I am very pleased to announce that Kristen Walsh will join us as the 2015 Teaching Assistant (Kristen has big shoes to fill after Jenna Falk’s exceptional contributions at TA in 2013 and 2014). Kristen grew up in Wakefield, Quebec, Wakefield, Quebec, just outside of Ottawa, in a bilingual family andcommunity. During and following her undergraduate studies in anthropology, she travelled extensively and for long intervals: Aix-en-Provence, France on a student exchange; field research in Dakar,Senegal; ten months of language training and field experience in East Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia.
Fascinated by the way people take up with ecosystems, she pursued a master’s degree in the School of Environmental Studies. Even her decision to study at UVic involved some ambitious travel! She drove down from her Chelsea home to Chicago’s O’Hare airport in 2013, picked up several graduate students traveling with me, and drove us to the Society for Ecological Restoration Conference in Madison, WI. No fancy hotels for her: she camped in a nearby state campground in mid-October. It was during that conference that she decided studying at UVic would be a good choice. She had her inspiration during the conference for what became her thesis research project. Few have studied how wind influences our perception of the environment, and indeed there are relatively few studies of the ecological consequences of wind.
Last summer, she joined the Mountain Legacy field team as Crew Leader, and led a team of four on a series of challenging experiences along the front range of the Rockies. She encountered several fire lookout towers, perched as they are on high promontories keeping watch over the landscape. They’re also places legendary for wind, and this began the kernel of thesis. Later this summer, after the Galiano course, she will hike to more than fifteen lookout towers and sit down with the tower observers to speak about their experience of the wind. This will build into a complex account of wind asan phenomenon that shapes how we sensually and practically engage with the environment.
Kristen will be responsible during the course for learning support of various kinds—working with you individually and in groups, troubleshooting, supporting field projects, logistics and contributing to evaluation processes. Please take time to speak with her. She is quiet and soft-spoken, but this belies her remarkable abilities and experience.