28th Annual River Symposium | October 27th & 28th 2021

GLOBAL CHALLENGES,
LOCAL CONCERNS

This FREE event will be take place both online and in-person in Cornwall, ON, Canada.

For the past 28 years, the River Institute has hosted an annual Symposium to bring together researchers and stakeholders to explore issues and challenges facing large rivers and their watersheds. This sharing of knowledge is powerful as it leads to a better understanding of fresh water resources and ecosystems, as well as the development of strategies for renewal and protection.

Participants attending this year’s Community Day, October 27th, will have the option to take part in person at the Ramada Inn in Cornwall, ON, or virtually via YouTube Live. Science Day, October 28th, will take place virtually.

Global Challenges, Local Concerns

For the 2021 River Symposium, all talks will be available live online and will focus on the health of our freshwater ecosystems. We will have both a Community Day and Science Day providing a platform for researchers, educators, policy-makers, community leaders and citizens to understand current ecological health as well as in-depth analysis of trends and future needs/actions.

The Symposium will share knowledge about the status of the St. Lawrence River/Great Lakes and other freshwater ecosystems.  The scientific presentations and community involvement sessions will address current topics important to all freshwater ecosystems and of immediate concern for the St. Lawrence River/Great Lakes.

This year the theme is ‘Global Challenges, Local Concerns’, and we look forward to learning about how our local freshwater ecosystems are being affected by climate change, land use change, invasive species, pollution and exploitation.

Community Day

Wednesday, October 27th

Join us for our Community Day. Engage with local scientists and community partners to learn about the challenges that face our freshwater ecosystems and the ways in which we are working towards finding local solutions to these challenges.

Science Day

Thursday, October 28th

Join us for our Science Day. For the 2021 River Symposium, we will be considering how global challenges are affecting local freshwater ecosystems. These challenges include climate change, land use change, invasive species, pollution, and exploitation.

Plenary Talks

Headshot by Adam Sings in the Timber

Dr. Elizabeth Hoover

October 27th 1:30PM – 2:30PM EST

The River is In Us: Fighting Toxics in a Mohawk Community

Elizabeth Hoover is an associate professor in the Environmental Science, Policy, and Management department at the University of California Berkeley whose work focuses on food sovereignty and environmental justice for Native communities. Her first book The River is In Us: Fighting Toxics in a Mohawk Community, (University of Minnesota Press, 2107) is an ethnographic exploration of Akwesasne Mohawks’ response to Superfund contamination and environmental health research. Her second book project-in-progress From Garden Warriors to Good Seeds; Indigenizing the Local Food Movement explores Native American community based farming and gardening projects; the ways in which people are defining and enacting concepts like food sovereignty and seed sovereignty; the role of Native chefs in the food movement; and the fight against the fossil fuel industry to protect heritage foods. She also recently co-edited a book Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States with Devon Mihesuah (University of Oklahoma Press, 2019). Elizabeth has published articles about Native American food sovereignty and seed rematriation; environmental reproductive justice in Native American communities; and tribal citizen science and community based participatory research. Outside of academia, Elizabeth serves on the executive committee of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA) and the board of North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS) and the Freed Seed Federation.

More Info

Elizabeth Hoover is an associate professor in the Environmental Science, Policy, and Management department at the University of California Berkeley whose work focuses on food sovereignty and environmental justice for Native communities. Her first book The River is In Us: Fighting Toxics in a Mohawk Community, (University of Minnesota Press, 2107) is an ethnographic exploration of Akwesasne Mohawks’ response to Superfund contamination and environmental health research. Her second book project-in-progress From Garden Warriors to Good Seeds; Indigenizing the Local Food Movement explores Native American community based farming and gardening projects; the ways in which people are defining and enacting concepts like food sovereignty and seed sovereignty; the role of Native chefs in the food movement; and the fight against the fossil fuel industry to protect heritage foods. She also recently co-edited a book Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States with Devon Mihesuah (University of Oklahoma Press, 2019). Elizabeth has published articles about Native American food sovereignty and seed rematriation; environmental reproductive justice in Native American communities; and tribal citizen science and community based participatory research. Outside of academia, Elizabeth serves on the executive committee of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA) and the board of North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS) and the Freed Seed Federation.

Dr. Anthony (Tony) Ricciardi

October 28th 10:00AM – 11:00AM EST

The Ecological Transformation of the St. Lawrence River by Invasive Species

Dr. Anthony (Tony) Ricciardi is a Professor in the Redpath Museum and the School of Environment at McGill University. He is a recipient of the Frank Rigler Award—the highest honour given by the Canadian Society of Limnologists in recognition of major achievements in aquatic science. For nearly 30 years, Tony’s research has examined the impacts of invasive species in freshwater ecosystems. He spent his childhood exploring the St. Lawrence River, where he developed a fascination for fish, crayfish, mudpuppies, caddisflies, and various strange invertebrates. His doctoral thesis examined how the zebra mussel invasion rapidly transformed animal communities in the river. Currently, he and his students are using experiments to test the influence of climate warming on populations of non-native fishes and invertebrates across the Great Lakes-St Lawrence basin.

More Info

Dr. Anthony (Tony) Ricciardi is a Professor in the Redpath Museum and the School of Environment at McGill University. He is a recipient of the Frank Rigler Award—the highest honour given by the Canadian Society of Limnologists in recognition of major achievements in aquatic science. For nearly 30 years, Tony’s research has examined the impacts of invasive species in freshwater ecosystems. He spent his childhood exploring the St. Lawrence River, where he developed a fascination for fish, crayfish, mudpuppies, caddisflies, and various strange invertebrates. His doctoral thesis examined how the zebra mussel invasion rapidly transformed animal communities in the river. Currently, he and his students are using experiments to test the influence of climate warming on populations of non-native fishes and invertebrates across the Great Lakes-St Lawrence basin.

Abraham Francis

October 28th 9:00AM – 10:00AM EST

Roles and Responsibilities: Caring for Creation in Akwesasne

Abraham Francis has a BSc in Microbiology, 2014, and MSc in Natural Resources, 2019, from Cornell University. His past experiences include community empowerment, engagement, and research with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and a variety of other community-based organizations. His Masters’ Thesis focused on applied research to develop a biocultural land stewardship strategy for existing and newly settled Native American Land Claims on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, Akwesasne. Currently, he works as the Environmental Science Officer for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne – Environment Program. The position allows him to develop and implement projects that are inspired and directed by community needs as well as influenced by his research interests. His research interests are at the intersection of environmental studies, Indigenous methodologies, community engagement, education, health, social services, law, and cultural foundations as a means for empowerment and healing within Indigenous Communities.

More Info

Abraham Francis has a BSc in Microbiology, 2014, and MSc in Natural Resources, 2019, from Cornell University. His past experiences include community empowerment, engagement, and research with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and a variety of other community-based organizations. His Masters’ Thesis focused on applied research to develop a biocultural land stewardship strategy for existing and newly settled Native American Land Claims on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, Akwesasne. Currently, he works as the Environmental Science Officer for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne – Environment Program. The position allows him to develop and implement projects that are inspired and directed by community needs as well as influenced by his research interests. His research interests are at the intersection of environmental studies, Indigenous methodologies, community engagement, education, health, social services, law, and cultural foundations as a means for empowerment and healing within Indigenous Communities.

George Kourounis

October 27th 11:00AM – 12:00PM EST

Exploring Earth’s Extremes

George Kourounis is a renowned global adventurer, storm chaser, explorer and television presenter. Based in Toronto, his efforts to document nature’s worst weather conditions have taken him all over the globe, into places most normal people are fleeing from. Whether it’s a tornado outbreak in Kansas, a monster hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, forest fires in British Columbia, or even an erupting volcano, he’s usually in the middle of the action with his camera rolling. His efforts have been seen around the world on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic Explorer, BBC-TV, CNN and of course, his own adventure TV program Angry Planet which has been broadcast in over 100 countries. The program airs on OLN, City TV, The Travel Channel, The Weather Channel, Halogen TV & others.

More Info

George Kourounis is a renowned global adventurer, storm chaser, explorer and television presenter. Based in Toronto, his efforts to document nature’s worst weather conditions have taken him all over the globe, into places most normal people are fleeing from. Whether it’s a tornado outbreak in Kansas, a monster hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, forest fires in British Columbia, or even an erupting volcano, he’s usually in the middle of the action with his camera rolling. His efforts have been seen around the world on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic Explorer, BBC-TV, CNN and of course, his own adventure TV program Angry Planet which has been broadcast in over 100 countries. The program airs on OLN, City TV, The Travel Channel, The Weather Channel, Halogen TV & others.

Registration

Registration for both the Community Day and Science Day was free this year.

A BIG thank you to our sponsors for making this possible.

Event Partners and Sponsors

Organizing Committee

Georgia Bock, Co-Chair

Leigh McGaughey, Co-Chair

Bailey Bedard

Cristina Charette

Christina Collard

Stéphanie Guernon

Lexy Harquail

Brian Hickey

Stephany Hildebrand

Courtney Holden

Jennifer Lauzon

Pam Maloney

Mary Ann Perron

Jeff Ridal

Yanik Rozon

Lee Theodore

Zach Zwanenburg

Matt Windle