Waterloo researchers celebrate World Wetlands Day with a sold-out public lecture on Dutch wetlands

Monday, February 8, 2016

World Wetlands Day is an annual international celebration commemorating the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971.

Signed by 168 countries, it is one of the most successful and long-lasting global environmental treaties ever ratified, protecting more than 200 million hectares of designated wetlands worldwide.

World Wetlands Day banner held up by conference participants.The Ecohydrology Research Group, host for the last four years of World Wetlands Day at the University of Waterloo, marked the occasion with an afternoon reception and poster session featuring wetlands research, followed by an evening public lecture.

Thirty posters were presented by students and researchers from across the University of Waterloo and Western University on topics ranging from field and laboratory experiments to understanding how to restore wetlands using economic and market-based tools.

Stephanie Slowinski presenting her award winning poster.Best Poster winners included fourth-year Earth and Environmental Sciences undergraduate Stephanie Slowinski (pictured) and MSc student Colin McCarter. Stephanie’s research explores how groundwater discharge impacts the amount and speciation of nutrients entering Lake Erie. Colin McCarter, a student with Jonathan Price in the department of Geography and Environmental Management, is looking at the transport of wastewater contaminants in peatlands. Each student received a cash prize of $125.

Later, Professor Jos Verhoeven from Utrecht University in the Netherlands presented the evening’s distinguished public lecture entitled, "Reclaiming, using, and protecting wetlands: how the Dutch created The Netherlands".


Jos’ lecture highlights the changing public perception of natural wetlands in the Netherlands, from areas to be drained and conquered, to areas of rich biodiversity which can be managed and enjoyed,” said Chris Parsons, a Research Scientist with the Ecohydrology Research Group.

More than 150 people attended the sold-out lecture hall with an additional 50+ viewers watching the livestream broadcast. 

The event was sponsored by the Faculty of Science, the Water Institute and the Vice-President of Research.