National Lake Blitz

Summer Speaker Series

Join us for the upcoming Lake Blitz Summer Speaker Series!

Experts, artists, storytellers, and researchers from across Canada and beyond will share insights on lakes, ecosystems, climate, and their diverse experiences — all in quick 30-minute sessions. These rich and engaging bite-sized talks will be jam-packed with interesting learnings and help grow your understanding of the natural world.

Bring all your questions! The 10-minute Q&A sessions following each presentation will provide the opportunity for participants to interact with the speakers and dive deeper into their experiences and expertise.

A Loon’s Eye View: Exploring Citizen Science with Ornithologist Mark Peck

Date: Wednesday, May 29

Time: 5:30 – 6 pm PT/ 6:30 – 7 pm MT/ 7:30 – 8 pm CT/ 8:30 – 9 pm ET/ 9 – 9:30 pm AT

Explore the immense potential of the citizen science movement in understanding and preserving ecosystems across Canada. The first webinar of the Summer Speaker Series will feature Mark Peck, Ornithologist, and Collection Specialist and Program Director at the Royal Ontario Museum. Mark will take you on a captivating journey into the world of citizen science programs, focusing on the renowned Canadian Lakes Loon Survey and its 40+ year legacy. Delve into the significance of this long-standing survey, led by Mark, that gathers crucial information and mobilizes passionate advocates for the conservation of the iconic Common Loon. 

Mark Peck is the Collections Specialist in Ornithology at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), the Director of the Environmental Visual Communications Program with the ROM and Fleming College, and the Program Councillor for the Toronto Ornithological Club. He is responsible for managing the bird collections and developing programs to engage the public in research, biodiversity, and several citizen/community science-related initiatives. He is also an enthusiastic volunteer for the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey.

Indigenous Rights and Environmental Justice: Insights from Author and Human Rights Defender Clayton Thomas-Müller

Date: Wednesday, June 26

Time: 5:30 – 6 pm PT/ 6:30 – 7 pm MT/ 7:30 – 8 pm CT/ 8:30 – 9 pm ET/ 9:30 – 10:00 pm AT

This Summer Speaker Series welcomes Clayton Thomas-Müller, a prominent author, Indigenous rights advocate and environmental justice champion from Treaty #6 based Mathias Colomb Cree Nation (also known as Pukatawagan) in Northern Manitoba. Clayton will delve into the importance of lake ecosystems and fostering  water literacy, and share details about his work to fight against the fossil fuel industry’s encroachment on Indigenous lands.

Clayton Thomas-Müller is an award-winning film director, media producer, organizer, facilitator, public speaker and bestselling author on Indigenous rights and environmental & economic justice. His book, Life in the City of Dirty Water, was a national bestseller and a CBC Canada Reads finalist. He has been recognized by Yes Magazine as a Climate Hero and is featured as one of 10 international human rights defenders in the National Canadian Museum for Human Rights. He has campaigned across Canada, Alaska and the lower 48 states in hundreds of First Nations, Alaska Native and Native American communities to stop the encroachment of the fossil fuel industry on Indigenous territories.

Fire and Flow: Exploring Wildfires and Watersheds with Geographer François-Nicolas Robinne

Date: Wednesday, July 24

Time: 5:30 – 6 pm PT/ 6:30 – 7 pm MT/ 7:30 – 8 pm CT/ 8:30 – 9 pm ET/  9:30 – 10:00 pm AT

Discover how wildfires threaten water security and influence watershed dynamics as summer heats up. Geographer and wildfire researcher François-Nicolas Robinne will explore the complexities of wildfire behaviour and shed light on both the challenges and positive impacts. François-Nicolas will offer a nuanced perspective on this natural phenomenon and give participants insight into the fascinating interplay between wildfires and watersheds.

François-Nicolas Robinne is a geographer, with special interest in spatial hydrology, forest ecology and geomatics. In 2013, he arrived in Canada from France to start his PhD in forest management at the University of Alberta. His PhD thesis focused on wildfire risks to water security, a topic that he continued to research during his post-doc with Global Water Futures. During his two years with the Canadian Forest Service, he worked as a wildfire research scientist analyzing post-fire risks to drinking water supply. Currently, François-Nicolas is a Habitat Analyst for the Pacific Salmon Foundation. François lives in Edmonton on Treaty 6 Territory and within the Métis homelands and Métis Nation of Alberta Region 4.

Art Meets Science: Climate Action and the Power of Art with Jill Pelto

Date: Wednesday, August 28

Time: 5:30 – 6 pm PT/ 6:30 – 7 pm MT/ 7:30 – 8 pm CT/ 8:30 – 9 pm ET/ 9:30 – 10:00 pm AT

The dynamic fusion of art and science has the power to move hearts and minds. Climate artist Jill Pelto will illuminate the urgency of climate change and speak to how art can effectively communicate scientific concepts in accessible and engaging ways. Jill will share her breathtaking artwork and provide insights into the vital role of artistic expression in raising awareness about environmental challenges.

With a background in both art and science, Jill Pelto’s work focuses on communicating human-environment connections. She incorporates scientific data directly into watercolour paintings to share the emotion behind these stories of change, whether overwhelming or hopeful. Her work is inspired by her fieldwork in places like the alpine glaciers in Washington state and British Columbia, and by communities around the world who are working hard to mitigate climate change. Jill’s work has been featured on the cover of Time Magazine, and she uses her artwork in education and outreach, working with classrooms to bring her data-art curriculum to students.

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Nerdy about Nature: Making Watershed Science Accessible through Social Media with Ross Reid

Date: Wednesday, September 25

Time: 5:30 – 6 pm PT/ 6:30 – 7 pm MT/ 7:30 – 8 pm CT/ 8:30 – 9 pm ET/  9:30 – 10:00 pm AT

In today’s digital landscape, social media plays a vital role in science communications. Ross Reid, the creative force behind the social media sensation Nerdy About Nature, has nearly 300K followers on Instagram and 200K followers on TikTok. Ross will offer a glimpse into his captivating project, share clips of his favourite social media videos, and provide insights into promoting watershed restoration and accessibility in science education. Get ready for an engaging session that goes beyond the typical slideshow — prepare to learn, laugh, and leave inspired!

Born to settler immigrants from Denmark, Norway and the UK, Ross Reid grew up in the Cascade foothills on the traditional lands of various Coast Salish & Nuu-chah-nulth Nations. Surrounded by nature, he developed a deep love for the outdoors, spending his youth skiing, biking, hiking, and surfing. Despite diverse pursuits, including studies in biology and film production, his fascination with nature persisted. In 2019, he founded Nerdy About Nature, blending his passion for communication, ecology, and philosophy to inspire others to appreciate and protect the natural world. Ross believes that shared knowledge fosters a collective love for our planet, driving positive change for future generations.

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