October 27th & 28th

Bailey Bedard

Research Assistant,
River Institute

Bailey is a previous summer student of the St. Lawrence River Institute where she worked as research assistant supporting Dr. Brian Hickey’s bat research and contributed to the River Institute’s youth education programming. She is now a M.Sc. student at The University of Ottawa where she continues to research bats, specifically the molecular effects that are caused by high levels of mercury found in two local bat species under the supervision of her co-supervisors Jan Mennigen and Brian Hickey.

Jordanna Bergman, PhD Candidate

Carleton University

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.

Georgia Bock

RAP Coordinator,
River Institute

Georgia is the Remedial Action Plan Coordinator based out of the River Institute here in Cornwall. Previous to this position, she was the Natural Resources Manager for the Xatśūll First Nation located in central British Columbia. Her passion is working collaboratively with local communities on environmental projects and issues. She is originally from North Glengarry, Ontario and has a BA in Geography from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick.  

Britney Bourdages

Environmental Projects and Remedial Action Plan Coordinator,
Mohawk Council of Akwesasne

Britney is the Environmental Projects and Remedial Action Plan Coordinator for the Northern portion of Akwesasne. Before joining the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Britney worked for local conservation authorities and angling/hunting agencies. She has helped develop and deliver a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial environmental projects, and is looking forward to incorporating this knowledge into future initiatives in Akwesasne.

Evie Brahmstedt, PhD Candidate

Clarkson University

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.

Twitter: @ESBrahmstedt

David Bruce Conn, PhD

Berry College One Health Center and Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology

Prof. Dr. David Bruce Conn is Gund Professor of Biology at the Berry College One Health Center and Associate of Invertebrate Zoology at the Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology. He chaired the multisectoral international St. Lawrence River Zebra Mussel Taskforce during the initial invasion of dreissenid mussels from Europe into the St. Lawrence Great Lakes system. He has conducted research on the St. Lawrence River and surrounding areas since 1985. He is Senior Scientific Advisor in International Health and Biodefense for the U.S. Department of State and member of the White House OSTP subcommittee on Foreign Animal Disease Threats. He serves on editorial boards of several scientific journals. He has been president of the American Microscopical Society and American Society of Parasitologists, and is currently Vice President of the global INVASIVESNET organization. Prof. Conn has been an active scientist for over 40 years, teaching and conducting research around the world with several international collaborating teams. He has been honored as a Jefferson Science Fellow and a Fulbright Senior Scholar among others. His research spans many areas of the life sciences from developmental ultrastructure of parasitic organisms to ecosystem dissemination of emerging pathogens to biology of invasive vectors and other invasive species.

Annie Cook-Cree

lakwa’shatste Youth Fitness

Born and raised in Akwesasne, Annie is bear clan, married to Evan Cree and is a mother of 4. Annie has spent over 15 years working and mentoring youth in her community. Annie is the Director of Outdoor Programming at lakwa’shatste Youth Fitness. Recently, lakwa’shatste has added a new outdoor program and Annie’s main focus has changed to land-based programing. Through this new initiative, Annie encourages more families to get outdoors and enjoy nature and all it has to offer. 

Darlene Coyle, MES

Environmental Policy and Planning Intern,
Watersheds Canada

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.

Noah Giles

Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network

Noah is an intern at the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network (FABN) and a recent graduate from Carleton University with a B.A Honours in Environmental Studies with a minor in Geography. During his education he developed an interest in ecosystems, earth processes and natural history. Prior to his studies and work with FABN, he was a Laboratory Technician at Advanced Engine Technology (now CFR Engines Inc) testing fuel ignition quality. Growing up in Ottawa and living alongside the Ottawa river, he has developed a passion for the outdoors and wildlife. Some of his interests include scuba diving, hunting/fishing, birdwatching, and foraging. In his spare time he also likes to practice regenerative agriculture, mechanics, and sustainable living.

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

Bluefish Canada

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

Environmental Specialist,
Novozymes Canada

Helga Halvorsen is an Environmental Specialist at Novozymes Canada with over a decade of successful experience beginning in research in development, process development, process engineering, and currently in sustainability.  She loves collaborating to solve problems and implement positive change.  Helga believes strongly in the importance of environmental stewardship for both individuals and businesses.  She has led several regional sustainability programs including developing Zero Waste Plans, which has inspired her to reevaluate her personal consumption and production of waste.  Helga’s next adventure in sustainability will be to develop Contextual Water Management Plans for Novozymes manufacturing sites in Canada, the US, Brazil, and Argentina.  When not leading sustainability initiatives, Helga spends her free time keeping the chickens off the lawn furniture and introducing her kids to nature.

Brian Hickey, PhD

Research Scientist,
River Institute

Brian received his M. Sc. (in 1988) and Ph.D. (in 2003) degrees from York University in Toronto, for work on the foraging and thermoregulatory behaviour of red and hoary bats in southern Ontario. He has worked as an ecologist for more than 35 years, conducting research about bats in Ontario, Zimbabwe, and the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. He has been a research scientist at the River Institute in Cornwall, Ontario, since 1999.

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.

Headshot by Adam Sings in the Timber

Elizabeth Hoover, PhD

Associate Professor,
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

Family Earth

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

Water Rangers

Kat Kavanagh is an award-winning web designer and environmentalist who co-founded the non-profit organization Water Rangers. Before that, she worked in tech startups for ten years, designing websites, apps, and games. Kat earned her Master’s degree in Integrated Water Resource Management from McGill and now combines her passion for both design and water to create better ways for communities to test waterways. She’s developed and tested Water Rangers’ water quality testkits and open data platform, designed to empower communities to collect data about local waterways. Together with her talented team, they’re supporting water testers in Canada, U.S.A., and worldwide. Along with partners like the Great River Rapport, they support locals who want to dip their toes into water monitoring.

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. 

George Kourounis

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.

Colin Lake

Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry

Henry Lickers

Canadian Commissioner,
International Joint Commission

Henry Lickers, a Haudenosaunee citizen of the Seneca Nation, Turtle Clan. He has been both the Director of Mohawk Council and the Environmental Science Officer during his long career at the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. Throughout his career, Mr. Lickers has been instrumental in incorporating First Nation’s people and knowledge into environmental planning and decision making. Prior to his appointment as IJC Commissioner, Mr. Lickers was a member of the IJC’s current Great Lakes Science Advisory Board (SAB) since 2014. Mr. Lickers also served as a SAB member from 1987-91 and 1997-2000.   He has been principle investigator on the EAGLE (Effect on Aboriginal in the Great Lakes Environment) Project and the Naturalized Knowledge Systems Project and the First Nations’ Community Health Indicators Project. Henry has been Director Ontario Professional Foresters Association, Scientific Co-Chair of The Haudenosaunee Environmental Taskforce, Vice President of the Board of Directors, St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences and a member of the Board of Directors for the Eastern Ontario Model Forest.

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,
Queen’s University

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

Research Scientist,
River Institute

Leigh is an ecologist who currently leads the ‘Great River Rapport’ – an ecosystem health report on the Upper St. Lawrence River. Leigh’s career started as a biologist working on krill in Antarctica, invasive mussels in Africa, and shellfish in Australia. A Phd in ecological modelling in Canada was followed by a postdoctoral fellowship with the European Commission in Italy as a Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Analyst. Work with the Commission involved developing ecological indicators for conservation and fisheries initiatives combining satellite remote sensing with ecological models. Leigh’s global perspective though past work experience in research and government agencies is now rooted locally in eastern Ontario, and along with an exceptional team, is now focussed on making scientific findings accessible to the public through the Great River Rapport project.

Patricia O’Hara

Great River Network

Patricia is the Chair of the Great River Network (GRN). The GRN is comprised of over 50 river related organizations, agencies and individuals. Its mission is to value, improve and protect the Upper St. Lawrence River for future generations by linking communities and sharing knowledge.

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.

Yves Paradis

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.

Maria Pelusi

Clarkson University

Maria Pelusi is a current senior at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. She is working on a degree in Environmental Science and Policy with a minor in Biology, and hopes to go on to get a Master’s degree to work in Environmental Consulting. She’s been working under Dr. Michael Twiss, the head of the Biology Department at Clarkson, since the Spring of 2021, and has learned an immense amount of limnological and water monitoring knowledge. She has an appreciation for the St. Lawrence River, their main research scope, as she grew up on the river in Ogdensburg, NY. Freshwater resources are extremely valuable and the sustainable use and monitoring of these resources is imperative for surrounding communities and the ecosystems within them.

Mary Ann Perron, PhD

Mitacs Postdoctoral Fellow,
River Institute

Mary Ann is freshwater biologist with expertise in wetland ecosystems and urban ecology. She completed her B.Sc. Honours in Biology with a specialization in conservation and restoration ecology from Laurentian University in Sudbury (2010-2014). She then went on to complete her Ph.D. in Biology specializing in wetland ecosystems, entomology and urban ecology from the University of Ottawa (2014-2020). She joined the River Institute in 2020 as the technical report lead of the Great River Rapport.

Jessica Reid

Carleton University

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.

Twitter: @__jreid

Anthony (Tony) Ricciardi, PhD

McGill University

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

Research Officer,
National Research Council of Canada

Dr. Hamidreza Shirkhani is a Research Officer in the NRC’s Sustainable & Resilient Infrastructure & Communities group in the Construction Research Centre. His expertise and research involves infrastructure resiliency, numerical modeling, climate change impact studies, and water resources engineering. Dr. Shirkhani serves as a CSA technical committee member for the development of Canadian standards. He is also an adjunct professor at the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Ottawa and Queen’s University.

Lee Theodore

Project Coordinator,
River Institute

Lee Theodore is a Cornwall resident and Project Coordinator with the River Institute, with a new project called, Future Climate Leaders. As an employee of the River Institute, Theodore is instrumental in facilitating a climate change solution program for the SDG region of Eastern Ontario. He was previously a Caribbean restaurant owner, a head hunter, a coffee shop Operations Standards Manager, as well as a manufacturing export territory manager for Western Canada. While having a storied professional experience, he steeps himself in the progress of his rural local community in a variety of realms ranging from the art community, the volunteering community, grassroots initiatives, and local causes. His biggest aspiration is to raise his 4-year-old daughter in a world where he is participating for the greater good. Born in Edmonton Alberta. Raised in the Greater Toronto Area. Rooted in Eastern Ontario. A self-declared, “Solutions Alchemist”.

Matt Windle, MSc

Research Scientist,
River Institute

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). 

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