The ELA Student Experience (ELSE) Summer Field Course for Highschool Students

At the high school level, IISD-ELA offers a two-week Experimental Lakes Area Student Experience (ELSE) summer field course for eight grade 11 and 12 students. ELSE gives students a unique perspective into ecological literacy, freshwater research and systems thinking.


Students work with their peers, two adult leaders and many participating scientists through long days, observing, helping, asking, answering, and learning about environmental science, limnology, the “whole-ecosystem” concept, chemistry, ecological interactions, human impacts and more.


For more information on field courses at IISD-ELA please contact

Learning at the ELA About Freshwater (LEAF)

The Learning at the ELA About Freshwater (LEAF) course brings high school students in Northwestern Ontario to the Experimental Lakes Area monthly to learn about freshwater science, whole ecosystem research, and experience both field and lab work.


Working with IISD-ELA staff and scientists, students will experience what winter freshwater fieldwork is like, firsthand. Students will collect various samples, process them in the chemistry lab, manage and interpret data, and develop their own project. Students are exposed to Indigenous perspectives and knowledge as well as learning about various career paths and opportunities.


For more information on field courses at IISD-ELA please contact

Monitoring eDNA & Learning Ecology With Youth (MeDLEY)

Monitoring eDNA & Learning Ecology With Youth (MeDLEY) is a Winnipeg-based program for youth with an interest in the natural sciences who also face opportunity barriers. These students will be engaged in scientific inquiry, collaboration, and innovation during the program.


Our deadline for applications has just been extended until Sunday June 16!


For more information on field courses at IISD-ELA please contact

Field Courses for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

IISD Experimental Lakes Area has a long and proud history of providing a unique learning environment for undergraduate and graduate students who have worked on projects and conducted independent research at the facility.


We are working with a number of universities to provide undergraduate- and graduate-level field courses. The long history of ELA research combined with accommodations, logistical support and laboratory facilities make it an ideal place to teach field research techniques in topics such as limnology, biogeochemistry, fisheries and aquatic sampling.


We currently host two university field courses in partnership with Lakehead University and the University of Manitoba:



  • The University of Manitoba offer a university-based field course focused on environmental monitoring and water quality.


For more information on field courses at IISD-ELA please contact

Working here during these two weeks makes me want to pursue some sort of environmental science.

Jaxon Friesen, high school student who participated in our ELSE program

Interested in applying?

Hundreds of students have conducted research at IISD-ELA, learning strong scientific principles, field techniques and integrated approaches to understanding global freshwater issues. University student research is welcomed as part of our broader research goals, and students will be given the unique opportunity to connect with the scientific community, examining multiple levels of ecosystem dynamics as well as the broader policy implications for these boreal systems.


If you are interested in undergraduate or graduate research at IISD-ELA, we have several team members that are adjunct professors at various educational institutes in Canada. Link to their bios below for more information on their research backgrounds.


Vince Palace, Head Research Scientist; Adjunct Professor at University of Manitoba

Michael Paterson, Senior Research Scientist; Adjunct Professor at University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg and Trent University

Scott Higgins, Research Scientist; Adjunct Professor at University of Winnipeg and University of Waterloo

Michael Rennie, Research Fellow; Assistant Professor at Lakehead University and Adjunct Professor at University of Manitoba


For general inquiries regarding graduate research at IISD-ELA please contact Vince Palace, Head Research Scientist at