Biology professor Dennis Higgs doing front crawlBiology professor Dennis Higgs is part of team that will traverse the north shore of Lake Erie on Saturday to raise awareness of issues affecting the health of the Great Lakes.

Professor to brave waves in support of lake health

A University of Windsor professor will join a relay along the north shore of Lake Erie to raise awareness and funds for the health of the freshwater ecosystem.

Dennis Higgs of the Department of Integrative Biology will swim the 14 km from Colchester to Cedar Beach during the Lake Erie Challenge on Saturday, Aug. 22.

A team of six other athletes will swim, kayak, or paddleboard the rest of the route from Amherstburg to Leamington, a total of about 50 km of open water. The event is a project of the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, which supports actions to protect the lake and the watershed that feeds it.

“The main push, at least from my perspective, is to highlight what a great recreational resource we have in our own backyard that folks often forget about,” says Dr. Higgs. “There is plenty of emphasis on it for fishing, but less on it as a sporting site.

“We want to highlight efforts to keep it healthy and get more folks to take ownership of it. Now I just gotta survive the 14 km swim!”

He will set out at about 6:30 a.m. and estimates the swim will take four or five hours, depending on weather conditions. The public can follow the progress of all the athletes live via social media:

  • hashtag #LakeErieChallenge
  • Facebook @FreshwaterAlliance
  • Twitter @h2oAlliance
  • Instagram: @FreshwaterAlliance

For more information, or to make a charitable donation, visit