Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Love Your Lakes brings applied learning to a whole new level

Saskatchewan Polytechnic student, Blossom Lamalice knows that when you love something, you take care of it. “Everybody loves their lakes and they want them to be here for future generations. If we start taking care of them now, they will be here for many years to come.”
Lamalice is currently in her second year in the Integrated Resource Management diploma program, which is part of Sask Polytech’s school of Natural Resources and Built Environment. She is passionate about the future of Canada’s waterways and spearheads the Love Your Lakes applied research project in Saskatchewan.

The project examines the sediment, vegetation and other features of various shorelines to assess the current environmental state and ultimately provides a report to property owners.

“The report gives property owners ideas on how to improve and preserve their shorelines,” says Lamalice. “Permanent residents have watched their lakes change over time and are usually really happy to learn how they can help maintain the shoreline to ensure the lake survives over time.”

Funded by the North Saskatchewan River Basin Council, the District of Lakeland and Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Sustainability Initiative Fund (SIF), the program and associated applied research consists of a packaged shoreline evaluation and stewardship program.

“My personal hope is to see people have a better understanding of their shoreline and realize how they can improve certain things,” says Lamalice.

For Natural Resources and Built Environment instructor, David Halstead being able to provide students with applied research opportunities, such as the Love Your Lakes project is an exceptional learning opportunity that’s hard to find in other post-secondary institutions.
“Students learn to be accountable to both instructors and industry partners and must learn to articulate concerns and develop innovative solutions,” says Halstead. “Student researchers learn that these projects have real world impact and are a test of their ingenuity and career commitment.”

Adding to the already broad array of assessment methodologies, Lamalice and her instructor Dave Halstead are looking to use Sask Polytech’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) as a new way to assess hard-to-access shorelines.
“The drones will be the next step because they help us assess everything on the shoreline that we wouldn’t be able to do by foot,” says Lamalice. “It also provides data that you can reference back to at a later date.”

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