RBC donates $1.5-million to water projects

October 13, 2009

    Laura Gainey, RBC Royal Bank's regional president for Ontario South West, announcing a $1.5-million gift from the RBC Foundation for the RBC Water and Health Initiative. Photo by Emily Du.
A citizen-run program that will monitor and track biodiversity and ecosystem health in the Hamilton region is one of three water-focused projects that will be created as a result of a $1.5-million gift from the RBC Foundation for the RBC Water and Health Initiative.

The announcement was made this morning at McMaster University by Peter George, McMaster's president, and Laura Gainey, RBC Royal Bank's regional president for Ontario South West.

"Thanks to RBC, we will be able to involve, educate and motivate vigilant eco-citizens, the stewards of our natural environment," says George. "What's more, we'll be collaborating with fine local organizations - the Bay Area Restoration Council and the Royal Botanical Gardens. RBC's gift will have a great impact not just across campus but on the broader community as it benefits from McMaster's world-class, multi-disciplinary research into water."

"Water is our most precious natural resource, and we know that universities, industry, government, business and individuals can all play a part in promoting sustainable water use," says RBC's Gainey. "We are thrilled to support the outstanding research McMaster will undertake through the RBC Water and Health Initiative that will benefit not only the local Hamilton area, but communities around the world."

URBAN (Urban-Rural Bio-monitoring and Assessment Network) will provide valuable ecological information on water quality, air quality, wetland health and forest health for conservationists, city planners, resource managers, and researchers while at the same time educating citizens about eco-services.

"What we're essentially doing is establishing a program of citizen science," says Pat Chow-Fraser, professor of biology at McMaster University. "We are excited about implementing new activities to bring the public to campus through lecture series and youth outreach programs, to work with the community via the URBAN project, and to explore new technologies that keep us mindful of the urban and rural impacts of water on the lives of Canadians."

The second initiative is the launch of the McMaster Centre for Climate Change. Led by Altaf Arain, associate professor of Geography & Earth Sciences, and Mike Waddington, professor of Geography & Earth Sciences, the Centre will sponsor an inaugural public lecture series, website, and high school outreach programs.

The third initiative will allow Lesley Warren, professor, Geography & Earth Sciences, to establish outreach programs related to her green mining technologies research.