October 27th & 28th
Jordanna Bergman, PhD Candidate
Jordanna is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Biology at Carleton University investigating fish connectivity in the Rideau Canal under the supervision of Dr. Steven Cooke and Dr. Joseph Bennett.
For more information about Jordanna and her thesis research please visit her website here.
Environmental Projects and Remedial Action Plan Coordinator,
Mohawk Council of Akwesasne
Evie Brahmstedt, PhD Candidate
Evie is a current Environmental Science & Engineering PhD candidate at Clarkson University’s Institute for a Sustainable Environment. In Dr. Michael Twiss’ limnology lab, she studies mercury cycling in freshwater riparian wetlands, with a focus on the Upper St. Lawrence River. With her PhD, she hopes to obtain a position where I can further my research on pollution and freshwater systems, teach and inspire future scientists, and also participate in environmental management by involving herself in organizations that function at the interface between science and policy.
David Bruce Conn, PhD
Berry College One Health Center and Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology
lakwa’shatste Youth Fitness
Darlene Coyle, MES
Environmental Policy and Planning Intern,
Darlene is a passionate environmental enthusiast with a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo. She is also the Environmental Policy and Planning Intern at Watersheds Canada, a Policy Project Coordinator with the Canadian Youth Biodiversity Network, and an Associate Research Fellow at the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law. She is currently leading the Planning for Our Shorelands project with Watersheds Canada aimed at creating an online resource to help local decision-makers understand the science of natural shorelines while highlighting best management practices.
Lauren Eggleston, MSc
Save the River
Lauren is a Program Manager at Save The River, a US-based grassroots advocacy organization working to protect the St. Lawrence River since 1978. She earned her MSc in Structural Geology from the University of Alberta in 2017. Lauren worked in industry after finishing her grad studies, but moved on to education and environmental work in the National Park System and New York State Parks. Her work at Save The River focuses on teaching and collaborative research. Current projects include the Unionid Refuge Invasive Species Research Project in partnership with Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Environmental Division and New York State Museum.
Abraham Francis, MSc
Environmental Science Officer,
Mohawk Council of 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.
Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network
Elizabeth Grater, MSc
Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Groupes de recherche interuniversitaire en limnologie
Elizabeth Grater recently obtained her Master’s degree in Environmental Science at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. Since then, she has been working on a variety of projects along the St. Lawrence River (SLR), including a E. coli monitoring project in the lower SLR and multiple sampling campaigns aboard the R.V. Lampsilis. She is also part of the CentrEAU-COVID-19 project in Québec, working to track the spread of SARS-CoV2 through the monitoring of wastewater. Outside of the lab, she is involved in an interdisciplinary project that brings together scientists and artists to develop effective outreach materials and art installations related to the SLR. The goal of this project is to spark inspiration and motivation to protect this beautiful and crucial ecosystem. She is excited to participate in her second River Symposium!
Lawrence Gunther, MES
In 2012 Lawrence Gunther founded “Blue fish Canada”, a charity dedicated to water quality, fish health, and informing and inspiring the next generation of conservation-minded outdoor enthusiasts. Having earned his Masters in Environmental Studies from York University, Lawrence is now North America’s only blind conservationist, outdoor writer, podcaster, blogger, film maker and TV host. He’s a frequent contributor to Outdoor Canada Magazine, where you can also find episodes of his weekly podcast “Blue Fish Radio”. His award-winning documentary “What Lies Below” currently airs on CBC’s Documentary Channel.
Helga Halvorsen, PhD
Brian Hickey, PhD
Brian’s research has involved a wide range of taxa including bats, birds, fish, reptiles and invertebrates, in both temperate and tropical ecosystems. The unifying theme throughout his research is an interest in understanding the role environmental variation plays in determining responses of individual animals, and how the behavioural responses of individuals vary, ultimately contributing to the structure of animal populations and communities.
The focus of his recent work has been understanding contaminant burdens (especially mercury) in bats and implementing recovery actions for endangered bats impacted by white-nose syndrome. Since 2014 he and his students have built and installed 175 bat roosting structures (bat houses) across eastern Ontario. They are currently documenting the apparent recovery of little brown bats and evaluating the efficacy of bat houses as a conservation tool.
In addition to his role as a research scientist, he oversees the River Institute’s education and outreach programs, which in 2019 received a national award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), for their excellence.
Elizabeth Hoover, PhD
University of California Berkeley
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.
Rochelle Johnston, PhD
Rochelle has spent her career running programming to promote the wellbeing and resiliency of children and families, across Canada, and in some of the most dangerous places in the world. Yet, it took being pregnant with her first child Kai for her to realize that the survival of her baby was inextricably linked to the health of the planet. This anxiety festered in the background as she juggled a PhD on genocide with impossibly high expectations about being a mother. The performance was manageable until her son Ewan arrived, then cracks began to show. Through it all Koen, her partner and the kids’ dad, jealously guarded the family’s downtime and persistently ensured they spent as much time in nature as possible. It was during one such weekend hike that Rochelle confided in Kai (then 7) her crazy idea of a better way forward: they would start a nature camp for families. This was the most excited Kai had ever been by something his mom suggested. And so Family Earth was born. Family Earth helps families heal their relationships with the natural world through building their capacities to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis. Find out more at www.familyearth.earth.
Kat Kavanagh, MSc
Kurt Kornelsen, PhD
Ontario Power Generation
Kurt C. Kornelsen is the Senior Manager of Water Resources at OPG. He leads the Water Resources group which focuses on water policy and planning, hydrology and climate science. He holds a Ph.D. from McMaster University focusing on hydrology and water resources. He recently co-authored the Ouranos Valuation of Hydropower Assets and Climate Change Physical Impacts guide. With respect to climate change at OPG, Kurt has recently been focusing on the topic of resilience and developing the tools and framework for climate risk-informed decision making and integrating considerations for climate change into day-to-day business and engineering practices.
Explorer, Adventurer, & Storm Chaser
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.
Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry
International Joint Commission
The recipient of a number of awards recognizing his lifelong service to the St. Lawrence River, and service to many environmental and government organizations over his career, Mr. Lickers was given an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the State University of New York Syracuse. He holds a Bachelor of Science (Biology and Geography) and undertook graduate studies at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, and was a Trent University Ph D. Elder Council member. He resides in Akwesasne, Ontario.
Kristin Lowitt, PhD
School of Environmental Studies,
Kristen Lowitt is Assistant Professor in the School of Environmental Studies at Queen’s University. Her community-engaged research program is directed towards working with communities to build just and sustainable food systems in rural and coastal settings. One of her main interests is the role of small-scale fisheries in building resilient food systems.
Leigh McGaughey, PhD
Great River Network
Patricia lived her life on (and in) the Upper St. Lawrence River. She grew up in Kingston, cottaged on Lake Ontario, raised her children on Wolfe Island and then relocated to Cornwall. She has interacted with the Great River in all aspects and in every season.
Patricia’s formal education as a Medical Laboratory Technologist allowed her to start her career path in the laboratory of the Hotel Dieu Hospital (Kingston) and led her to a Sanitation Technologist position with Kraft Foods (Ingleside). Her education, knowledge, skills and experience has earned her the status of Citizen Scientist.
One of Patricia’s dreams was to achieve scuba diving certification. She has been successful and for the last eleven years has been diving the Great River. As a diver, Patricia is troubled by the overwhelming amount of garbage in the river so, along with other local divers, she has become fully committed to participating in GRN cleanup initiatives.
Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs
Angela Dawn Parker, MSc
Sustainability Project Coordinator,
The City of Cornwall
Angela holds a Master’s degree in Geography, Urban and Environmental Studies from Concordia University, Montreal. Her research focused on human-non-human interactions and road ecology. Since graduating she has been considering how climate change is affecting non-human animals. She brings this knowledge, as well as a decade of communications and outreach experience, to the City of Cornwall as the new Sustainability Project Coordinator. Her role at the City involves outreach for the community as well as implementing initiatives for current and future projects to ensure that the City mitigates greenhouse gases and becomes resilient to climate change.
Mary Ann Perron, PhD
Mitacs Postdoctoral Fellow,
Jessica received her BSc. in Honours Biology from Carleton University in 2021, where her undergraduate thesis work focused on the conservation status of endangered freshwater mussels and their symbiotic relationships with fish, in partnership with the Canadian Museum of Nature. She has gained a diverse background in fisheries science as a Research Assistant on projects related to fishes diet and spatial ecology, behavioural effects of catch-and-release angling, and stream biodiversity surveys. Jessica currently works for the Canadian Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation, where she has conducted systematic maps and reviews related to various aspects of freshwater or animal conservation. This fall, she will be beginning her MSc at Carleton University, in the Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory lead by Dr. Steven Cooke, examining the spatial ecology and overwintering behaviour of muskellunge.
Anthony (Tony) Ricciardi, PhD
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.
Hamidreza Shirkhani, PhD
National Research Council of Canada
Matt Windle, MSc
Matt Windle is a biologist with experience in environmental science, freshwater ecosystem ecology, spatial analyses, contaminant analyses, and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). He completed a BSc in environmental science from Queen’s University, and a M.Sc. in Biology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In addition to his work as a Research Scientist at the River Institute, he is also a professor in the Environmental Technician Program at St. Lawrence College. Matt possess certifications for open water SCUBA, the Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol (OSAP), Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) fish identification workshops, advanced operations and flight reviewer status for RPAS from Transport Canada, and the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System (OWES).