Abbotsford Learning Plus Society


10 a.m. till 12 noon, Tuesdays and Thursdays

(topics/speakers subject to change)

Open House – January 18, 2018


1.  Conservation From the Ground Up

         January 23, 2018

         Joanne Neilson, Fraser Valley Conservancy

         What is the role of the Fraser Valley Conservancy and how does it meet its mandate to protect the biodiversity of the Fraser Valley? Joanne will explain this through three examples of their work: highlighting a property they protect for the wildlife; the Nature Stewards outreach program; and the Ryder Lake Toad Tunnel project.  She welcomes questions throughout and will share ways you can become involved in helping conserve habitat in our community.


2.  Farmland and Food Security in the Fraser Valley

         January 25, 2018

         John Vissers

         The BC Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) was established in the 1970’s to protect farmland from urban development exploitation. While relatively successful until now, rising land values have made farming less and less economically viable. When every retiring farmer’s last crop becomes a subdivision, estate home, or industrial development, where will we grow our food? This presentation looks at local trends, challenges and solutions.


3. The Bible, Judaism, Israel and the Palestinians

         January 30, 2018

         Ron Dart, UFV (Univ. of the Fraser Valley)

         The Bible has done much to shape and form significant aspects of Western Civilization. Needless to say, there are various ways of interpreting the Bible on a variety of issues, but this presentation will examine how the Bible can be used to both support Zionism and the state of Israel and to critique Zionism and the state of Israel. The issue of Zionism and the fate of the Christian and Muslim Palestinians will be discussed in this lecture as well.


4.  Shifting Paradigms: Good is Not Always Perfect

         February 1, 2018

         Lucy Lee, UFV

         Ever since agriculture began intensive crop farming practices, we became more and more reliant on agrochemicals to increase yields and massively produce crops primarily for cosmetic and shipping characteristics. The Green Revolution that spawned industrial farming and catapulted human population growth also spawned various problems, highest among these, the negative environmental and health impacts, especially from the reliance of pesticides. More and more, new agrochemicals are being used causing adverse side effects. A group of these new agrochemicals are neonicotinoids (NN’s) that although touted to be highly specific as insecticides, are causing unintended consequences that need to be further investigated. This talk will provide information on current research with NN’s and their non-target effects using cellular models and extrapolate their possible impacts to humans and biota.


5.  Diverse Afterlife Views

         February 6, 2018

         Harold Rosen

         How do the major religious cultures of our region address the issue of Life After Death? How do these teachings and beliefs compare to Near Death Experience research? What light, if any, do these views and reports cast on the purpose of This Life? Harold, a community interfaith educator, will offer a multi-faith, multi-disciplinary and integrative perspective, welcoming your questions and comments.


6.  The Oregon Trail

         February 8, 2018

         Bill Overy

         Join us as Bill tells us the reasons why he and his wife Edna undertook the Oregon Trail. What did they learn along the way about the trials of one of the biggest migrations of population in North America? This presentation will include a power point presentation showing some of their photographs from the route they followed.


7.  Slumach’s Gold: In Search of a Legend

         February 13, 2018

         Brian Antonson

         BC's best-known lost gold mine story comes alive from one of the co-authors of the best seller "Slumach's Gold:  In Search of a Legend".  13,000+ copies of this book have entranced readers over the past decade, and the elusive and legendary horde remains locked in the mountains around Pitt Lake, just a few miles from Abbotsford.  Learn about the origins of this fascinating story, and hear about ongoing research...and searching...for the 'glory hole' rumoured to be worth hundreds of millions dollars!


8.  They Fought in the Great War: A Journey in Their Footsteps

         February 15, 2018

         Jim McQueen

         This is the story of brothers George and William Bailey, from their enlistment through the battles they fought and Willie’s death at age 20. George, the older brother, survived his wounds and returned to Canada to get married, rise a family and enlist in World War 2, living till the age of 83.


9.  Baltic Beauty Part II (travelogue)

         February 20, 2018

         Janet and Bob Trout

         The wait for Part 2 of Janet and Bob’s trip is over! They will take us to St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Finland, and Gdansk, Poland.


10. Guns, Germs, Steel and Writing: “Why Europeans Conquered Most of the Known World”

         February 22, 2018

         Gerry Rostek

         Starting 10,000 years ago we take a look at civilization in the Mediterranean Fertile Crescent.  We consider how the European culture got a jump-start on the rest of the world with its agriculture, technology, disease and its people management. Many of the world’s landmasses had substantial populations but what prevented their civilizations from conquering the world?


11. A Morning with a Comedian and Arts Council Director

         February 27, 2018

         Will Davis, Abbotsford Arts Council

         Our Abbotsford Arts Council, of which Learning Plus is a member, has a new director with quite an extensive list of life experiences.  Will is a comedian, among other expertise, so it promises to be a fun morning!


12. Spine Mobility

         March 1, 2018

         Dr. Dorothea McCallum

         As we age, our spines age with us. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis (LSS) is one of the most common causes of disability and loss of independence in older adults. The most common sign that a person has this condition is pain and weakness in the back and legs when walking. The symptoms nearly always disappear when sitting, or at rest. With an aging population, the number of people who may develop this condition, which interferes with nearly everything you want to do (except watch TV), is expected to grow dramatically.

         Do you have any symptoms of LSS? Is there anything you can do for yourself if you develop it? We will explore easy strategies for pain control and symptom reduction and even if you don’t have LSS, you may learn how to have a healthier back, improved balance and how to walk a lot farther!


13. The Impact of Natural Hazards in Canada

         March 6, 2018

         Steve Marsh, UFV

         In times when it seems natural hazards continue to affect our world in extraordinary ways Steve will focus on natural hazards in Canada and the science of these hazards. How can we both prepare for and respond to these hazards? Earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, biological diseases and severe weather will all be included.


14. Tailwaggers: The Story of Dogs

         March 8, 2018

         Margaret Evans

         Where do dogs come from and how long ago were they domesticated? Do they really have a ‘friendship’ gene like humans? And what can they share with us about rare diseases? Puppies love to play but what does play teach them about their canine pack? Much has been learned about dogs’ brains through studies with MRI scanners. But “Ozzie” might be a bit of an outlier when it comes to critical choices as research showed. Quiz: Who won the World’s Most Interesting Genome competition? And what was the role of dogs in a study on first year university students’ homesickness? “Tailwaggers” explores all those questions and much more in a fun media presentation.


15. The Future of Food: Global Security and Sustainability

         March 13, 2018

         Garry Fehr, UFV

         Technology and trade have greatly increased our capacity to produce food for a rapidly growing global population. However, intensive production systems have also degraded the environmental foundations of food security. In addition, hundreds of millions of people remain malnourished and food insecure despite a global food surplus. This presentation will discuss the potential of new technologies to improve food security and environmental sustainability, and also examine the limits of these new agricultural technologies.


16. A Visit with Mayor Braun

         March 15, 2018

         Mayor Henry Braun

         Come hear updates from our Mayor and bring your questions.  Always an interesting morning!!


17. Improving Access to Safe Surgery in Developing Countries

         March 20, 2018

         Radu Postole, Arbutus Medical

         Arbutus Medical is a Vancouver based company that manufactures medical devices for use in orthopedic surgery. The company operates primarily in developing countries, where their simple innovative technology was first developed. This presentation will provide an overview of global health, orthopedic surgery, and challenges of commercializing frugal medical devices for use in developing countries. Radu will also talk about his experience conducting clinical trials for Arbutus Medical in Uganda and Kenya, and some of his travel experiences in the region.


18. Meet Our Speaker of the BC Legislative Assembly 

         March 22, 2018

         Dr. Darryl Plecas

         Darryl Plecas is here to explore leadership in government as well as explain the role of the Speaker in our BC Legislative Assembly.  Bring your questions!

**Lenore Newman, who has had to postpone her presentation, will be here in the fall 2018 to speak on fermented foods!


19. Seasonal Colour in Your Garden and For Your Containers

         March 27, 2018

         Brenda Falk, Tanglebank Gardens

         Much of spring’s inspiration for the garden comes from the vast array of colour and plants which surround us, either in our landscapes, on our patios or in the nurseries. With her extensive knowledge of plants, Brenda will focus on seasonal colour in the garden, the many beautiful plants that bloom in spring, and some tips as to how to create a long lasting container garden.


20. Dementia Awareness – Getting to Know Dementia and What is a Dementia Friendly Community

         March 29, 2018

         Cyndi McLeod

         Enhance your knowledge of how best to support people living with dementia in your community and learn some basic information about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias as well as the impact of receiving a diagnosis. We can all play a role in making our community a great place to live for people with dementia!


21. Money Matters: TFSA’s, RRSP’s, RRIF’s and Keeping Your $$ Safe From Fraudsters

         April 3, 2018

         Shelley Perkins

         A morning with Shelley, a financial expert, to discuss TFSA’s, RRSP’s, RRIF’s and especially, helping Seniors keep your money safe and out of fraudster’s hands.


22. Personality and Politics: the Life and Times of Pierre Elliot Trudeau

         April 5, 2018

         Molly Ungar, UFV

         Pierre Elliot Trudeau had an ambiguous relationship with the Canadian public.  In his lifetime he was described as a magician, a philosopher king, an idealist obsessed with the Constitution, and in death, the phrase “he haunts us still” came to characterize him.  In this audio-visual talk, we will look at his life, his legacy and his continuing influence in Canadian society.


23. Walking to Camelot

         April 10, 2018

         John Cherrington

         Walking to Camelot is intended to be a celebration of the English countryside viewed from the vantage point of North Americans travelling the footpaths – and there are some 140,000 miles of them, chiefly over private land. The hope is for you to experience the sensation of stepping through a portal into a different world, where one meets the ghosts of the past and many of the literary inspirations that have helped influence our own and world culture. This may provide an opportunity for you as a would-be traveler to learn the basic elements of what to prepare for and expect along the way – from blisters to bulls to English gastro pubs.


24. Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Bald Eagles

         April 12, 2018

         David Hancock, Hancock Wildlife Foundation

         With 60+ years of raptor knowledge, this is sure to be a morning of further discovery of our magnificent bald eagles with David Hancock.  Fascinating stories and science will accompany spectacular photography!



Spring Tea – April 17, 2018