IISD Experimental Lakes Area is the world’s freshwater laboratory and a Canadian icon – a natural laboratory made up of 58 lakes in northwestern Ontario on Treaty 3 traditional territory.

Since 1968, we have undertaken experiments on real lakes—the only place in the world where this is done—to determine how human activity impacts freshwater ecosystems and what we need to do to protect them.

Father and young son fishing in a stream

Findings from these real-world experiments are often much more accurate and comprehensive than those from research in laboratories. Those experiments have taught us what causes algal blooms, what effect pharmaceuticals have on ecosystems, and what happens when a pipeline spills oil into fresh water. This allows governments to determine what needs to be done to protect fresh water from those threats.

There is no other place like it on Earth.

Drone perspective of bodies of water

Help us protect our precious fresh water.

The world’s freshwater supplies are under serious threat from pollution, climate change, growing populations, and competition over resources. Researchers at IISD Experimental Lakes Area are currently studying the effects of oil spills, prescription drugs, cannabis, and plastics on our lakes and rivers.

Your critical support will allow us to expand our research to keep tackling emerging threats to one of the most essential elements we need to survive: fresh water.

Group of children examining a fish in a cooler

The IISD Experimental Lakes Area Endowment Fund

The IISD-ELA Endowment Fund will ensure our financial stability through whatever political and financial uncertainties may come. Your long-term support guarantees the world’s freshwater laboratory will be there to protect our water supplies for the next 50 years and for generations to come.

Your gift will be professionally managed and invested by The Winnipeg Foundation. Every year, the earnings from those investments will be used to nurture the freshwater guardians of tomorrow, support scientists, and fund research into new and emerging threats.

For more details, please reach out to Louis by email or over give us a call at 1-204-958-7700 ex 721.

Donate to the IISD-ELA's Endowment

Underwater shot of someone's legs under water

Your support will help us build Canada’s first Centre for Climate Lake Learning to welcome local communities, educate and nurture the next generation of freshwater scientists, and inspire the world.

Think of it as a place where children can get their hands dirty learning science first-hand, where our researchers and First Nations partners share knowledge, where scientists can discuss the future of fresh water, and where research needs to go next.

With your help, we will improve our campus by expanding our lodging facilities, renovating our power supply with clean and innovative technology, and dedicating a new Centre to house our ever-expanding research and educational programs.

Your donation will not only help construct the space but also maintain and improve living conditions for researchers and visitors in this remote area.