Yet we pollute our rivers and lakes with little thought for the long-term consequences in a world where millions of people have no access to safe drinking water, a situation that will only grow worse in the coming decades. Canadians have been blessed with what Fortune magazine has called the "gold of the 21st century", but we don't give it much thought.
Queen's is working to change that. Together with the Royal Bank of Canada, we have launched the Queen's University-RBC Water Initiative. This 10-year program will strive to protect this precious resource. We plan to construct a state of the art open air laboratory at the Kennedy Field Station on the Salmon River, not far from Kingston. Ground water wells, water level gauges and weather stations will be installed throughout this property. Similar equipment will be placed along the 75 kilometer length of the Salmon, making it the most documented river in North America.
I am excited by the discoveries and innovations that will follow, creating a truly amazing opportunity for our best researchers, professors and students to make a real difference on this important issue.
Programs like this one help Queen's bridge the gap between the theoretical and the practical. They not only help us to understand watersheds – those complex landforms where, beginning as rain or snow, water finds its way into small streams and brooks, and ultimately to the world's oceans – but to protect them and, by extension, our drinking water.
This project spans Queen's faculties, encouraging cooperation and creative problem solving. Students from multiple disciplines, including engineering, health sciences and arts and science, will study the physical, ecological, policy, economic and health issues associated with watersheds. It will provide fantastic hands-on educational opportunities, and not just for Queen's graduate and undergraduate students. The initiative will reach right down to elementary schools – some of our future students! Our goal is to help people understand that there is more to water than just turning on a tap. We want to be part of the solution in water conservation.
Fascinating work, relevant world issues, important discoveries waiting to be made – and this is just one example of the kinds of things being done at Queen's. Just one. There are many other exciting advances being made in different fields, and each discovery is made possible by alumni support. This is the power of the collective. Thanks to donors like you, Queen's is a place where inspiration and innovation flourish. A place where our people have the opportunities to be the change they want to see in the world.
They care. Show them that you do too. They can't do it without us. Please join me as a proud parent and add your support to the 2012-13 Queen's Annual Appeal today, where every gift creates opportunity.
Daniel Woolf, Artsci'80
Principal and Vice-Chancellor