CHA Environmental History Group Meeting/NiCHE New Scholars Meeting: Notes

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“The New Scholars in Canadian History & Environment is a sub-group of NiCHE for graduate students and recent graduates who do not hold tenure-track appointments. This group is represented by an elected representative and an advisory committee to express the concerns and interests of graduate students and recent graduates. The New Scholars representative also acts as a liaison with the NiCHE executive to help facilitate graduate student and recent graduate projects in environmental history that fit with NiCHE’s SSHRC mandate.”

2008 Representative

2008 Advisory Committee

Notes from CHA Environmental History Group Meeting / NiCHE New Scholars Meeting
June 2, 2008, 12:30-1:30pm
Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting, UBC


  • Dan Rueck designated as Environmental History representative to CHA
  • Alan MacEachern has free copies of Special Issue of Environmental History (featuring NiCHE scholars)


Project Ideas (Shannon Stunden-Bower):

  • Roommate matching for conferences (Shannon Stunden-Bower)
  • Database of environmental history funding opportunities (Shannon Stunden-Bower)
  • Workshop addressing the challenges of finding funding for EH projects
  • Developing an EH comps list (Sean Kheraj)
  • Assist with conference session organization for major conferences
  • Organize a session of EH faculty and graduate students for next CHA (Sean Kheraj)
  • Organizing a workshop(s) using Winnipeg ‘New Imperialisms’ workshop (May 2008) as a model: invite graduate students to submit chapters or research papers; select 20 of these papers to ‘workshop’ in a 2 day session; all participants read all papers; 30 minutes/paper: 10 minute summary, 20 minute discussion/comments. These workshops could be organized regionally with support from NiCHE (Jennifer Bonnell)
  • Host regional GIS workshops similar to the one UofT/York are hosting in Toronto in July (Jay Young)
  • Develop a workshop on how to teach undergrads environmental history (focus on pedagogy) Alan MacEachern noted that the US National Parks Service has lesson plans on their website; we could do something similar.
  • Produce a series of working papers on what EH is and what the opportunities are to post on the NiCHE website
  • Produce a list of universities where EH is a program of study

NiCHE Funding Opportunities (Alan MacEachern)
NiCHE accepts project ideas at any time, not just once a year. NiCHE cannot fund research, only the mobilization and dissemination of research (i.e., getting researchers together; getting their research out there). Things like workshops, curriculum materials, networking projects, website development, etc. are examples of projects NiCHE can fund.

Some examples of projects NiCHE has funded include:

  • A collaborative project developed by Ken Cruikshank and Nancy Bouchier (McMaster) to build lesson plans on the history of the Hamilton harbour for local high schools.
  • A project by Nik Luka at Concordia to digitize the slide collections of retired geography professors and make them available on the web.
  • Jim Clifford’s group on Urban Agriculture in Toronto received some small support funding from NiCHE.
  • A collaborative project between the University of Toronto Map Library, Lost Rivers, and Jennifer Bonnell (OISE, University of Toronto) to digitize historical maps of the Don River watershed and to develop a series of GIS layers on the history of the watershed that will be made available on the NiCHE and Robarts Library websites.
  • Support for a workshop on Historical Climate Change on the Great Plains, organized by the Prairie Environmental Network (April 2008).

Regional EH Groups supported by NiCHE (Dan Rueck):

  • Quelques Arpents de Neige (Quebec-Windsor corridor & New England)
  • History & Environment of the Atlantic Region (HEAR)
  • Nature/History Society (BC)
  • Prairie Environmental Network

Communication (Jennifer Bonnell):

  • NiCHE web forums not well frequented
  • Perhaps we should consider producing a monthly newsletter? listserve?
  • Wikis are another method that could inform people of new posts on a topic.
  • Live meeting software [suggestion from faculty member at Memorial]
  • Continue to build network by completing member profiles.

NiCHE New Scholars Representative
Jennifer Bonnell will be stepping down as NiCHE New Scholars rep in June to take a position as grad rep for the newly-funded SSHRC cluster, The History Education Network. No new nominations for the new scholars rep were received at the meeting, making Sean Kheraj the next New Scholars Rep by default. Sean will begin organizing some of the projects mentioned above in the months to come. Keep an eye on the NiCHE site for developments.

NiCHE New Scholars Advisory Committee
Jennifer Bonnell, Shannon Stunden-Bower, and Dan Rueck will form an advisory committee to assist Sean in coordinating New Scholars projects and activities. If you’d like to be involved in this committee, or have suggestions for the New Scholars group, contact any one of us through the NiCHE member directory.

Featured image: Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash.

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