University of Windsor Alumni Magazine

Alumni Funds Research

Alumni President Beth Ann Prince BA ’91 and Essex Region Conservation Foundation President Susan Stockwell Andrews BPA ’91.
Danielle Stuebing

UWindsor Alumni Association Supporting Wetlands Research and Outdoor Education

The University of Windsor Alumni Association is pleased to announce a contribution of $50,000 to fund two projects to further science and education in the Windsor-Essex region. 

The first initiative will see the Alumni Association partner with the Essex Region Conservation Foundation to research methods of removing phosphorus from Lake Erie at the newly constructed Lebo Creek Research Wetland.

 “Supporting environmental projects such as the Lebo Creek Research Wetland is important to the University of Windsor Alumni Association and aligns with our board’s mission to add value to the lives of alumni and students,” said Beth Ann Prince BA ’91, President of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. “This partnership with Essex Region Conservation will benefit students of all ages, alumni and the community in which we live.” 

Dave Ure, a PhD candidate from the Department of Biochemistry will be undertaking this innovative research, which includes investigating various methods of filtering phosphorus through the newly constructed wetland prior to its return to Lake Erie. Wetlands are important for biodiversity, nutrient cycling and flood management.

The Alumni Association will also fund the development of the University of Windsor Alumni Association Outdoor Classroom at Holiday Beach Conservation Area this spring. 

Susan Stockwell Andrews BPA ’91, president of the Essex Region Conservation Foundation, said both the University and Essex Region Conservation believe education is a building block for the success of future generations.

“A compelling body of evidence clearly shows that introducing kids to nature has numerous health benefits, including increased physical activity, healthier body weight, better concentration, reduced symptoms of ADHD and anxiety, and improves energy,” said Stockwell Andrews. “The Alumni Association’s commitment to funding an outdoor classroom at Holiday Beach Conservation Area will allow us to connect more students to nature, and help foster an interest in science and technology, paving the way for students to consider their path to the University of Windsor.”  

In addition to its use for outdoor education, the Outdoor Classroom will also help engage the visitors who travel from around the world to learn more about raptor migration at this conservation area.

“A well-known poet once said, ‘Let Nature be your teacher,’ and as a tree-hugger myself I value the good work that the Essex Region Conservation Foundation supports,” said UWindsor interim President Douglas Kneale. “The Outdoor Classroom, in its natural setting, will be a place of learning in which students will benefit from ‘the lore which Nature brings.’”

Ure, working under the supervision of professor emeritus Bulent Mutus, has already begun investigating ways to filter phosphorus out of water headed to Lake Erie through the wetland.

Specially-designed biofilters send the water through materials to determine whether they retain phosphates, which can contribute to the formation of dangerous algal blooms. Currently, the research is testing tomato plant roots, a specialized sawdust, and iron filings from scrap metal processing.

“The beauty of this is that we’re taking something people would otherwise throw away,” noted Dr. Mutus. “This funding has allowed us to create three identical stations to directly compare methods.”

For more than 40 years, the Essex Region Conservation Foundation has been raising funds to enrich our region as the Place for Life.

The University of Windsor Alumni Association adds value to the lives of both alumni and students. Through active partnership with alumni and friends, the association fosters pride through the development of lifelong relationships with graduates past, present and future.   ν