Brock researchers front and centre at Leading Edge conference May 26 and 27

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Brock researchers front and centre at Leading Edge conference May 26 and 27

Published on May 24 2011

Delegates to the Leading Edge conference this week at Brock University will explore environmental issues from inside the woods, not just from the conference rooms.

Retired physics professor John Black, author of Niagara Birds, will lead a bird walk through the woods surrounding Brock Friday morning as part of the conference of the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC).

Several Brock researchers have teamed up with the NEC for the two-day event, which starts this Thursday, to consider economic and tourism opportunities related to the escarpment.

Employing the themes of sustainable tourism and economic development, the conference is a forum to explore the incredible resources of the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve. Brock is a suitable location to host the annual event, titled “Ontario’s Natural Edge,” as it is the first university in Canada to be located within a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

Brock faculty have been involved from the start, serving on the organizing committee, and by showcasing their research throughout the two-day conference. Highlights include:

  • besides leading the bird walk Friday, Black will also present a session on birds in Niagara, on Thursday morning
  • Don Cyr, business professor, and Tony Shaw, geography professor, will be presenting on the changing Niagara weather and the use of weather contracts in tourism, on Thursday
  • Brian Calvert, graduate student in earth sciences, will present his research on the Louth Conservation Area flora, fauna and geology, on Thursday
  • on Friday morning, Francine McCarthy, earth sciences professor, will be making two back-to-back presentations; the first is about the historical implications of climate change on the beach off Flowerpot Island, and the second is about the contents of core samples from the bottom of Crawford Lake
  • Brad May, a lecturer at Brock and part of the Brock Environmental Sustainability Research Unit (BESRU), will present a session on local adaptation to climate change in Niagara, on Friday

Full program details, including other special events and speakers, are available online at

Organizing committee members include Brock Tourism and Environment researchers Dave Brown (who will co-chair proceedings on-site), Danuta De Grosbois, John Middleton and Tony Ward. The event is co-chaired by Karen Carruthers of the NEC.

For more information:
Karen Carruthers, Niagara Escarpment Commission, 905-877-6172

Carolyn Mullin, research communications manager, Brock University, 905-688-5550, x5789