#CSWA2016, The Science of Life! is over for this year, stay tuned for #CSWA2017

The Science of Life! #CSWA2016

Program At A Glance

  Thursday, June 2   Tours: times between 10:30am- 4:30pm   Event: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
note: all tours start at the registration desk,
University Centre, room 103
Biodiversity Institute

Alma Aquaculture Research Station

Livestock Research Innovation Centre

Ontario Veterinary College Cancer Center

PlantForm Corporation

Townsend House Apiary

Welcome and Buffet Dinner at the MacDonald Stewart Art Centre


Feeding the World at the War Memorial Hall,

Open to the Public

Reception with Scientists at the MacDonald Stewart Art Centre

  Friday, June 3   Sessions:  8:30am - 5:00pm   Event 7:00pm-11:00pm
plenary sessions  @Thornbrough Atrium


concurrent sessions @ Rozanski Hall
Genetically Modified Organisms (plenary)

The Martian: Life in Space

Writing About Science for Children

Old Dogs New Tricks

So What's Happening To My Lunch (plenary)


Data Journalism

Scientist Speed Dating (plenary)

Beer & Botany and GMO's band at the Bullring
  Saturday, June 4   Sessions 8:30am - 4:30pm   Event 6:30pm - 10:00pm
plenary sessions @Thornbrough Atrium


concurrent sessions 

@ Rozanski Hall

Dragon's Den Pitch Session (plenary)

Personalizing the Impersonal

On Sharing the Quest for Awesome: a career in science communication


Reaching Your Unaudience

Mind and Brain (plenary)

Writing Short Scripts for the Web

Storytelling: Diversity in Creative Approaches

Hashtag-Awesome: Sharing Science in Social "Slices"

Reception and Award Dinner at the Summerlee Science Complex Atrium 
  Sunday, June 5   Trip 9:00am - 2:00pm   Event
University Centre,
Room 103
Bus to Hampton Barn in the Belwood Conservation Area   CSWA Annual General Meeting and Picnic


Thursday June 2

Registration opens 10:00am, University Centre, Room 103

10:30am Tour the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario

Biodiversity Institute of Ontario

Biodiversity measures the variation of life shaped through ecology and evolution from genes to species and ecosystems. The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph is an institute dedicated to the study of biodiversity at multiple levels of biological organization, with particular emphasis placed upon the study of biodiversity at the species level. There are four research divisions with complementary mandates that are housed within BIO and interact to further knowledge of biodiversity.

Bus Tour

11:30am - 4:30pm, boxed lunch included. 

Everybody loves a good, networking bus ride through the country and we have plans for just such a tour. It will leave Guelph at 11:30,  stop at the Alma Aquaculture Research Station and the Livestock Research Innovation Centre,  and return to Guelph by 4:30pm. Space limited to 20 people, on a first to register basis. 

Alma Aquaculture Research Station (Alma)

The Alma Aquaculture Research Station (AARS), located near Elmira, Ontario, is a state-of-the-art aquaculture research and development facility. It is the backbone of the Fish Production Research Program providing up-scale systems for aquaculture researchers at the University of Guelph and other institutions. The quarantine unit has successfully introduced Atlantic salmon and Arctic char and new strains of spring-spawning rainbow trout to the Ontario aquaculture industry.

- Livestock Research Innovation Centre (Elora)

This multidisciplinary centre brings together scientists, students and stakeholders from Ontario and beyond to study environmental, social and economic issues for the dairy industry. They study everything from genetics, nutrition and quality improvement to animal welfare, food safety, and animal and human health.

Concurrent Guided Walking Tours:

1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. All walking tours start at the registration desk, University Centre, Room 103


1:00 p.m.- 2:30 p.m. Townsend Bee House: note this tour requires a signed medical questionnaire and it's a  fifteen minute walk through the arboretum. Dress accordingly. If you are unable to walk that distance contact office@sciencewriters.ca to arrange transportation by May 20. 

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. 


Plant Form

Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility

2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. 


Plant Form

Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility

3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.


Plant Form

Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility

Ontario Veterinary College Cancer Centre

Veterinary oncology is the study and treatment of cancer in dogs, cats and other exotic and domestic animals. Through consultation and collaboration with OVC's cancer team -- including a radiation oncologist, surgical oncologist and medical oncologists as well as a clinical counsellor, referring veterinarians and animal owners are able to explore the full range of options available.

Nowadays, more and more treatment options are becoming available as a way to treat cancer in animals. Here, at the Animal Cancer Centre our main goals in cancer treatment are to provide a good quality of life to our patients and to prolong survival. We strive to offer the best recommendations to treat your pet, but the ultimate decision maker is always the client. We recognize that our clients and their pets are unique individuals, so we make every effort to meet their individual needs and circumstances. 


- PlantForm Corporation

PlantForm is a Canadian biotech company with a low-cost proprietary manufacturing platform for a wide range of plant-made pharmaceuticals, including monoclonal antibodies, therapeutic proteins and vaccines for the treatment of cancer, HIV/AIDS, Ebola and other life-threatening illnesses. The company’s vivoXPRESS® technology – developed at the University of Guelph by Dr. J. Christopher Hall, a PlantForm founder and the company’s Chief Scientific Officer – uses genetically modified tobacco plants to ‘grow’ biopharmaceuticals at a significantly lower cost of goods compared to industry-standard fermentation systems. Learn more. 

Townsend House:

The apiculture lab is on approximately a one hectare site and has a large storage shed, an indoor over-wintering room and an office/class room/field lab/honey extraction building known as Townsend House

Our staff maintains over 300 honey bee colonies, which are used primarily for research and teaching purposes, but also for extension, personnel training and demonstration activities. Additionally, the molecular biology laboratory serves as a reference laboratory for bee breeding and diagnosis of diseases and pests in Canada. Apiculture research and education at the University of Guelph are internationally renowned and have been part of a long beekeeping tradition that started in 1894 when the first beekeeping courses were taught at the Ontario Agricultural College. In 1920, an Apiculture building was built on campus at the present site of the University Centre and was the first of its kind in North America for beekeeping studies. In 1966, the apiculture facilities were moved to the current location on Stone Rd. These facilities are unique not only in Ontario, but also in Canada. No other university or research centre in the country possesses more beekeeping infrastructure than the University of Guelph.

If you are interested in purchasing our delicious honey at the end of the tour please ask. We can only accept cash or cheques. All profits support honey bee research.

Medical Questionnaire

We require that each person touring our facility complete a medical questionnaire. The purpose of this is to screen for individuals who might be at risk around stinging insects. Please bring the completed forms on the tour date. Those with a known allergy to honey bee stings can participate in all parts of the tour except for the demonstration in the bee yard.

Download the Medical Questionnaire  

Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility: 

The Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility and its Space and Advanced Life Support Agriculture program are an essential part of Canada's contributions to plant research and development for space and closed environment related activities. The prospect of a higher priority for advanced life support research objectives in the Canadian Space Agency's Long Term Space Plan and the strong support of NASA's Advanced Life Support (ALS) community provide a clear incentive and opportunity to promote our capabilities in this area. In addition, our ongoing contract with the European Space Agency's MELiSSA Project promises to expand to include a broader scope of objectives in life support studies.

Welcome to Guelph! 

5:00 p.m. -  6:30 p.m. Welcome and Buffet Dinner at the MacDonald Stewart Art CentreArt Gallery of Guelph

What could be better than having dinner with the Food Institute of Guelph? Having dinner with all seven of the University of Guelph food institute colleges, in an Art Gallery, with your fellow science writers and communicators. That's what!

Public Event 

7:00 p.m. -  9:00 p.m. 

War Memorial Hall, 390 Gordon Street, Guelph

Feeding the World

The University of Guelph is delighted to invite CWSA conference participants to what promises to be a fun, fast-paced evening of engaging Ted-talk like speeches covering the length and breadth of the University's food-related talent.  World renown scholars (and great public speakers) will cover topics such as the science linking your gut bacteria to your health, the history of health food fads and what causes them, and the challenge of feeding nine billion people while dealing with climate change. Attend a reception that follows, and speak to the researchers about their studies.

Moderator: Malcom Campbell

Prof. Malcolm Campbell joined the University of Guelph as vice-president (research) June 1, 2015.  A distinguished scholar and accomplished plant genome biologist, Prof. Campbell has an outstanding academic leadership and research record. He published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers and has served on a number of editorial boards of distinguished journals. He also advises journal editorial boards, scientific and non-scientific advisory boards, and governmental, non-governmental and community organizations, and has served on the grant evaluation committee of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.


Evan Fraser: the global food problem – and Guelph’s role in solving it

Evan stared thinking about agriculture and food systems while spending summers working on his grandfather’s fruit farm in Niagara. There, he watched his stock-broker grandmother rake in an unconscionable amount of money on commissions from her clients’ investments while the farmers around were letting their crops rot because the cost of harvesting was higher than the cost of importing from the Southern US and Mexico. He decided, however, it was easier to write and talk about farming than actually try to make a living on it so passed on inheriting the family farm, opting instead for grad school. He did degrees in forestry, anthropology and agriculture at UBC and UofT. Since graduating from his PhD, he has worked in a policy institute with the Hon. Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, and began his academic career in 2003 at the University of Leeds in the UK where he developed a research program on rural land use and the socio-economic factors that make crops vulnerable to climate change. Throughout this time he has tried to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the challenges that face global food security. He is the author of approximately 50 scientific papers on these topics and has written two popular non-fiction books about food and food security including: Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations. Currently, he holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Human Security in the Department of Geography where he teaches a 3rd year course on global food systems and an MA seminar on environment and development issues.

Kate Parizeau – food waste

Specialization: Waste (informal recycling, food waste, and waste management policy); Urban inequality (poverty, urban governance, environmental justice, urban political ecology, activism); Feminist geographies (gender, dimensions of social difference, ethical scholarship).

Research Interests and Areas of Expertise: My research uses waste management practices as a lens through which to interrogate complex systems of social organization and human exchanges with the natural world. This focus allows me to engage issues of social justice, environmental sustainability, and urban systems management. My most recent research projects have investigated the lives and work of the cartoneros of Buenos Aires, Argentina – urban informal recyclers who sort through curbside trash to make their living. My studies focus on these workers’ health, socio-economic status, and access to social resources, drawing on their experiences in order to investigate the economic, political, and spatial rationalities that encourage and maintain high levels of social inequality in a modern city.

Mike von Massow – food prices

Research Interests: 

There are two current streams of research that Mike is pursuing.  The first is the development of unique food value chains.  The demand for food is changing.  Consumers are looking for a range of attributes that often go beyond the specific physical characteristics of the food product.  This is fundamentally changing what people buy, where they buy it and how it is produced, processed and brought to consumers.  Mike's interest is understanding the value created in these chains and the types of relationships required to facilitate their development.

The second thrust of his research relates, in general terms, to revenue management in the services industry - including hospitality.  Pricing strategy relates to the value proposition for the individual consumer.  Choosing both the price and how it is offered to the consumer has implications for short term revenue optimization but also for long term revenue.  Understanding the linkages between short term pricing strategy and longer term customer expectations is a key area of interest.  The role of customer feedback in value is also an area of interest.

Nigel Raine – bees and pesticides

Rebanks Family Chair in Pollinator Conservation

In the yard of his downtown Guelph home, Nigel Raine and his wife Alice are cultivating a pollinator-friendly garden with such perennials as penstemon, lavender and bee balm. “My input tends to be: Is it good for bees? They’re fascinating and beautiful creatures,” says Raine, an internationally recognized expert in pollinator conservation and ecology. “I still find it captivating to go out in the garden and watch them as they decide which flowers to choose. They are capable of impressive feats of learning and memory.” From how individual bees learn to how whole populations work, Raine says the tiny creatures have a lot to teach us about nature and our impacts on the natural world. A faculty member in the School of Environmental Sciences (SES), he’s studying bee behaviour and pesticide impacts, and shares his findings with a wider audience through education and policy. 

Catherine Carstairs – food celebrities

Research: I am a Canadian historian who sometimes ventures into the field of American history. My areas of interest include: gender history, the history of health and illness, and 20th century cultural and social history. I have published on the history of illegal drug use, the history of health food, doping in sport, and water fluoridation. I am currently working on: 1) a book on dentistry and dental health, and 2) the history of the Health League of Canada, the leading voluntary group promoting public health in Canada from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Shayan Sharif – avian influenza

Areas of Interest

  • Immune response to Marek’s disease virus in chickens
  • Immunology of avian influenza virus infection in chickens
  • Interactions between commensal bacteria in the intestine and the chicken immune system

The primary focus of my research group is to understand how the chicken immune system recognizes and responds to viral pathogens. Our primary focus is to elucidate the mechanisms involved in initiation and regulation of T cell response. To achieve this objective, we are utilizing new technology, including microarrays, mass spectrometry, tetramers, and real-time PCR to dissect the molecular mechanisms of immunity to viral pathogens.

Another area of research in my laboratory investigates the effects of intestinal microbiota manipulations, via antibiotics and probiotics, on control of enteric pathogens and development of immune system.

Bob Hanner – food fraud

Robert Hanner is the Associate Director for the Canadian Barcode of Life Network, headquartered at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph. He currently Chairs the Database Working Group of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) and also serves as Campaign Coordinator for the Fish Barcode of Life (FISH-BOL) initiative, a project of global scale that aims to assemble a standard reference sequence library for the molecular identification of all fishes. Dr. Hanner is a Past President of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER). Prior to his arrival in Guelph (August of 2005), he served as the Scientific Program Director for the Coriell Cell Repositories (at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research) and prior to that, he was a Curatorial Associate at the American Museum of Natural History where he spearheaded the establishment of the Ambrose Monell Collection for Molecular and Microbial Research.

Dan Gillis – food apps

I am an Assistant Professor and Statistician in the School of Computer Science at the University of Guelph (UG). My position is sponsored by the Saugeen Ojibway First Nations (SON), and is part of the SON-UG faculty partnership. I have spent the bulk of my training and career working on multidisciplinary teams which have focused on public health assessment, and natural resource management. This has included collaborative projects with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Statistics Canada, Health Canada, Environment Canada, B.C. Cancer Agency, the Government of Brazil, the SON, McGill University, Laurentian University, and numerous departments within the UG including Integrative Biology, Cell Biology, the O.V.C.’s Biomedical Sciences, and the School of Engineering. My research interests span statistics, computer science, biology, pedagogy, and community-engaged scholarship. I am co-founder of Farm-To-Fork.ca: a project which aims to improve the quality and quantity of food donated to food banks and pantries by connecting donors with the real-time needs of emergency food providers.

Sherri Cox - partnerships 

Dr. Sherri Cox is a graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC). As a wildlife veterinarian she has a special interest in orthopedic surgery and has experience working with native wildlife – from birds to reptiles to mammals. Additionally, Dr. Cox has been involved with oiled wildlife and response since 2002. She has been an instructor at the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association conferences, given talks at the OVC, and trained many student veterinarians and veterinary technicians in wildlife medicine. Dr. Cox is the founder of the National Wildlife Centre and is committed to helping educate on wildlife conservation, medicine, and emergency preparedness and response. Dr. Cox is currently the Executive Director, Global Development, Innovation and Research at the University of Guelph, Canada.  

9:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Reception with Scientists MacDonald Stewart Art Centre

CentreArt Gallery of Guelph

Friday, June 3

8:00 a.m. Registration Open, Thornbrough Atrium, 80 South Ring Road E.

Continental Breakfast & Plenary Session 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Genetically Modified Organisms, Thornbrough Atrium, 80 South Ring Road E.

Moderator: Malcolm Campbell

Prof. Malcolm Campbell joined the University of Guelph as vice-president (research) June 1, 2015.  A distinguished scholar and accomplished plant genome biologist, Prof. Campbell has an outstanding academic leadership and research record. He published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers and has served on a number of editorial boards of distinguished journals. He also advises journal editorial boards, scientific and non-scientific advisory boards, and governmental, non-governmental and community organizations, and has served on the grant evaluation committee of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.


Dave Conley: AquAdvantage Salmon: Aquaculture Innovation by Precision Breeding

Dave Conley, MSc, joined AquaBounty Technologies as Director of Communications in July 2013.  AquaBounty developed the AquAdvantage® Salmon (AAS), a transgenic Atlantic salmon that grows quickly and reaches market size in half the time of conventional farmed Atlantic salmon while using 25% less feed.  When approved by the U.S. FDA on November 19, 2015, AAS became the first transgenic food animal in the world.  A native of Montreal, Dave’s career in aquaculture grew out of his interests and training in agriculture, renewable resources development, and parasitology.  He has over 43 years of diverse practical experience in food and fibre production, research, journalism, public policy development, public education, and communications.  From 1999 to 2004 Dave served as Communications and Policy Advisor to Canada’s first and only Commissioner for Aquaculture Development at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. He holds a M.Sc. in Parasitology and a B.Sc. (Agr.), Renewable Resources Development, from McGill University.

Sekhar Boddupalli: Fruits and Vegetables with Improved Consumer Appeal – The Arctic Apple    

Sekhar Boddupalli, PhD, is currently Vice President, Food and Nutrition and leads Ag Biotech Division at Intrexon Corporation. Prior to Intrexon he served as  Global Consumer R&D lead for Monsanto Vegetable Seeds Division for nine years. In that capacity, he was responsible for understanding flavor, colour, aroma and nutrient attributes of vegetables and translating them to products such as Beneforte® broccoli, Melorange® melon and Evermild® onion.  Dr. Boddupalli has over two decades R&D experience and holds several patents and publications. He held research faculty appointments in biochemistry at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas and holds a PhD in biochemistry from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.

Nicole Nichol: Developing and Commercializing the Innate® Potato

Nicole Nichol is currently a Science Communicator and Project Manager at Simplot Plant Sciences (SPS) located in Boise, Idaho.  In this role, Nicole is responsible for tracking all of the Innate® potato projects and facilitating communication across teams within.  Nicole started at SPS in 2011 as an Associate Scientist in the Transformation Lab and later worked as a Compliance Specialist responsible for training and assisting collaborators with regulated field trials.

Nicole has a BS in biology from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana and a MS in plant breeding, genetics, and biotechnology from Michigan State University.  Her Master’s research focused on bioengineering drought tolerance into potatoes.  Nicole grew up in Colorado, and now enjoys getting out into the mountains with her husband and three young kids. 

April 26, 2016: New genetically engineered potato approved for Canada: Benefits for Island farmers, consumers, says potato growers group.

Clinton Jurke: How GM Technology Has Changed the Way We Farm

Clinton Jurke was raised on a farm near Lloydminster on the border of Saskatchewan and Alberta, where he lives and farms today. He received a Bachelors’ Degree in Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan and a Masters Degree in Plant Pathology at the University of Manitoba. Clinton has more than 20 years of industry experience, starting out working on canola diseases and testing GMO constructs at Advanta Seeds in Winnipeg. Later he worked at Monsanto in its canola breeding and technology development groups in Edmonton. Six years ago, Clinton moved back to the family farm and he now splits his time between farming and working with the Canola Council of Canada as Director of Agronomy. 

10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Networking Break, Thornbrough Atrium, 80 South Ring Road E

10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions, Rozanski Hall, 98 Trent Ln, Guelph

Science Panel: (90 minutes)

The Martian: Life in Space

Rozanski Hall, Room 105


Mike Dixon

Dr. Mike Dixon is the Director of the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility and program, and Chair of the Environmental Biology Department, University of Guelph.  Dr. Dixon joined the University in 1985 as an NSERC fellow after earning his PhD from Edinburgh University in Scotland and is now a full professor. Off campus he is the Technology Exchange Coordinator for the International Advanced Life Support Working Group (IALSWG) which is a strategic planning group offering information and personnel exchange between international space agencies such as NASA, CSA, ESA, RSA and JAXA (Japan).  He also is Chair of the Space Exploration Advisory Committee of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and is a member of the Life Sciences and Technical Committee within the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

As project leader for the Canadian research team investigating the contributions of plants to life support in space, Dr. Dixon formed the Space and Advanced Life Support Agriculture (SALSA) program at the University of Guelph.  This program currently represents Canada’s prime contribution to the International Space program objectives in Life Support. Dr. Dixon is also the project leader for the research team at Guelph investigating the biofiltration of indoor air as a method of alleviating what is commonly known as “sick building syndrome”.

Leah Bent

Hoping to help seniors improve balance on Earth, Leah Bent went to crew members from the International Space Station and NASA's former space shuttle program. Astronauts have often reported tingly feet during a space mission. Funded by the Canadian Space Agency, Bent has tested crew members before and after missions to learn which balance receptors in the soles of the feet are more active in zero gravity, perhaps helping to compensate for loss of balance information from the inner ear in space.

Nick Boyd

For a few months in late 2012, Nick Boyd lived on Martian time, following the landing on the red planet of the Curiosity robotic rover. Based initially at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California, he began receiving and analyzing data from an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) mounted on the rover's arm. That instrument probed Martian rock and soil looking for traces of water -- and ultimately life -- now or in the red planet's past. Back in a specially equipped operations centre at Guelph, he has continued to serve as operations lead of the APXS instrument, working with other researchers at Guelph and worldwide in what he has called maybe the "biggest, most important science mission in a generation."

Professional Development Panel 1: (45 minutes)

10:30 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. Rozanski Room 107

Writing About Science for Children – Trends and Best Practices

Nonfiction for children, that underappreciated workhorse of the literary world, is currently undergoing a Renaissance. Print resources, especially in STEM fields, are more innovative – and useful – than ever. Did you know, for example, that breaking news in science frequently appears first in children’s books? Canadian authors are at the leading edge of the trend, producing ground-breaking, award-winning books that turn fact-finding into an adventure and stimulate critical thinking skills with first-rate scholarship. In this session, we will shine white-hot laser beams on contemporary trends and explore how to evaluate science-related children’s books. We will  discuss different formats: books, short stories, museum interpretative texts, and web materials. And we will talk about how to write and market your own science writing for kids. You’ll also receive a hot-off-the-press annotated list of science-related books by Canadian authors, keyed to curricular topics. This session will be led by bloggers and friends of Sci/Why (sci-why.blogspot.ca) where you can find the latest news related to science issues for children in Canada. PLUS: FREE BOOK DRAW!


Pippa Wysong: Pippa is a long-time member of CSWA, who has written extensively about science for both adults and children.


Claire Eamer: Claire has written numerous magazine articles for children’s science magazines, as well as six books on science and history. She is a past winner of both the CSWA Science in Society Youth Book award and the Lane Anderson Award for science writing for young people. Her newest science book for kids – Inside Your Insides, an introduction to the human microbiome – is due out from Kids Can Press in 2016.

Kiron Mukherjee: Kiron is ROMKids Coordinator and Camp Director for the Royal Ontario Museum. He has extensive experience communicating science to kids, from toddlers to teenagers, in a range of formats and venues. He’s also an enthusiastic blogger and communicator through social media. And he knows a lot about dinosaurs.

Jan Thornhill: Jan recently won the Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People, awarded by the Writers Trust of Canada for a body of work produced over many years. It’s one of many honours she has received over the years for her books on nature and the natural world, aimed at both young and middle-grade children. Her recent book, Kyle Goes Alone, helps kids understand fear, independence – and how sloths poop.

Gillian O’Reilly: Gillian has been interested in words ever since she ate the dust jacket off the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary when she was 11 months old. After 20 years as editor of Canadian Children’s Book News, published by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, she has a broad overview of Canadian children’s publishing. She is also the author of two books for young readers: Slangalicious: Where We Got That Crazy Lingo (2004) and The Great Number Rumble: A Story of Math in Surprising Places (co-written with Cora Lee, 2007).

Professional Development Panel 2: (45 minutes)

11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Rozanski, Room 106

Old dogs, new tricks

While new communications are shifting the ground beneath the feet of traditional media outlets and changing the way science journalism goes about its business, some of the fundamental aspects of finding and identifying stories have not changed. In fact, “evergreen” techniques of storytelling can give you a significant advantage at a time when the torrent of science news on-line makes it look as though all the best tales in science and technology have already been told. This is almost never the case, but it takes a new perspective to root out even better tales for you to tell. In this session a panel of experienced science writers recall how they found stories long before they ever had access to the Internet and share some of the tricks that come with that knowledge. As a learning experience intended to demonstrate the value of such techniques, participants will be assigned to assemble a science story without the usual gamut of electronic information aggregation tools, simply by interviewing subjects who are attending the conference.

Tim Lougheed: Vice President, CSWA

Tim has been a CSWA member for more than 25 years, having been introduced to the organization by one of its founders, the immortal Mack Laing. During most of that time he's been a freelance writer, watching both this profession and CSWA evolve significantly with technology, which has also transformed the economic model for everyone involved in science communications. 

Peter Calamai: Founder, CSWA

Peter Calamai worked for more than four decades in Canadian daily newspapers, as a news correspondent at home and overseas with the Southam newspapers and as editorial page editor of The Ottawa Citizen. From 1998 to 2008 he was the national science reporter for The Toronto Star. He now is a communications consultant, freelance writer and editor based in Ottawa.

Ivan Semeniuk, The Globe and Mail, CSWA Board Member

Ivan Semeniuk reports on science for The Globe and Mail. A long time science journalist and broadcaster, his previous roles include field producer and columnist for Discovery Channel’s science magazine show Daily Planet, U.S. Bureau Chief at NewScientist magazine and (U.S.) Chief of Correspondents at Nature news. He a regular columnist for SkyNews magazine, the writer and host of the astronomy series Cosmic Vistas on Oasis TV (Now Love Nature) and he has written features for Astronomy magazine, Sky & Telescope and Cosmos, among other publications. Before turning to science journalism full time he spent 15 years developing exhibits and programs at the Ontario Science Centre. In one form or another he has been communicating science and science policy to a public audience for the past 29 years. He holds an undergraduate degree in astronomy and physics from the University of Toronto and a Master’s degree in science journalism from Boston University. In 2007 he was named a Knight Fellow in Science Journalism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

12:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Lunch and plenary session, 

So, what’s happening to my lunch? Head, Heart & Gut 

Thornbrough Atrium, 80 South Ring Road E.

Emma Allen-Vercoe, microbiologist, Robogut: The "Poopy Lab"

Got butterflies in your stomach? Prof. Emma Allen-Vercoe, Molecular and Cellular Biology, is using another kind of bug to study how stress affects the gut and help doctors treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

To do that, she’s assembled something in Guelph’s science complex that you won’t find on too many lab benches in Canada. All gleaming stainless steel and glassware, the “robo-gut” doesn’t look much like human innards. But by mimicking the environment of the large intestine, this new equipment will allow the microbiologist to learn more about the hundreds of bacterial species that aid in normal digestion and absorption of nutrients. Her motto: "My microbes told me to do it"

Mark Fenske psychologist, author of The Winner's Brain

In the brain, boosting function means learning how to flex the parts involved in operations that are critical for success, such as those related to focus, memory, adaptability, emotional control and self-awareness. And the more you learn about the brain and how to best exercise it, the more you can improve its condition.

“In the past, it was believed that the brain was relatively ‘hard-wired,’ that the capacity of the brain to change and develop was severely limited past adolescence,” Fenske said. 

“We now know that is not true. Each of our brains retains the characteristic of neuroplasticity — the capacity for changes to its physical structure and function — well into adulthood.”

Tami Martino, Circadian Science, Centre for Cardiovascular Investigations

In nearly every species on earth, life pulses with a day/night or circadian rhythm. In humans, these daily rhythms are driven by a biological clock that we inherit from our parents. They control how we adapt to light and dark, how know when to be active and when to rest, and when to sleep and when to be awake.

But the circadian clock influences far more than daily habits. Heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer have all been linked to disruption in the circadian mechanism.  And it now seems very likely that strategies identified by circadian research will be used to directly benefit the treatment of disease.

Time for a change in medicine as we’ve known it. 

 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions, Rozanski Hall, 98 Trent Ln

Science Panel: (90 minutes)


Moderator:  Robyn Meerveld, Knowledge Mobilization Officer, Office of Research, Alumna of the University of Guelph, Robyn has been a field biologist for Ministry of Natural Resources and a writer, editor and research analyst for OMAFRA and other provincial agencies.


Cynthia Scott-Dupree

Bayer CropScience Chair in Sustainable Pest Management 

Her current research interests include sustainable management (IPM) of insect crop pests using environmentally compatible control methods in horticultural, field and greenhouse cropping systems, management of invasive alien insect species, impact of agro-ecosystems on non-target organisms, including beneficial insects such as honey bees, bumble bees, native bees and natural enemies of insect pests (i.e., biological control agents primarily for greenhouse IPM) and the development of standardized methods for assessing the risk of insecticide exposure to non-Apis bees (i.e., bumble bees and leafcutter bees). Cynthia has been involved with method development for studying the impact of pesticides in agroecosystems on bee pollinators in lab and field situations. Since the early 90’s, she has been involved with the supervision of large-scale GLP and other field studies in Ontario – looking at the impact of insecticides on honey bees, bumble bees and leafcutter bees.

Nigel Raine

Rebanks Family Chair in Pollinator Conservation

In the yard of his downtown Guelph home, Nigel Raine and his wife Alice are cultivating a pollinator-friendly garden with such perennials as penstemon, lavender and bee balm. “My input tends to be: Is it good for bees? They’re fascinating and beautiful creatures,” says Raine, an internationally recognized expert in pollinator conservation and ecology. “I still find it captivating to go out in the garden and watch them as they decide which flowers to choose. They are capable of impressive feats of learning and memory.” From how individual bees learn to how whole populations work, Raine says the tiny creatures have a lot to teach us about nature and our impacts on the natural world. A faculty member in the School of Environmental Sciences (SES), he’s studying bee behaviour and pesticide impacts, and shares his findings with a wider audience through education and policy. 

Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly, Apiary Manager, leads extension courses, tours and is an enthusiastic guest speaker at naturalist clubs, beekeeping and horticulture associations in Ontario. 

Professional Development Panel: (90 minutes)

Data Journalism (Communication): Why to do it, how to do it, how to illustrate what you did.

Rozanski Room 106


Stephen Strauss: CSWA President

A statistician will talk about the problems statistics faces in being turned into an intelligent piece of communication; a journalist will do the same and will discuss how to deal the changes that the data requires to be made in a story, and a graphic presenter will do the same and talk about realizing afterwards that the graphic you used wasn’t the best one to use. So examples of what went wrong, and what went right, and why will be intrinsic to each presentation.


Don McLeish of the University of Waterloo who has spoken numbers of times on journalists being daunted statistics

Professor McLeish's research interests cover a variety of areas including probability and stochastic processes, statistical inference using estimating functions, and applications of Monte Carlo methods to finance.

More recently, he has been interested in imputing missing or incomplete data in finance and biostatistics, motivated by the fact that virtually every dataset including financial time series have related variables or cases that are only partially observed and that are often omitted as a result.

His book was published in 2005. Two invited talks on topics related to its contents were given in 2005, one to the annual meeting of the Statistical Society of Canada (SSC) in Saskatoon (June 2005) and the other to the Applied Probability meeting (INFORMS) held in Ottawa (July 2005). He has published papers on using the often disregarded distribution of the high and the low of an asset price in addition to the open and the close for estimation and testing.


David Weisz
Instructor - Data Reporting

David Weisz is a Toronto-based journalist specializing in computer-assisted reporting. He has been teaching data journalism for the past three years, most notably helping co-teach the University of King's College Summer School in Data Journalism, Canada's first intensive data journalism boot camp. David worked at the Toronto Star as a digital producer at thestar.com. Prior to the Star, David worked as a political reporter for QP Briefing, a subscription-only publication based out of Queen's Park, and as a web producer at Shaw Media's Global News.

Amanda Shendruk 

Amanda is a visual data journalist and the Digital Production Editor at MacLean's Magazine. Before arriving in Toronto she worked in the UK on the Guardian's graphics desk and as a freelance data visualization expert with clients such as the Government of Canada, World Economic Forum, and Hockey Night in Canada. 

3:00-3:30pm Networking Break,  Thornbrough Atrium, 80 South Ring Road E.

3:30p.m. - 5:00 p.m. SCIENTIST SPEED DATINGThornbrough Atrium, 80 South Ring Road E.

A perennial favourite event with both journalists and scientists alike, this session gives scientists the opportunity to pitch the importance of their science to small groups of four or five journalists at a time in under five minutes. The journalists get to ask follow up questions and do a quick interview with ten different scientists in an hour and a half. What is the most common response from the scientists to this speed dating event? "That was great! Can we do it again tomorrow?" From the journalists, "This is one of favourite sessions because I always discover some new science or a different take on something I thought I already knew. That's the good stuff I can take to my editor" 

Our Scientist Speed Daters are: 

Manish Raizada - Developing low cost technologies that empower farmers in North America, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia http://www.plant.uoguelph.ca/raizada

Jay Subramanian - Improving the shelf-life of mangoes using nanotechnology http://www.plant.uoguelph.ca/jsubrama

Al Sullivan - Growing native Ontario ornamentals http://www.plant.uoguelph.ca/asulliva

Dave Wolyn - Asparagus research and dandelions in rubber http://experts.uoguelph.ca/david-wolyn

Ali Navabi - Grain Farmers of Ontario Professorship in Wheat Breeding http://www.plant.uoguelph.ca/anavabi

Bruce Holub -how altering dietary fat types could alter biochemical pathways https://www.uoguelph.ca/hhns/People/BHolub.html 

Sherilee Harper - EcoHealth research with Indigenous communities https://sherileeharper.com/

Sharada Srinivasan, CRC in "Gender, Justice, and Development" http://www.uoguelph.ca/socioanthro/faculty/srinivasan-sharada

Public Event

6:45 p.m.  Book Reading & Signing, Bookshelf, 41 Quebec Street, Guelph

At the Bookshelf 6:45 PM. CSWA member Mark Winston will be reading and talking about his book Bee Time Lessons From the Hive which won the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction, and the CSWA book award in 2015.

Being among bees is a full-body experience from the low hum of tens of thousands of insects and the pungent smell of honey and beeswax, to the sight of workers flying back and forth between flowers and the hive. The experience of an apiary slows our sense of time, heightens our awareness, and inspires awe. Bee Time presents Winston's reflections on thee decades spent studying these creates, and on the lessons they can teach about how humans might better interact with one another and the natural world. 

7:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.  Social Event

Beer, Botany & GMOs at the Bullring, 107 Trent Ln 

7:00 p.m. Doors open

8:00 p.m. Beer and Botany

9:00 p.m. GMOs

Beer and Botany

It wouldn't be a science writers' social without some science. So, to start the evening off right, we're being treated to a special "Beer and Botany" presentation by Canadian Museum of Nature researcher Paul Sokoloff. Each cold, refreshing pint of beer couldn’t exist without plants and fungi. To help us get fired up for the GMOs, we'll learn some beer appreciation, botanist-style. Paul will talk hops, malts, botanicals, even fossils and beer on Mars. A beloved local brewer  will be on hand for tastings throughout the event.


It's party time at the Bullring, featuring the GMO'S band with CSWA guest band member Gord Leathers. You could wear your brand new free t-shirt. There could be dancing, There could be random prizes. Old friends. New friends. This is your tribe. Be a wallflower. What happens in the Bullring stays in the Bullring. And that's no bull.


Saturday, June 4

8:00 a.m. Registration Open, Thornbrough Atrium, 80 South Ring Road E.

8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast and Dragons Den Pitch Session, Thornbrough Atrium, 80 South Ring Road E

This session will give attendees an opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of 4-6 editors and producers from a variety of publications, and get instant feedback on way to hone and improve the idea – and if they are lucky, maybe even get a commission. It will be useful for students, journalists, and PIOs who want advice on how best to get their stories picked up by the media.


Brian Owen: CSWA Board Member

Brian is a freelance science journalist based in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. He started my career in the UK, as reporter and editor for the policy magazines Research Fortnight and Research Europe, and for the journal Nature. He now writes and edits for a variety of publications in Canada, the US and the UK.


Jude Isabella is Editor in Chief of Hakai Magazine, a magazine focused on science and society in coastal ecosystems. As a freelancer for over a dozen periodicals, she has concentrated on science, health, and the environment. Her latest book, Salmon: A Scientific Memoir chronicles her discoveries and thoughts after spending time in the field (over a four year period) with scientists studying British Columbia's coastal ecosystem.Jude also spent over a decade as managing editor of YES Mag, Canada's science magazine for kids. She continues to write for children, authoring books with topics that range from the International Space Station to language.

Hakai Magazine
explores science, society, and the environment from a coastal perspective.

Kate Lunau, Editor: Motherboard Canada

Kate Lunau is Canada editor at Motherboard, VICE’s online magazine and video channel covering science and technology. An award-winning science journalist, she was previously based at Maclean’s Magazine and the Montreal Gazette. Kate has covered everything from the Nobel Prize-winning neutrino hunt at SNOLAB, to astronaut Chris Hadfield’s turn as commander aboard the International Space Station. Kate lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

Technology isn't simply a section in the newspaper anymore. It is the news. From the government to the internet, the environment to our own bodies, technology is the driving force shaping our future, and Motherboard is dedicated to investigating that future firsthand.

Launched by VICE in 2009, Motherboard raises its eyebrows at the people and things that are making our weird and wonderful present and future, with news, commentary, in-depth reporting, photos, and original video documentaries. Dipping liberally into politics, art, sex, drugs, war, design, nature, space, history and sci-fi, Motherboard skips the useless tech hype to keep its cascade of tabs open to the stuff you should know.

Sarah Scott, editor and publisher at Barlow Books

Before founding Barlow Books, Sarah Barlow Scott was a journalist for three decades. She was a political reporter atThe Montreal Gazette during a tumultuous time when Quebec was deciding whether to separate from Canada. Following that, she wrote for most of Canada’s national magazines. She won two silver medals at the National Magazine Awards, plus a dozen other writing awards in Canada and the United States. Sarah has also helped leading thinkers write groundbreaking books for major publishers. She worked with Internet guru Don Tapscott on his book Grown Up Digital, and helped Dr. Peter Singer and Dr. Abdallah Daar write their inspiring book on global health, The Grandest Challenge. 

Barlow Book Publishing is based in Toronto, Canada, but our authors come from across North America and Europe. We’ve assembled a team of top freelance editors and experts in design, production, and marketing who have significant experience working for major publishing houses. We run our own businesses, but we work together in a new business model to help you achieve the highest possible quality and craftsmanship for your book.

M. Mitchell Waldrop

M. Mitchell Waldrop was the editorial page editor at Nature magazine from 2008 to 2010, and is currently a features editor at Nature. He earned a Ph.D. in elementary particle physics at the University of Wisconsin in 1975, and a Master’s in journalism at Wisconsin in 1977. From 1977 to 1980 he was a writer and West Coast bureau chief for Chemical and Engineering News. From 1980 to 1991 he was a senior writer at ­Science magazine, where he covered physics, space, astronomy, computer science, artificial intelligence, molecular biology, psychology, and neuroscience. He was a freelance writer from 1991 to 2003 and from 2007 to 2008; in between he worked in media affairs for the National Science Foundation from 2003 to 2006. He is the author of Man-Made Minds (Walker, 1987), a book about artificial intelligence; Complexity (Simon & Schuster, 1992), a book about the Santa Fe Institute and the new sciences of complexity; and The Dream Machine (Viking, 2001), a book about the history of computing. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Amy E. Friedlander.

Nature is an international journal, published weekly, with original, groundbreaking research spanning all of the scientific disciplines.

Concurrent PD session:

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Concurrent PD session, Rozanski Hall, 98 Trent Ln, Guelph

Personalizing the Impersonal: Writing and speaking can be dry when focused primarily on narrow issues, but at their best probe the deeply personal and the profoundly incomprehensible questions: who are we, why are we here, what boundaries define and limit our human activities, where do our responsibilities lie? This session will explore how to bring personal opinion and deeper reflections into your communication, engaging your audiences through story and personal anecdote linked. We’ll work on drawing from your personal experiences and expertise, focusing on clear thinking, brevity, simplicity and clear messaging. You’ll create short talks/written pieces based on the messages you want to communicate, learning to engage your audiences through story and personal anecdote without losing content. The sessions will be highly participatory, using feedback and revision to develop more powerful messages and increased capacity to speak and write with power. The outcome: your science communication will become more compelling and effective. Participants are asked to bring a laptop or notebook, or whatever you like to write in or with. (space limited to 15 participants on a first to register basis)

Mark Winston: CSWA member, Winner of the CSWA bookward and Governor General's non fiction book award in 2015 for Bee Time, Lessons from the Hive, currently on the Macleans best seller list

Mark L. Winston is that rare individual, a scientist who can speak eloquently to the public.  Recognized as one of the world’s leading expert on bees and pollination, Mark has had an illustrious career researching, teaching, writing and commenting on bees and agriculture, environmental issues and science policy. He directed Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue for 12 years, where he achieved wide recognition as a distinguished Canadian educator. He consults widely, in university, corporate, non-profit, government and community settings, utilizing dialogue to advance communication skills, thoughtfully engage public audiences with controversial issues, implement experiential learning and community engagement in educational institutions, enhance leadership and develop/edit ideas and proposals for non-fiction writing from newspaper opinion pieces to books.

This event is organized in collaboration with the Canada Council for the Arts in recognition of the literary and scholarly excellence demonstrated by the recipients of awards through its Killam Program and Governor General Literary Awards.

Cet événement est organisé en collaboration avec le Conseil des arts du Canada en reconnaissance de l’excellence en littérature et en recherche universitaire dont ont fait preuve les lauréats du programme Killam et des Prix littéraires du Gouverneur général.

10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Networking Break, Thornbrough Atrium, 80 South Ring Road E

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions, Rozanski Hall, 98 Trent Ln, Guelph

Session 1: 11:00 a.m. - 11:45a.m. On sharing the quest for awesome: a career in science communication (45 minutes)

Rozanski, Room 107

Lisa Lambert, Head, Strategic Communications at Triumf, CSWA former board member

An experienced science communicator, Ms. Lisa Lambert joined TRIUMF in July 2015. She is responsible for the laboratory's external and internal communications, media and community relations activities, as well as education and outreach programs. Before TRIUMF, Lambert served as Manager, External Relations & Public Affairs at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics where she advanced a broad range of strategic communications, interactions, and partnerships nationally and internationally. Prior to that, Lambert gained experience in both communications and research capacities, more recently with the Council of Canadian Academies supporting independent, evidence-based expert studies to inform the development of public policy. Lambert holds an Hon. B.Sc. (Spec. Psych.) from Western University and is an alumna of the Science North/Laurentian University joint graduate program in science communication, as well as the Banff Centre’s science communication residency program. Lambert was selected as one of 250 emerging leaders across Canada to be a member of the Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference 2015. 

Session 2: 11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Where do young science communicators come from? SPARK Interships

Rozanski, Room 106

SPARK is an acronym for Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge. SPARK is a unique training opportunity for students to gain experience in written communications -- from hard news to public relations. Through SPARK, students acquire marketable skills and knowledge that they can take into the professional world.The SPARK program turned 25 years old in the 2014-2015 academic year. Since its inception with two students, to the present where it now involves 10 participants per year, SPARK has developed a niche for making science understandable to the public and helping develop a culture that is supportive of research.A SPARK story is based on research important to the lives of Canadians. It is written with a journalistic approach. And it is accurate, reviewed by researchers for accuracy before being released.

Session 3: 11:45 a.m. - 12:30 a.m. Reaching your un-audience: How to share your complex story with new markets

Rozanski, Room 105

What does Stephen Hawking, Angry Birds, museums, musical symphonies have in common? They are access points to learning about quantum mechanics.

The Communications & Strategic Initiatives team for the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) will share strategies, tactics and tips used to open up the world of quantum information science and technology to new audiences. Communication professionals will leave with refreshing ideas on how to broaden their own communication reach and engage new audiences by identifying access points and using frames of reference for impactful storytelling. After all, it doesn’t have to be quantum information science. All topics – regardless of complexity or general unawareness – have unique access points to help bridge audiences to key messages. Discover how to find yours!

Jodi Szimanski

Communications Officer, Institute for Quantum Computing

University of Waterloo

As the Senior Communications Manager, Jodi handles internal and external communications at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) and manages the communications team.

Kathryn Fedy

Communications Officer, Institute for Quantum Computing

University of Waterloo

Kathryn is the Communications Officer for the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), assisting with internal and external communications.

Reaching Your Un-audience article by Ashley Miller

12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Lunch and plenary session, Mind & Brain, Thornbrough Atrium, 80 South Ring Road E

Mind and Brain

Photo for Nature by John Hryniuk Photography www.johnhryniuk.com

Dr Adrian Owen is the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging at The Brain and Mind Institute, Western University, Canada.

His research combines neuroimaging (MRI and EEG), with cognitive studies in brain-injured patients and healthy participants.

He studies patients who have sustained brain injuries that result in disorders of consciousness. He also studies patients with neurodegenerative diseases in order to understand more about the causes and consequences of the memory, perception and reasoning problems that many of them experience.

Finally, he develops web-based tools for the assessment of cognitive function, both in healthy participants and in patients with disorders of the brain.

2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Concurrent Sessions, Rozanski Hall, 98 Trent Ln, Guelph

2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Session 1: Writing Short Scripts for the Web (2 hours, space limited)

Thornbrough, Room 1002

Writing an academic article is worlds away from creating a two minute science video.  That’s roughly 300 words, and online attention spans are unforgivingly short.  You have only a few seconds to capture someone’s attention and convince them to watch what you’ve created. If you’ve ever tried to create an ultra-short script, you know how challenging it can be.  However, there’s a process you can follow to make things easier.  We’ll walk through a few examples and determine a framework for putting different types of short scripts together.We’ll then work through a few tips on shooting video.  Participants will get an opportunity to practice using their phones and, lastly, a few pointers on editing video will be provided. (limited to 10 participants on a first to register basis)

Shelley Sandiford , CSWA member, & founder of Sciconic

I’m a SCIENTIST. I am as comfortable running exercise tests as I am following cells under a microscope.  Over the years, my curiosity has taken me from Exercise Science to Cell Biology; a path sparked by the desire to learn how the body responded to exercise at every level.  I’ve never been afraid to take myself out of my comfort zone to learn something new.  I’m a better scientist for having done so. And, I was an ARTIST long before I was a scientist.

My interest in science is closely matched by my love of creating art.  But, over the years, I convinced myself that artists starve.  I work with both 2D and 3D software, but art was only ever meant to be a hobby for me.  It never occurred to me that I might be able to combine my two passions to help others explain complicated concepts until fairly recently.That’s a long story. I’m also a COMMUNICATOR…YES really.

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Session 2: Storytelling – Diversity in Creative Approaches

Rozanski, Room 102

Chris Earley is the interpretive biologist and education coordinator of the University of Guelph Arboretum and leader for Quest Nature Tours. He has written bird field guides and several kids' books on birds, bugs and other creatures, including "Weird Birds" and "Weird Frogs." New out this spring is "100 Nature Hot Spots in Ontario," for which Chris is co-author. 

Sky Gilbert, playwright 


Sky Gilbert is a teacher, writer, director, filmmaker, and he was co-founder and artistic director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (North America’s largest gay and lesbian theatre) for 18 years. His many critically acclaimed plays that have been performed in theatres worldwide include: The Dressing GownDrag Queens On TrialDrag Queens In Outer SpaceLola Starr Builds Her Dream HomeTen Ruminations On An Elegy Attributed To William ShakespeareThe Emotionalists (about Ayn Rand),  Rope Enough , Bad Acting Teachers and more recently The Situationists. He has received three Dora Mavor Moore Awards and the Pauline McGibbon Award for theatre directing, and he was the recipient of The Margo Bindhardt Award (from the Toronto Arts Foundation), and The Silver Ticket Award (from the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts). Sky Gilbert continues to produce plays with his experimental theatre – The Cabaret Company – in Toronto, and in Hamilton, Ontario where he lives. 

Madhur Anand

Madhur Anand is an ecologist and professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph. She has published more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific papers and co-authored a textbook on climate change biology. Prof. Anand has presented scholarly research in ecopoetics and co-edited a book on ecopoetry. Her debut poetry collection, “A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes,” was published in 2015 by McClelland and Stewart, and has been shortlisted for the 2016 Trillium Book Award for Poetry. 

3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Networking Break, Thornbrough Atrium, 80 South Ring Road E

3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Session 3: Improvisation: demonstration and discussion

Rozanski, Room 102

Ajay Heble, director of International Institute for Critical Studies of Improvisation

Ajay Heble is the founding Director of the recently launched International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI), and Professor of English in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. He is the author or editor of several books including Landing on the Wrong Note: Jazz, Dissonance, and Critical Practice (Routledge), The Tumble of Reason: Alice Munro’s Discourse of Absence (University of Toronto Press), The Other Side of Nowhere: Jazz, Improvisation, and Communities in Dialogue, co-edited with Daniel Fischlin (Wesleyan University Press), Rebel Musics: Human Rights, Resistant Sounds, and the Politics of Music-Making, co-edited with Daniel Fischlin (Black Rose Books), and New Contexts of Canadian Criticism, co-edited with Donna Palmateer Pennee and J.R. (Tim) Struthers (Broadview Press). He is also the Artistic Director and Founder of the award-winning Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquium (www.guelphjazzfestival.com), and a founding co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation (www.criticalimprov.com).

Georgia Simms, dancer, artist in residence

In her  role as the engaged practitioner in residence with the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI), Simms works with faculty and students across U of G to develop ways to integrate creativity into their research, teaching and learning through dance, theatre and other art forms. Her work aims to foster knowledge mobilization and community participation. A focus of her residency with CESI is the role that artistic processes can play in community building. For example, one of her previous collaborative projects involved discussions and focus groups with community members as part of a research agenda. She transformed parts of the final report into a dance performance. “We generated movement from the discussions that we then used in the piece,” she says. “Movement came from stories and experiences about civil-municipal relations through workshops and rehearsals.”

David Lee

David Lee is a PhD candidate in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. He is writing his dissertation on improvised music in Toronto, and is on track to defend this fall. His books Commander Zero and the award-winning Chainsaws: A History came out of his years on BC’s Sunshine Coast. His latest book, the young adult novel The Midnight Games, is set in the east-end Hamilton neighbourhood where he lives with his family. The latest edition of his acclaimed The Battle of the Five Spot: Ornette Coleman and the New York Jazz Field was launched at the New School for Public Engagement in New York City, and he has given presentations on his dissertation topic in Vancouver, Toronto, and Amsterdam. A double bassist, he edits a monthly newsletter, Improv Notes, for the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation based at U of G.

3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Hashtag-Awesome: Sharing Science in Social "Slices"

Rozanski, Room 106

Slice of PI is Perimeter Institute’s series of fun, fascinating, and highly shareable science dispatches designed for social media, and it is this year's winner of the CSWA's Science in Society Communications Award. Each monthly “Slice” takes a complex physics topic and explains it in an offbeat and visually engaging way, using videos, memes, and more.

Panellists from Perimeter Institute will provide a case study of how each "Slice" is conceived and created, and how it is then distributed through social media, online influencers, and science media outlets including Nerdist, WIRED, and io9.


Colin Hunter, PI Director of Communications: Colin came up with the initial idea for "Slice of PI" and has worked to both create compelling content and build internal support for the concept.


Eamon O'Flynn, PI Media Relations Manger: Eamon will be on hand to discuss ways to get your content into the broader media world.

Kelly Foyle - Astrophysicist and PI Outreach Scientist: Kelly develops and delivers educational material on foundational physics topics for the public, teachers, and students. She is also a valued scientific advisor for Slice of PI.

6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Reception & Awards Dinner, Summerlee Science Complex Atrium, 488 Gordon St

CSWA Science in Society - General Book Winner

 Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? by Timothy Caulfield, Penguin Random House Canada

CSWA Science in Society - Youth Book Winner

The Queen’s Shadow: A Story About How Animals See by Cybèle Young, Kids Can Press

CSWA Science in Society - Herb Lampert Emerging Journalist

Memory in the Flesh: by Arielle Duhaime-Ross, The Verge, 18 March 2015.

Honourable Mention: What We Can Learn from the World’s Longest Hibernator 

by Yutaka Dirks, Van Winkle's, 6 October 2015.

CSWA Science in Society - Science Journalism

Getting Smarter by Dan Falk, University of Toronto Magazine, Summer 2015

Honourable Mention: Behind a vegetative patient's shocking recovery

by Kate Lunau, Maclean’s, 31 December 2015.

CSWA Science in Society - Science Communications

Slice of PI by Colin Hunter, Tenille Bonoguore, Liz Goheen, and Maxwell Lantz, 

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, 2015

Statistical Society of Canada - Data Journalism

Canadians for Health Research

 Sanofi Pasteur Medal for Health Research Journalism

Sunday, June 5th

9:00am pack & go breakfast, board bus to Hampton Barn at the Belwood Lake Conservation Area (trip will take approx 30mins), University Centre, Room 103

All CSWA members and their families are invited to join us at the Hampton Barn for an informal get together. You don't have to be registered for the conference just contact Janice two days ahead to let her know you're coming. If you are a delegate it's also a perfect place for your family to come and pick you up after the conference. Here is some information about how to find us, what to do there when you're not attending a meeting. 

Website, with maps & photos:  


Address: 8282 Wellington County Rd 18, RR #4, Fergus ON



$3/children aged 6-14

Free for kids 5 & under

The Hampton Barn is right in the centre of all the activities. 

- There is a small lake with a beach that is open for swimming, just 5 minutes from the barn. There are change rooms. 

- There is also a park for kids nearby. 

- The kids fishing pond is a 2 minute walk from the barn and is for kids 13 & under (no cost). 

- You can walk across the dam, which is about a 20 minute walk away from the barn. 


- There is a smaller parking lot right by the barn, and then a main larger parking lot a 2-3 minute walk away.  When you enter the park, Hampton Barn is clearly written on the directional signs. 


- AND if people have their own boats, there is a boat launch at the upper end of the park (a 20-ish minute walk from the barn). 

The entire park has a LOT of tree cover, and has hiking trails throughout (links to hiking maps are found on the website)

10:00a.m. - 12:00 p.m. CSWA Annual General Meeting

12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. picnic lunch

2:00 p.m. buses back to Guelph, GoTrain, Bus, Via, drop offs

And that's not all! 

If you are interested in the Great Lakes and water issues you might want to maximize your travel dollars and time by sticking around Guelph for the next conference  Great Lakes Solutions: Integrating Across Disciplines & Scales June 6-10, 2016. 

The International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) is a scientific organization made up of researchers studying the Laurentian Great Lakes, other large lakes of the world, and their watersheds, as well as those with an interest in such research. IAGLR members encompass all scientific disciplines with a common interest in the management of large lake ecosystems on many levels. The annual meeting provides a forum for members to present and discuss their recent findings.

There are media passes for 10 members of the CSWA to attend the IAGLR conference on Tuesday June 7th at no cost. If you want to stay beyond the one day then the cost would be $100 per day. You can register for your media pass at the Science Complex Atrium on Monday June 6 from 4 to 8 pm.  

A small community with big influence.

Our members work the full range of media for the general public in Canada, and around the world.


Archaeology Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine

BC Magazine


BIOTECanada Insights

Boston Globe

Calgary Herald

Canadian Chemical News

Canadian Geographic

Canadian Lawyer Magazine

Canadian Medical Association Journal

Canadian Running




Cottage Life

Country Guide

Developing World Bioethics


Edmonton Journal


Frommer's Travel


Montreal Gazette

National Geographic

Natural History Magazine


Nature Reviews Drug Discovery

New England Journal of Medicine

New Scientist

Ottawa Citizen

Owl Kids

Physics Today

Reader's Digest

Scientific American


Sky News

Smithsonian Magazine

Spirituality and Health Magazine

The Canadian Magazine of Astronomy and Stargazing

The Canadian Press

The Globe and Mail

The Guardian

The Lancet

The Toronto Star

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