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Review for Lake Champlain International (LCI), Colchester, VT, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

My name is Trevien Stanger, and I am writing today to enthusiastically report on my class’s experience have James Elhers of Lake Champlain International speak for us on a recent Thursday morning. I teach an “Introduction to Environmental Science” course at the Community College of Vermont (CCV) here in Winooski, and we’ve been spending the last couple of weeks wading through the science, policy, and ethics associated with clean water here in the Champlain Basin. We’ve done water testing in the river, read over the “State of the Lake Report,” examined case studies from other impaired watersheds, and have taken the time to closely look at our own “water foot-prints.” However, I could tell that an element was missing in our studies–– namely a sense of true, impassioned engagement, and I’m happy to say that James provided us with this and much more.

Over the course of our hour together, James provided students with a strong, coherent, entertaining narrative of why Lake Champlain is impaired–– he walked us through the science of algae blooms, the interconnectivity of watersheds, and the chemistry of human waste systems. However, it was in pivoting to the policy problems and opportunities that James started to bristle with passion and fire, and you could see the students respond. By revealing the economic and personal impacts these water issues are having on real people in the Basin, James helped transform this at-times abstract information into the ongoing, real-time problem that it is. In discussing how much of the policy around food, development, and urban infrastructure impacts our watershed, James demonstrated that each of these issues can be worked on at various levels, and that with greater public participation, we could potentially start seeing real progress in the years to come.

Role:  Professional with expertise in this field