Field Trips

All field trips leave from Saskatchewan Drive directly in front of the Earth Sciences Building. Please arrive 15mins ahead of the field trip departure time to check in with our leaders.

Edmonton on ice: the record of Late Quaternary glaciation exposed in the North Saskatchewan River valley
In addition to hosting the longest continuous stretch of urban parkland in North America, the North Saskatchewan River valley contains accessible exposures of Quaternary sediments that document the ice age history of the region. This half-day field trip will include hands-on investigation of sands that pre-date glaciation of the Edmonton region, till associated with a~1.5-km-thick ice sheet, and silts from a large proglacial lake. We will also discuss the linkages between this sedimentary legacy of glaciation and the rich fossil record of Quaternary megafauna in the Edmonton region, which continues to yield important insights into megafaunal and human dispersal at the end of the last glaciation.

Participants should be prepared to spend ~3 hours outside in cool temperatures (0 degrees). The field trip will be cancelled if conditions are too wet or snowy for safe access to sediments in the river valley.

Field Trip Leader: Dr. Alberto Reyes, Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta

Departure time: 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Fee: Free

From landfill to resource recovery – the Edmonton Waste Management Centre
Edmonton is targeting a 90% diversion of its residential waste stream to resource recovery. An integrated approach to waste management and advanced waste processing and research are key aspects of this target. A visit to the Centre will include the world’s first industrial scale Waste-to-Biofuels facility (Enerkem), North America’s largest Co-composter, e-waste recycling (GEEP), Materials Recovery Facility, landfill gas recovery from the (closed) Cloverbar landfill, among others.
This guided field trip is offered twice – Friday morning and afternoon (subject to demand) – with a maximum of 14 participants per trip. Participants should be prepared to walk short distances outside to Centre facilities at various tour stops. Note: for safety reasons, some facilities are not accessible.

Departure time: 9:30 am
Fee: $25/ per person to cover entrance and transportation.

Elk Island National Park: island of conservation?
Located 40 km East of Edmonton, the park occupies a glaciated landscape with distinct knob and kettle terrain and Boreal-zone features of wetlands, shallow lakes and mixed forest providing optimal habitat for a diversity of wildlife. It also constitutes the core area of the 2016-designated UNESCO Beaver Hills Biosphere Reserve. The park is home to the densest population of ungulates in Canada including national recovery herds for plains and wood bison. A guided hike will explore these features and park challenges such as controlling hyper-abundance of moose, elk and bison (options include trans-location, sale for slaughter, and hunting) and managing access, recreation and infrastructure (golf course, road/trail access, camping, beach facilities) demands for >1 million people in the region.
Participants should be prepared to spend 2+ hours outside in cool temperatures (0 degrees) and variable trail conditions. The field trip will be cancelled if conditions are too cold, wet or snowy for safe hiking.

Departure time: 9:30 am
Fee: $25/per person to cover park entrance, guide, and transportation.

Mill Creek Ravine Hike
Edmonton is famous for its river valley and ravines, which contain one of the largest urban park areas in North America. This field trip will take you on a guided walk through the Mill Creek Ravine, a deep wooded ravine with paths that meander along the creek. The hike will highlight historical and current uses and ongoing environmental issues and concerns. The walk will end at the Muttart Conservatory, where participants can warm up in botanical gardens featuring plants from various biomes in iconic glass pyramids. Lunch or coffee at the conservatory café is optional.
Participants should be prepared to spend about an hour outside in cool temperatures and variable trail conditions, which may be icy or muddy. Please dress appropriately.

Departure time: 10:00am
Fee: $25/per person to cover Muttart entrance and transportation.