A new scholarship aims to further public awareness about the biological, historic, and archaeological resources of the Ojibway Prairie Complex, a nature reserve on Windsor’s west side.
The Friends of Ojibway Prairie (FOOP) donated $50,000 dollars to the Faculty of Science to create the Friends of Ojibway Prairie Muriel Kassimatis Memorial Scholarship in memory of a long-time member who left funds to the organization on her death in 2012. The group sponsors environmental outreach, provides equipment for the nature centre, and runs special events.
Board member Carl Maiolani says this scholarship contributes to its educational mission by encouraging university-level conservation research.
“I believe that Ojibway is Windsor’s most underappreciated natural asset and that FOOP should use whatever means available to promote local awareness of the beauty and importance of all the properties in the Ojibway complex,” says Maiolani. “I have long felt that the connection between the university and local nature groups should be fostered whenever possible and hopefully this scholarship will enhance the profile of Ojibway within the University community.”
Dean of the Faculty of Science, Chris Houser, says the new scholarship complements the faculty’s commitment to creating innovative research opportunities that benefit the community.
Each year, a student who pursues a graduate degree focused on environmental conservatism or prairie conservatism will be eligible for the new scholarship. The winning student will receive $2,000 with the award going to an earth and environmental sciences graduate student in even years and a biology student in odd years.
“We are continuing to identify and establish new partnerships that will strengthen the student experience at the University of Windsor, while giving back to the community,” says Dr. Houser. “The Ojibway prairie is a precious and threatened area with unique species of flora and fauna, and it will greatly benefit from conservation research by Science UWindsor students.”
Muriel Kassimatis’ husband Konstantine Kassimatis taught mathematics at the University of Windsor before his death in 1967.
“The board decided that a wonderful way to honour her bequest would be to be to fund a scholarship with a focus on Ojibway, and environmental studies in general,” says Maiolani.