I am a Canadian, Environmental, and Digital historian, and a Postdoctoral Fellow in History at the University of Saskatchewan. From 2012-2014 I was NiCHE Project Coordinator and Course Instructor at the University of Western Ontario.

Currently, I work on the Sustainable Farm Systems project where I am building on the work of the Great Plains Population and Environment Project and applying the Energy Return on Investment (EROI) models developed by the SFS team. More broadly, I am interested in the problems of modern agriculture and how Canadians did — and could — stay warm and fed in a world with much less fossil fuel. My detailed research interests are outlined here.

I also design web maps and mobile apps for teaching environmental history in the classroom and the field (see the NiCHE website).

This photo was taken on mussel beds in the North River of Prince Edward Island. Farmers once dug up the shells and mud from these beds to treat the soil for acidity.

This photo was taken on mussel beds in the North River of Prince Edward Island. Farmers once dug up the shells and mud from these beds to treat the soil for acidity.

Curriculum Vitae

Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of History
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A5
(306) 966-1333

Professional Preparation

  • 2010, PhD., University of Guelph, Guelph (History).
  • 2003, M.A., University of Waterloo, Waterloo (History).
  • 2002, B.A., University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown (History).

Research Projects

  • SSHRC Research Program: “Hewers of wood: Canadian biomass energy in the age of coal, 1850-1950,”
  • Author: Planting Paint and Spinning Flax at the Edges of Industrialization.
  • Editor (with Edward MacDonald, and Irene Novaczek): Time and a Place: An Environmental History of Prince Edward Island. Submitted to McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013.
    Includes authoring chapter “The Fertile Crescent: Agricultural Land Use on Prince Edward Island, 1861-1971.”


  • “Hewers of Wood: A History of Wood Energy in Canada,” in Ruth Sandwell ed., Powering Up: A History of Fuel, Power and Energy in Canada, 1800-2015, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014 (forthcoming).
  • “Top-down history: Delimiting forests, farms, and the Agricultural Census on Prince Edward Island using Aerial Photography, c.1900-2000,” with William Glen, in Jennifer Bonnell and Marcel Fortin eds., Historical Geographic Information Systems in Canada, University of Calgary Press, Canadian History & Environment Series, 2013.
  • “Drawing Lines in the Ice: Regulating Mussel Mud Digging in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence,” in Claire Campbell and Robert Summerby-Murray eds., Environmental Histories of Atlantic Canada, Fredericton: Acadiensis Press, 2013, 99-119.
  • “Spinning flax in mills, households, and the Canadian state, 1850-1870,” in James Murton and Dean Bavington eds., Bringing Subsistence Out of the Shadows: Nature and Economy in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013 (forthcoming).
  • Breaking Sod or Breaking Even? Flax on the Northern Great Plains and Prairies, 1889-1930,” Agricultural History 83(2) (Spring 2009): 221-246.
  • “The Perine Flax and Lumber Mills in Ontario, 1854-1871,” Waterloo Historical Society 93 (2005): 51-75.


  •  “Linseed Oil,” in Heather Streets (Ed.), Commodities, Culture, and History: the Products That Have Changed the World, Facts on File, 2013, (forthcoming).
  • “Fuel Wood,” and “Cotton,” in Kathleen A. Brosnan (Ed.), Encyclopedia of American Environmental History, Vols 1 and 2 (New York: Facts on File, 2011), 344-346, 596-597.


Selected articles on The Otter – NiCHE Group Blog (See the complete list here)

Recent Contracted Projects

  • 2012, August, GIS Analyst, ParCA: Partnership for Canada-Caribbean Community Climate Change Adaptation; geospatial data gathering, assessment and classification for University of Prince Edward Island Climate Lab
  • 2010, May, “Maps as resources for landscape and land use history,” and “Cartographic records and genealogical research,” Learning Guides for the Island Imagined Project, Robertson Library, University of Prince Edward Island (http://www.islandimagined.ca/guides)
  • 2009-2010, Socio-Cultural Values Mapping: A Prince Edward Island Case Study, Institute of Island Studies, University of Prince Edward Island (http://discoveryspace.upei.ca/vmp/).

Recent Talks

  • “A Cold Confederation: Urban Energy Linkages in Canada,” The Dominion of Nature: Canadian Confederation and the Environment, workshop, Charlottetown, PE, July 2014.
  • “The business of biomass: Canadian firewood suppliers in the nineteenth century,” Canadian Business and Environmental History workshop, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, May 2014.
  • “Top-Down History: Aerial Photography and Farm Woodlot Management in Prince Edward Island, 1935-1958,” Agricultural History Society, Banff, AB, June 2013.
  •  “Re-thinking the 20th Century as the Age of Abundant Energy,” a Roundtable at the Canadian Historical Association annual meeting, Victoria, BC, June 2013.
  • “Making Environmental History Public,” a Roundtable at the National Council of Public History meeting, Ottawa, ON, April 2013.
  • “Out of the Market’s Shadow: Subsistence as the Primary Concern of Environmental History,” a Roundtable at the American Society for Environmental History meeting, and Joshua MacFadyen and Alan MacEachern, “Time Flies: Aerial Photography and Landscape Change in Prince Edward Island, 1935-2010,” Toronto, ON, April 2013.
  • “The Fertile Crescent: Wildland Resource Management in Prince Edward Island, 1871-1935,” Canadian Historical Association / Canadian Association of Geographers joint session, Waterloo, ON, May 2012.
  • Co-organizer, Time and a Place: Environmental Histories, Environmental Futures, and PEI, Charlottetown, PE, July 2010.