Lakehead Students Conduct First LSRG Research Expedition in Lake Superior
The announcement of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) last October (2007) has been met with much excitement. The world's largest body of protected fresh water stretches between Thunder Cape on the tip of Sibley peninsula, to Bottle Point beyond Terrace Bay and the Slate Islands. For three Lakehead University students, who have developed an affinity for the north shore through multiple sea kayaking trips and summer guiding jobs, the announcement coincided perfectly with an academic opportunity to do research within the NMCA. This upcoming summer between July 15th and September 2nd 2008, our team, consisting of Zack Kruzins, Jessica Johnson and Aaron Nicholson will embark upon an approximate 50-day long sea kayaking expedition covering the vast majority of the NMCA shoreline and islands. We have dreamed about an expedition of this length for years and wanted to develop it in a meaningful way. It was eventually decided that we could maximize the value of our trip by involving it in our undergraduate programs. We started talking to people around the university and before we knew it, we had developed three separate Lake Superior thesis projects that would allow for us to focus our research on the north shore.
In recognizing the ecological and cultural importance of Lake Superior, we would like to see continued development of a locally driven body of knowledge that will aid Parks Canada, local communities and stakeholders in the management of the area. Attending university in Thunder Bay, we have the gigantic sparkling waters of Lake Superior so close, and yet we've found that there is a lack of attention on the lake and the communities that surround it, especially in our undergraduate educations. There certainly are a few professors doing research on it, but we feel there remains a disconnect in sharing that information across disciplines and with students. We feel that Lake Superior and its communities should be openly celebrated, for it connects us all. It can be looked to as a common place to give and receive, learn, and be unified in our local context.
This is what inspired us to create the Lake Superior Research Group (LSRG). We coined the LSRG out of this desire to encourage students from multiple disciplines to create their own educational opportunities with a unified and collaborative focus on their own backyard. Ours will be the first LSRG expedition to take place in celebration of the new NMCA. We are extremely excited about the momentum this project has developed with and are truly thankful for all the support we have received. If you are interested in learning more about our expedition, or to follow our status, please visit our Lake Superior Research Group (LRSG) website.
To the great waters!
Zack, Jess and Aaron
This feature article is part of the "Making a Difference" Series that celebrates and shares active local and global ORPT School involvement. View more about the "Making a Difference" Series.