I am working as research associate in the Environmental Conservation Lab at the University of Manitoba. I am spending my time connecting with community members who are involved in projects being worked on in the lab; I am focusing on In Land and Life and the Manitoba Alternative Food Research Alliance. I am involved in creating newsletters, websites, events and whatever else can help communicate with community about the research that is being done and the results that are being collected.
I went to the University of Winnipeg for my undergrad. I studied psychology and environmental science because I was interested in finding out what makes people more or less likely to live their lives in an environmentally friendly way. My undergraduate thesis examined what factors can help in encouraging pro-environmental behaviour. I began to think about the built environment and how it does not necessarily help us to do things that are better for the environment. For example, our cities are built for cars, but cars use fossil fuels and create all kinds of pollution. This is just one of the ways in which our infrastructure is unhelpful in encouraging environmentally friendly behaviour.
This train of thought got me interested in creating green buildings and infrastructure to help encourage environmentally friendly behaviour for major systems like food, shelter and transportation. My thesis project at the University of Manitoba was renovating a 100 year old house to make it environmentally sustainable. I did this in order to see what is possible in terms of renovating a building to be environmentally friendly. This was the first project where I was working with a number of different organizations and people and trying to work together toward a common goal. It helped me to learn about working in a large team that represented a number of different interests. Through this project I became very involved in the Spence Neighbourhood Association where I am currently a board member. My experience there has really helped me to learn how to be involved in community consultation and how to work in a community.
I am really excited to be working in the Environmental Conservation Lab where I can put my past experiences to use in helping with interesting and important community based research.