School of the Environment

Michele Vitale

Post Doc AAG Poster Image Vitale Millward

School Siting and Mode Choice:

a Demonstration Study in Halifax, NS, Canada

Post-doctoral Studies
Supervisor: Dr. Hugh Millward (Geography and Environmental Studies)

Under the supervision of Dr. Hugh Millward, Michele is exploring the effects of school siting policies, which tend to favor the construction of new large schools, often placed in isolated locations far from residential areas, where land is both available and affordable.

Through a Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis, Vitale and Millward have developed a series of pedestrian zones around 96 elementary schools located in Halifax Regional School Board. An average walk-ability score was assigned to each pedestrian zone by calculating their Street Smart Walk Score®, a composite measure of neighborhood walk-ability.

Preliminary results show large differences across the school district, and provide evidence that, especially in suburban and rural areas, school siting decisions strongly constrain possibilities for children to walk to school.   

Dr. Emily Chapman
Research Associate
Dynamic Environment and Ecosystem Health Research Group - Dr. Linda Campbell (Environmental Science)

Dr. Emily Chapman is a Research Associate with Dr. Linda Campbell’s Dynamic Environment and Ecosystem Health Research Group at Saint Mary`s University. She has a PhD in Applied Environmental Science from Gothenburg University in Sweden. She also has experience working in the Environmental Consulting industry, both in Nova Scotia and Sweden, with contaminated site assessments, risk assessments, and remediation projects. Dr. Chapman’s research interests involve assessing risks of contaminants in the environment, specifically related to natural gradients of toxicity modifying factors, using interdisciplinary approaches. She is currently investigating risks of mercury and arsenic in historical gold mining waste and methods for managing these risks.


Emily Walker
Research Associate
Ecology of Plants in Communities Lab - Dr. Jeremy Lundholm (Environmental Science, Biology)

As a research associate in the Ecology of Plants in Communities Lab, Emily will characterize wild bee communities and their foraging preferences in Nova Scotia heathland habitat during the peak bloom of several important berry-producing plant species. Emily will be expanding her research to quantify flight periods of our native bees in heathlands and will determine the impact of weather conditions on the foraging activity of wild bees in the province. Her work is supported by the Nova Scotia Habitat Conservation Fund (contributions by hunters & trappers), a Nova Scotia Museum research grant, and the Ecology of Plants in Communities Lab.

Caitlin Porter
Research Associate 
Ecology of Plants in Communities Lab

Caitlin Porter coordinates a long-term, collaborative research project to develop a standardized ecological reference framework for heathlands in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia’s heathlands, also widely called barrens, are a group of related ecosystem types including: sand barrens, dwarf heathlands, shrublands, coastal grasslands, highland krummholtz, alpine tundra, exposed rocky shoreline habitat, and bog wetland. Despite their cultural significance and ecological importance, heathlands in Nova Scotia have been historically overlooked. Objectives of the project include classification of plant communities on Nova Scotia heathlands and better characterization of their ecological diversity. This work is funded in large part by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Atlantic Ecosystem Initiative, Saint Mary’s University Ecology of Plants in Communities Lab and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.