The Rollinson Lab 

Evolutionary ecology, long-term data, environmental change

Members of the Rollinson Lab are active in public outreach and education, fostering relationships with the community, and promoting conservation. Read about our various community projects below!

Canadian Association for Girls in Science (CAGIS)

Melanie has been working with the Canadian Association for Girls in Science, an educational workshop series that brings young girls from the Toronto area into the heart of scientific exploration and research. So far, workshops include:

  • A NASA "Space Parachute" workshop where children were invited to design and test parachutes, while learning about aerodynamics.
  • A Scientific Illustartion workshop, written and designed by Rollinson Lab's Melanie Massey and the Royal Ontario Museum's Viviana Astudillo-Clavijo. Girls were able to sketch, categorize, and write species descriptions of a variety of animal specimens.
  • A private pre-screening of the documentary "Fix and Release", with guest talks by CBC Director and Producer Scott Dobson and Ontario Turtle Trauma Centre Manager Donnell Gasbarrini! 

Give Our Children A Future

Jennifer Reilly worked with other University of Toronto students to release a report showing that the climate change policy of the Justin Trudeau’s government is illegal, due to its failure to protect Canadian children from future impacts of climate change. The report shows the Trudeau government has a moral obligation to protect children; an international law obligation; and an obligation under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Includes contributions from the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights’ working group on environment and children’s rights. You can read more about the report here

Snapping Turtle Conservation 

Melanie Massey has been working with students and adult naturalists from Southern Ontario to promote the conservation of Snapping Turtles. She has given public lectures in Hamilton, Oxford County, and the Niagara Region, and worked on lab activities with a class of Grade 4 students, helping design their semester's Snapping Turtle project curriculum. Their final projects included custom-built nest cages, nesting dioramas, and liaising with local commercial retailers to educate others about helping injured turtles. One group of students met with their local MP to discuss ending the Snapping Turtle hunt.

She has also spoken at the Sigma Xi Lecture Series and participated in Science Literacy Week at the Toronto Public Library, sharing turtle conservation stories with the community. 

Algonquin Wildlife Research Station

  • A plaque detailing Turtle Research in Algonquin Park.
    A plaque detailing Turtle Research in Algonquin Park.
A plaque detailing Turtle Research in Algonquin Park.
A plaque detailing Turtle Research in Algonquin Park.
Annually, researchers, like Patrick Moldowan, on the Algonquin Park salamander and turtle projects participate in educational outreach engaging with over one thousand members of the public through events such as Meet The Researcher Day and numerous workshops workshops (e.g., Wildlife Research WeekendMarch of the Salamanders). During the field season, the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station Speaker Series and invited park evening programs allows graduate students to share their latest research with fellow researchers, research station visitors, park staff and naturalists, and park visitors. Of course, much outreach occurs spontaneously as researchers encounter curious minds while out sampling ponds or collecting field data. With the support of turtle project alumni donors, we established an educational bilingual (English-French) panel about the long-term turtle study, reaching an additional many thousand Algonquin Park visitors annually. Graduate students in the Rollinson Lab are happy to speak with interested naturalist clubs and school groups about topics of amphibian and reptile ecology and conservation. Please write to inquire!