The Detroit River Canadian Cleanup hosted two free screenings of WHAT LIES BELOW at Lakeshore Cinemas on World Water Day, March 22 2017. In the morning students from St. Anne Catholic High School and the Essex District High School viewed the film, and the evening screening was open to the public. This documentary examines the future of Canada’s wild fish stocks and the habitats they occupy that are at risk from overharvesting, habitat loss and destruction. What Lies Below explores what local people are doing to ensure the future sustainability of Canada’s water and traditional fisheries.
Following the film, audience members had the opportunity to speak with a panel of experts, including Lawrence Gunther, the film writer and star. As a person who was registered blind as a child, Lawrence has made it his life’s mission to consider what’s taking place in the underwater environments that made us all “blind”. Lawrence’s passion has led to his earning a Masters in Environmental Studies, which included researching environmental issues impacting Canada from sea to sea to sea. He has lived among the Inuit in Canada’s Arctic, hand-lined commercially for Cod off Cape Breton Island, competed professionally in fishing tournaments throughout North America, and invented the world’s first fishing boat capable of being piloted independently by someone without sight. Lawrence’s work has been well recognized including his receipt of the Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General.
In 2012, he founded “Blue Fish Canada”, a charity dedicated to fish health and sustainable fishing. His “Blue Fish Radio” podcasts and “Feel the Bite” videos are enjoyed by thousands, and his “Blind Fishing Boat” blog has entertained and inspired people for over ten years.
Ken Drouillard, one of the expert panelists, is a professor from the University of Windsor who also grew up in locally here and caught his very first fish at the age of six from the Detroit River in LaSalle. After receiving his PhD from Trent University, Ken returned to Windsor in 2000 as a Post Doctoral Fellow and is now a Professor at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER) at the University of Windsor. His research involves to the development of pollutant bioaccumulation models for a variety of Great Lakes species including invertebrates, fish, amphibians and birds. These models can be used to assess the water and sediment quality and perform ecological hazard and risk assessments. Not only is Ken a passionate local angler, he also contributes to the Detroit River Remedial Action Plan by sitting on the Monitoring and Research Work Group, providing expertise on a number of environmental issues.
Karina Richters also sat on the expert panel, and is the Supervisor of Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change for the City of Windsor. In addition to the implementation of the Environmental Master Plan, Karina has been involved in numerous projects to build a more resilient Windsor through Climate Change Adaptation Strategies. She is currently leading the development of the Corporate and Community Climate Change Mitigation Plan. Karina has also been a municipal representative for the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup partnership.
The DRCC sincerely thanks all of the panel members, volunteers and Lawrence for coming down from Ottawa to celebrate World Water Day and share his film with us! Special thank you to Tactile Vision Graphics who generously provided a special thank you card in Braille on behalf of the DRCC for Lawrence.