Dr. Kenneth Hewitt (Tuesday, May 1, 2018) Wilfrid Laurier University Library


Lecture & reception celebrating a career and archival legacy
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
4-6 p.m.
Robert Langen Art Gallery, Laurier Library (main floor)

The Laurier Archives is pleased to invite you to our second annual Spring Lecture, this year co-sponsored by Laurier’s Cold Regions Research Centre. We are pleased to present Dr. Ken Hewitt, Professor Emeritus of Geography and Environmental Studies, and founding member of the Cold Regions Research Centre. Dr. Hewitt will reflect on a long, eventful, high-altitude career studying glaciers in Northern Pakistan.

Please join us after the lecture for a wine and cheese reception celebrating Dr. Hewitt’s donation of his papers to the Laurier Archives.



Julia Hendry, Head of Archives and Special Collections
Please email us at libarch@wlu.ca with any questions


Laurier and northern high school students headed to a remote research site in Northwest Territories for a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Accessible only by a small, 15-person plane from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, the Hoarfrost River research site is as remote as it gets.

“I’ll never be able to go somewhere like that again,” says Caleb Cober, a fourth-year student in Wilfrid Laurier University’s Environmental Studies program.

Cober was one of eight Laurier students and three high school students from Yellowknife to attend a week-long field course in February at the home of Kristen and Dave Olesen.

The Olesen family has lived at Hoarfrost River for 30 years and has 33 working sled dogs, a commercial aviation service and hosts training courses on wilderness first aid and backcountry survival.

The field course, led by Geography and Environmental Studies faculty members Bill Quinton and Michael English, along with technician Alex McLean, provided students with a unique opportunity to hear first hand about topics learned in the classroom like winter eco-hydrology, the impact of a recently devastating forest-fire on the land and to hear from Indigenous elder Herman Catholique and his son about their experiences of the changing landscape.

“The knowledge that the Olesens and Herman shared was more than you could ever get from a textbook,” says Katrina Greenfield, a fourth-year student in the Environmental Studies program. “Herman was with us for a while and would share so many stories of his experiences. In the field, getting to actually collect data for yourself and using the snow water equipment was also cool.”

A self-proclaimed outdoor-lover, Greenfield was inspired to join the field course to experience outdoor camping, the northern lights and the unknown.

With no running water, the students helped bring in water from the frozen lake, fished for fresh lake trout for dinner and chopped wood for the fires. Students stayed in large, winter tents with a cast iron stove to keep warm. Some nights went down to minus 50 degrees Celsius; the only bathroom was an outhouse.

“This is definitely a course for people that love being outside,” says Greenfield. “How they live is so simple and they have such a strong connection with nature.”

“You really felt secluded from the world,” says Cober. “No one has really been there before; you just have no idea what to expect.”

Ella Kokelj, a grade 10 student from Ecole Sir John Franklin High School in Yellowknife, was thrilled to be able to learn about the land from the Laurier faculty members and the Olesens.

“I love being outside to learn about the land and the location of the course is very beautiful, it would be crazy to pass up an opportunity to go there,” says Kokelj.

Both Cober and Greenfield were impressed with how the high school students handled the cold weather and were interested to hear about their experiences with plants and animals native to the area.

“I’ve grown up in Yellowknife, so I am pretty familiar with the winter season and how to handle the cold,” says Kokelj. “The other Yellowknife students and I were able to help the Laurier students deal with the cold temperatures to which they were not as accustomed.”

The group passed the time by going for outdoor walks, breaking out into research groups to take samples and collect data, and got a chance to use the equipment and an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to map the landscape and terrain surround the Olesen homestead.

“The video taken by the UAV was really neat,” says Kokelj. “I enjoyed the hands-on environment; we would learn about a concept indoors and then go straight out to apply what we had just learned.”

Each student also got an opportunity to ride on the Olesen’s dogsled through the forest or on the frozen lake.

“I didn’t expect dogsledding to require so much balance and control,” says Cober.

“Even though we only spent a week at Hoarfrost River, by the end it felt like we had lived there forever,” says Kokelj. “Saying goodbye to the place and the people to whom I had grown very close was definitely the most challenging part of the week.”

This is the third Northern field course led by Quinton, who has also led field courses at the Scotty Creek field site in NWT. Find more information on Laurier’s northern research program.

Dr. Masaki Hayashi, 2018 Darcy Lecture (Friday, March 23 @ 2:00 pm) University of Waterloo, DC 1302


Alpine Hydrogeology: The Critical Role of Groundwater in Sourcing the Headwaters of the World

Many of us have been awed by the stunningly beautiful view of alpine lakes and streams- and they are not just beautiful. Nearly half of the world’s population relies on rivers originating in high mountains for water supply. Source areas of mountain streams have rugged topography with sparse soil and vegetation covers, and were once considered “Teflon basins” that have minimum capacity to store groundwater. Over the past decade or so, a new understanding of alpine hydrogeology has been emerging based on detailed field observations around the world. Alpine basins actually have important aquifer units that provide temporary storage of rain and meltwaters from snowpack and glaciers. Gradual release of water from these aquifers sustains streamflow during dry or cold periods, and is critically important for water supply and aquatic habitats in downstream regions. Due to rugged terrain and severely limited vehicle access, alpine hydrogeologists need to rely on creative methods to investigate groundwater, such as geophysical imaging techniques or observation of surface water/groundwater interaction. This lecture will demonstrate how we can gain valuable insights into groundwater in challenging environments and develop a conceptual understanding of hydrological systems. These ideas and approaches will have broad applicability in a variety of environments, where hydrogeologists are faced with challenging conditions.

Masaki Hayashi, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Physical Hydrology. Hayashi received his B.S. and M.S. in earth sciences from Waseda University and Chiba University, respectively, in Japan, and his Ph.D. in earth sciences from the University of Waterloo in Canada. His main research interests are in the connection among groundwater, surface water, and atmospheric moisture in various environments ranging from the prairies to the mountains.

PhD & MSc Student opportunities for Arctic research

Ecological Research in Arctic Freshwater Ecosystems
Motivated MSc/PhD students are sought to participate in novel Arctic research within a NSERC Strategic Project Grant, “Functional, Structural and Biodiversity Studies of Arctic Freshwater Watersheds: Validating Protocols for Monitoring and Cumulative Assessments”. Students will join a research team with scientists from the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University.

Download the full announcement for Arctic Freshwater Graduate Research Opportunity @ CHARS