Geography and the Environment

Research and teaching

UFV Geography faculty and students are engaged in a wide diversity of research projects, most notably in the fields of long-term environmental change and sustainable environmental, urban, and economic development.

These research projects have involved a large number of undergraduate and graduate research students, and research skills are a core part of undergraduate training. Geography faculty have attracted external funding for research, post-doctoral fellows, and internships.

Please contact the Department Head, Steven Marsh if you have any questions about UFV Geography's research facilities or projects.

Teaching Geography students through research

UFV Geography faculty members utilize community and peer-reviewed research as part of a broader approach to undergraduate education. Volunteer, course-based, and work-study placements in geography facilities and as part of faculty research projects enable students to build the skills and independence they will need for further graduate study and employment.

Many Geography courses also incorporate inquiry-based learning strategies, which involve students in active data collection, problem-solving, and information modelling as a means of answering bigger questions.

Geography students are also encouraged to attend regional and national conferences in order to hear about research in their field.

Many UFV Geography students have also presented their research findings at conferences, in particular the annual meeting of the Western Division of the Canadian Association of Geographers, hosted every March by a university or college in B.C. or Alberta.

Attending professional conferences also allows students to network with immediate and senior colleagues in their field of study.

Students who are planning to continue to graduate school are encouraged to complete an Honours degree. This option is available for both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science majors, and involves an undergraduate research thesis requirement.

Geography teaching and research facilities

UFV Geography is home to two teaching and research laboratories: the UFV Paleoecology lab and the UFV Luminescence Dating lab.

Directed by Dr. Jonathan Hughes, research in the Paleoecology lab focuses on the response of vegetation to past earthquakes, fires, floods, climate change, and anthropogenic modification of the landscape. Dr. Hughes and his students use pollen, plant macrofossils, and tree rings to quantify the abundance and distribution of vegetation in the past and how plant communities were influenced by changing environmental conditions.

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The Geography Department at UFV is the home of a luminescence dating laboratory, currently the only one of its kind in Western Canada. Under the direction of Dr. Olav Lian, this NSERC-funded laboratory serves as a nexus for faculty, undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral research in Quaternary geology and geomorphology.

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Melissa Koyanagi2

"My most valuable experience was certainly the AIG to BC's Interior that I had the pleasure of completing with my peers under the guidance of Gary Fehr and Olav Lian. This experience was in-depth, interesting and relevant to my previous studies in a wide range of subject areas, including postglacial and paraglacial processes, First Nations affairs in BC and BC's evolving economy. I sincerely enjoyed this learning experience and it was the perfect way to cap off my undergraduate studies at UFV."

Head to GATE's blog  to find out more about Melissa and what other graduates have to say about GATE.‌

  • – Melissa Koyanagi
  •    BA with double extended minors in Geography and Psychology

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