River Institute receives $100,000 grant from RBC Foundation

River Institute
River Institute receives $100,000 grant from RBC Foundation
RBC representatives presented a check to River Institute staff at an event on Wednesday, July 6, pictured (from left) are members of the River Institute’s Great River Rapport team Stephany Hildebrand, Courtney Holden, Silvia Rodriguez, Emilie DeRochie, Jeff Ridal, with Channelle Martel (Assistant Branch Manager, RBC) and Ryan Smith (Regional Vice President of Eastern Ontario, RBC) and Yanik Rozon (River Institute). (Photo : River Institute)


The River Institute is pleased to announce a grant of $100,000 from the RBC Tech for Nature Fund to support the Great River Rapport project. Channelle Martel, Assistant Branch Manager at RBC, Cornwall main branch, and Ryan Smith, Regional Vice President of Eastern Ontario, were at the River Institute today to make the presentation. The grant supports the Great River Rapport – an ecosystem health report on the Upper St. Lawrence River.

The Great River Rapport is a science-based project assessing the status and health of the Upper St. Lawrence River. This multi-partner project uses data-centric technologies and online tools to improve our understanding of ecosystem health and motivate action. Inspired by the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address (Ohèn:ton Karihwatéhkwen), the Great River Rapport relies on a strong partnership with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne to guide its development. Over the next year, the River Institute will work with Indigenous partners, scientists, educators, communities, and students to share important information about the river through stories, art, educational programs, and community engagement.

Dr. Leigh McGaughey is the lead scientist for the Great River Rapport project. “Since it began, the Great River Rapport project has grown beyond our expectations,” says Dr. McGaughey. “Over 2,500 volunteers, scientists, students, and citizens have participated, and we continue to find innovative ways to engage people from diverse backgrounds in environmental science. We are grateful to RBC for their ongoing support, and look forward to sharing discoveries about the changing ecosystem with everyone.”

In its initial stages, the Great River Rapport led a series of community workshops and surveys to identify a set of ecosystem health indicators representing the issues that matter the most to the public. The project is now working collaboratively to assess the status of these indicators as they respond to pressures like invasive species and climate change. This work will help guide future research, rehabilitation, and restoration efforts. The Great River Rapport also offers opportunities for people to learn and engage via community events and web-based technologies, including an interactive website, videos, workshops, downloadable educational resources, data access portals, and citizen science initiatives. Learn more about the project here: www.riverrapport.ca.

“We all have one thing in common – our love of this Great River. Our commitment to protect it, to learn from it. It’s a responsibility we share with community leaders, citizens and local organizations like the River Institute,” said Ryan Smith, RBC Regional Vice-President, Eastern Ontario for Personal and Commercial Banking. “That’s why it’s so exciting to partner with River Institute and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, along with many experts and local leaders on the Great River Rapport, which assesses the health of the beautiful St. Lawrence River.”
RBC Foundation through RBC Tech for Nature supports initiatives tackling the pressing environmental challenges of our times by leveraging technology, developing innovative solutions and building multi-sector partnerships.

The River Institute was established in 1994 as a unique community partnership involving the City of Cornwall, government, education, business and industry, and the Mohawks of Akwesasne. Its mandate is environmental research and education with a focus on the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence River ecosystem. As a non-profit charitable organization, the River Institute raises its own funds for all essential costs, including salaries, administration, overhead, and operations. Grants, sponsorships, and donations provide specific funding for research and special projects, together with unrestricted contributions from individual donors and River Champions. To support the River Institute, visit www.riverinstitute.ca/donate/

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