Our Vision
The environment is an issue of paramount concern to Canadians and is one of the University of Windsor’s research and teaching priorities. At the University of Windsor, we are developing a world-class facility called the "Pelee Environmental Research Centre" which will serve as a site for innovative environmental research programs, collaborative field studies, novel teaching initiatives, and community outreach. Our location in Southwestern Ontario, near Point Pelee National Park, Hillman Marsh Conservation Area, and Lake Erie, will allow us to conduct critically important environmental research in some of Canada’s most biodiverse, and most threatened, ecoregions. Recently, the Municipality of Leamington donated a 22-acre property to the university which will form the base site for our research centre. We are now actively fundraising and recruiting support to develop the Pelee Environmental Research Centre.
Although Southwestern Ontario makes up less than a quarter of a percent of Canada’s landmass, it contains two of Canada’s biodiversity hotspots: Carolinian forests and part of the Great Lakes Ecosystem. The area supports a greater diversity of species than any other region in Canada, including the only expanse of Carolinian forests, important bird migration corridors and 40 percent of the breeding birds in the country, and a rich complement of aquatic life. Southern Ontario has long been under intense pressures of forestry, agriculture, and urbanization. Today, more than 90 percent of Carolinian Canada has been destroyed, and 40 percent of Canada's species at risk, including orchids, trees, snakes, amphibians, fishes, and butterflies, can be found here. The Pelee Environmental Research Centre will draw critically-needed research attention to this area, and will attract top scientists from Ontario, Canada, and around the world. The Pelee Environmental Research Centre will be the only university-based research station in Canada focused on this nationally important ecoregion.
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“This is a huge catalyst for research, teaching, and community outreach. This is a really big opportunity for the university, the region, and the country."
- Dr. Richard Caron
Dean of Science
Environmental Research
One key component of the Pelee Environmental Research Centre will be the construction of a world-class analytical facility focusing on terrestrial and aquatic research. The facility will allow researchers to study how plants and animals respond to both short-term and long-term environmental change. The location of the facility will allow researchers to study plants and animals in their native habitats and understand how organisms respond to stressors such as climate change, habitat modification, pollution, and invasive species. Our research will encompass both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, both short and long timescales, and will attract researchers not only from University of Windsor but from other academic institutions throughout Ontario, Canada, and the world.
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“The research centre will draw the world’s attention to Windsor's outstanding research and teaching programs, and to the natural wonders of southern Ontario."
- Dr. Dan Mennill
Planning committee co-chair
Environmental Education
The Pelee Environmental Research Centre will provide many new teaching opportunities for the University of Windsor. Windsor is a member of the Ontario Universities Program in Field Biology (OUPFB), and the research centre will provide opportunities for students throughout Ontario to take field courses. The research centre will allow the Universities' outstanding professors to develop new teaching initiatives with local public schools focusing on the unique flora and fauna of southwestern Ontario.  The research centre will also host open houses and free lecture series that will provide opportunities for members of the community to learn more about the environment.
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“Students and teachers will be able to engage in field studies and investigate the interactions between organisms and the environment."
- Dr. Daniel Heath
Planning committee co-chair
How You Can Help
You can help the Pelee Environmental Research Centre take flight! We are engaged in a fundraising campaign to develop an analytical laboratory for understanding how organisms and ecosystems respond to environmental change, and to develop infrastructure such as a dormitory, a kitchen, and a classroom building. Donate to the project by following this link (specify that you wish to support the Pelee Environmental Research Centre in the "I would like to allocate my donation to" box), or contact the Faculty of Science outreach coordinator Fedela Falkner (ffalkner@uwindsor.ca). We are seeking financial donations to help support the development of an analytical laboratory, a dormitory and kitchen building, and a classroom building. We are also interested in donations of property in the area, or permissions to conduct studies on privately-owned properties in the area.
Find out More
Read an article about the development of the Pelee Environmental Research Centre from University of Windsor's "View" alumni magazine by following this link. Watch a powerpoint presentation about University of Windsor's Pelee Environmental Research Centre by following this link (3.8MB PDF file).
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