Dr. Bin Xu
“If the wildlife can come back and live in a functional, natural habitat, then we did a good job. We’ve already seen the return of tadpoles, frogs and owls, so for me that’s really exciting.”
–Dr. Bin Xu, NAIT’s NSERC Research Chair in Peatland Restoration
A job that successfully ties together the demands of industry, the needs of students, and our responsibility to the environment may?seem daunting. But to Dr. Bin Xu, the Research Chair of Peatland Restoration with the NAIT Boreal Research Institute (NBRI) in Peace River, it’s the best job in the world.
The peatland restoration program focuses on specific challenges faced by industry. For instance, Xu is working on research to reduce the environmental footprint of projects up-front, which would reduce the cost of expensive reclamation projects later.
Though Xu doesn’t teach formal classes, he is a passionate educator. “We’re teaching (students) not in the classroom, but in the field,” he says.
“When it comes to wetlands and wetland management and reclamation, there’s a significant gap in terms of trained workers and trained professionals, and that’s where we come in,” says Xu. “We are training the future generation of highly skilled, properly trained workers?who have the right knowledge to go into the field… to give us the better environment that we all deserve.”
Students who work with Xu also get to see NAIT’s applied research program in action, where moving at the pace of industry is key. “When it’s going, it’s definitely going, and that forces you to be prepared all the time,” he says.