Around & About...
passion turned to career
Meghan Hickey (Class of ’03)
After graduating in 2003,
Meghan Hickey knew she
wanted to go on an experi-
ence of a lifetime. Armed
with her passion for wine-
making, which she discov-
ered while studying at NSAC,
Meghan headed to New Zea-
land then the UK. While hav-
ing the time of her life, she’s
also now in the midst of turn-
ing her passion into a career.
“I fell in love with wine making during my small fruit production
class at NSAC,” says Meghan. “Dr. Hal Ju took our class on a tour of
Jost vineyards and vineyards in the Annapolis valley - ever since, I’ve
When Meghan received her diploma at NSAC, she knew she
couldn’t settle for working in a garden centre. She wanted to work
towards her dream job.
“I would love to be a winemaker and vineyard manager of a small
boutique winery,” says Meghan, ”one that produces top class wines.”
When she ﬁrst settled in New Zealand, Meghan worked in vari-
ous vineyards learning the ropes of grape growing. “Getting my ﬁrst
job at a vineyard in New Zealand was easy,” she says. “There is a huge
demand for seasonal workers.” She knew almost instantly that she
could never handle an oﬃce job. She needed to be outside tending
“Right away I wanted to go back to school and study wine mak-
ing,” she said.
A few years ago Meghan and her husband moved to England.
She is in now in her second and ﬁnal year, at Plumpton College (part
of University of Brighton), where she is taking her passion to the next
“In some ways, Plumpton College is a lot like NSAC,” says Meghan.
“However it has a fully functional commercial winery, with 10 ha of
vines.” The school also boasts an equine unit with over 20 horses.
When she graduates next year, Meghan and her husband are
contemplating heading back to New Zealand. However, return-
ing to Nova Scotia isn’t out of the question either. “During a recent
trip home, we visited the Annapolis valley and were shocked at the
amazing quality of wine being produced there,” says Meghan. “So,
As for Meghan’s favorite wine, “I always get asked that question,”
she says. “It always changes too, but at this moment in time my fa-
vorite would have to be the Pegasus Bay Riesling, from the Waipara
region of New Zealand. However, ‘Blow me Down’, from Blomidon
Estate in the Annapolis valley is closing in on second.”
Seeing the Glass half Full
Jim Hamilton (Class of ‘74)
It didn’t take a career in inter-
national development to open
Jim Hamilton’s eyes to the way
people live around the globe. He
loves traveling and has visited
more than 25 countries.
But it is his commitment
to improving water condi-
tions in developing countries
that has taken him to some
of the most challenging re-
gions of the world.
One of those countries is
Bangladesh, where naturally oc-
curring arsenic in groundwater may be exposing as much as 20
per cent of the population to chronic poisoning and other arse-
nic-related health problems.
Jim was recently involved with the CIDA-funded Bangladesh
Environmental Technology veriﬁcation – Support to Arsenic Miti-
gation Project (BETv-SAM). In a nutshell, the project aimed to im-
prove the safety of drinking water for Bangladeshis.
It did this by verifying the performance of selected arsenic
removal technologies. It also helped local Bangladeshi laborato-
ries carry out the veriﬁcation and monitoring of arsenic removal
“We provided Canadian technical expertise to enhance the
knowledge and skills of Bangladeshi scientists,” says Jim. “This al-
lowed Bangladesh to draw on international best practice in the
design and delivery of environmental technology veriﬁcation
“BETv-SAM provided Bangladesh scientists with the skills
and tools to ensure that only certiﬁed arsenic removal technolo-
gies would ﬁnd their way into the marketplace; ensuring only
technologies with proven performance were sold to people in
arsenic-contaminated areas. In this way, the consumption of ar-
senic-unsafe water and the ensuing eﬀects of arsenicosis could
In addition to training Bangladeshi scientists, Jim’s project
team introduced quality assurance/quality control and stan-
dard operating procedures to participating laboratories. One
government laboratory, at the Bangladesh Council of Scientiﬁc
& Industrial Research Analytical Chemistry Lab, has become the
ﬁrst government laboratory in Bangladesh to achieve ISO 17025
international accreditation. The achievement underscores the ef-
fectiveness of the capacity building work undertaken by the project.
“Bangladesh is a small country with huge population pres-
sures, limited natural resources and frequent natural disasters,
Agricola News / Around & About
amongst other issues of political, religious and civil challenges,”
explains Jim. “But it is also very dynamic and has great potential
for mobilizing human capital for economic beneﬁt and social
“The majority of Bangladeshis are no diﬀerent than you or I. They
have their own aspirations, family commitments and personal
Leading a career he characterizes as serendipitous, Jim has
been living NSAC’s brand of “making a diﬀerence.”
In his new role with CHF, a Canadian non-proﬁt international
development organization, Jim continues to make a diﬀerence.
CHF works with local developing country partners to provide
targeted support to poor rural communities through transfer of
skills and knowledge, technical expertise and livelihood assis-
tance to help lift them out of poverty.
According to Jim, “There are so many people of various cul-
tures, ethnicities and educational backgrounds around the
world; including vulnerable and excluded groups which have
limited opportunity, but all kinds of potential. They deserve our
attention and stewardship.”
‘The Guy on the Bike’
Ryan Riordon (Class of ’04 & ‘09)
Does the story about
the young politician,
who visited everyone
in his riding using only
his bicycle for trans-
portation, sound famil-
iar? That young politi-
cian was Ryan Riordon,
a 28-year-old MLA can-
didate, in NB.
Last fall, Ryan want-
ed to campaign diﬀer-
ently from his competitors. That he did. By visiting 3,020 homes
out of 4,000 on his bike, Ryan achieved something many said
could not be done.
Ryan became a conversation piece for people and was quick-
ly known as ‘the guy on the bike’. The beneﬁts of using this mode
of transportation helped not only his campaign, but also the en-
vironment and his health, as his busy schedule didn’t leave much
time for exercise.
He is proud of this campaign choice saying, “if you always do
the same thing, you’ll get the same results. People always cam-
paign using a car, but my goal was to think outside the box and
still get to visit everyone in my riding.”
Riordon succeeded in gaining the title of MLA of Nepisiguit, NB
in October 2010.
He is also known around NSAC as an accomplished former
student. It was just in 2009 that he completed his M.Sc. in Rumi-
nant Animal Nutrition and prior to that a B.Sc. in Animal Science
(Agr.) in 2004.
Ryan enjoyed his student life at NSAC for its small class size,
excellent facilities and professors and staﬀ that were passionately
devoted to the education of those enrolled. He was a multiple
scholarship winner each of his four years in his undergrad degree
and also received a signiﬁcant scholarship with his Masters pro-
Though he never planned a career as a politician, he decided
to run after watching his province collapse over the past four
years. With the support of his friends and family, he decided to
step forward in the hopes of helping his riding of Nepisiguit.
“I don’t like watching from the sidelines. Too often we sit back
and say ‘why are they doing that? That doesn’t make sense! If I
was in that position I’d do it diﬀerently.’ I was always told, if you
are going to complain, suggest a better way and do it. But if you
want it done right, do it yourself. So I got involved.”
Ryan’s journey is only beginning in this new position. He was
sworn in as a Member of the Legislative Assembly on Oct. 23,
2010, a surreal moment for him.
In his new role he has learned a lot about diﬀerent back-
grounds and new perspectives. He understands how important
it is to act on behalf of his community and bring their voices and
opinions to the Legislative Assembly.
Ryan will work as an MLA for a four-year term and cannot say
for certain if his career in politics will continue after that. He is still
interested in his original ﬁeld of study and jokes that maybe one
day he will be able to combine the two interests of politics and
He encourages current students saying, ”whatever you do,
do it passionately and without regret. It doesn’t matter how hard
you hit, what matters is how hard you can get hit and keep mov-
ing towards your goal.”
north Kingston Young
Justin Beck (Class of ‘08)
You could say Justin Beck was born to be a farmer.
His father, Terry Beck, has been a pork producer in Nova
Scotia for 30 years and, while Justin remembers times growing
up when he would rather have been playing than doing barn
chores, “farming was always part of my life and I just sort of
evolved into it being my career choice.”
When he realized he’d rather be working in the barns or the
ﬁelds than playing games or watching television, he knew farm-
ing would be his future and took steps to learn even more about
his chosen profession.
The 24-year old from North Kingston now has a degree in
bio-environmental systems from NSAC, works full-time in crop
and processing systems at Lyndhurst Farms in Canning, helps his
father with the 650-sow farrow-to-weaner hog farm, raises corn,
soybeans and cereal crops on his own 60-acre operation and is
Agricola News / Around & About
involved in a variety of volunteer organizations.
Having a staunch, long held belief that young farmers are
the key to a successful agricultural future in Canada, Beck has
been actively involved in several organizations to foster growth
and development of youth in agriculture. He is currently past
chairman of the Nova Scotia Young Farmers Forum, having
served as chairman for the past four years and is in his third year
as the director representing Nova Scotia and Newfoundland &
Labrador on the Canadian Young Farmers Forum, where he also
serves as vice-chairman. Both organizations are educational
groups as opposed to lobby organizations, dedicated to foster-
ing up-and-coming leaders in agriculture, helping to nurture ex-
perience and skills for service
on commodity boards and
other agricultural agencies.
“Young farmers need to build
up conﬁdence in their abili-
ties, gain some experience
and plan for their farming
futures and succession
concerns,” Beck says. “When
we get informed and work
together, we can really make
things happen - including
inﬂuencing future agricul-
Beck is quite proud good
helped his family’s farm
weather the on-going crisis in the Canadian hog industry.
“That’s not to say it hasn’t been tough at times and we’re still
not out of the woods,” he acknowledges, “but we believe in hav-
ing a positive attitude towards our profession and our industry
and that has helped us through both bad and good times.”
Beck’s father, Terry, has been a strong and positive inﬂuence
on his own development as a young farmer.
“My father has always been innovative and willing to do
things a little diﬀerently, with a focus on good management
practices, and not merely expansion for the sake of getting
As far as his own future goes, Beck is gradually taking more
of a lead role in the farm, allowing his father to work on another
facet of their operation: marketing their own pork directly to
consumers. Beck is keen to develop a completely local product,
where even the grains milled into hog ration are all grown on
the farm. His experience with environmental science and agri-
cultural engineering has him also studying ways to harness the
methane from manure for energy to produce electricity.
“There’s always more to learn in agriculture and new, even
better ways of doing things,” he says.
“If I can encourage other young men and women to see the
opportunities in farming, and share the huge job satisfaction
that can come from agriculture, I’ll be well pleased.”
Tree climbers compete
Among Truro’s Branches
Steve Munroe (Class of ‘00)
As Steve Munroe waits for his chance to climb a tree, it’s easy to
see that he’s a man who loves his job.
A resident of Fredericton, Munroe was one of 60 arborists
from Atlantic Canada who gathered in the town on Truro in Oct.
for the International Society of Arboriculture Atlantic chapter’s
tree climbing championships, an event run in conjunction with
the Canadian Urban Forest
The event featured
events such as rescuing
an injured person from a
tree, getting to the top of
it as quickly as possible and
navigating through the
branches in a manner that
would not place too much
strain on the tree. All events
required the use of an elab-
orate system of ropes, pul-
leys and harnesses.
Munroe said he’s been
involved with the indus-
try ever since he gradu-
ated several years ago from
NSAC. He’s worked in the
U.S. as well as Canada and
is now glad to be working near his hometown of Saint John, N.B.
He said the event is diﬀerent from his day-to-day work becase
of its competitive nature.
“A lot of us are really good climbers, but some of us don’t do
really well under pressure,” he said. “There’s a time element to a
lot of these events, but in real life you get the job done safely
without worrying about time.”
The Canadian Urban Forest Conference focused on issues
of planning and the signiﬁcance of trees in towns and cities. It
occurs every two years, usually in large cities. Truro, the smallest
location to host the conference, landed the event because of its
active urban forestry program.
As he prepared to strap in to his harness and retrieve a man-
nequin from a branch, Munroe’s inner child was beaming.
“I get paid to climb trees all day,” he said. “How fun is that?”
Written by Michael Gorman of 周e Chronicle Herald. Re-printed by
permission of 周e Chronicle Herald.
Agricola News / Around & About
NSAC’s New Ring
NSAC’s new ring, which
was launched last spring, is
That’s why NSAC alum-
nus Arnold Blenkhorn (Class
of ’41), decided to purchase
the university’s newest
“I really liked it when
I saw it on the news,” says
“I said go for it, life’s too
short,” adds his wife of 65
Nearly 90 years-old,
Blenkhorn took a drive to NSAC, from his home in Southampton, NS,
this past summer and placed his order. He completed his stainless
steel ring by having “AB ‘41” engraved on the inside.
When NSAC’s Development
& External Relations staﬀ members,
Executive Director, Jim Goit, and De-
velopment Oﬃcer, Alisha Johnson,
presented Blenkhorn with his ring,
at his home, he was all smiles. Blen-
khorn, who never wore a wedding
ring, proudly tried it on.
“It feels great,” he said.
However, this wasn’t Blenkhorn’s ﬁrst NSAC ring. “I had one of the
old ones, back in the day,” he said. “But I wore it out.”
Delivering the ring to Blenkhorn wasn’t a simple task. Despite
his age, he maintains a very active social schedule. As the calendar,
managed by his wife, indicated, Blenkhorn is a busy man. “I’m part of
a group that sings to seniors every week,” he says with a laugh.
Blenkhorn says he won’t wear this ring out. “I’m not going to
wear it all the time, just for special oc-
But Blenkhorn’s not the only one
proudly wearing NSAC’s new ring.
Since it was launched, NSAC has
been astounded with the number of
sales. The “barley ring” (or tractor tire,
animal footprints – whatever way
you want to interpret it), has made its
way on the ﬁngers of countless proud
Not only is it being worn, but also recognized! The Alumni oﬃce
has had many reported sightings of rings across the country.
visit http://nsac.ca/alumni/gradring.asp for more information or
For more information, including online
orders, visit nsac.ca/alumni/gradring.asp
or call 902-893-6022
Exclusively for alumni, NSAC’s ring is available
in stainless steel and 14k gold.
Drop by NSAC’s Bookstore, Cox 152, to view
samples and place your order.
Arnold proudly wearing his new ring
Arnold with wife, Catherine
Agricola News / Ring Update
Agricola News / Co-Presidents Message
周en & Now
New Recognition for
A new plaque is now mounted on the wall outside of Alumni
Theatre in Cumming Hall. The plaque clearly indicates the
location and names of designated seats in the theatre.
Following a recommendation to
the Alumni Association, in the
early 1970’s, a capital projects com-
mittee was formed to address the
furnishings and decoration of the
auditorium in Cumming Hall.
At the Alumni Association’s an-
nual meeting in 1974, the com-
mittee proposed a project to help
convert the old auditorium/gym-
nasium into a theatre. The Prov-
ince of Nova Scotia had previously
agreed to support the project,
providing the Alumni Association
would raise at least $50, 000, as its
The proposal was endorsed and
the theatre project became NSAC Alumni Association’s ﬁrst capi-
tal campaign. While steps were taken to expand NSAC’s charita-
ble status to include fundraising for campus enrichment, a new
committee was appointed to organize and conduct the theatre
After receiving guidance from Harold Chute (Class of ’44)
who had fundraising experience at the University of Maine, the
campus enrichment fund campaign committee, Dr. Ross Mitton
(Class of ‘47 ), Char-
lie Douglas (Class
of ’33), Reg Gilbert
(Class of ’33), Paul
Gallant (Class of ’67),
Karl Winter (Class of
’51), Moris Kennie
(Class of ’46), Peter
Hamilton (Class of
’44), Dale Ells (Class
of ’59), Rollie Hay-
man (Class of ’64),
Harold Chute and Parker Cox, went to work.
The plan was to contact every NSAC alumni, as well as orga-
nizations and friends of the institution, seeking donations. The
goal of the committee was to raise $100,000 towards the theatre
renovations, doubling the initial requirement from the govern-
Two years into the campaign, an impressive amount of nearly
$104, 000 was gathered through the committee’s fundraising ef-
forts. In the end, the total exceeded
Alumni Theatre was ﬁrst
used in January 1980, for the De-
partment of Agriculture and Mar-
keting’s staﬀ conference. The oﬃcial
opening was held as part of NSAC’s
75th anniversary celebrations on
February 14, 1980.
Special gifts to the theatre
project were acknowledged with
engraved plaques on designated
seats, in the ﬁrst few rows. These
designated seats, along with their
engraving, are indicated on the new
Alumni 周eatre Project
Over 20 years later, Alumni Theatre has been the stage for count-
less NSAC student plays, community productions, children’s con-
certs, campus events, meetings and even a few weddings. But
with age and constant use come a number of issues.
Alumni Theatre is now in need of an overhaul - Theatre Project
Phase II. In addition to a new central air system, the theatre also
requires upgrades to lighting, sound and paint. These improve-
ments would modernize the theatre, making it more functional
and comfortable for its audiences and stage users.
To help pay for these costs, the remaining unnamed or undes-
ignated seats could be sold for a minimum donation. To move
forward with this phase, making upgrades to Alumni Theatre
even possible, a fundraising committee is required.
If you would like to be part of this rewarding experience, that
would see the theater modernized and help make a diﬀerence for
our community, contact 902-893-6022 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Agricola News / Cover
Dick Huggard (Class of ‘56) and NSAC Develop-
ment Oﬃcer, Alisha Johnson, hang the new plaque.
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested