Calling All Citizen Scientists

(WINDSOR, ON) – Researchers from the University of Windsor are seeking citizen scientists to fan out across Essex County and collect water samples for use in measuring harmful E coli bacteria. Members of the public are invited to pick up sample bottles from one of seven locations across Windsor and Essex County between August 16 to 18.

On the morning of August 19 the volunteers will collect water samples from beaches, rivers, creeks, or lakes in the region and return them to the location where they picked up the bottles. The bottles have a label where volunteers will write their name, the location, and GPS coordinates of where they removed the sample.

Subba Rao Chaganti, an adjunct professor at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, says it commonplace to think that if the E coli levels are high at area beaches that pathogens will be high as well. He says that since very few E coli strains are harmful to humans, the project will provide the information necessary to develop tools to detect the actual harmful pathogens in a much faster way.

“This has never been done worldwide, and this data will allow us to get a complete spatial map,” Chaganti said.

Volunteers can collect their sample bottles between 10:00am to 4:00pm from Lakeview Park West Beach in Belle River, Brian Masse’s constituency office at 1398 Ouellette Avenue in Windsor, Colchester Beach, the Essex Region Conservation Authority office at 360 Fairview Avenue West in Essex, the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at 2990 Riverside Drive West in Windsor, the Leamington Kinsmen Recreation Complex at 249 Sherk Street between 4pm and 6pm on the 17th and 18th, and from Point Pelee National Park between 8am and 9pm from the 16th to the 18th.

Once the samples are collected on the morning of August 19, they can be returned between 10am and noon on the same day.

The LaSalle Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre in LaSalle will be open to accept sample returns as well.

Masse will host a barbecue for volunteers at his constituency office during the drop-off period.

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