World Wetlands Day 2021

9th Annual World Wetlands Day Research Symposium at the University of Waterloo

World Wetlands Day 2021 banner

Our 9th annual World Wetlands Day Research Symposium was held Tuesday, February 2, 2021 in a virtual format. The event featured research talks in the afternoon by speakers from the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and McMaster University. In the evening, the Ecohydrology Research Group co-hosted a virtual public event with the Waterloo Public Library featuring a Distinguished Lecture by Dr. Rebecca Rooney, Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo. Following Dr. Rooney's lecture, she moderated a solution-oriented discussion on how to better protect wetlands with 4 panelists from diverse professional backgrounds. Links to recordings of the event can be found below.

World Wetlands Day 2021 Distinguished Lecture & Panel Discussion

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Distinguished Lecture

Dr. Rebecca Rooney, Associate Professor, University of Waterloo

"Wetland loss when we know better."

Wetland ecologist and professor of Biology, Dr. Rebecca Rooney, has studied peatlands and marshes across Canada for nearly two decades, and knows well their gifts.  What she finds perplexing is that despite overwhelming evidence of their importance for our health and prosperity, we continue to lose wetlands. Join us for World Wetlands Day, as Dr. Rooney describes some of those gifts and poses a challenging question “why are we still losing wetlands and how do we stop?”

Panel Discussion

"How do we as a society protect our wetlands?"

Mike Schreiner, MPP for Guelph, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario

Mike Schreiner is the MPP for Guelph and was the first ever Green MPP elected to the Ontario Legislature. He has also been the leader of the Green Party of Ontario since 2009. Before entering politics, Mike was an entrepreneur and small business owner focussing on sustainable food production and he grew up on a family farm.  

Natalia Moudrak, Director of Climate Resilience at the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation

Natalia Moudrak advances climate resilience programs, guidelines and standards in Canada at the Intact Centre for Climate Adaptation of the University of Waterloo. She was the recipient of the 2018 Canada’s Clean50 Emerging Leader award. Natalia is a Vice Chair on the CSA Group standard for flood-resilient community design and represents Canada as a subject matter expert on stormwater management at the ISO international standards development committee. 

Chief Dave Mowat, Alderville First Nation

Dave Mowat is the elected Chief of Alderville First Nation. He has spent the past 30 years working in various capacities at the First Nation level, including in Winnipeg, Waabaseemoong, Scugog Island and Alderville. In addition to being a researcher, writer, youth worker, and consultation specialist, Chief Mowat is a traditional wild rice harvester and exercises and protects this aboriginal right annually at various sites throughout Alderville’s treaty areas. Chief Mowat was involved in the early work that helped establish the environmental award-winning Alderville Black Oak Savanna and Tallgrass Prairie.

Brad Stephens, Senior Manager, Planning Ecology at Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Brad Stephens has 18 years’ experience in the environmental field. His current position is Senior Manager, Planning Ecology at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. This involves overseeing a team of 12 ecologists providing technical input on ecosystem management and TRCA policy creation and implementation throughout TRCA jurisdiction. The Planning Ecology team is responsible for ecological input into the application of the Planning Act, Conservation Authorities Act, Greenbelt Act, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, Environmental Assessment Act and others in the review of development applications of all scales and complexities in TRCA jurisdiction.  

Research Talks

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Owen Sutton, University of Waterloo

Modelling the hydrochemical trajectory of a constructed fen watershed: Implications for landscape-scale wetland reclamation

Kristine Haynes, Wilfrid Laurier University

Wetland transition in thawing discontinuous permafrost: The role of hummocks and the hydrology of treed wetlands

Heather Townsend, University of Waterloo

Anammox may reduce methane emissions from wetland soils during the winter

Fred Cheng, University of Waterloo

Managing wetlandscapes: Restoring and protecting wetlands to maximize nitrate removal across the US

Paul Moore, McMaster University

Survival of the Deepest: Peat depth as a control on peatland moisture stress and burn severity

About World Wetlands Day

February 2nd is World Wetlands Day, which marks the day when the Convention on Wetlands was adopted in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran. The Convention is an international government agreement acknowledging the importance of wetlands and plays a central role in the wise use and conservation of these critical ecosystems. To learn more about the Convention, visit: