Life, land and water

Life, Land and Water

There is ample evidence demonstrating that the health of humans, animals, environment and water are directly connected throughout our planet. This has long been a cornerstone of indigenous philosophy. Emerging infectious diseases and climate change have now made this a critical area that needs to be addressed. UCalgary is proud to have made this topic a research priority, which will help support our efforts towards sustainability. Ongoing massive investments into this top priority will place UCalgary in a global leadership role for research and education, and improve life for all populations.

Dr. André Buret

Associate Vice-President (Research)


Wheat fields and grain silos outside Rowley, Alberta.

Improving wheat crops’ resilience, yield and nutrient value

Dr. Marcus Samuel, PhD, a researcher in the Faculty of Science, has been working on improving agricultural crop resilience for over a decade. His research focuses on investigating new, non-GMO ways to protect some of our province’s and country’s most valuable crops. Samuel's team uses cutting-edge gene editing tools to create better seeds and plants.

The International Joint Commission is hoping to modernize the Boundary Waters Treaty, which regulates waterways like the Milk and St. Mary rivers.

Canada-U.S. water-sharing agreement

When the Boundary Waters Treaty governing waters straddling the U.S.-Canada border was drawn up more than a century ago, concerns such as climate change and replacing the infrastructure were unknown. A Schulich School of Engineering professor and researcher is now leading a cross-border study into updating the oldest piece of legislation governing the use of water that runs between the two countries.

Inside the Ag1054 container, Courtesy Henry Penn

Hydroponic food production at research station

Ag1054 is Yukon’s first ever off-grid containerized hydroponic unit, operating at the Arctic Institute of North America’s Kluane Lake Research Station. The first season saw forty types of vegetables and herbs, and 30-plus kilograms of fresh produce per week. The unit is a 40 by eight foot shipping container, powered by solar energy and sustained with well water from the surrounding environment. It is operating again for its second season.

Over 1000 food, water and land publications in 2020
A day of cattle and bull research by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the W.A. Ranches.

Teaching, learning and student experience

green corn leaves and inflorescence by Boulanger sandrine

Hunter Hub Solutions Lab: Resilient Food Systems

As part of the annual 5-week Solutions Lab challenge, UCalgary students participate in developing innovative, sustainability-focused solutions to food challenges facing communities across Alberta and beyond.

Children playing with soil at Highfield Regenerative Farm

Werklund School takes lessons to the field

Werklund School of Education offers its pre-service teaching students a course that provides an experiential learning opportunity for children to learn about big topics like urban farming, food security and global sustainable development.

Students take water samples during a field course. Photo by Mary Reid

Links between wildfire smoke and river water quality

A UCalgary undergraduate research study discovered that when there were high levels of smoke due to forest fires, an increased concentration of biomass markers associated with wildfire smoke are present in the surface water of the river.

UCalgary is a Bee City Canada Campus that is certified for its efforts to make campus more pollinator-friendly.
Bee sits on pink flower in campus community garden

Campus and community impact

Bison lanterns at a previous presentation of the Iniskim experience by Peter Balkwill

Immersive puppet-lantern performance honours return of the buffalo

Visitors to the Barrier Lake Field Station were met with a new kind of wilderness experience as the evening woods were filled with the beautifully haunting sights and sounds of Iniskim: Return of the Buffalo — a collaborative project presented by the Canadian Academy of Mask and Puppetry which uses lantern sculpture, puppetry, spoken word, traditional Blackfoot song, dance and Nakoda drumming to re-tell the story of the buffalo in North America.

Indigenous clean water initiative

National Indigenous Water Operator Day

Former UCalgary student group and now a nationally registered non-profit organization Water Movement, organized and hosted the inaugural National Indigenous Water Operator Day. Operators from across the country convened at Calgary City Hall for the event where they were acknowledged, celebrated and honoured. The event gave those responsible for keeping drinking water safe in Indigenous communities a platform to share stories, solutions and challenges.

Wagonstage performers dressed as pollinators

Bee-trayal: performed by Wagonstage Theatre

A play about pollinators. Bee-trayal features bees, wasps and hummingbirds in a hilarious and interactive performance where our creatures vie for the top spot as Pollinator Extraordinaire (hint: moral of the story, they’re all really good at what they do and we need them all to create a healthy and sustainable ecosystem). Written by award-winning playwright and School of Creative and Performing arts Drama professor, Clem Martini.

49% reduction in water use since 2008
Bathroom tap leaking water drops.

Did you know?

Since 2008, UCalgary’s water consumption has plunged by more than half a billion litres!

That’s like saving more than 200 Olympic-sized swimming pools! 

Alberta is home to more than 330 different species of wild bees.

Learn more

Bees in urban settings tend to be smaller in size than those in natural environments.

Learn more