who takes to his dormitory bed with a book rather than join the other children for the morning’s lessons. The boy is the author’s brother—but it might be anyone. And the book is the King James Bible, though it could have been any book, as the boy could not yet read. But to Coleman, the image provides “a perfect picture of the centrality of reading to the spiritual life as I know it,” and he spends the following five essays in this insightful collection teasing out this idea. For Coleman and his brother, who were raised in Ethiopia by their missionary parents, each morning began with an hour or so of quiet time in which the family would read, reflect and pray. So his brother’s reenactment of this ritual—before he could even read the words, or the capital-W “Word,” that appeared on the page —is a profound symbol. It shows the importance of the act of reading, devoid of what is being read, and the deep human desire for what he calls the “paradox of reading:” the longing for solitude, for reading is a profoundly solitary act; and the longing for connectedness, for reading connects us, at the deepest possible level, to the thoughts and feelings of others. Of course, Coleman, a professor of Canadian and diasporic literature at McMaster University, places great value in the words themselves, but what he’s interested in here is how the physical posture of reading opens us up to spirituality, in whatever form we might find it—and Coleman, who quotes from St. Augustine as nimbly as from Eastern thinkers and Bob, his “red-bearded Buddhist postman,” is extremely ecumenical in his tastes. And like a Buddhist practising yogic meditation, Coleman takes readers through the physical steps of reading and shows how each one opens us up to new levels of understanding. But In Bed with the Word is not a self-indulgent love letter to a dying art form written by some Luddite professor

Wendy Coleman

Incurable and Intolerable: Chronic Disease and Slow Death in NineteenthCentury France By Jason Szabo, ’87 BMedSc, ’89 MD Terminal illness and the pain and anguish it brings are experiences as old as time itself; yet the history of these experiences still holds lessons for us today. In Incurable and Intolerable, Szabo, a medical doctor and historian involved in AIDS care and clinical research at Montréal General Hospital, looks at the history of chronic disease and incurable illness from the perspectives of doctors, patients, families, religious counselors and policy makers. Although his focus is nineteenth-century France, this original look at the palliative medicine of the past encourages more careful scrutiny of today’s attitudes, policies and practices surrounding “imminent death.” (Rutgers University Press)

in his ivory tower. Coleman throws himself into the raging debate about the value of reading in the modern age, and his insights extend well beyond the bibliophile’s obvious arguments that reading is simply “good for the soul.” In his second essay, “Reading as Counterculture,” he recounts the stories of two of his students: William, who reads only the “classics” so that he can use their ideas as weapons against the shabbiness of contemporary culture; and Annette, a graduate student of his, who abandons the “Great Books”—in fact any book at all—as a subject of intellectual study because she believes mass media is the only means of communication with any relevance or vitality. These two encounters force Coleman to ask himself the central question of the book: “Why do we read?” And, in this day in age, why should we read, and does what we read really matter? His answer is that far from being nostalgic and retrograde, reading is actually a deeply “countercultural act.” In a society where mass media is continually bombarding us with images that make us restless and uncritical consumers, reading requires us to be slow and meditative, active rather than passive; it creates “critically aware” citizens. “Thoughtful, slow, critical and appreciative reading is spiritually crucial in times like these,” he writes. “If we are to engage in the hard work of expanding democracy and producing citizens instead of consumers, we need to become affirmative and suspicious readers. So it does matter what we read, but it matters even more who we become by reading.” In Bed with the Word, a brilliant little volume, is exactly the type of book that will make you better for having read it, and that is reason enough in itself to get back in bed and, to quote St. Augustine, “Take up and read.” (University of Alberta Press) Autumn 2009

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Alumni Events Over 100 people came out for the Vancouver Branch Summer Gathering at Westham Island Estate Winery on Saturday, August 15. Alumni and guests toured the winery and orchards and sampled wines made from raspberries, rhubarb, blackberries, and strawberries. Pictured are Claire Pitcher, ’09 BSc, Leona Luk, ’98 BA, Tim Luk, ’08 BA, Andy Chan, ’08 LLB, Fred Sierecki, ’08 LLB, Crystal Bewza, and Tom Hauk, ’04 MSc.

For more events and up-to-date information, subscribe to e-trail, the monthly electronic newsletter of the Alumni Association, at September 24 — Toronto, ON Toronto Alumni Shindig at the Bedford Academy Alumni are invited to attend this casual gathering for some food and a drink. For more information or to register, contact Cristine at 1-877-492-1059 or visit September 24 — Edmonton, AB Walter Johns Alumni Circle Come back to campus for a regular sampling of the vibrant intellectual and cultural life of the University. Registration is just $10 per person per session and may be paid at the door. Participants also have the option to lunch at the Faculty Club. To register call 780-492-3224 or e-mail Go to and click on “Education and Travel” for more information. October 2 — Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg Alumni Reception and CFL Game: Eskimos vs. Blue Bombers. Sit in a section of Green & Gold fans. For more information or to register, contact Cristine at 1-877-492-1059 or visit winnipeg. October 3 — Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg Alumni Reception and University Football Game: Golden Bears vs. Bisons. Watch some up-and-coming Canadian athletes on their way to playing for the pros. For more information or to register, contact Cristine at 1-877-492-1059 or go to alumni/winnipeg. October 7 — New York, NY New York Alumni Shindig Contact Gina to suggest venues or get involved: or 1-800-661-2593. October 7 & 8 — Edmonton, AB Alumni Book Club Choice of Thursday evening (7–9 p.m.) or Friday afternoon (1–3 p.m.) sessions. This fall’s books are Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott, Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden and Kalyna’s Song by Lisa Grekul. Cost for the four sessions, including the three books, is $60. Please register in advance by calling 780-492-3224 or e-mail Go to alumni and click on “Education and Travel” for more information. Space is limited.


October 20, 22, 27 & 29 — Edmonton, AB Navigating the Career Path Space is limited. Please register in advance by calling 780-492-3224 or e-mail Go to and click on “Education and Travel” for more information. November 4 — Shanghai, China Shanghai Alumni Shindig Alumni are invited to attend this casual gathering for some food and a drink. Don’t miss the opportunity to find other U of A graduates living in Shanghai. For more information contact local alumni volunteer Carol Chen, ’98 BCom, at November 5 & 6 — Edmonton, AB Alumni Book Club (See October 7 & 8 for details.) November 7 — Edmonton, AB Personal Retirement Planning Space is limited. Please register in advance by calling 1-800-661-2593 / 780-492-3224 or email For more information go to and click on “Personal Retirement Planning.”

October 8 — Chicago, IL Chicago Alumni Shindig Contact Gina to suggest venues or get involved: or 1-800-661-2593.

November 7 — Hong Kong 30th Anniversary Celebration Dinner of the Hong Kong Alumni Association (UAAAHK) at the Bankers Club of Hong Kong. This group of alumni continues to be one of our most active alumni branches. Check out UAAAHK on Facebook, or contact local alumni volunteers Trevor Mak, ’82 BCom, ’84 MBA, or Carrie Lam, ’03 BCom, for more information or to register.

October 16 — Toronto, ON Toronto Alumni Reception and CFL Game: Eskimos vs. Argonauts. This annual event sells out, so register early. Enjoy a pre-game reception at Wayne Gretzky’s Restaurant and sit in a section reserved for Green & Gold fans during the game. For more information or to register, contact Cristine at 1-877-492-1059 or go to

November 13 — Vancouver, BC Vancouver Alumni Event with President Indira Samarasekera. Make this Friday the 13th your lucky night! Join us for an evening of casino fun using “Bear Bucks” to wager on various casino games and enjoy free hors d’oeuvres. Don’t know how to play? We’ll teach you. Call 1-877-492-1059 for more information and to pre-register.

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November 14 — Calgary, AB Personal Retirement Planning Space is limited, please register in advance by calling 1-800-661-2593 / 780-492-3224 or email For more information go to and click on “Education and Travel”. November 21 — San Diego, CA San Diego Alumni Lunch Meet fellow U of A alumni from the San Diego area with guest speaker Anne McLellan, ’07 LLD (Honorary), who will be talking about current U.S.Canadian relations. For more information or to register, contact Cristine at 1-877-492-1059 or November 26 — Lethbridge, AB Lethbridge & District Unique Experiences Alumni Dinner This annual event brings together alumni from southern Alberta to hear an alumnus or local person of interest share their unique experience over a wonderful dinner. What a great way to prepare for the holiday season! For more information or to register, contact Cristine at 1-877-492-1059 or November 29 — Calgary, AB Calgary Alumni Event with the Grey Cup festivities For more information or to register, contact Cristine at 1-877-492-1059 or November 29 — Vancouver, BC Vancouver Annual Alumni Holiday Brunch at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club For more information or to register, contact Cristine at 1-877-492-1059 or December 3 & 4 — Edmonton, AB Alumni Book Club (See October 7 & 8 for details.) December 5 — Victoria, BC Annual Alumni Holiday Tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. For more information or to register, contact Cristine at 1-877-492-1059 or

c lassnotes



’50 Arthur Kowalchuk, BSc, of

’60 Lawrence Mysak, BA, ’61 BSc,

Calgary, received the Outstanding Achievement Award presented by the Gas Processing Association of Canada (GPAC) at its annual meeting in Calgary in March. Arthur was involved in starting a GPAC predecessor organization in 1959 and now sits on GPAC’s board.

of Montreal, writes that as president of the International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Oceans, he will be travelling and giving lectures this October, beginning with the invited Priestly Lecture at CSIRO Aspendale, in Melbourne, Australia; followed by the Distinguished Lecture at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; and finally an invited lecture at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. Lawrence is one of the U of A’s 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients and will be honoured at the Alumni Recognition Awards on October 1 in Edmonton.

’55 Blair Mason, BA, ’56 LLB, of Calgary, took over the post of chief commissioner of the Alberta Human Rights Commission this past March. Rudy Wiebe, BA, ’60 MA, ’09 DLitt (Honorary), the author of several volumes of fiction and memoir, recently received a Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award in recognition of his tremendous contributions to the arts in Alberta.

’59 Irving Kipnes, BSc, ’09 LLD (Honorary), is a 2009 inductee into the Alberta Business Hall of Fame. Irving is the director and executive chairman of Liquor Stores GP, Inc., as well as an engineer and real estate developer whose philanthropic efforts have raised millions of dollars for health centres, the arts and various non-profit organizations.

Bonnie Buxton, BA, writes to say that she has been living in Toronto for the past 30 years, running a small publishing house and writing for magazines and newspapers, including Flare and Chatelaine. She is also an advocate and volunteer in the field of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). “Not only does our adopted daughter have a form of FASD, but so does her nine-year-old son, whom my husband and I are raising along with his eight-year-old sister.” Bonnie runs a local support group, FASworld Toronto (, for families coping with alcohol-affected youngsters. In 1999, she and her husband began International FASD Awareness Day, which is now observed in several countries around the world every September 9. In 2004, Bonnie’s book Damaged Angels, about raising a child with FASD, was published by Knopf Canada. “I’d really like to write another book,” writes Bonnie, “but with two young kids under my roof, I am running out of energy.”

John F. Lee, ’62 BSc, writes to say, “I am proud of my Alberta heritage, and every Canada Day the province’s flag can be seen waving outside my Queen Anne Victorianstyle home in Alameda, California.” John, who retired as a public guardian/public conservator with the City of San Francisco in 2003, is now busy volunteering and travelling—and sometimes even volunteering while travelling. He helps

out with Lions in Sight, a subsidiary of Lions International that brings eye care to those in need, and soon, John, along with 20 doctors and volunteers, will travel to a designated foreign city to help fit approximately 1,500 people with glasses in a one-week period. The work is incredibly rewarding, he says: “Many elderly are able to see their grandchildren close up for the very first time.”

T.W. Fraser Russell, BSc(Eng), ’58 MSc, was recently selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement in Chemical Engineering Pedagogical Scholarship Award. Presented by the American Society for Engineering Education, this award recognizes a long career of scholarship that inspires younger educators and leads to “innovative and substantial changes” in chemical engineering. Russell is the Allan P. Colburn Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware.

Anita Jenkins (Suddaby), ’66 BEd, wrote in from Edmonton to say that in June she was named an honorary lifetime member of the Editors’ Association of Canada. She has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 1991 and has been editing since 1974. She also says, “I am the organizer for a reunion of residents of Pembina Hall from 1961–63 that is going to take place on Saturday, October 3, 2009, from 3 to 6 p.m. (reception with cash bar) at Alumni House on the U of A campus (1515 Saskatchewan Drive). “What do you remember? Missing curfew? Breakfast with the ‘guys’ at Athabasca Hall after an hour of backcombing and applying blue eye shadow? Pajama parties? We plan to have a brief program featuring memories and tributes, but leaving plenty of time to visit with old friends. We also hope to organize at least one additional informal gathering at a local pub on Friday night, October 2.” The cost is $30 per person. To RSVP or get more information contact Anita at 780-474-6656 or at

’63 Margaret Chegwin, BEd, writes, “I have been living on an acreage just outside my hometown of Wetaskiwin, AB, for the last 10 years and am enjoying an opportunity to write for a local paper, The Pipestone Flyer.” Margaret adds that she moved back to Wetaskiwin to care for her mother after her sister, Audrey Anne (Chegwin) Freiman, ’53 Dip(Ed), ’69 BEd, passed away in 1996. Their mother passed away in 2007 at the age of 99.

’64 John Ferguson, BCom, ’98 LLD (Honorary), has been named chairman of the board of directors to the recently-merged company of Suncor Energy and Petro-Canada. John is a former chancellor of the U of A. On June 9, four alumni were honoured by the City of Edmonton at its Annual Salute to Excellence Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony: Myrna Kostash, ’65 BA, in the category of arts and culture; Ruth CollinsNakai, ’72 MD, ’98 MBA, for community service; and both Colbie Bell, ’94 BSc, ’01 BEd, and Arnold Martin Enger, ’57 BPE, ’68 MA, for sports. Autumn 2009

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Autumn 2009

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Jay Ingram, ’67 BSc, was recently appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. The co-host of Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet, he was recognized for his outstanding accomplishments as a science broadcaster. Jay is also a 1996 recipient of the U of A Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

’66 Sheila Weatherill, Dip(Nu), ’89 BSc(Nu), was recently appointed to the board of directors of Shaw Communications, Inc. Sheila is currently vice chair of EPCOR Utilities Inc., and she has held a variety of senior leadership positions within the public health sector, including president and CEO of Capital Health Region.

’67 Moses Chirambo, MD, of Malawi, Africa, writes that he has just been appointed his nation’s minister of health.

’68 Richard Shuhany, BA, of Edmonton, has been elected treasurer of the board of directors of the Canadian Lung Association. He is also a past chair of the Lung Association of Alberta and the Northwest Territories. ’69 Susan Tanner, BA, of Ottawa, was honoured by the United Nations Association of Canada at its “Champions Among Us” reception in March 2009 for her commitment to human rights and the environment and “for transforming Canadian society through leadership and service.” Susan is the executive director of the Canadian Environmental Network.

’70 Robert “Lynn” Ogden, BA, from Huizhou City, China, wrote in again to further update his class note from last issue. Lynn says that in 2002 he received a Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for Lifetime Contributions to Business and Education in the Yukon. In 2008 the State Administration also honoured him with the Foreign Expert Appointment in Huizhou City for Foreign Experts Affairs in the fields of the Economy and the Environment. This year he has been invited to be international advisor to the president of Huizhou University to help in building international relationships between Huizhou University and Canadian universities and colleges. ’73 David Manning, BA, ’75 LLB, writes from the Big Apple that he has just joined the New York office of M.J. Bradley & Associates, a division of Climate Change Capital Limited, an organization that specializes in policy, engineering and strategy work in the energy and environment sectors.

’73 Maria Klawe, BSc, ’77 PhD, ’07 DSc (Honorary), was recently named to Microsoft Corporation’s board of directors. The math whiz and Distinguished Alumni Award recipient became president of Harvey Mudd College in 2006. ’75 Marnie Giesbrecht, BMus, ’88 DMus, and her husband Joachim Segger, ’77 BA, ’95 DMus, gave a recital of organ duets, piano duets and organ-piano duets, presented by the Royal Canadian College of Organists at Dominion-Chalmers Church in Ottawa this past spring. Marnie is a professor of music at the U of A, and Joachim is a professor at King’s University College, Edmonton, as well as an adjunct professor of piano at the U of A. ’75 Ann Matheson (Bradley), BEd, writes from her home in Whitby,ON, to inform us of the opening of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame’s Media Theatre in honour of her late father John E. Bradley, ’40 MD, ’72 LLD (Honorary). Formerly a bank vault, the small theatre within the organization’s headquarters in London, ON,

See olive your old friends. Alumni Weekend • October 1- 4, 2009 THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1


 Alumni  What the Heck Recognition is Pecha Kucha? Awards Ceremony Join us for a high-energy showcase of urban art, & Reception

Event Info: (780) 492-3224, toll-free 1-800-661-2593 alumni/reunion for details & to register online.

Celebrate the accomplishments of 30 outstanding University of Alberta graduates at this inspiring event. After the ceremony, meet the recipients and other alumni at a complimentary reception.

visual stimulation and lively conversation. 7:00 p.m., SUB, $6/person.

 Faculty Friday Receptions, Tours & Open Houses hosted by various faculties.  Campus Tours



 Saturday Scholars Series

 Golden Grads Breakfast

Six top-notch speakers are featured. See next page for details.

For those who graduated in 1959 or earlier 8:30 a.m., Shaw Conference Centre, $25/person

 Faculty Events, Open Houses  Campus Tours  Alumni Dinner 6:00 p.m., Shaw Conference Centre, $60/person

 University Orchestra in Concert 2:00 p.m., Convocation Hall, $15/person

Autumn 2009

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The College of Pharmacists and the Alberta Pharmacists Association recently named Noreen Vanderburgh, ’79 BSc(Pharm), the M.J. Huston Pharmacist of the Year for providing first-rate patient care. Rita Lyster, ’80 BSc(Pharm), received the Wyeth Consumer Healthcare Bowl of Hygeia for her dedication to the profession and the community, and Sheri Koshman, ’00 BSc(Pharm), received the Wyeth Apothecary Award, which recognizes professional achievement through advanced learning. allows visitors to explore an interactive history of Canadian medicine and Canada’s medical heroes. John was executive director of the Glenrose Provincial Hospital from 1964 to 1972 and developed it into a major resource for the treatment of handicapped and emotionally disturbed children. He was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2001 and is a 2003 recipient of the U of A’s Alumni Award of Excellence.

’75 Greg Krischke, BPE, was on quite the winning streak in May. The

Daniel Ma, ’76 BSc, wrote in from Edmonton to say that his son, Ryan Ma, ’04 BPE, ’04 BEd, has spent the last four-anda-half years teaching in various countries, including England and Australia, while also travelling around the world, primarily in southeast Asia. “Ryan is currently dodging kangaroos or trying to out-swim man-eating sharks, while also carrying on his teaching career in Melbourne, Australia,” says Daniel. “He writes the Friday and Saturday night game blurbs at and contributes a few columns there. His online work can also be found at the hockey-themed website Ryan welcomes any remarks on his articles and is happy to share his experiences on teaching outside Canada to anyone needing the information.” Ryan can be reached at mayor of Leduc, AB, was one of five recipients of the inaugural LieutenantGovernor’s Leadership for Active Communities Award. The award was created to recognize leaders and organizations that promote “active living” in their communities. Greg received the award for his work promoting the construction of trails, and safer playgrounds, and for spearheading $50 million in improvements to the Leduc Recreation Centre, which will be completed this fall. Greg, who is married to Jo-Anne Krischke

(Sparhsatt), ’72 Dip(Nu), recently also “won” a weight-loss contest by shedding some 62 pounds, a total, he notes, that is equal to the weight of the couple’s nine-year-old grandson.

another five years as vice-president for planning and administration at The American University in Cairo. I now consult and do most of my work from home.”

’76 Alexander L. “Sandy” Darling,

Judy Sommer, BEd, ’07 MEd, has just taken on the mantle of principal at the Jack Stuart School in Camrose, AB.

MEd, writes in from Dundas, ON, to say, “After working at the U of A for seven years, I became registrar at McMaster University and spent my last 11-and-a-half years there as vicepresident (administration). I also spent five months as acting viceprincipal at Queen’s, and I spent

’77 Douglas McCallum, LLB, was the recipient of the Law Society of Alberta’s 2009 Distinguished Service Award for pro bono legal service. Other alumni awardees

Relish the Thought Saturday Scholars Series


new trail

Alzheimer's Disease” — Dr. Jack Jhamandas  “Our Food System &

Chronic Disease — Cause or Cure?” — Dr. G. Harvey Anderson

Autumn 2009

 The E.L. Empey Lecture: “A Troubling Time for Family Finances” — Roger Sauvé  “Transculturality & the

Canadian Mosaic” — Dr. Paul Dubé

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

 “Unraveling the Puzzle of

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 3 • U of A Campus • FREE unless otherwise noted Advance tickets are required for both free and paid lectures. For more information and tickets visit or call 780-492-3224 or 1-800-661-2593  4th Annual Hurtig Lecture: “Them & Us: Nationalism's Dangerous Attraction” — Neil Macdonald ($10)  “Public Health in the 21st

Century—Returning to its Roots” — Dr. Sylvie Stachenko

were Anne S. de Villars, ’78 LLB, for service to the profession, and J. Alan Bryan, ’58 BA, ’59 LLB, for service to the community.

’78 Jack H. Hole, BSc(ChemEng), of Edmonton, was elected president of Ducks Unlimited Canada at its national board of directors meeting held in Ottawa in June. Jeffrey C. Lozon, MHSA, of Oakville, ON, was recently appointed president and CEO of Revera Inc. He is the former president and CEO of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Susan McDaniel, PhD, was recently appointed director of the Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economy at the University of Lethbridge. Previously, she was a senior scholar at the Institute of Public and International Affairs and a professor at the University of Utah. Katherine Tsang, BCom, was appointed chairperson of Standard Chartered Bank’s Greater China operations in August. She has served as the bank’s CEO for China’s mainland since January 2005.


’80 Kerry Day, LLB, a member of the Alumni Council, recently joined the firm of Bennett Jones LLP in their Edmonton office. Don Casey, BSc, was recently appointed vice-president, revenue management, of American Airlines. Prior to joining American Airlines in 2000, he was the senior vice-president of planning at Canadian Airlines. Tim Wiles, BCom, formerly deputy minister of Alberta Seniors and Community Supports, was appointed deputy minister of Alberta Finance and Enterprise on July 8. John Kennelly, PhD, has been reappointed to a second five-year term as dean of the U of A’s Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences. John has held the job since 2004 and joined the U of A faculty in 1980, where his own research has focused on dairy cattle nutrition.

’81 Dan Peacocke, BPE, ’87 MA, was recently named head hockey coach at Concordia University College in Alberta. Dan has more

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than 25 years of coaching experience at both the post-secondary and professional levels, in Canada and around the world.

’82 Maxwell Girvan, BCom, was recently elected director of the Calgary Board of Education Staff Association. Suzanne Bizon, BCom, writes to say, “Four years after graduating from the U of A, I obtained my law degree from UBC and practiced as a litigator in Vancouver for 18 years. I have now returned to the business world as the owner and operator of Pilot Bay Guest House on Gabriola Island, BC (close to Nanaimo). I’ve already had some great U of A grads as guests and would love to see more of you.” You can reach Suzanne at 250-247-7867 or

’83 David Keohane, BEd, officially started his new job as the superintendent of the Greater St. Albert Catholic School Division in Alberta this past July. Mel Kassian, BCom, was recently appointed president of Regent Energy Group. Mel is also company director and part owner of the Regent Energy group of companies, which provides sand control services to the heavy oil and gas industry. Marv Machura, BA, ’90 MEd, has just released a new album, his third in six years. Warm Summer Night features nine new guitar recordings on such WesternCanadian subjects as bush parties, buffalo skinners, winter blizzards, oil-patch romance and Cree-haunted woods. Marv describes this album, a mix of rock, blues, country and folk, as “a big, 1970s-sounding recording” that captures the “cadence of a time when warm summer nights were not clouded by Blackberries and Facebook.” For more information about the album visit Jutta McAdam, BEd, ’87 Dip(Ed), ’95 MEd, formerly of St. Albert, AB, writes that she and husband Clay “have moved to beautiful Lake Chapala in Mexico, where we enjoy year-round

Stealing a private moment during the Alumni Association’s Halifax Harbour Cruise, alumnus David Mensink, ’82 MEd, ’87 PhD, proposed to his girlfriend Christine Moore. The weather was rainy and a bit blustery, but David coaxed Christine out on deck, where he popped the big question. Afteward, the damp and disheveled—but very happy—couple celebrated the occasion with the rest of the 28 U of A alumni on board the Harbour Queen.

fine weather, the company of many expatriate Canadians and plenty of cultural happenings.”

’84 Conny Kappler, BSc(Ag), writes from Medicine Hat, AB, that she is now back on the family farm starting up a U-pick operation. E.J. “Eldon” Simpson, LLB, of Peace River, has been appointed to a five-year term as assistant chief judge for the Provincial Court of Alberta’s northern region. Eldon has served on the bench since 2003. Wayne Lui, BSc, of Reading, UK, writes that he and partner Megan Watson, ’87 BCom, have just moved back to England after spending six years working for BG Group in Egypt and, most recently, Kazakhstan.

’85 Patricia Paone, BA, ’88 BSc(Nu), ’94 MNurs, of Ottawa, has been the manager of employee health services for Canadian Blood Services since 2002 and is currently a mentor for nurses writing for their occupational health nursing certification. Patricia is also a member of the Canadian Nurses Association Competency Testing Committee for occupational health nurses. Autumn 2009

new trail


’85 Eugene Creighton, LLB, a veteran Calgary lawyer, was recently appointed as a provincial court judge and will preside over cases in the Calgary Regional Division.

’86 Greg Gazin, BCom, received the Toastmasters International Presidential Citation in August in recognition of his outstanding achievements in representing the goals and ideals of Toastmasters International. A tech columnist, blogger and podcaster, Greg is known as the “Gadget Guy” and has penned more than 1,000 articles for Sun Media, and Edmontonians and has appeared on numerous radio and TV programs. Larry Ruud, BSc(Ag), ’88 MSc, director of Viterra Inc., the largest grain company in Canada, was recently named president and CEO of One Earth Farms, a large-scale, fully-integrated corporate farming entity, which intends to have operations on First Nations farmland in the Prairie provinces.

’87 Marc Croteau, BA, was recently appointed head of consulting, portfolio management solutions, at COMIT SA in Geneva, Switzerland.

Zsuzsanna Ardó, ’84 BA, a writer and photographer based in London, recently had a collection of her images of Roma communities in Transylvania, Romania, published in The Guardian. Zsuzsanna has photographed Roma communities in Hungary, Romania, Italy and the U.K., and her photographs of the Roma have been exhibited at galleries around the world. How Long Is the Journey?, her photography book about the Hungarian Roma, will be published later this year. To see a slideshow of her photographs of the Roma, visit The Guardian’s website at:

John Kozole, BA, was recently appointed president and CEO of The Alberta New Home Warranty Program. John joined the program in 2007 as chief operating officer, and prior to that he worked with a partner to develop Willow Springs Estates in Calgary.

’88 Mike de Jong, LLB, was appointed B.C. attorney general after being re-elected as MLA in the riding of Abbotsford West in the recent provincial elections. Patrick Lusk, BSc, ’05 PhD, has accepted a faculty position at the Yale School of Medicine. Patrick’s father, Bill, wrote in from Edmonton to say, “Patrick is the only faculty member at Yale with a degree from the University of Alberta, and after receiving his doctorate in cell biology at the U of A, he went on to Rockefeller University for his post graduate work with Nobel laureate Günther Blobel. My other son, Steve, [Steve Lusk, ’00 BCom,] was hired immediately after graduation by National Instruments (NI), a maker of process control devices, in Austin, Texas, and a consistent top finisher in the 100 best

Peter Thompson, ’85 LLB, writes from Barrie, ON, “I was recently a guest of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation at its formal gala (Bal du Printemps) held at the Pierre Hotel next to Central Park in New York, where over $725,000 US was raised in one evening.” Three of Peter’s photos were donated to the event and sold for $750 each, including this one, titled “Wye River, ON.” Peter, who in addition to being a lawyer and artist is also a mean musician, adds, “I had the good fortune to have my harmonica with me and was invited to join the house band on stage to close the evening. My friends and classmates from the U of A might get a kick out of the YouTube video featuring my impromptu and unrehearsed singing of ‘Flip, Flop and Fly/Stormy Monday.’” You can see Peter’s performance on YouTube under the title, “NYPDF Blues Peter Thompson with the Paul Richards Band at the Pierre Hotel.” companies to work for in the USA. His employers told him they were most impressed by his experiences gained in the U of A’s business co-op program and by the overall depth and breadth of his post-secondary education. He is currently director of global planning for NI. The only bad part of all this is that, in all likelihood, neither boy will come back to live permanently in Canada.” Hemanta Sarma, PhD, is the new chairman of the Petroleum engineering Program at the Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi. He has moved from the Australian School of Petroleum, University of Adelaide, Australia, where

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new trail

Autumn 2009

he was the Reg Sprigg Chair and a professor of petroleum engineering. Ken Ealey, BEd, ’90 BSc, ’06 MEd, is currently working on adding another degree to his roster: he writes that he is enrolled as a PhD student at Walden University. Ken and his wife Janice Ealey, MEd ’07, make their home in Edmonton.

’89 James Barmby, MFA, took on the role of regional dean, ShuswapRevelstoke, of Okanagan College this past August. Previously, he was director of program delivery for the Open Learning Division at Thompson Rivers University.


’90 Marty Chan, BA, of Edmonton, informs us that he’s “been up to a lot of trouble over the last year.” His play The Forbidden Phoenix, which debuted at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre before embarking on a world tour, has been nominated for two Sterling Awards in Edmonton and five Dora Awards in Toronto. Marty has also published a children’s book, True Story, based on the true story of his own thieving cats, Buddy and Max. For more information on his book, turn to page 50.

’91 Howie Draper, BPE, head coach of the U of A women’s hockey program, recently received the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Coach of the Year Award, the first recipient to have won the award twice. Under his leadership, the Pandas won 20 out of 24 games in the regular 2008-2009 season.

’92 Janet Gregory, BSc, coauthored the book Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, which was just published by Addison Wesley. ’93 Merv Bashforth, BSc(Pharm), was recently appointed president of the Alberta College of Pharmacists for the 2009-2010 term. Merv is the owner of Hinton IDA and Valley IDA in Hinton.

Todd Cherniawsky, BFA, continues his work in designing and directing feature films. He is currently the art director on Avatar, a Sci-Fi adventure written and directed by Canadian James Cameron and starring Sigourney Weaver.

’95 Tanya Harnett, BFA, ’02 MFA, of Lethbridge, AB, recently held a solo exhibition of her work at the Art Gallery of Regina. The show, “Tanya Harnett: Persona Grata,” featured large-scale digital self portraits in which Tanya tried to shield herself

Sheila Clegg-Lazzary, ’94 BA, writes in from Edmonton to say, “I thought you might find an opportunity to publish this icon I made of The Crucifixion. It is a combination of a Russian icon from the 17th Century and a Greek one from 1020 A.D. It is on oak panel with gesso base, in acrylic and 23-karat gold. I painted, or ‘wrote,’ this icon in 2007 as a visual prayer for the four Christians kidnapped in Iraq, one of whom was executed. Last summer I took a workshop with a Roman Catholic priest, Don Gianluca Busi, a very talented iconographer who came all the way from Sasso Marconi, Italy, to teach us. I now have a superb icon, which I co-wrote with him, of The Vladimir Mother of God (Mary and the Christ Child), from the original painted in Constantinople in 1421 A.D., which is presently in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. My icon is on spruce panel with gesso base in egg tempera and 24-karat gold, done in the clay bole method, which is burnished. I think my teacher here, Marianna Savaryn, is the only person in Canada teaching in egg tempera, a method she went all the way to Italy to learn last year. I was quite amazed as Archbishop Seraphim, the head of the Orthodox Church in Canada, requested a private audience with me to view it— quite an honour as I am Anglican.”

from the camera by covering herself in mud, partially hiding behind a blanket, and hiding behind textured glass, to represent certain aspects of her persona while obscuring her “essential self.”

’96 Laura Freeman, BA, ’99 LLB, of Edmonton, was recently named a partner with Parlee McLaws LLP. Vanessa Porteous, BFA, was recently named artistic director of Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary. She is well-known in the theatre community and, over the past nine years, her productions in Calgary have been nominated for 19 Betty Mitchell Awards, which celebrate and honour outstanding achievement in Calgary’s professional theatre community. Several U of A alumni received awards from Alberta Education in recognition of their creative and inspiring work with Alberta’s kindergarten to Grade 12 students. The 2009 Provincial Excellence in Teaching Awards were handed out on May 30 to recipients: Thomas Christensen, ’84 BEd, ’97 MEd, of Olds Junior-Senior High School; Linda Coutts, ’85 BEd, of Forestburg School; Diane Fischer, ’87 BSc, ’92 BEd, of Harry Ainlay School; and Marcie Syme, ’83 BEd, of George P. Nicholson School. Sherri-Lynn Fricker, ’94 BEd, ’04 MEd, of Fort Saskatchewan Elementary School, and Trenton Lunde, ’04 BEd, of Grant Centre Elementary School, were the recipients of the 2009 SMARTer Kids Innovative Use of Technology Award.

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780-492-6057 | con Autumn 2009

new trail


In Memoriam The Alumni Association notes with sorrow the passing of the following graduates:

’32 John H. Knight, BSc, of North Vancouver, BC, in April 2006

Robert Leonard Bijou, BSc, of Pincher Creek, AB, in May 2009

’59 Raymond Philip Heard, BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in June 2009

H. Jean Crawford (Brumwell), Dip(Nu), ’45 BSc(Nu), of Vancouver, BC, in March 2009

Vernor Winfield M. Smith, BA, ’51 LLB, of Edmonton, AB, in November 2008

Ronald Moses Baltzan, LLB, of Edmonton, AB, in September 2008

Douglas Randolph Matheson, BA, ’51 LLB, of Edmonton, AB, in June 2009

E. Lynne Duncan (Millar), Dip(Nu), ’73 BSc(Nu), of Calgary, AB, in May 2009

Arthur Peel Lambert, Dip(Pharm), of Medicine Hat, AB, in January 2009

’44 Lucy Alice Rylandsholm (Heiberg),

’33 Laura Ada Johnson (Ghent),

Lillian Jean Broemeling (Smith), Dip(Nu), of Provost, AB, in June 2009

Dip(Nu), of Victoria, BC, in March 2009 Harriet Elizabeth Shiels (Smith), BSc(HEc), of Edmonton, AB, in October 2008

’34 Katherine Isabel Newton, BA, of Richmond, BC, in February 2009

’35 Albert Ferdinand Rader, DDS, of Richmond, BC, in May 2009

Dip(Nu), of Port Moody, BC, in June 2009

Richard Eugene Harris, BSc(ChemEng), of Thornhill, ON, in June 2009

’45 Marjorie Clara Lubert (Clendenan), Dip(Nu), of Hamilton, ON, in April 2009 Alice Mary Duncan (Stewart-Irvine), BSc(HEc), ’73 MEd, of Duncan, BC, in March 2009

Rosenroll Rodney De Arthur, BCom, of Kanata, ON, in January 2009

’51 Walter Ronald Ross, BEd, ’54 BCom, of Calgary, AB, in April 2009 James Alfred Barnes, BSc(ElecEng), of Edmonton, AB, in June 2009 Evan Dehlin Erickson, DDS, of Lethbridge, AB, in April 2009 Gavin Arthur Kemp, BSc(Ag), of Victoria, BC, in March 2009

John Andrew Rachert, BSc, of Westbank, BC, in February 2009

’61 Pat Louise Nichols (Roy), BSc, of Toronto, ON, in June 2009 Darrell Clinton Hockett, BSc, of Edmonton, AB, in July 2009

’62 Fred George F. Cartwright, BEd, of Lethbridge, AB, in April 2009 ’63 Dianne Julia Storie (Ziganash), Dip(Nu), of Edmonton, AB, in April 2009

John Gregory, BSc(ChemEng), ’48 MSc, of Edmonton, AB, in May 2009

Stanley Keith Newman, BSc(Ag), of Edmonton, AB, in May 2009

Dorothy Annie Chalmers (Niddrie), BSc(HEc), of Edmonton, AB, in June 2009

’46 Evan Maurice Wolfe, BCom, of Vancouver, BC, in May 2009

Alex Sacuta, BSc(ChemEng), of Edmonton, AB, in April 2009

’38 Norma Elizabeth Freifield, BA, of

’47 Ruth Cameron Drew, BA, of

’52 Laura Minerva Bracco (Louhela),

’64 Dieter Klaus Queck, BA, of Edmonton, AB, in May 2009

Dip(Ed), ’73 BEd, ’83 Dip(Ed), of Harvie Heights, AB, in June 2009

Donald Ian Nixon, BEd, ’71 MEd, of Victoria, BC, in June 2009

Nikalojus Novosickis, DDS, of Niagaraon-the-Lake, ON, in March 2009

James Frederick Evans, BA, ’66 MA, ’68 PhD, of Edmonton, AB, in May 2009

’36 Eleanor Mae Hall (McNair), BA, of Edmonton, AB, in April 2009

Edmonton, AB, in March 2009

Winnipeg, MB, in November 2008

’39 Frederick Hamilton Dewdney, BA, ’41 LLB, of Trail, BC, in November 2008

Robert Shewan Baptie, BSc(Ag), of Calgary, AB, in May 2009

Isobell Sinclair, BSc, ’40 Dip(Ed), ’45 BEd, of Drumheller, AB, in March 2009

Catherine Mavis Mallabone, BEd, ’72 BSc(HEc), of Canmore, AB, in April 2009

’40 Allan M. Coote, BSc, of London,

Eldon Henry Bliss, BEd, ’63 MEd, of Edmonton, AB, in April 2009

ON, in November 2008 Osman James Walker, BSc, ’42 BSc(ChemEng), of Lansdowne, ON, in April 2009

Maxine L. Larsen (Urch), Dip(Nu), ’48 BSc(Nu), of Calgary, AB, in March 2009 Frank William Hoskyn, BEd, of Calgary, AB, in September 2008

’53 Irene Bertha Godberson, Dip(Ed), ’64 BEd, of Barrhead, AB, in February 2009 Norma Rosina Casselman, Dip(Ed), ’56 BEd,of Medicine Hat, AB, in October 2008 George Stefanik, BSc, ’55 MD, of Los Angeles, CA, in September 2008

Sutcliffe Anthony Miller, BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in February 2009

’65 Donald Grant Gall, MD, of Calgary, AB, in April 2009 James John Urlacher, BEd, ’72 Dip(Ed), ’77 Dip(Ed), of Edmonton, AB, in May 2009

’66 Binsbergen Van Duco, BA, ’69 BEd, of Annapolis Royal, NS, in April 2009

’48 William Henry Stemp, BSc, of

Darol James Wigham, BSc, of Calgary, AB, in April 2009

Calgary, AB, in July 2009

’54 Margaret Goldie Eyben (Arnett),

Sherman A. Yelland, BSc(Ag), of Calgary, AB, in June 2009

Harold Park, BCom, of Kelowna, BC, in July 2009

Dip(PHNu), of Vermilion, AB, in May 2009

’41 Archie F. Bishop, BSc(Ag), of High River, AB, in February 2009

Robert George Mason, BSc(ElecEng), of St. Albert, AB, in March 2009

Joan Evelyn Dewson (White), BA, ’44 BEd, of Winnipeg, MB, in February 2009

Francis Edward Haughian, BCom, of Ottawa, ON, in February 2009

Sidney James Cornish, BSc, ’50 MD, of Penticton, BC, in April 2009

Ross Frederick McCormick, BSc, ’50 BEd, of Provost, AB, in July 2009

George Philip Scott, BSc, of Vancouver, BC, in February 2009

Albert Harold Preboy, BSc(ElecEng), of Maple Creek, SK, in June 2009

Mageste John Santopinto, BSc, of Calgary, AB, in April 2009

’49 James Alexander Stretton, BSc

Albert, AB, in May 2009

(CivEng), of Kingston, ON, in March 2009

Katherine M. G. Miller (Gordon), BSc(Nu), of Vancouver, BC, in March 2009

William David Coombs, BEd, of Ottawa, ON, in May 2009

Louis Faber, BA, ’59 LLB, of Winnipeg, MB, in July 2009

’68 Grace Christine Duthie (Robbins), Dip(Nu), of Hawera, New Zealand, in May 2009

Edna Carol Grant, Dip(Ed), of Edmonton, AB, in July 2009

Emmanuel J. Kloster, BSc, of Edmonton, AB, in June 2009

’57 Edward Leonard Pearson, DDS, of Innisfail, AB, in January 2009

Marilyn G. Coull (Duncan), BSc, ’92 BEd, ’96 MLIS, of Edmonton, AB, in March 2009

Eleanor Grace Everington (Cairns), BSc(HEc), of Stony Plain, AB, in January 2009

’42 Eric Bosomworth, BSc(Ag), of Airdrie, AB, in September 2003 Mary Josephine Crysler, Dip(Nu), of West Vancouver, BC, in February 2009

’43 James Allan Johnson, BCom, of


Elfreda Louise Dorsey (Rear), Dip(Nu), of Oliver, BC, in May 2009

Robert Foster Scott, BSc, ’51 MD, of Delmar, NY, in July 2009 John William Eno, BEd, of Drumheller, AB, in March 2009 Robert Cameron McGinnis, BSc(Ag), ’51 MSc, of Winnipeg, MB, in July 2009

Victoria Olia Shewchuk, Dip(Ed), ’83 BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in October 2008

’55 Peter Edward Den Hartog, BSc (PetEng), of Calgary, AB, in April 2009 Thomas Slobodin, BSc(Pharm), of Medicine Hat, AB, in March 2009 Emil John Becze, BSc(EngPhys), of Edmonton, AB, in April 2009

’56 S. George Romaine, LLB, of St.

’58 Charles Ernest Kaser, BSc, of Calgary, AB, in April 2009

Vancouver, BC, in June 2009

’50 Helen Viola Samuel (Moseson),

Edward Jack Herchuk, BSc(Pharm), of Edmonton, AB, in April 2009

Gordon Hart Segall, BSc, of Toronto, ON, in June 2009

BSc(HEc), of Edmonton, AB, in December 2008

Eleanor Ione Damkar, Dip(Ed), ’61 BEd, of Stony Plain, AB, in April 2009

James Thomas Flynn, BSc(EngPhys), of Waterloo, ON, in June 2009

Ivor Graham Dent, BEd, ’56 MEd, of Edmonton, AB, in March 2009

Robert B. Dryburgh, BSc(CivEng), of Burlington, ON, in February 2009

new trail

Autumn 2009

Charles Douglas Blackford, BSc, ’70 MEd, ’86 Dip(Ed), of Edmonton, AB, in April 2009 Margaret May Albiston, BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in June 2009 Lorna Morven Miles, BSc(Pharm), of Kelowna, BC, in April 2009

’67 Albert Francis Pearce, LLB, of Calgary, AB, in April 2009 Ardele Leone McAuley (Allison), BEd, of Calgary, AB, in June 2009

’69 Roger William Hill, BSc(MechEng), of Calgary, AB, in April 2009 Nestor Fred Saskiw, BEd, of Morcambe, AB, in March 2009 Margaret F. Dzenick (Calder), BEd, ’71 Dip(Ed), ’73 Dip(Ed), of St. Albert, AB, in May 2009

Robert Bruce Rains, PhD, of Carvel, AB, in May 2009

Normand Labrecque, BA(Spec), of Acme, AB, in May 2009

’71 Wendy Lynne Mason, BEd, of

’80 Donald Cyril Snow, BEd, ’99

Edmonton, AB, in June 2009

Dip(Ed), of St. Albert, AB, in March 2009

Richard Young Charlton, BCom, of Edmonton, AB, in March 2009

Robert Donald Reddick, BA, ’91 BSc(Nu), ’98 MNu, of Sherwood Park, AB, in June 2009

James F. Conrad, BEd, of St. Paul, AB, in April 2009 George McCurdy, BEd(VocEd), of Victoria, BC, in February 2009

’72 William Harvey Walker, BCom, of Edmonton, AB, in May 2009 Richard Carl Miller, BEd, of Stony Plain, AB, in March 2009 Allister Scott Brekke, BSc MechEng of Edmonton, AB, in August 2008. Kerry Ellen Kelly (McCartney), BA, ’76 Dip(Nu), of Edmonton, AB, in April 2009 Lydia Mary Luck (Susut), BEd, of Lacombe, AB, in July 2009 Adelaida Florendo Calub, BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in July 2009

’73 Frederick George Elliott, BSc(Med), ’75 MD, of Calgary, AB, in May 2009

Kathryn Mae McQueen, BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in April 2009 Vera Jeannette Mazurenko, BSc(HEc), of Edmonton, AB, in March 2009

’81 Janet Elizabeth Biggs (Avery), BSc (HEc), of Edmonton, AB, in April 2009 Douglas Joseph Miluch, BSc(ElecEng), of Burnaby, BC, in July 2009

’83 Audrey Eileen Costigan, BA, ’98 BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in May 2009 ’84 Therese V. Craig, PhD, of Adrian, MI, in September 2008

’85 Denise Ann Gramlich, BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in April 2009

’86 Douglas Vernon Miller, BSc, of Sherwood Park, AB, in January 2009 Lois Rae Newsham, BA, of Victoria, BC, in May 2009

Octavie Madeline L. Callihoo, BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in May 2009

’87 Karen Ann Harvey, BEd, of

Bernard Denis Boisvert, BSc, of St. Albert, AB, in June 2009

’88 Peter Rollo Willette, BSc(CivEng),

Chin B. Chu, MSc, of Edmonton, AB, in April 2009

’91 Gary David Kraft, BSc(MetEng), of

’74 Terrance Patrick O’Connor, Dip(Ed), of Edmonton, AB, in June 2009 Benny Jimmy N. Mandrusiak, BSc, ’75 Dip(Ed), ’88 MEd, of Sherwood Park, AB, in July 2009 Karl Michael Weiss, BSc(ElecEng), ’78 MSc, of Kanata, ON, in June 2009

’75 William Dennis Forster, BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in April 2009

Edmonton, AB, in June 2009 of St. Albert, AB, in May 2009 Fruitvale, BC, in January 2009

’92 Jacqueline Weir, MSc, of Goodwood, ON, in April 2009

’93 Sheila Vanessa Hughes, BA, of Edmonton, AB, in June 2009 Christina Lynne Bryan, BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in April 2009 Thomas Christopher L. McDonald, BCom, of Edmonton, AB, in July 2009

Wayne Alex Sulyma, BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in July 2009

’94 Bradley David Koberstein, BSc (MechEng), of Edmonton, AB, in May 2009

Genevieve Carlota Balogun, BLS, of Calgary, AB, in April 2009

’95 Todd Gary Jones, BA, of Edmonton, AB, in June 2009

Ernest August Mengersen, BSc(Ag), of Olds, AB, in July 2009

’99 Dale Masson, BSc(Env/Cons), ’04 LLB, of Calgary, AB, in June 2009

’76 Dennis Elroy Dube, MSc, of Edmonton, AB, in June 2009

’00 Cary Lynn McMaster, BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in May 2009

Marilyn Joyce Moysa, BA, of Edmonton, AB, in June 2009

’02 Mark Nelson Barker, BA, of

Irene Agnes Fadden, BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in March 2009

’04 Reagan Landry, BEd, of

’77 Evelyn Elsie Arndt, BEd, of Westlock, AB, in July 2009 Ross Jiro Yoneda, MD, of Kamloops, BC, in May 2009

’78 Jacqueline Mary Kallal (Dumouchel), BA(RecAdmin), of Tofield, AB, in March 2009 ’79 Drusilla Ann Adamyk, BSc(HEc), of Edmonton, AB, in July 2009

Gibbons, AB, in April 2009 Edmonton, AB, in June 2009 Bridget Roseann Bolton, BSc(Nu), of St. Albert, AB, in March 2009

*** Alumni interested in submitting remembrances about U of A graduates can send a text file to Tributes are posted on the “Memory Lane” webpage at

’97 Paul Gross, BA, will be playing a devilish mystery man in the upcoming ABC television series Eastwick. Based on the John Updike novel, The Witches of Eastwick, the show stars Rebecca Romijn and Lindsay Price. Eastwick, which is filmed in Los Angeles, debuts this fall and is set to air in Canada on CTV. Steve Blackman, LLB, serves as a writer and co-executive producer for Private Practice, a spin-off of the highly popular ABC series, Grey’s Anatomy.

’98 Darcie Roach, BCom, was recently named nominating chair of the board of directors of the Edmonton YMCA. Monique Despins (Gruszczynski), BEd, writes from Calgary that she is the mother of two, the wife of a police officer, and is now working with the Calgary Board of Education. Three U of A alumni were recently named to Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 list, a national award managed by Caldwell Partners International that celebrates the achievements of young Canadians. Those honoured include: Steven Koles, ’92 BCom, president and CEO of Hemisphere GPS in Calgary; Marlo Raynolds, ’99 PhD, executive director of the Calgarybased Pembina Institute; and Shane Fildes, ’93 BCom, head of BMO Capital Markets Canadian Energy Group in Calgary.

’99 Ken Bautista, BEd, and business partner Jason Suriano, ’03 MA, were the winners of this year’s TEC Edmonton Venture prize for their interactive game “Seek Your Own Proof,” which uses websites, mobile phones and real-world locations to engage kids in the Central Institute for Exploration to explore the past, present and future. Jason joined Ken’s company Hotrocket in 2004, and the two designers have worked with partners that include the TELUS World of Science, the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the Government of Alberta, just to name a few. Bautista is now the lead interactive strategist at RED The Agency, which acquired Hotrocket in June 2008.


’01 Raj Sharma, LLB, was the recipient of the 2009 Access to Justice Award presented by Legal Aid Alberta, which recognizes lawyers who have demonstrated a high level of commitment to providing quality legal services to clients of legal aid. Lara Oberg-Stenson, BCom, was recently promoted to senior manager at BDO Dunwoody LLP, where she provides tax and accounting services to personal and corporate tax clients.

’02 Anna Primiani, BEd, an Edmonton substitute teacher, spent early May at the Cannes International Film Festival promoting the world premiere of the film She Could Be You, in which she portrays reallife Florida woman Kathy Longo who is searching for her missing daughter. Kyle Samaratunga, BEd, has been appointed head coach of Montreal’s Concordia University men’s soccer team. Kyle played with the U of A Golden Bears from 1999 to 2003 and has coached soccer at several levels, including with the Edmonton Drillers.

’03 Caroline Clouqueur (La Flèche), BDes, and husband Matthieu Clouqueur, ’04 PhD, of Munich, Germany, write in that their son Antoine P.A. Clouqueur was born on November 13, 2007. Mark Haroun, BA, was honoured with a Rosie at the 35th Annual Alberta Film and Television Awards on May 2. He won in the category Best Screenwriter in a Drama Over 30 Minutes for his work on the CBC television drama Heartland. Owen Dawkins, BEd, is heading back to his alma mater as the new head coach of the Golden Bears and Pandas wrestling programs. He returns to the U of A after serving as the head coach for the Lakehead University Thunderwolves in Thunder Bay, ON, for the past four years. Joshua Nichols, BA, ’04 MA, has just completed his PhD in Philosophy at the University of Toronto and is now a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria. Autumn 2009

new trail



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Cary Williams, BCom, of Edmonton, moved to Edward Jones in January 2009, after working for almost five years as a product manager with J. Ennis Fabrics. In his free time, Cary is active in the Edmonton arts community, working to create a local branch of artsScene, a national organization that brings together young business professionals interested in growing the arts and creative industries in their cities. He’s also the co-chair of the City’s Next Gen committee, which has teamed up with the U of A Office of Alumni Affairs to bring Petcha Kucha Night 5 to Edmonton. Explains Cary, “Petcha Kucha nights

Darren Achtymichuk, ’08 BSc(Eng), was one of two student winners of Google Earth’s KML in Research contest. His entry in the international contest was praised for being “an interesting example of visualizing multiple types of information, which is something KML excels at.” KML is a file format used to display geographic data in browsers such as Google Earth. Darren’s winning entry used KML code to visualize the amount of traffic on mass transit bus systems in order to optimize bus routes and scheduling. were developed in Tokyo in 2003 to allow designers, architects and other young creative types to present their work in a quick, simple and exciting format. Edmonton was the first Canadian city west of Toronto to host a night, and it’s fifth one should be really exciting.” For more about Petcha Kucha Night 5 visit: Paul-André Gauthier, PhD, was recently awarded the medal Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Pléiade. Presented by the Ontario section of the Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF). This distinction honours individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the

ideals of the APF: promoting intercultural dialogue in the world’s French-speaking countries and communities. A nursing professor at Collège Boréal, he is also a member of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario.

’04 Blake Phillips, MBA, ’04 MFor, received one of two prestigious research scholarships from Canadian Securities Institute Research Foundation this past spring. The scholarship (valued at $25,000) will support his PhD research at the U of A School of Business. Blake’s research examines the effect of corporate risk management as it relates to oil and gas producers.

’05 Audrey Giles, PhD, wrote in from Ottawa to say that she was recently granted tenure and promoted to associate professor in the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa. Her research continues to focus on the intersections of culture and physical activity in Canada’s North, and she can be reached at ’07 Tara Whitten, BSc, captured a silver medal in the inaugural women’s omnium at the track cycling world championships in Pruszkow, Poland, in March. The omnium includes five events: two time trials, a scratch race, individual pursuit and a points race. A graduate student at the U of A, Tara has only been competing at the international level for two years. ’08 Byron Wakeling, BCom, writes that since graduating from the school of business in December 2007, he has been working as a sales rep with Xerox.

Autumn 2009

new trail


tuck shop

Bug Out Tell us what kind of bug is pictured here and you could win a global positioning system*


he Department of Entomology (responsible for this picture) was formed in 1922. The department was discontinued in 1994, and its functions and staff were moved into the Department of Biological Sciences in the Faculty of Science. But entomology was once a department of the Faculty of Agriculture, itself now called the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences. Formed in 1911 under the name of the College of Agriculture (it became a faculty in 1915), it became the home of the first electron microscope on campus, a microscope that enabled its users to take detailed pictures, including the one you see here. A year after the entomology department was formed, it organized the first grasshopper control campaign. This $248,000 program was estimated to have resulted in savings of more than $18 million to western farmers. Likewise, research done in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Science has contributed vastly to Alberta agriculture. Alas, there is no longer a farm on the main campus to remind everyone of the faculty’s presence—it moved to the South Campus in 1930.


new trail

However, even with crops no longer grown, cattle no longer grazing and pigs no longer parading on campus, the Aggies still manage to make their presence known, particularly during the Agriculture Club’s week of celebration in November, at which time horses and wagons make a return to campus and students from all faculties line up for tickets to Bar None, the annual dance and general letting-loose, which is now more than 40 years old and is arguably the most popular social event on campus.** *All correct answers will be put into a hat, and one lucky winner will be drawn at random. Just tell us what kind of bug you think it is. Send your entry to Bug Out, University of Alberta Alumni Affairs, Enterprise Square, 10230 Jasper Ave., Edmonton, AB. T5J 4P6, or e-mail **The Faculty will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2015. To prepare for that event, it is requested that anyone having any Bar None memorabilia, reflections or remembrances that they wish to share—and that will later be archived—send them to Bar None Time, The Agricultural Club, 2-14 Ag-For Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2H1. For more information or details contact Reg Norby at 780-436-0590 or

Autumn 2009


PdaQjeranoepukb=h^anp]Lnaoo When Edmonton Was Young Tony Cashman Leslie Latta-Guthrie, Foreword Thirty-four light-hearted tales (circa 1910–1950) are told by this popular historian, broadcaster, and long-time Edmontonian. (0%0,gXg\i›(.)gX^\j›()  B&W photographs

The Algal Bowl Overfertilization of the World’s Freshwaters and Estuaries David W. Schindler & John R. Vallentyne Eminent water experts examine the global threat of cultural eutrophication (nutrient pollution) and potential solutions. *+%0,gXg\i›*+/gX^\j› B&W photographs, colour section, maps

We Are All Treaty People Prairie Essays Roger Epp Provocative essays explore the poetry and political economy of life in Canada’s rural West. )-%0,gXg\i›)+/gX^\j›Efk\j#`e[\o

A Son of the Fur Trade The Memoirs of Johnny Grant John Francis Grant Gerhard J. Ens, Editor Johnny Grant (1833–1907), MÊtis, fur trader, rancher, and Riel-Resistance participant, documented his historical northwest Canadian-US experiences.  *+%0,gXg\i›+-/gX^\j› B&W photographs, maps, genealogical appendices

All True Things A History of the University of Alberta, 1908–2008 Rod Macleod Jim Edwards, PC, Foreword This critical institutional history marks the University of Alberta’s centennial. +0%0,Zcfk_›*0)gX^\j›(*' B&W photographs


Shipping will be added to each order and 5% GST (Cdn residents only) to the total. Please allow four weeks for delivery or call for faster options.


The Algal Bowl @ $34.95 All True Things @ $49.95 Imagining Science @ $34.95 In Bed with the Word @ $19.95 The Meteorites of Alberta @ $34.95 A Son of the Fur Trade @ $39.95 We Are All Treaty People @ $26.95 When Edmonton Was Young @ $19.95 Name Mailing Address City Province/State

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Imagining Science Art, Science, and Social Change Sean CaulďŹ eld & Timothy CaulďŹ eld, Editors Artists, scientists, and social commentators engage the thorny issue of biotechnology using a collaborative, positive approach.  *+%0,gXg\i›()+gX^\j›:fcflik_ifl^_flk New York Book Show, Scholarly & Professional Category (Best Book Overall) The Alcuin Society Prose Non Fiction, Illustrated (Honourable Mention)

In Bed with the Word Reading, Spirituality, and Cultural Politics Daniel Coleman How can reading be deeply personal yet fundamentally social? Coleman examines philosophical and spiritual aspects of reading. (0%0,gXg\i›(-'gX^\j›J\c\Zk\[Y`Yc`f^iXg_p#`e[\o

The Meteorites of Alberta Anthony J. Whyte Chris Herd, Foreword In-depth examinations into the science and history behind sixteen major Alberta meteorite falls and ďŹ nds. *+%0,gXg\i›*(-gX^\j›B&W photographs with colour section, charts, graphs

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MBA MB A 2009

MBA M B LAZINE MCKENZIE MCK KENZIE MANAGEMENT CONSU MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT ULLTANT A SIERRA S IERRA S SYSTEMS YSTEMS Coming out to Alber Alberta ta to complete my MBA was the best T professional a decision I’ve ever made. The and personal growth that I’ve experienc ced over the course of my experienced degree has enabled me to o move for ward in my forward career par ticularlyy in step pping pp p g into a projec p j career,r, p particularly stepping project management role so earlyy on.

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Profile for University of Alberta Alumni

New Trail Autumn 2009  

University of Alberta Alumni Magazine

New Trail Autumn 2009  

University of Alberta Alumni Magazine