Catherine Febria, Candy Donaldson, and Bkejwanong Eco-KeepersCatherine Febria, Candy Donaldson, and Bkejwanong Eco-Keepers youth at the University of Windsor’s Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre. Photo credit: C. Febria, Healthy Headwaters Lab.

Lab wins recognition for local environmental work

UWindsor’s Healthy Headwater Lab has won the 2021 ERCA Conservation Award for Environmental Education for work in restoring freshwater ecosystems to full health and vitality for the benefit of future generations.

The lab is run by Catherine Febria, Canada Research Chair in Freshwater Restoration Ecology, a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, and a researcher with the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research.

The team’s mission, says Dr. Febria, is to use science to connect land, water, and people.

“Educational opportunities are important because local communities are the ones who transform our science into policy and practice, at a range of scales: from their backyard and farm field to across the region and beyond,” says Febria.

From the beginning, she says, the team has prioritized community engagement and knowledge mobilization as a key component of its research program.

“We employ an Indigenous Lab Storyteller in recognition of the power of knowledge sharing through stories across generations, since time immemorial, while also using communications as a tool to encourage the local Windsor-Essex community to reconnect with their local waterways, and thus be more interested in local biodiversity and restoration,” she says.

The team has generated newsletters for the farming community’s FERN News, and to the Bkejwanong Territory/Walpole Island First Nation community to regularly share updates on research in partnership with Nin.Da.Waab.Jig —the Walpole Island Heritage Centre — and the Walpole Island Land Trust on habitat restoration projects. They have mentored youth through the Bkejwanong EcoKeepers each summer since 2019, have been involved with the University’s first Traditional Ecological Knowledge field course, and featured an Indigenous Environmental Artist to create content that will soon be featured at the Ojbway Nature Centre.

The lab has a Farm Advisory Board of leading farmers in the region which provides input into the research. Its researchers also create plain language summaries of their scientific papers, and online resources for local educators to sample their waterways and identify benthic invertebrates.

“Education is an essential tool in the work we do,” Febria says. “As a lab we are motivated to restore freshwaters for the benefit of future generations. Thus, we recognize a responsibility towards engaging youth, especially in getting to know their local natural ecosystems and empower them to protect it.”

The lab conducts research in Canada, the United States, and New Zealand, focusing on such varied headwater ecosystems as drains, wetlands, streams, and interfaces between surface and groundwater in human-impacted landscapes. Febria founded the lab in 2019 and says it was a wonderful surprise to discover its work is already making a difference to the Windsor-Essex region.

“This award also means a lot because it comes directly from the community, and recognizes the efforts of the whole lab and not just one person,” says Febria.

“That’s fundamentally important to our lab, that we work as a team, collaboratively, and in a decolonial manner to pursue science in a way that engages local and Indigenous knowledges and builds upon relationships with our communities.”

Associate dean of graduate studies and research Dan Mennill says it is a rare and special achievement to be recognized by their community.

“Although there are many academic awards for researchers, this is a unique recognition that comes from our local conservation authority,” says Dr. Mennill. “The Faculty of Science is very proud of this achievement, which speaks to the significant local impact of the research by Dr. Febria and the Healthy Headwaters Lab.”

The award was officially announced on Jan. 20 in a ceremony hosted by the Essex Region Conservation Authority. To learn more about the team’s work, visit the Healthy Headwaters website.

Roxane GayAuthor and educator Roxane Gay will join journalist Eternity Martis for “Stories Spark Change” on Thursday, Jan. 27.

Conversation to further understanding of sexual violence

An event Thursday, Jan. 27, will explore letting go of guilt and blame by survivors of sexual violence.

Author and educator Roxane Gay will join journalist Eternity Martis for “Stories Spark Change,” a conversation addressing how survivors can reclaim their stories and push back against shame to create space for healing.

The event promises to be a celebration of healing, self-love, and pleasure and is part of Consent Action Week, created by the Ontario University Sexual Violence Network to create a dialogue about consent, pleasure, relationships, and promote education about sexual violence.

Gay is the author of the bestsellers Bad Feminist, Hunger, and Difficult Women. She has served as an associate professor of English at Eastern Illinois University, Purdue University, and as a visiting professor at Yale University.

Martis specializes in personal journalism, feature and longform writing, and covers race and racial injustice, gender and gender-based violence, health and reproductive rights, relationships, and identity politics. Her memoir, They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up, won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Non-Fiction.

The event is free to attend and will run 6:30 to 8 p.m. Find more information and register to join on the event webpage.

Carly AdamLethbridge professor Carly Adams will discuss her Nikkei Memory Capture Project in a Jan. 28 lecture.

Oral history of Japanese Canadians subject of lecture

A project to gather the stories of Japanese Canadians after the Second World War is the subject of a public presentation Friday, Jan. 28, by professor Carly Adams of the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Lethbridge.

Dr. Adams is co-director of the Alberta university’s Centre for Oral History and Tradition, where she explores community, resiliency, and gender, with a focus on sport and leisure experiences.

She is a principal investigator in collaboration with colleague Darren Aoki of a community-based oral history project focusing on Japanese Canadian histories in southern Alberta, which she will discuss in her lecture “Chasing a Dream: Public Histories and Digital Storytelling through the Nikkei Memory Capture Project.”

Adams is editor of Sport History Review and Sport and Recreation in Canadian History, co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Sport History, and author of the 2011 Queens of the Ice, a history for young adults of the Preston Rivulettes women’s hockey team.

Her Friday lecture, conducted over Microsoft Teams from noon to 1 p.m., is part of the Faculty of Human Kinetics Distinguished Speakers’ Series. Click here to attend.

phone displaying WE-Spark Health Institute appWE-Spark Health Institute will launch its new app on Friday, Jan. 28.

Clinicians and researchers invited to launch of WE-Spark app

WE-Spark Health Institute has developed a customized app to support collaborative research projects across Windsor-Essex, helping physicians and researchers seamlessly connect across its four partner institutions: the University of Windsor, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, St. Clair College, and Windsor Regional Hospital, to share ideas and spark collaboration.

The app also provides quick access to tools, resources, and events.

Its official launch takes place Friday, Jan. 28, from noon to 1 p.m. with live demonstrations, one-on-one walk-throughs, and giveaways. It is open to WE-Spark members; register here.

Lancer Gaming logoLancer Gaming won its inaugural Valorant matches in the National Esports Collegiate Conference.

Lancer gamers win first-ever contests in collegiate conference

The UWindsor representatives in Valorant won their first two games in the National Esports Collegiate Conference since newly signing on to the season, taking down the Keyano College Huskies and Lebanon Valley College Dutchmen.

“Joining NECC was a great decision for our program,” says head coach Antonio Bechard, noting that National Association of Collegiate Esports does not host competition in Valorant. “We signed up quickly for our inaugural season and got off to a great start.”

Lancer Gaming competes in Valorant in Ontario Post-Secondary Esports as well as the National Esports Collegiate Conference, and in Rocket League and League of Legends in Ontario Post-Secondary Esports and the National Association of Collegiate Esports.

Find more information on the Lancer Gaming website.