A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of representing the CSEG at Memorial University of Newfoundland and University of New Brunswick as part of the CSEG Ambassador Program. The CSEG Foundation has been busy organizing Ambassador functions at venues across Canada to coincide with presentations of the Canadian Distinguished Lecture (CDL). My initial plan was to host social functions at UNB in Fredericton, Dalhousie in Halifax, and at MUN in St. John’s.
Bernd Milkereit, the Distinguished Lecturer from University of Toronto, and I had a pleasant visit with professors and students in Fredericton. The talk was well-received with hearty discussion afterwards. At the student pizza function, many students picked up membership and scholarship forms. Bernd jumped into our discussion, sharing his enthusiasm over the fact that the student membership in the CSEG is 400 strong. I fielded a few questions about travel funding from the CSEG Foundation from students who have the goal of obtaining funding for students to travel to the AUGC, the Atlantic Universities Geoscience Conference. With the increased budget for travel grants in the CSEG Foundation, I strongly encouraged them to apply and to encourage their fellow students to go to the Foundation web page (www.cseg.ca/foundation) and do the same.
Then the storm came.
Despite Bernd’s and my best efforts to find a flight that would get us to Halifax in time to keep our commitment to do the lecture and meet with their geoscience community, there were no flights out of Fredericton nor any flights in or out of Halifax. There were parts of the Maritimes that had hurricane-force winds and extreme dumps of snow. In Fredericton, we had a few centimetres of snow and strong winds to significantly reduce visibility. We had good luck with timing in Fredericton, because UNB didn’t close down until the end of the lecture.
Later that evening, Bernd was able to get a confirmed booking to Halifax the following morning, to arrive in time for the noon talk. I was not as successful with changing my flights, so Aaron Foyer emailed me a suggestion that Bernd could talk about the CSEG and CSEG Foundation. I was travelling with my daughter, Sarah. We were feeling adventurous, and the storm did not seem to be getting any worse, so we marched out into the storm to head across downtown Fredericton to Bernd’s hotel to drop off the documents Bernd could use in Halifax. A 25-minute walk became nearly 40 minutes, after getting lost and getting stuck in a snow drift. We warmed up with a few beverages in the pub in Bernd’s hotel, and decided that a wiser choice was to return to our little hostel via taxi.
We caught up with Bernd in St John’s. He never made it to Halifax either. He hopes to have a chance to get out to Dalhousie at another date to honour CSEG’s commitment to giving the CDL there.
We had another good session at MUN, with a rather large crowd at the lecture. I spoke for a few minutes at the beginning of Bernd’s address. I felt that my joke about the “C” in CSEG standing for “Canada” and not just “Calgary” got a way bigger laugh than I had hoped it would receive, leading me to think that we still have work to do connecting to our fellow Canadian geophysicists at the far reaches of our nation.
The Canadian Distinguished Lecture and the CSEG Ambassador Program are excellent programs and I look forward to seeing our our volunteers continue to expand and leverage these great assets.