Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology Lab

Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology Lab

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Field Trips and Labs

Field trip to see Bellevue House Kitchen Gardens (September 9th 2019).

Students listening to a tour guide
Elizabeth Pilon guiding students around the kitchen garden at Bellevue house that was established for Canada's first prime minister John A MacDonald in 1848
Large group of students listening to tour guide
Elizabeth Pilon discussing the diversity of plants within the Bellevue house kitchen garden
Students observing the garden
Heritage species of apple trees at Bellevue house... and Mike Hann stashing a souvenir sample!

Field trip to see Forman Farm, Ironwood Organics Farm, and Q.U.B.S. Bracken Tract (October 5th 2019).

Large group of students listening to tour guide in parking lot
Charlie Forman: "Our goal is to harvest the sun's energy.... Soil health? - Look at the dirt, smell it, watch for water puddles.... Monsanto (and Bayer) have made farming simpler, easier, and a more enjoyable workplace. Farmers can use an economical pesticide to clean a field of unwanted grasses and broadleaf weeds quickly before planting, with no residual effects on the next crop - hence my ability to grow non-GMO crops.... Economics has trumped environmental concerns in almost every farming decision. People want cheap food."
Students touring the farm
Charlie explaining the heating and water/nutrient circulation technology behind hydroponic farming
Plants growing at the farm
Hydroponically produced tomatoes at Forman farm
Students viewing plants at the farm
Charlie explaining the benefits and problematic issues associated with hydroponic production
Students listening to the tour guide
Students hearing from Charlie on issues relating to large-scale agricultural production including the difficulty of getting and keeping high quality hard-working staff
Students touring the farm
Ah! -The good smell of hemp!
Tour guide presenting to students
Charlie showing the wood chip pellets that his farm factory produces 


Ironwood Organics Farm

Chris Wooding of Ironwood Organics Farm: "Our goal is to maximise species diversity......Conventional agriculture relies on dirt; Sustainable agriculture relies on soil....Herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, insecticides... all end up inside (human body)....Our restorative farming practices have doubled the soil carbon concentration from 2.5% to 5%."

Students having a picnic lunch
Lunchtime at Ironwoods organic farm
Students listening to Professor Grogan and a tour guide
Chris pointing out the nitrogen-fixing bacterial symbiotic nodules on a bean plant root system
Students listening to a tour guide
There's nothing like being and seeing things in the field to understand the application of terrestrial ecosystem ecology concepts
Students observing chickens
The mobile hen house allows Chris to rotate the hens through multiple patches of the field over time, enhancing the fertility of the latter
Students listening to the tour guide
Chris answering students' questions
Tour guide presenting to students
Hazelnut production at Ironwood Organics farm


Queen's University Biological Station Bracken tract factorial water availability x fertilisation x deer herbivory exclusion experiment:

students watching as Professor Grogan presents
Getting a chance to see and discuss soil-types and their influence on terrestrial ecosystem functioning
Students observing a field
Spot the deer!
Students listening to professor Grogan
Taking a few moments to meaningfully reflect on the history local indigenous relationships with the land in this region, and how indigenous perspectives on nature are often closely paralleled in the principles of terrestrial ecosystem ecology
Group photo at the field trip site
The class of 2019!


Lab activities: Food insecurity and poverty; The biology of compost and vermiculture soils

Student looking through a microscope
Jeff So looking for activity on a soil microscope slide
Students working in the lab
Students looking for soil mesofauna such as insects, nematodes, and springtails
Student group working on a lab activity
Food insecurity:  A demonstration game lead by Mara Shaw of the local charity Loving Spoonful to illustrate just how financially difficult it is for those in poverty to 'make ends meet'
Worms in a tin plate
Lumbricus terrestris - the european earthworm that has been invading across N. America over the past 200 years
Students working in the lab
Soil ecology demonstration lab, including vermiculture bin in foreground

Field trip to see Ravensfield farm (October 20th 2019).

Titia Posthuma: "A farmer needs to work with the land, letting it determine what can be grown most effectively.....It's the soil that matters - you need to work with, and enhance the soil....Animals, and especially ruminants, are the essential means of taking recalcitrant vegetation such as grasses and making it into high quality soil organic matter."

Students gathered outside to listen to Professor Grogan
Titia waits patiently in the background while I seize a chance to demonstrate some terrestrial ecosystem ecological concept that is not to be missed!
Image of crops at the Ravensfield farm
A vegetable row in Titia's farm
Image of Ravensfield farm
Some very health Jerusalem artichoke shoots
Group doing an activity at the farm
Andrew collecting the artichoke tubers that have been harvested by one student work group
Students listening as a tour guide gives them instructions
Students admiring their group's work of putting decaying plant material down as a mulch in one of Titia's farm crop rows
Group looking at tools on the farm
Seeing (nodules) is believing!
Girl holding up some plants
Samantha Peacock moving a pile of leftover Jerusalem artichoke stems for mulching
Group having fun working on the farm
Look at the sheer pleasure of getting a chance to do some artichoke harvesting!
Student smiling while she works
Tavleen Matharu is happy with her haul
Plants growing on the farm
A row of cabbage plants
Group working on the farm
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Leader stopping to give an explanation
Titia explaining the merits of farming with the biodynamic approach
Plants growing on the farm
Rows of swiss chard and carrots
Plants growing on the farm
More chard
Group stopping for a picture while they work
The 'muckers' group: Andrew  Kusnierczyk, Ellie Meldrum and Ellie Hamburger
Leader providing an explanation
Titia proudly showing one of her big compost rows
Leader overseeing the workers
Students planting out artichoke tubers
Chickens roaming the farm
Hens = herbivores, insectivores, soil surface mixing activities, soil nutrient amenders...
Pigs roaming the farm
Pigs and piglets doing their thing