It was an evening of gratitude and community as the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) welcomed award recipients, faculty presenters, benefactors and guests to Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel March 13 to celebrate compelling research and notable academic achievements in environmental studies.
The Research & Awards Celebration kicked off with a welcome from FES Dean Noël Sturgeon, who spoke briefly to the achievements of FES students and faculty before introducing York Vice-Provost, Academic Alice Pitt.
In her opening remarks, Pitt commended FES students and faculty for their critical interdisciplinary research and their contributions to promoting social and environmental change for equity and sustainability. “Tonight’s event is a testament to the interdisciplinary teaching, learning and research approach that the Faculty has envisioned,” said Pitt. She also expressed gratitude to the donors and benefactors in attendance who support the achievements celebrated at the evening’s reception.
Student award recipients were called on by faculty member and emcee for the evening, Laura Taylor, to be acknowledged by Sturgeon. Two recipients regaled the audience with details of their research, which was made possible in part through the generous financial support of their awards.
Julia Zeeman, recipient of the PowerStream Graduate Award, spoke first on her research about Financing Energy: Technology, Institutions and Communities. She was followed by graduate student Maris Grundy, who received the Lambert Family Award in Neotropical Research & Conservation. Grundy enthusiastically summarized her research on Community and Ecological Resilience: Intentional Localization of Plant-Based Trade in the Alexander Skutch Biological Corridor.
Shifting focus from students to Faculty research, three prominent FES professors took to the stage to share with attendees the details of their newly published books and were honoured for their prestigious contributions to their specific disciplines.
Anders L. Sandberg, co-editor of Urban Explorations: Environmental Histories of the Toronto Region, was lauded for research on intersections between the built environment and the natural world. In Urban Explorations, contributors guide readers through different journeys in the Toronto region.
As co-editor of the newly published Managing Energy, Nutrients, and Pests in Organic Field Crops (CRC Press), Rod MacRae shared research featured in the book. His current research seeks to create a national food and agricultural policy for Canada. His book picks up on these themes by integrating agronomic, economic and policy interpretations of the management of organic production in the industrial world.
Peter Victor shared his latest contributions to the field of ecological economics. His research has sought to challenge the generally accepted principle that economic growth equals an improvement in economic well-being. His newest book, The Costs of Economic Growth (Edward Elgar Publishing), offers a comprehensive collection of articles on everything from the origins of the debate to the limits of growth, and international and global dimensions.
The final award of the night was presented by Sturgeon to FES benefactor PowerStream for their continued generous support of the Faculty, its students and their research endeavours. Martin Rovers, director of Energy Services, accepted the Friends of the Faculty Award on behalf of PowerStream. Having donated close to one million dollars over the past five years to fund an academic position, research and student awards in sustainable energy, PowerStream has offered a high level of engagement and support to FES while also being one of the largest financial contributors to the Faculty.
Sturgeon thanked PowerStream CEO Brian Bentz, as well as PowerStream board members, for their commitment to York and FES. Other donors, alumni and friends in attendance who were recognized for their significant contributions to the Faculty included Anita & Chris McBride, Anne Sabourin, Noman Khalid-Khan, and Don & Aaron Pocock.
For more information on FES awards, visit the FES Resources & Services web page.
By Sarah Goldstein, graduate assistant to the senior development officer for York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies.