Environmental Geoscience program at Trent University

Dr. Power is the Program Coordinator for the Environmental Geoscience program at Trent University, Canada’s leading environmental university. This program integrates the disciplines of geology, biology, chemistry, and geography to study the interaction between human activities and earth systems. Students receive foundational training in geoscience while also gaining knowledge in the other sciences. They further develop their skills and experience from taking a breadth of advanced geoscience courses including a field methods course that provides opportunities to apply and master geoscience techniques. The program provides students with the knowledge requirements for becoming an accredited Professional Geoscientist (P.Geo.) with the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario.  

Field Methods in Environmental Geoscience, Fall term

Students learn essential field skills including designing a field study, mapping, and measurement techniques. The geology of Southern Ontario and its mining industry are examined along with the potential for environmental impacts. Most instruction takes place during required field trips with students submitting weekly technical reports. Download the 2018 syllabus.

Past exercises have included:

Cordova Mines - investigate acid mine drainage at an historic gold mine

Covia Nepheline Syenite Mine - tour and sample waste rock and tailings

Bannockburn Gold Property - explore a gold deposit

Phytoremediation at Cordova Mines - construct remediation plots

Canada Talc Mine - study this closed remediated mine

Warsaw Caves - map the caves and conduct a water sampling survey

Ian Power’s Field Methods in Environmental Geoscience has been my favourite class so far. He went out of his way to ensure this course would teach us basic field methods and even have the chance to try and solve environmental geoscience problems on a smaller scale.
— https://www.trentu.ca/envirogeoscience/experience

Earth materials, winter term

This course introduces students to the study of rocks and minerals, including their description, classification, and origin. Rocks and minerals of environmental (e.g., human health) and economic importance are emphasized. Practical laboratory exercises enable students to become proficient at identifying rocks and minerals using physical and optical properties. Download the 2019 syllabus.

Laboratory exercises include using petrographic microscopes, examining mineral specimens, as well as igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks… learning about the solid Earth!

Earth materials was my favourite course in my undergraduate studies. It taught me the importance of rocks and minerals from an environmental and economic standpoint, leading me to amazing research opportunities in Environmental Geosciences!