Knight Center director Eric Freedman’s environmental reporting class spent two days in Sarnia and Windsor to give students Canadian perspectives on major issues – perspectives that don’t always mirror U.S. concerns – and to generate ideas for stories they’re writing for Great Lakes Echo and in future courses and their careers.
In preparation for the trip, Andrew Hupfeau, the Consulate General’s environmental policy expert in Detroit, came to campus the previous week to background the students on the history of U.S.-Canadian environmental cooperation in the Great Lakes Basin and the Canadian government’s position on key environmental issues.
A grant from MSU’s Canadian Studies Center helped fund the trip. The group met with:
- Darrell Randell, Kris Lee, Brenda Lorenz and Donna Strang of Friends of the St. Clair River to learn about river remediation, habitat recovery, First Nations involvement and areas of remaining sediment contamination. We met at Guthrie Park along the river in St. Clair Township.
Steve Martin (Southwest Ontario Tourism Corp. and Long Point Eco-Adventures) and Jennifer Pate (Windmill Lake Wake and Eco-Park) to learn about trends and entrepreneurship in adventure tourism and eco-tourism, with a tour of Windmill Lake in Bayfield.
- Mark Butler, John Parent and Jim Wraith of the Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority, to learn about environmental aspects of the new Gordie Howe Memorial International Bridge to be built between Windsor and Detroit. It included a driving tour of the massive customs plaza construction site and its environmental safeguards on the Canadian side.
- Kevin Alexander, a senior planner for the city of Windsor, to learn about waterfront restoration and passive recreation policies and projects along the Detroit River, including a guided walk along the waterfront directly across from downtown Detroit.
- Executive Director Dean Edwardson of the Sarnia-Lambton Environmental Association to learn about industry environmental compliance and regulation, with a driving tour of the Sarnia area’s “Chemical Valley” of petroleum refineries, chemical manufacturing and other heavy industries.