Paul Sibley, Chelsea Rochman and Shari Dahmer, SETAC Toronto Community Outreach Sub-Committee Chairs; and Trudy Watson-Leung, SETAC Toronto Program Committee Co-Chair

A key value of SETAC is to stimulate knowledge sharing. The Community Engagement Event at the SETAC North America annual meeting is an amazing way in which SETAC engages with the public to share knowledge in the local community. This event allows us to share the science about which we are so passionate, learn something about the local community where we host the meeting, and break down barriers through direct connections with the public. The Toronto Community Engagement event promises to be worth showing up early for!

In Toronto, we have planned a community engagement event that includes a tour of one of the biggest green infrastructure projects in Toronto’s history. To adapt to climate change, Toronto is upgrading the connection of the highly urbanized Don River to Lake Ontario with the creation of a new naturalized river mouth. In addition to flood protection, this project also aims to rehabilitate the local aquatic ecosystem, which is part of the Toronto and Region Area of Concern, (a designation under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement). A special session on the Toronto Flood Protection Project (TFPP) has been proposed for SETAC Toronto, so make sure to check toronto.setac.org for updates.

The Sunday afternoon, SETAC-sponsored engagement event allows a first-hand look at the scale and complexity of this $1.2 billion remediation project, and offers a chance for the public and SETAC members to interact with the scientists and engineers involved. In addition, the Don River (the river with the highest percentage of surrounding urban area of any river in Canada) is the site of a trash boom, which has been revealing a lot about the plastic debris that is entering our waterways. Representatives from the University of Toronto trash team and the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup will be at the event to answer questions about what they have been learning from the boom and discuss their research and programming.

If you have experience in remediation projects, groundwater and sediment toxicology, science communication, flood risk and hydraulic modeling, climate change resiliency, environmental engineering, or human health or ecological risk assessment, then please consider coming out to lend your expertise to answer questions from the participating citizens and local community organizations. The event will take place on Sunday, 3 November. The tentative schedule is provided in the following table:

Time Description
12:45 p.m. Meet Waterfront Toronto representatives at the conference center – a shuttle from the convention center will be provided for SETAC attendees only
1:00 p.m. Waterfront Toronto will conduct a walking tour of the naturalization project focusing on the scientific insights being gained from the trash boom in the Don River
2:30 p.m. Social meet and greet
3:00 p.m. View the model of the Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection project and hear from representatives of Waterfront Toronto; interact (including Q&A) with various community groups from the Toronto area

Registration opens 2 July. Remember to sign up for the community event when you register for the meeting. We look forward to seeing you on the Toronto Waterfront!

Authors’ Contact information:  psibley@uoguelph.ca, chelsearochman@gmail.com, sharidahmer@gmail.com and trudy.watsonleung@ontario.ca

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