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Dr. Melissa Arcand

New annual lecture explores soil health and sustainability

March 6, 2024 — 

The University of Manitoba’s Department of Soil Science and Manitoba Habitat Conservancy (MHC) are pleased to present the inaugural Ted Poyser Lecture in Soil Health, featuring Dr. Melissa Arcand from the University of Saskatchewan. This year’s lecture, titled “Depth of a Plow: Sharing Soil Health Knowledge and Education Resources with First Nations in the Prairies,” will take place on Wednesday, March 13, 2024, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm at the Richardson International Auditorium, 172 Agriculture Building, 66 Dafoe Road, University of Manitoba. A pre-event reception occurs at 11:00 am outside the auditorium. The event will also be accessible via Zoom.

Dr. Arcand, an associate professor in the Department of Soil Science, University of Saskatchewan, and a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Treaty 6, will explore the historical and contemporary relationship between First Nations communities and agriculture in the prairies. Despite the promises made in the treaties signed with the Crown in the 1870s, agricultural opportunities for First Nations have been limited. Dr. Arcand’s lecture will highlight ongoing initiatives aimed at increasing access to soil science and agricultural training for Indigenous students and land managers. She will showcase projects focused on establishing soil health learning circles to share knowledge on soil health and beneficial management practices tailored to respect Indigenous values and incorporate Indigenous knowledge.

The Ted Poyser Lecture in Soil Health is made possible through the Ted Poyser Plant Ideas Fund, established in 2021 to honour the legacy of Edward A. (Ted) Poyser’s contributions to soil science and landscape conservation programming in the Province. Administered by The Manitoba Habitat Conservancy, the fund supports initiatives that promote soil health and sustainable agriculture in Manitoba.

“Ted Poyser was known to say, ‘Everyone needs a passion; mine is about soil and water conservation”. The Ted Poyser Lectures will help to bring forward fresh perspectives about soils, water and natural areas to students, researchers and wider audiences,” said Stephen Carlyle, MHC chief executive officer.

“With MHC we are immensely pleased to bring this lectureship to the public and delighted to have Dr. Arcand as the first lecturer, a very fitting way to celebrate Ted’s contribution to soil conservation,” said Mario Tenuta, Professor and Senior Industrial Research Chair, Soil Science, University of Manitoba.

A graduate of the University of Manitoba in the 1950s, Ted Poyser went on to become a major contributor to Manitoba’s soil survey. Later, he developed and managed important agricultural and landscape conservation initiatives, including Manitoba’s watershed conservation district program, the Funds for Rural Economic Development (FRED) program, the Canada Land Inventory and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan in Manitoba. Ted also made fundamental contributions to the development of Manitoba’s Crop Insurance program. A common theme was ensuring that all conservation programming included soil conservation and agricultural producer interests as bedrock considerations.

The lecture is open to the public, and attendees can choose to join in-person or via Zoom. Interested individuals can register for the Zoom link or participate as part of the free Sustainability of Canadian Agriculture virtual conference. See more details on how to participate here – Poyser lecture.


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