Full Professor Inaugural Lecture, Karen Steensma, “Growing Where You are Planted; A Life of Place Based Research”

Academic Events
Trinity Western University
Alumni Hall, Reimer Student Centre
7600 Glover Road
Langley, BC V2Y 1Y1

From an idyllic childhood on a farm spent watching diving beetles in the cow trough; minnows in the stream; caterpillars turning to butterflies; kittens, puppies, and calves being born; and marine life in the nearby Pacific Ocean, came an insatiable curiosity leading to a life of place- based ecological research.

A series of research problems presented themselves:

  1. Why is there an invasive snail in Chuckanut Bay?
  2. What happens when a salmon-bearing watershed is divided across an international boundary?
  3. What can be done to protect an endangered snail on the TWU campus?
  4. What can be done to protect fruit crops from an invasive bird species?
  5. What is the risk of invasive birds to the health and profitability of dairy farms?
  6. Can the endangered Hawaiian pueo owl and the endangered Hawaiian nene goose help each other to survive?

 Each of these problems has been tackled by TWU students and other collaborators, showing that attempting stewardship of creation, wherever one finds oneself, is a worthwhile goal.

 Karen Steensma, M.Sc., is Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Trinity Western University and a lifelong dairy farmer in Lynden, Washington. She has taught zoology, ecology, and marine biology courses in the Pacific Northwest, the Hawaiian Islands, Belize, and the South Pacific over her 30-year career. Her particular interests are molluscs, birds, ecological agriculture, and watershed management.

With the support of research grants from the World Wildlife Fund, Environment Canada, the BC Ministry of Agriculture, and the United States Department of Agriculture, she has examined questions from snails to birds of prey to wildlife impacts on farms.

Her collaborators have included researchers from TWU, Washington State University, Michigan State University, Cornell University, the US National Wildlife Research Center, University of Hawaii, and most importantly, her students.

RSVP: Shelly Lu (shelly.lu@twu.ca) no later than Thursday, February 7 at Noon