Press release

Dr. Michael Paterson, Gail Asper and Family to Match $1,000,000 of Donations to IISD Experimental Lakes Area

Dr. Michael Paterson, Gail Asper and family have just announced that they will match, dollar-for-dollar, $1,000,000 of donations to IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA)—the world’s freshwater laboratory—in northwestern Ontario.

September 5, 2018

KENORA, September 6, 2018—Dr. Michael Paterson, Gail Asper and family have just announced that they will match, dollar-for-dollar, $1,000,000 of donations to IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA)—the world’s freshwater laboratory—in northwestern Ontario.

This generous matching grant is to celebrate 50 years of unique and ground-breaking freshwater research at IISD-ELA, and will go towards establishing an endowment fund to secure the next fifty years of the site.

Dr. Michael Paterson, Gail Asper and family have now donated $2,000,000 to date to support the world’s freshwater laboratory in northwestern Ontario.

“This is an exceptionally generous gift from a family that has already shown so much public support for IISD Experimental Lakes Area, and for that we thank them greatly,” said Matt McCandless, Executive Director, IISD Experimental Lakes Area.”

“Like many Canadians, Mike, Gail and family are proud that Canada hosts an incredibly unique research facility that, over the last 50 years, has taught us everything from what causes algal blooms to the impact of mercury, acid rain and oil spills on freshwater lakes. We hope that as we celebrate our fiftieth year, Canadians will give generously to help secure the future of fresh water.”

“As lake people, we are fortunate and proud to have IISD Experimental Lakes Area in our own backyard, here in the North,” said the Honourable Bob Nault, Member of Parliament for Kenora.

“Their world-renowned research has produced amazing results that work to protect and preserve our fresh water. I especially want to thank Gail Asper for her generous donation, which will help IISD-ELA continue their important research so that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty and benefits of healthy waters, now and in the future.”

“This is great news for IISD Experimental Lakes Area and what a wonderful way to mark its 50th year,” said Greg Rickford, Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament for Kenora—Rainy River and Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines.

“As someone who was pivotal in the transfer of the Experimental Lakes Area to IISD, I would like to thank Gail Asper and Michael Paterson for their most generous offer of a matching challenge to help ensure the important work at IISD-ELA may continue for the next 50 years. As the Member of Provincial Parliament for the Kenora-Rainy River riding and Minister of Northern Development and Mines, I look forward to working with IISD Experimental Lakes Area.”

“I want to congratulate IISD Experimental Lakes Area in celebrating 50 years of ground-breaking research that has influenced so many important public policy issues on freshwater ecosystems not only here at home, but around the world,” said the Honourable Rochelle Squires, Manitoba Minister of Sustainable Development.”

“A cornerstone of freshwater science in Canada and abroad, IISD-ELA has played an important role in helping inform decisions that protect Lake Winnipeg and other waterways in Manitoba.”

“Having IISD Experimental Lakes Area on this pristine watershed is great a bonus for the future of Canada and the world,” said His Worship Mayor Dave Canfield. “It is in the heart of North America—Kenora—where water is our future.”

IISD Experimental Lakes Area is the world’s freshwater laboratory. It is an exceptional natural laboratory comprised of 58 small lakes and their watersheds in a remote part of northwestern Ontario set aside for scientific research. IISD-ELA is the only place on earth where researchers can experiment on real lakes to discover the impact of human activities over the long-term. For the last 50 years those lakes have taught us what causes algal blooms, what acid rain, mercury, dams and oil spills do to fresh water, and much more.


For more information, or to arrange interviews, contact:

Sumeep Bath, Communications Manager, IISD Experimental Lakes Area or (204) 599 2595

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.

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