The idea for a research station originated in 2011 from the vision of a handful of dedicated staff and faculty, and has been growing in momentum ever since.
“I am particularly proud of the partnership that has led to the construction of the Augustana Miquelon Lake Research Station,” says Dr. Allen Berger, Dean of Augustana Campus. “The connections we have built with the province, county governments, and numerous individual donors will produce wonderful opportunities for our students and faculty. Undergraduate researchers from multiple disciplines at Augustana will utilize the facility to hone their skills and make important scientific contributions. Equally important, the Station will also be available to researchers from other universities across Alberta and around the world.” The project involved over $300,000 in funding from a number of community partners including the University of Alberta, Alberta Parks, Camrose County, Beaver County, and the Beaver Hills Initiative, as well as generous philanthropic support from committed donors to the Project and Augustana Campus.
After years of hard work, the building was moved on site June 1st and the vision became a reality.
Located only 30 km north of Camrose at the southern end of the Cooking Lake Moraine (also known as the Beaver Hills), Miquelon Lake Provincial Park (MLPP) is a prime location for Augustana’s new station. The area has a unique ecosystem that links the prairies and parkland to the south with the boreal forests to the north. This ecosystem, coupled with a rich mosaic of urban, rural, and historic social influences, makes Miquelon an outstanding setting to accomplish the mission of the station which is to promote research, enhance teaching, and develop partnerships.
The station itself comprises a 1500-square-foot modular building. It has wet and dry laboratories, computing resources, multi-purpose office space, storage space, a fully-equipped kitchen, and overnight accommodation for up to eight people. A separate garage/workshop will be installed towards the end of summer for additional storage and work space.
“Augustana has a long history of both undergraduate and environmental research,” explains Dr. Glen Hvenegaard, professor of environmental studies. “With the Augustana Miquelon Lake Research Station, we have the unique opportunity to combine the two within an ecologically significant area of Canada. Miquelon Lake – and the Battle River Watershed in general – offers opportunities to better understand a variety of wildlife, wetland, and park issues within a preserved area of immense biological diversity.”
The station has its own sustainability plan built into operations to address issues of waste, water, and energy. There are also numerous plans for future initiatives, including the installation of solar panels and the creation of a composting system.
The research station won’t just be for university students, either. Planners hope to attract younger students, working adults, and researchers of all ages and from many regions to the station for everyone to benefit from this unique local resource. In fact, Augustana students will be calling the station home for two weeks for the facility’s very first undergraduate field research course in August.
The Grand Opening event will be held by invitation only. For more information on the station, you can check it out on the Augustana website at www.augustana.ualberta.ca/research/centres/amlrs