University of Windsor Alumni Magazine
Monday, May 13, 2019 - 15:45

GLIER's first PhD grad returns as visiting scholar

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John Hartig, an internationally-renowned conservation scientist, has returned to GLIER as a visiting scholar.
Alumni Profile
Sarah Sacheli

John Hartig PhD ’85

The first graduate to earn a PhD at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research is back after 33 years.

John Hartig, an internationally-renowned conservation scientist, has returned to GLIER as a visiting scholar.

“It’s like coming home,” Dr. Hartig said, just before his first seminar last November on areas of concern in and along the Great Lakes.

Hartig, who was born in Vancouver, Wash., but grew up in the Detroit area, studies the cleanup and restoration of the most polluted areas of the Great Lakes. He has authored five books and more than 100 papers on the environment, and his award-winning research makes him a much sought-after speaker.

“We’re really pleased to have John here,” said GLIER’s Trevor Pitcher, director of the Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre. “He’s all about solution-based science… He’s a pioneer in the area.”

As well as being a resource for students and faculty, Hartig plans to continue his inter-disciplinary research during his one-year stay, putting out a special issue of a journal, an edited monograph, and a review article in the Journal of Great Lakes Research.

He said he hopes to have a graduate student from GLIER collaborate with a graduate student in Michigan, reflecting the necessity for a binational approach to Great Lakes remediation.

Most recently, Hartig was the refuge manager for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge and held the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Global Governance from the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ont. He has been an adjunct professor at Wayne State University, was on the board of directors of the Detroit Waterfront Conservancy, and was the environmental secretariat of the Great Lakes Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission, a bi-national body set up by the federal governments of Canada and the United States with jurisdiction over shared water boundaries.

Among his accolades are the 2013 Conservation Advocate of the Year Award from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, the 2016 Edward G. Voss Conservation Science Award from Michigan Nature Association, and the 2017 Community Peacemaker Award from Wayne State University’s Center for Peace and Conflict Studies.

Hartig’s most recent book, Bringing Conservation to Cities, won a gold medal from the Nonfiction Authors Association in the “sustainable living” category and a bronze medal from the Living Now Book Awards in the “green living” category.

Calling him a “wise elder,” Dr. Pitcher said Hartig has unsurpassed experience and knowledge that will lend greater networking possibilities for the University of Windsor.

“He fits everything GLIER stands for… John encompasses GLIER’s mandate in one person.”