Dina Fanara

Assistant News Editor


Creating experiential educational opportunities that allow students of all disciplines to use the knowledge of their field can be difficult to come by. But Nancy Doubleday, McMaster HOPE chair in Peace and Health and professor of Philosophy, has been working to create a new field course that will begin on June 25 and continue until July 2 in Port Mouton Bay, Nova Scotia.

Students will have the opportunity to live and work in the small historical fishing community three hours away from Halifax, in an effort to explore the problems that large fishing companies have imposed on many such communities in Eastern Canada.

The community has faced numerous hardships since the entry of companies that use large nets in which the fish are grown. These companies use hormones and pesticides in the waters surrounding these fish, resulting in a wide spread negative impact on the surrounding aquatic environment.

The water has subsequently turned into a dead zone, meaning that no marine life is capable of growing there. Because of this, fishermen have to go out farther to find lobsters, which they fish for their livelihood

When the company proposed putting in another fishery that would be six hundred times larger than the original, the local farmers and residents fought against it. It was not long ago that this large company was charged with using illegal pesticides, and a court date is pending.

The community is currently looking into revitalizing this dead zone, as well as the entire fishing industry in the area.

When speaking of the experiential education program, Doubleday said that “it works through the threads that the community identified as important to them.”

The question that is at the base of this field course, she said, is: “How do we do engaged work . . . together and with society as a whole?”

The main focus of the course is ecological restoration of the community through a deep and holistic understanding the hopes and dreams of those who make up the past, present and future of the town. “It’s about self-advocacy and the ability to change ourselves,” said Doubleday.

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