Category Archives: In the Field!

For student and other community activities. Field trips, field schools, etc.

Paleomagnetism and Student Research at Okanagan College

Groundbreaking research often results from an unpredictable combination of circumstances. For Okanagan College students Julia Thielmann and Arianna Lapham, answering a call for student assistance in a research project had the unexpected results of participating in a study of international significance and getting the opportunity to give a presentation at the Western Division of Canadian Association of Geographers conference at the University of Victoria last month.

“It was such a great experience and I learned so much,” said Thielmann, a second-year Okanagan College student. “I really enjoy research work now and I’m hoping to be able to do more presentations. Talking with the other conference participants and learning about their work was really interesting.”

Led by Dr. Terence Day, College Professor of Geography & Earth and Environmental Science, the idea for the research study began with the College’s purchase of magnetic lab equipment from Lakehead University in Ontario.

Using soil samples collected by Day from a nine-kilometre stretch of coastline in North Norfolk in the United Kingdom, the research team sought to establish a relationship between levels of coastal erosion and magnetic materials left by waves. Coincidentally, the research study samples were taken from an area heavily damaged in December 2013 by severe storms and storm surges that swept a number of beach-side homes into the sea.

“There are clear environmental implications,” said Day. “There is more magnetic material in areas where there is more erosion. We can identify rates of coastal erosion even in places where they are not routinely monitored.”

Day will be using the magnetic lab equipment in two summer research projects – one in collaboration with UBC Okanagan which will measure properties of rocks from the Himalayas, and another in conjunction with the Royal British Columbia Museum and the University of Lethbridge examining sediment samples from the Merritt area.

“We were the only undergraduate students giving a presentation and we were definitely nervous,” said first-year student Lapham. “But we did really well, and the audience was very supportive. We got lots of compliments.”

For Thielmann and Lapham, the excitement of the past year is taking them in different directions. Having completed two years of university transfer studies at the College, Thielmann is moving on to complete her undergraduate degree at UBC Okanagan.

Lapham is looking forward to her second year at Okanagan College and is planning to take more geography classes.

See the full story here:


Okanagan Geology



Interested in the geology of the Okanagan?

Dr. Todd Redding has created a free, virtual geology tour of dozens of the South Okanagan’s fascinating geology sites including the Naramata Falls, Sumac Ridge, Tout Creek Canyon, Skaha Bluffs, and many more. The website includes an interactive map and a constantly expanding list of resources for the curious. Check out the full website here:

Or start exploring links on the Okanagan Geology map now:

FPSE Grants $3000 to Support Sambolabo Education Project

Professor Gill Green was able to obtain $3000 in funding from FPSE (Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of British Columbia) for building rural schools in Sambolabo, a rural  community near the Nigerian and Cameroonian border on the Adamaoua Plateau.

Geography works around the world!

“I am working with a Cameroonian NGO called PADI (Projet d’Appui au Développement Intégré or the Integrated Rural Development Project) on a project to improve access to education for 87 children between the age of 11-18 years old in Sambolabo – a remote community in the Adamaoua Province of Cameroon. I have worked with PADI since 2002 on agricultural extension and school infrastructure projects. PADI is an entirely Cameroonian-staffed NGO recognized for its work on improving education access, agricultural production, and building schools, clinics, bridges, and wells. They are the only NGO based in this remote region. This project improves access to education for current and future generations of children in Sambolabo. Currently, Sambolabo children are attending school in an unfinished, one room building. Courses are cancelled in inclement weather. There are no toilets, no access to water or electricity, and the roof needs to be finished. Mr. Paul Iya of PADI will build a latrine, provide water access, installan electric generator, and finish roofing and building. This work provides infrastructure that allows access to basic education facilities. Thank you FPSE!”



OC4 Cyclosportif Registration

OC4 Cyclosportif

We are happy to announce that OC4 Cyclosportif is now open for registration! Please see below or click on this link for more information!

The Geography and Earth & Environmental Science Department of Okanagan College and a volunteer committee of employees and associated friends presents an inter-campus cycling tour, the OC4 Cyclosportif (June 21-23, 2013), showcasing the picturesque Okanagan valley. (What’s a cyclosportif?)

The event kicks off on Friday afternoon from the College’s Salmon Arm campus and we ride to the Vernon campus, were there will be merriment and delicious food. On Saturday morning, we’ll ride to the Kelowna campus, where there will be a gourmet lunch. Sunday morning we will finish our ride, arriving on the Penticton campus to an awaiting sumptuous feast. Due to dining space limitations on some of our campuses, we are limiting the number of participants in this year’s event to 300.

Here’s a map of the tentative route  (subject to change and refinement). Aid stations will be available en route, in addition to medical and technical support and a sweep vehicle. Funds raised will go to establishing bursaries for the nursing programme.

Please have a quick glance at our FAQ page to see if anything you need to know hasn’t already been addressed. Send a note to the event organization team at for additional information.

Congrats to our faculty member Markus Heinrichs for leading the concept into reality!

Register Now (click here)!!!

The costs for the OC4 Cyclosportif are as follows:

Early bird registration (up until May 31)

First day $100, each additional day $25
Regular registration (from June 1)
First day $125, each additional day $25 

There are five discounted slots available per day for riders who wish to volunteer one day.  Contact the event organization team at to take advantage of this offer.

If the above link does not work, please go here to register:

Schedule of Events: OC4 Cyclosportif

Tuesday, June 18
Package pickup Penticton 17:00-19:00
Wednesday, June 19
Package pickup Kelowna 17:00-19:00

Thursday, June 20
Package pickup Vernon 17:00-19:00

Friday. June 21
13:00 opening remarks Salmon Arm
13:15  start opens, slower riders encouraged to start earlier than faster riders
14:15 start closes
16:00 food service begins in Vernon, first aid station (Hullcar) closes
17:15 Vernon welcome ceremony
19:00 event closes, bikes in lock-up

Saturday, June 22
9:00 opening ceremony:
9:15 start opens, slower riders encouraged to start earlier than faster riders
10:15 start closes Vernon
12:15 first aid station closes, YLW
13:00 food service begins
13:30 KLO welcome ceremony
15:00 brunch closes, bikes in lock-up
16:00 courtyard vacated

Sunday, June 23
9:00 opening ceremony, KLO
9:15 start opens, slower riders encouraged to start earlier than faster riders
9:45 welcome at Westbank FN office:  Barb
10:15 start closes KLO
13:00 first aid station closes, Hardy Falls
13:00 food service begins
13:30 Penticton final welcome ceremon


Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ- please read with a sense of humour, as intended

How can I get back to the departure campus? Are there shuttles?

Because of the logistics involved, determining who needs rides where/when, the OC4 simply cannot provide shuttle services between campuses. However, there are several ways for you to find a necessary ride. You can register on to arrange to carpool to either a destination or departure campus. We have created a group (Go to and just enter the password (sportif2013).

You can also contact to organize a shuttle for you and several of your riding friends. You can pre-arrange to be dropped off at the departure campus and have your vehicle parked at the destination campus. Greyhound does travel between these centres, and you can arrange to travel one-way. Failing all that, you could always ride back…

What if I only want to ride one or two days, is this possible?

Yes, simply select the first day you wish to ride and then choose the number of days total in the registration website.

Can I bring a child?

Well, yes and ‘do you really want to?’ We welcome riders of any age, but they should be able to complete the distance/route in the time allotted. We would discourage bringing children that have not ridden these types of events before or would have difficulty in completing the entire stage.

Am I allowed to use a different route?

Absolutely. There is no penalty for taking detours, short-cuts, or alternate roads- feel free to stop for coffee, photos, or whatever else. We have taken measures to provide you with the safest, most interesting route, however you can do as you please. (you can even put the bike back into the car and drive to the destination campus if you really want)

What happens if the route is closed for any reason?

We will try to have a volunteer direct you around the closed section. In the case of stage 3, where there is only the one route, we may be completely out of luck.

Is there a discount for riders who wish to volunteer one of the days?

Yes, we are offering five slots for each day, in exchange volunteers receive $50 off their registration costs. Please contact the race organizer for a discount code prior to registering on

Is the money raised actually going to do some good? 

COMPLETELY! We are creating a new bursary (or more than just one!) for nursing students at Okanagan College. The organisers thought it would be important to support a health-oriented sector within the college where funds could be the most beneficial. No, the organisers are not going to Mexico…

What happens if my bike breaks down?

We have arranged tech support to follow the route at least once per stage. If your problem is terminal, there will be a sweep vehicle into which you and your bike can climb.

Where should I stay overnight? 

We have lots of suggestions, but you might prefer to just stay in one of the local hotels locally. Vernon has the Holiday Inn Express (on the north end of town, it means riding up to the college in the morning again), and Kelowna has the Siesta Motor Inn close by. However, we’ve not made pre-arrangements, so make sure you book early.

Why is the start time a one hour time period?

Since this event is NOT a race, the only result of fast riders hurrying to the destination would be if they wanted to wait the longest for their food.  We strongly suggest that riders who feel they might take longer to complete the stage depart first, and faster riders later.

Is there “day-of” registration, just in case I’m unable to commit sooner?

Assuming we haven’t reached the cap in participants of 300 riders, we will offer this option. However, we need to limit the number of “day-ofs” to ten individuals, to ensure caterers have sufficient food for you.

Are there draw prizes?

Yes, be there to win.