SASKATOON - The Canadian Light Source at the University of Saskatchewan has been awarded $125,000 by NSERC’s PromoScience program, to deliver innovative educational programs expected to reach students in over 100 schools across Canada.

PromoScience funding will enable teachers and students to perform hands-on research addressing real-world issues, through existing and new programs.

A new initiative, the Trans-Canadian Research & Environmental Education (TREE) project, will allow students from even the most remote communities across Canada to participate in a national research program in partnership with the Mistik Askiwin Dendrochronology (MAD) Lab at the University of Saskatchewan, using tree cores to study the environmental history of their community.

In an unprecedented collaboration between research and education, students will gather tree core samples and mail them to the CLS, where scientists will examine their chemical signatures while live streaming with the students who collected each sample.

Teaching resources will help students to make sense of the data and to compare with other student samples from across the country, in order to understand how chemical changes in different tree cores correlate to their community’s environmental history.

“Students will learn about the life and nutrient cycles of trees, the trees’ ability to capture information in rings, and the nutrients in soil by working through modules and activities designed to engage students in the areas of STEM and traditional knowledge,” said Tracy Walker, Education Programs Lead at the CLS.

With connections to many areas of curriculum, including science, social studies, indigenous studies, health and more, the concepts and sample collection process will be relatable for wide age-range of students, while retaining the CLS’s core educational philosophy of authentic research and student decision-making.

Existing programs also funded through this PromoScience grant include Students on the Beamlines (SotB), which provides an in-depth experience in which students work alongside teachers, CLS staff, and subject area scientist for months to design, execute and report on their own curiosity-driven research.

Additionally, the Light Source Student Experience (LiSSE) allows an entire class of high school students to spend a half-day session collecting data on samples directly connected to the Saskatchewan environmental and health curriculums.

Lastly, a Teachers Workshop provides a unique professional development opportunity through which teachers can access a national facility, train in authentic scientific inquiry, and connect with a national network of STEM teachers supported by research scientists.

To arrange for an interview, please contact:


Victoria Martinez
CLS Communications Coordinator
C:  (306) 716-6112

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