River Symposium “Ways of Knowing” | October 26-27, 2022

Our Speakers

Alanna Akkermans

Environmental Educator/Biologist, River Institute

Alanna is an Environmental Educator/Biologist at the River Institute. She completed her undergraduate degree in Human Environment at Concordia University in 2020. She is passionate about the environment, education, and community wellness. Her interests are: wildlife conservation, creating accessibility to scientific education, composting, lemurs, bats, turtles and aquatic ecosystems. Alanna is dedicated to providing everyone in the community an opportunity to learn about science, the River Institute’s research projects, and the St. Lawrence River!

Dr. Josh Anderson

Assistant Professor of English, University of Saint Joseph

Dr. Josh Anderson is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Saint Joseph (West Hartford, CT), where he teaches classes in American literature, Native American literature, environmental literature, and creative and critical writing. Josh is working on projects focused on the significance of the Connecticut River and its tributaries to American literature and American environmental history as well as creative writing projects inspired by his hometown of Park River, North Dakota, and his current job in Connecticut’s Park River Watershed. Josh’s recent scholarship includes work in critical animal studies in Native American literature and ecological concerns in classic and contemporary horror movies. Josh is also a creative writer, with recent works appearing in North American Review, Sonora Review, Bourbon Penn, and Essay Daily.

Michèle Andrews

Co-Founder and Executive Director, DoorNumberOne.org

Michèle Andrews is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of DoorNumberOne.org – a not-for-profit working to provide practical inspiration for the transition to a just, beautiful, net-zero and regenerated world. DoorNumberOne.org has exciting projects in Eastern Ontario at the Maitland Tower site, and in schools across Canada. Michèle is leading the new Climate Action Accelerator Program, now entering its second year, with schools in 5 provinces collaborating to implement high-impact, whole-school climate action plans.
Michèle has a Bachelor of Commerce and a Masters in Education. She has worked in strategy, leadership and organizational development in the private and not-for-profit sectors. For 10 years, she was the lead administrator at the Toronto Waldorf School, a pre-K through Grade 12 independent school. She is a volunteer ambassador for the International Living Future Institute, a member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps, a community organizer and an avid gardener and canner.

Bailey Bedard

Bat Research Technician, Conservation Science Team at the Canadian Wildlife Federation

Bailey began studying bats in 2016 as a summer research technician at the St. Lawrence River Institute. This experience led her to pursue her M.Sc. at The University of Ottawa where she focused on mercury levels in little brown and big brown bats and molecular level responses to these mercury levels. Continuing to study her favorite species at CWF, she is now involved in a study that is taking a look at bat box use and their internal micro-climate across Canada to investigate the effects these structures have on Canadian bat species and more specifically, the endangered little brown bat, in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society and PhD candidate/lead researcher, Karen Vanderwolf.

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.

Bo-jian Chen

Bo-jian completed his BSc in Pharmacy and Psychology at Wuhan University and Huazhong Normal University, respectively. He did his master’s in aquatic biology at Chongqing Normal University and graduated with a PhD in Ecology at Beijing Normal University in China. He is interested in understanding the physiological and behavioral strategies of animals (fish, turtles and rodents) to environmental stressors and interactions between native and invasive species. He is also interested in the impact of human activity and climate change on biodiversity in the aquatic ecosystem. His current research aims to integrate GIS, niche modeling and sedimentary environmental DNA to monitor species of concern and assess amphibian diversity.

Cristina Charette

PhD Candidate, Université du Québec à Montréal

Cristina got her B.Sc. in Marine Biology at the Université du Québec à Rimouski. She completed an M.Sc. in Aquatic Ecology from Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). She joined the River Institute as the Education Coordinator in 2015. In addition to working at the River Institute, she is currently a PhD candidate at UQAM in Dr. Alison Derry lab in partnership with the River Institute. Cristina’s PhD research addresses the impacts of invasive species in the St. Lawrence River food web. Her research combines trophic indicator methods like gut content, stable isotopes and fatty acids analyses with contaminant analyses. She is a member of the Interuniversity Research Group in Limnology (GRIL).

Cristina Cismasu

Data Specialist, The Gordon Foundation

Cristina is a Data Specialist at The Gordon Foundation, where she works on DataStream, and open access platform for sharing water quality data. In this role, she provides environmental science expertise and supports the growth of the DataStream user community in Eastern Canada. She has a background in academic research and environmental consulting, and a particular interest in promoting environmental stewardship through science education and outreach initiatives. Cristina holds a PhD in Environmental Geochemistry from Stanford University, and MSc and BSc degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of Hamburg and McGill University.

Emilie DeRochie

River Strategy Coordinator, River Institute

Emilie grew up on the St Lawrence River (Lake St Francis) and has had a love for the River since she was a child. Through working with the education team at River Institute as a summer student, she discovered passions for both environmental sciences and education. She combined these two passions when she became qualified to teach Biology, Geography and Environmental Science for grades 7-12. Emilie has taught students from kindergarten up to the post-secondary level. She has experience teaching with River Institute’s education program, local high schools and at the St Lawrence College. Currently, Emilie is teaching General Biology for the Environmental Technician Program at St. Lawrence College and is working as the River Strategy Coordinator at the River Institute.

Prof. Dr. David Bruce Conn

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 is Senior Scientific Advisor in International Health and Biodefense for the U.S. Department of State, a member of the White House OSTP subcommittee on Transboundary Disease Threats, and serves on editorial boards of several scientific journals. He was president of the American Microscopical Society and American Society of Parasitologists, and is currently Vice President of the global INVASIVESNET organization. Conn conducts research on major rivers around the world, but is especially focused on the St. Lawrence River and surrounding areas. Prof. Conn has been an active scientist for over 40 years and has received numerous honors. His research spans many areas of the life sciences from to ecosystem dissemination of emerging pathogens to biology of invasive insects and molluscs.

Danielle Delhaes

Education Consultant, Paedagogia Inc.

Danielle is the director of Paedagogia Inc., a company offering consulting services in the expanding sustainability/climate education sector. Over the last three decades, her work has spanned a wide range of services including teaching, professional development planning and facilitation, whole-school sustainability program development and implementation, curriculum design, as well as coaching and mentoring.

She has led multiple sustainability-related projects including designing outdoor learning spaces and urban agriculture projects, organizing and facilitating student- led Earth Day summits and environmental action plans, designing and coordinating service-learning programs, co-developing character education and resiliency programs as well as developing educational guides for documentaries and global education programs.

Danielle’s lifelong passion for Nature and her love of people and communities translates into an enthusiastic and empathetic approach to teaching and learning. Her strong interest and training in biomimicry are at the root of her commitment to support and facilitate the essential role innovative thinkers can play in designing a thriving future for all life on the planet. Her leadership style is collaborative and focused on the belief that, like all other forms of life, humans must create regenerative conditions that are favourable for all life to thrive.

Jade Dormoy-Boulanger

PhD student, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Jade is a PhD student in Environmental Science at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. After obtaining a master’s degree focusing on how climate change affects the cyanobacterias’ dynamic in tributaries she decided to continue her studies and follow her passion for rivers. Currently, Jade is working on her PhD thesis, which explores how human activities and land use affect the spatial-temporal dynamic of dissolved organic carbon in the tributaries of the St. Lawrence River watershed. Her research interests also include bacteria metabolism, biostatistics and geomatic. She is involved in a variety of programs and committees focused on knowledge transfer with different student communities (elementary schools, high schools and university). Being a mother of two, when she’s not working on her researches, you can probably find her playing with both feet in the water with her daughters.

Larissa Holman

Director of Science and Policy, Ottawa River Keeper

Larissa Holman is the Director of Science and Policy with Ottawa Riverkeeper. She enjoys the challenge of understanding complex river systems such as the Ottawa River and learning about the watershed collaboratively with other freshwater organizations, Algonquin Communities, various authorities, researchers and citizen scientists. Overseeing the Watershed Health Assessment and Monitoring initiative Larissa works closely with Ottawa Riverkeeper’s science team to work alongside a number of community scientists and gather data from across the watershed. This program also benefits from the guidance of the Watershed Health Committee. She feels strongly that helping to build a stronger insight of rivers and watersheds is a key way to engage with people and encourage action that protects water and waterways.

Larissa holds a BSc.H in Environmental Science from Concordia University and a Masters in Resource and Environmental Management from Dalhousie University.

Diz Glithero

Diz’s work as an interdisciplinary educator, social science researcher, and project leader that specializes in ocean, climate, and sustainability learning and civic engagement. Through 20 years of experience as an educator, researcher, Adjunct Professor (University of Ottawa), and consultant, Diz has led several regional and national projects. In 2017, Diz served as the Education Lead for Canada C3, an epic 150-day expedition from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage. Since 2018, Diz has served as the National Lead of the Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition, co-leading the Understanding Ocean Literacy in Canada study (2019-2020), co-authoring Land, Water, Ocean, Us: A Canadian Ocean Literacy Strategy (March 2021), co-launching Ocean Week Canada. Internationally, Diz serves as a Steering Committee member of the IOC-UNESCO-led Ocean Literacy With All Programme; the Canadian delegate on the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance’s Ocean Citizen Awareness and Literacy Working Group; and a Governance Board member of the All-Atlantic Blue Schools Network.

Diz’s work has been honoured with an International Women of the Earth Award by the Yves Rocher Foundation (2015), a Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada (2016), the Alex Trebek Medal for Geographical Literacy from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (2020), and a Mitacs Awards for Outstanding Innovation in Research (2021). Diz lives in Chelsea, Quebec with her two kids and partner.

Yafa Goawily

Yafa Arts & Craft

Background: A child at heart, and an artist who aims to raise awareness about social issues while making the world a better and more colourful place.
Style & Media: As a filmmaker and an artist, she uses rich and colourful images to disrupt the norm and raise attention about imperative and often overlooked matters.
Themes: Yafa’s art is a vision of what she is, an accumulation of tales about Human Rights, Child Rights, and Women Empowerment – through vivid and vibrant imagery.

In a Few More Words
Art practically runs through Yafa Goawily’s veins. Coming from a family of artists, she grew up surrounded with this form of self-expression and thus, getting drawn to its allure became an inevitable fact. For Yafa, art is now an indispensable part of her identity. From performing arts to fine arts, Goawily has experimented with it all.
Goawily operates under the moniker of Yafa Arts & Craft
Yafa graduated with a degree in Fine Arts and a Filmmaking Diploma from Alexandria University in Egypt”

Kahté:raks Quinney Goodleaf

Kahté:raks is Kanien’kehá:ka and Nehiyaw, and is fortunate to have family throughout the east and west. She was raised in her home community of Kahnawá:ke, which is Kanien’kehá:ka territory. This is also the territory and Nation her name comes from as well. The waters surrounding this territory are where much of her childhood memories are; the Saint Lawrence River, and the runoff creeks from this waterway.

She is a daughter, a niece, an aunty, a sister and a helper. Her reason for attending this event is to bring attention to and hold space for the current conditions of the waters. The waters that she’s seen change dramatically in her short 30 years of living. The waters that unconditionally provide everything we could possibly need, and the waters that she’s been taught are intertwined with a responsibility and a need to be spoken up for.

Val Goodness

Graduate Research and Writing Consultant, Oregon State University

Val is of Tsalagi and Chippawa Heritage. She received her PhD from University at Buffalo in American Studies through an Interdisciplinary NSF Fellowship in Environmental Engineering. She is certified in stream restoration. Val’s focus is on applications of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in watershed restoration and conservation.
Her master’s and bachelor’s degrees are in Natural Resource Sustainability from the College of Forestry at Oregon State University.
Currently Val works as a Graduate Research and Writing consultant in Oregon State University’s graduate school, is a Board Member for Organizing People Activating Leaders (OPAL) Environmental Justice and civil rights non-profit, and a Board Member for Wisdom of the Elders which records, preserves, and shares oral history, and traditional ecological knowledge of exemplary Native American elders, storytellers, and scientists. Val also works with a local non-profit that serves communities’ unhoused and poorest residents, 14% of whom are Indigenous1% of Oregon’s population.

Elizabeth Grater

Professionnelle de recherche, RIVE – UQTR

Elizabeth Grater is a Research Professional for the Centre de Recherche sur les Interactions Bassins Versants – Écosystèmes Aquatiques (RIVE) at l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR). Since obtaining her master’s degree in Environmental Science at UQTR, she has been working in collaboration with the Reseau Québec Maritime (RQM) to coordinate scientific missions throughout the St. Lawrence River on board the Lampsilis research vessel. She is also working to increase collaboration between natural scientists and other sectors of research and creation to help increase our knowledge of the St. Lawrence River. Her goal in these projects is to spark inspiration and motivation to protect this beautiful and crucial ecosystem. She is excited to participate in her third River Symposium!

Stafford Maracle

PhD student, Queens University

Stafford is from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and part of the Bear clan. He is a 2nd year PhD student in Biology at Queen’s University. He completed his Bachelor of Science at Queen’s with a specialization in Environmental Biology, where he also completed his undergraduate thesis on “Effective Incorporation of Indigenous Knowledge into Biological Field Stations/Place-based Research Institutes”. His current research focuses are on the development of a non-invasive and multi-disciplinary approach to ecosystem health assessments using aquatic and sedimentary environmental DNA of fish populations and local Indigenous knowledge along the St. Lawrence River and Bay of Quinte.

Dr. Kirsten Martin

Associate Professor of Biology, University of Saint Joseph

Dr. Kirsten Martin is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Saint Joseph (West Hartford, CT). Kirsten is an environmental scientist who focuses on freshwater systems. She is currently researching the impacts of shoreline alterations on emergent dragonfly behavior, and the impacts of nutrient and pharmaceutical pollution on aquatic life. Kirsten is the current chair of the Women LEAD (lead, empower, advance, discover) in STEAM group, and is also a member of a group focused on integrating the arts into the curriculum. She is working with Dr. Josh Anderson on a documentary film focused on the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge and is coordinating a speaker series called “Embracing our Environment: Integrating the Natural World with the Arts”. Kirsten is also heavily involved in local watershed conservation, water monitoring, and citizen science projects.

Maria Pelusi

Master’s student, Clarkson University

Maria is a Master’s student in the Institute for a Sustainable Environment at Clarkson University working under Dr. Michael Twiss. She is studying the use of water quality sensors to identify sources of pollution and spatial water quality in the St. Lawrence River.

Jessica Reid

Masters student, Carleton University

Jessica Reid is a current Master’s student at Carleton University in the Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Lab. Under the supervision of Drs. Steven Cooke, Jon Midwood, and Sean Landsman, she is exploring the movements of freshwater fishes in an urban river impacted by various human activities. She uses telemetry techniques to uncover where and when fish move through the river and within restored areas. Jessica is a FishCAST trainee, working closely with community partners such as local angling clubs and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, and she also collaborates with both national and international partners to conduct freshwater evidence syntheses. Upon graduation she is keen to remain in aquatic ecology, working in long-term monitoring and project management.

Silvia Rodriguez

Masters student, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Silvia Rodriguez, originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Guadalajara in 2015. Currently, she is pursuing a master’s degree in Environmental Science at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (Trois-Rivières, QC) in partnership with the River Institute (Cornwall, ON) through a Mitacs scholarship. Silvia’s master’s project focuses on the St. Lawrence River (SLR), where she is investigating the structure of bacterial communities within the river. She is also interested in exploring the relationship between anthropogenic inputs, bacterial diversity, and changes in fecal coliform within the SLR. Through her master’s project, she had the opportunity to work on the Lampsilis research vessel.

Outside of her studies, Silvia has followed her interest in environmental protection, working as a technical and administrative support in a Natural Protected Area (Mexico), as an environmental and social impact supervisor for Driscoll’s (Mexico), as an environmental impact analyst (Mexico), and as a laboratory assistant (University of Guadalajara). She has also volunteered for different projects, such as the Great River Rapport and FINS with the River Institute in Cornwall (2019-2022), a Mushroom Identification project on Steward Island, New Zealand (2018), and a water quality monitoring program for the Ecology Society at Stanley Park in Vancouver (2017).

Todd Royer

Todd served for 17 years as a Waldorf Teacher at Toronto Waldorf School.  He served as a Class Teacher, moving with his class from Grade One to Grade 8, developing daily lessons uniquely for the students in the class based on their developmental stages and needs. He taught the core curriculum including the arts, music, literature, literacy, drama, math, algebra, geometry, history, and sciences (zoology, botany, astronomy, geology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, physics, life systems). He served for 6 years as Faculty Chair of the school, has trained, mentored and evaluated teachers and has consulted with Waldorf School across North America and in China. 

Prior to Waldorf, Todd served as a minister in the United Church of Canada, working on social justice and climate issues with youth. He is a trained Climate Reality Leader, and is currently helping his long time friend manage the development of a Living Building Challenge project in Maitland Ontario, while on the side raising a small herd of free thinking goats and making cheese. 

Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad

Biologist-artist team

Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad have been a biologist-artist
team for half a century. When not on an expedition, they reside in
Bishops Mills, Ontario. They spend most of their time documenting, in
one way or another, everything they see, do, and think. You will find
them engaged full time in measuring, databasing, painting, drawing,
journaling, blogging, e-mailing and self-publishing. Their subjects of
interest range from the edible herbs that grow in their yard, to poetry,
to satirical definitions of words and terms, to fine art & biological
illustration, to species at risk, and tracking invasions of introduced
plants and animals. They try to teach what they know, and show people
what they’ve found.

Beth Shepherd

Visual Artist

Beth Shepherd is an Ottawa-based visual artist working primarily in printmaking, mixed media, video and text. With a Master’s in Art History and degrees in biology and psychology, she takes an interdisciplinary approach in her research-oriented art practice. Focusing on local and global environmental issues and animal advocacy, her art often features animals or things that don’t otherwise get noticed in order to move them up on the “mattering scale.” The American eel (Anguilla rostrata) is a good example; it is possible that the species could go extinct without many people in the region even knowing they were ever here. See more about her work at https://bethshepherd.ca.

Orianne Tournayre

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Queen’s University

Orianne is a molecular ecologist with research interests in conservation biology. She has worked with a broad range of biological models (ants, bird ectoparasites, rodents, bats) and since completing her PhD in 2019, she has applied different environmental DNA-based approaches (metabarcoding, qPCR and ddPCR) for the detection of invasive species, species of concern, freshwater biodiversity, and fecal eDNA metabarcoding to the study of trophic interactions. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Lougheed lab at Queen’s University (Ontario, Canada).

Matt Windle

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).

Mackenzie Wylie-Arbic

Research Assistant, River Institute

Mackenzie Wylie-Arbic is a Research Assistant at the St. Lawrence River Institute. Starting in this position in the summer of 2021, she had just completed her Bachelor of Science at Queen’s University with a specialization in Environmental Biology. Her knowledge and curiosity for freshwater species/interactions grew as she was a part of the Fish Identification Nearshore Survey (FINS) and had the chance to observe and document the varying habitats along the Upper St. Lawrence River. Mackenzie is currently working as a researcher for the Great River Rapport, focusing on fish populations and invasive species ecology in the river. In addition, Mackenzie is also involved in communications and outreach to aid in broadening public knowledge on River Institute projects. Her passion for the environment is not limited to work as she uses any opportunity to spread awareness on individual action and innovative solutions to influence others to make positive change.