case #00159

The River Institute uses the St. Lawrence River as a natural laboratory

The River Institute uses the St. Lawrence River as a natural laboratory

The River Institute is a research and educational outreach centre that uses the St. Lawrence River ecosystem as a natural laboratory to deliver programs for students in elementary, intermediate and secondary schools.

Each year, the River Institute’s educators lead thousands of students through the marshes and waterways to learn about environmental science and conservation. Students from Eastern Ontario, Ottawa and Montreal travel to Cornwall, Ontario, to take part in interactive workshops and camps that mix geography, science and conservation. Students get hands-on lessons in environmental research while assisting scientists and biologists on the water and in the laboratory. They are actively involved in river research, learning how to use equipment and sampling techniques to catch and observe small fish, and getting first-hand experience of the career of an environmental scientist.

At the end of the students’ time at the River Institute, the data they collected goes into the St. Lawrence River Watershed Biodiversity Database, where it will contribute to research projects and assessments of the health of the St. Lawrence River. The students gain meaningful experiences working as part of a team, exploring biodiversity and applying new skills as they are learned.

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