Eric Grimm has had a unique undergraduate Trent University experience!!
He has had the amazing opportunity as part of the Environmental and Resource Studies program to travel all the way to Alberta to study industrial atmospheric emissions over the Athabasca Oil Sands!
Eric, alongside Trent University Professor Dr. Shaun Watmough, has set up two study areas of Jackpine Trees to assess the chemical and biological differences between them.
The forest stands are located in Alberta.
One forest stand is 12km away from an industrial epicenter of oil sands operations…
The other is 1km away.
In general, the Boreal forest of the Athabasca region is healthy when it is so sparse that you can throw a football through it!!
The boreal forest is NOT supposed to have a lot of ground vegetation.
But now, due to an excessive amount of nutrient addition from industrial development….
The ground vegetation, likens and forest ground floor has increased dramatically.
(Left: Healthy Site. Right: Unhealthy site)
The area is becoming destabilized because of over enrichment effects of the oil sands, such as additional plant nutrients, industrial combustion, and dust emissions.
Due to this nutrient enrichment, additional green vegetation has grown where it is naturally absent.
The industrial emissions is potentially causing ecosystem collapse in the region.
(Right: Unhealthy site. Left: Healthy site)
Eric hopes to learn more about the effects of the industrial atmospheric emissions to search for solutions to protect and preserve the natural environment in the area…and of course, to keep it #green!
He is fighting hard to not let our future go up in smoke!
Eric tells us a little bit more about his experience:
“I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Shaun Watmough in the Environmental Geoscience Research Group. These opportunities helped me gain extremely valuable skills in environmental science, such as: analytical chemistry, field sampling, experimental design, and scientific writing among others. I now have a set of skills and experiences in which to approach the future endeavors of my career that I could only receive from an intimate and opportunity-rich setting here at Trent University.”
Eric hopes to learn more about the effects of the industrial atmospheric emissions to search for solutions to protect and preserve the natural environment and to inform policy makers of the dangers of over-enrichment…and of course, to keep it #green!
He is fighting hard to not let our future go up in smoke! Way to go Eric.