Lakehead University opens Climate Action Park

Photo of Dr. Lindsay Galway

Dr. Lindsay Galway helped open the new Climate Action Park on June 6, 2023. 

June 6, 2023 – Thunder Bay, Ont.   

This afternoon, Lakehead University hosted the grand opening for its Climate Action Park at the newly expanded fire pit with members from the campus and community.  

Lakehead’s Climate Action Park is a co-designed space that aims to restore aquatic habitat along the shoreline of the McIntyre River, improve stormwater management through Low Impact Development (LID) techniques like the bioretention site and riparian area, raise awareness of the climate crisis, and create a place for connection and learning. 

“We are so pleased to be engaging a broad range of stakeholders including university students, high school students, respected Elders, and university faculty and staff in these co-operative efforts,” said Devon Lee, Lakehead’s Sustainability Coordinator. 

“The climate crisis compels us to work together for change in the places where we live, work, and study, and this project is an excellent example of collaborative climate action.” 

The park site is located along the McIntyre River corridor on Lakehead’s Thunder Bay campus.  

The McIntyre River flows to Lake Superior and is one of the four major tributaries in the urban watershed. With 116 hectares of land and 38 buildings, the university campus is responsible for a sizeable volume of the city’s stormwater impact on the river and local watershed. 

“Addressing the impacts of cumulative contaminants in our urban runoff is a priority for the health of our rivers and Lake Superior,” said Dr. Rob Stewart, Associate Professor in Geography and the Environment. 

“The use of Low Impact Developments and shoreline naturalization are critical tools we can use to reduce the impact we have in our watersheds.”  

Dr. Lindsay Galway, Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences, described the process of co-creating the park with help from the community. 

“We conducted a series of visioning workshops with community partners and members of the university community to develop principles that would guide the design of the park.  

“We heard a desire for a park that supports stormwater management and habitat restoration, which are of course key aspects of climate change adaptation, while also serving as a gathering space for connection and relationship-building among people and with the land. I see this dimension of connection and relationship-building as so important to our Climate Action Park specifically and to climate action broadly,” Dr. Galway said. 

The development of the Climate Action Park at Lakehead University has been led by the Office of Sustainability, the Lake Superior Living Labs Network, and the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan.  

It has also been funded and supported by the Great Lakes Local Action Fund, World Wildlife Fund Canada, EarthCare Thunder Bay, and Lakehead University departments such as the Provost’s Office, Office of Research and Innovation, Alumni Association, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Faculty of Business Administration, and Physical Plant. 

The park is part of a broader effort in Thunder Bay that also includes the LRCA’s Climate Change Awareness Park at Fisherman’s Park West. 

Lakehead University also acknowledges the many campus and community members who contributed to the visioning of this space, and in particular, Elders Gene Nowegejick, Peggy Smith, and Beatrice Twance-Hynes. 

As part of the opening, earlier in the day local high school students participated in a planting and learning day at the Climate Action Park during C2U Expo’s Climate Action Field School, facilitated by outdoor education graduate students from Lakehead’s Faculty of Education and advisors Elder Gerry Martin and Greenhouse Manager Keri Pidgen-Welyki. 

This “Go Wild” project aims to engage youth in habitat restoration efforts on campus and is funded by the World Wildlife Fund Canada.








Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media, Communications and Marketing Associate, at (807) 343-8110 ext. 8372 or


Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has nine faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2023 World Universities Rankings for the fourth consecutive year, and the number one university in the world with fewer than 10,000 students in THE’s 2022 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit