Featured Research & Scholarship

The Miistakis Institute at Mount Royal

Research initiatives are continuing to expand at Mount Royal.

A new partnership with the Miistakis Institute and the University means that students, faculty and staff from a wide-variety of disciplines will have more opportunities to get involved in the world of research.

The Institute works on a wide variety of applied land use research and focuses on the value of collaboration.

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Collaborating with the community

The main focus of the Institute and its partnership with Mount Royal is exploring working opportunities with different disciplines across campus.

Danah Duke, executive director of the Miistakis Institute is thrilled to extend research opportunities to the Mount Royal community.

“We are an environmentally focused organization, but we recognize the role that the environment plays. It’s foundational to social and economic issues and we are looking for those opportunities,” says Duke.

“We feel that a great strength in our relationship with Mount Royal is how interdisciplinary the University is. We really encourage people to seek us our to see what opportunities are out there.”

Miistakis envisions a world where communities have genuine access to the science and research needed to make choices that promote healthy landscapes. They study the landscape to help people conserve it and work to make innovative research accessible to communities and decision-makers.

And above all, the Institute works hard to celebrate success — something that Mount Royal can easily relate to.

The beavers bring opportunities to students

Research Associate Rachelle Haddock notes that at any given time Miistakis has 15 to 20 projects on the go, in which various parts could use faculty and student support.

Elements such as literature reviews and working with data bases to survey design are included in the mix.

“We were recently working with a student on mobile app development,” says Haddock. “Projects are always changing so the opportunities are also always changing.

One unique opportunity where Mount Royal students had the chance to work with the Miistakis Institute was through Assistant Professor Dorothy Hill’s Conservation Biology class.

Working with the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area and other partners, Miistakis was part of a project that reintroduced beavers as a watershed management tool for water retention and quality for Calgary and beyond.

“Dorothy’s class came out and toured the site and then wrote essays stating whether or not they were in favour of the beaver reintroduction,” Haddock explains. “We had an essay contest and pulled together a panel of judges and awarded prizes for the best papers.”

This project was the first that the Institute engaged the campus community and will continue to run for another two years.

“There are a lot of great opportunities to get involved in this project whether it’s from a communications perspective to tell the story about the role that beavers play on the landscape to doing the actual science,” Haddock says.

Partnering with Mount Royal

Chair of the Board of Directorsfor Miistakis and Director of the Institute for Environmental Sustainability at Mount Royal Mike Quinn facilitated for Duke the opportunity to connect with Associate Vice-President, Research Trevor Davis and Dean, Faculty of Science Jeff Goldberg about having the Miistakis Institute partner with Mount Royal.

From there, the idea took off and now Miistakis is moving full speed ahead on campus.

“We started having conversations and talked about our interests in research as an Institute and heard more about Mount Royal,” says Duke. “It very quickly became clear to us that Mount Royal was a really good fit for us.”

The Miistakis Institute will be holding a meet and greet event on May 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Faculty Centre. Stop bye to learn more about the great work coming out of the Institute and to meet the people behind-the-scenes.

— Angela S., May 16, 2013