The first Public Open House on “Designing solutions to address climate emergency through experiential learning” was held on Friday, October 21, 2022, from 9:00AM to 4:00PM, at the Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation (CCCCA), St. Peter’s Bay, PEI. The Open House began with the welcoming remarks from Dr. Greg Naterer, Vice-President Academic and Research, followed by guest presenters from First Nations, industry, provincial government, NGOs, and academia who addressed climate change challenges and opportunities on Prince Edward Island (PEI) in a series of short talks. The speakers discussed the impacts of climate change on PEI and showed ways to mitigate and adapt to it.
Dr. Nola Etkin, Dean, Faculty of Science welcomed the guests and presented the vision of the CCCCA and the School of Climate Change and Adaptation. Dr. Etkin also highlighted the multi-disciplinary nature of the undergraduate program at the CCCCA. She also mentioned the innovative research that is being conducted at the CCCCA for the benefit of PEI and beyond.
Dr. Greg Naterer, Vice-President, Academic and Research at UPEI, mentioned that “This will be a fantastic opportunity for members of the public to see the facility we have here and have conversations with the people who have contributed to its success. During the day, you will be learning about academic and research activities around climate change that are happening here at the CCCCA. We recently witnessed a significant event (Fiona) that is linked to the climate change”.
Dr. Aitazaz Farooque, Interim Associate Dean, School of Climate Change and Adaptation, gave a brief overview of the Bachelor of Science in Applied Climate Change program that is housed within the CCCCA. He emphasized that “Aside from implementing technology to improve food security and sustainability, we will also consider social and economic aspects as we progress through the courses. We will solicit feedback from our students and other professionals on an ongoing basis to improve this innovative program.”
Other guest speakers shared their perspectives on how technology is being used to address climate change in PEI. Dr. Xander Wang, Director of the Climate Smart Lab at CCCCA, for example, demonstrated his research and development, which included a weather real-time system that captured a wind gust of approximately 153 km/h caused by Hurricane Fiona in PEI on September 24, 2022, at 03:10 AM.
Tours of the facility were conducted in the afternoon by Ross Dwyer, Manager of Research Partnerships, School of Climate Change and Adaptation, and students presented their projects related to climate change in various lab spaces. The large turnout of guests took place in the state-of-the-art research, innovation, and collaboration spaces; apartments for students and visiting faculty; common areas designed to encourage interaction and integration of research focus areas; Centre of Excellence in Food security and Sustainability; and space for equipment and UPEI’s fleet of drones – the largest in Canada. These tours were organized to showcase what CCCCA has to offer when it comes to climate change impacts, it’s mitigation and adaptation on PEI and beyond.
Over 30 poster presentations in climate-related disciplines from UPEI students and research scholars were also exhibited at the open house to give the participants an idea of what research is about and how we can work together to address global issues related to climate change.