Geoff Kershaw

MES 2013

RGM_Wordpress 101_JAN 29 2013


Geoff has completed his Master of Environmental Studies degree at Dalhousie University’s School for Resource and Environmental Studies. He was also a fellow of the MAD Lab (Mount Allison Dendrochronology Lab) before and during that time. Various research projects he was involved in focused on environmental infractions and exceedences in the bitumen mining industry, post oil-spill disturbance recuperation in the North West Territories, and climate change effects on sensitive sub-arctic features. Although he has lived in various places across Canada, Geoff considers his home to be Ministik Lake east of Edmonton, Alberta.

Current Position:

 Geoff is now an apprentice carpenter and is also involved with the Northern Hydrology Research Group part time, researching hydraulic fracturing water usage in the Liard and Peace River Watersheds.


Talking to Trees: A Dendrochronological Assessment of the Atmospheric Pollution Effects of Athabasca Bitumen Mining Downwind from the Industry.


Bitumen mining in Alberta is considered one of the largest economic vehicles in Canada, but the assessment of this industry’s environmental impacts is incomplete. The region downwind of this pollution source is occupied by an Indigenous population concerned for the health and viability of their territory. This thesis presents dendrochronology results of principal component and regression analysis documenting white spruce (Picea glauca) growth suppression associated with bitumen mining activity. The growth suppression is most pronounced close to the disturbance and in the most recent rings. With a desire to share these results with the Indigenous peoples whose traditional territory overlaps this study’s transect, I engaged in relationship building and knowledge sharing activities beyond the scope of my scientific analysis. This thesis presents both dendrochronology results documenting tree growth suppression associated with bitumen mining activity and reflections on the relational ethics of conducting research-relevant activity on Indigenous lands in Canada.