World Water Day — March 18-24, 2021

Michigan Tech celebrated World Water Day 2021 March 18-24 with virtual events related to the United Nations theme, “Valuing Water.” Water is vital to life; learn about how our community values water from social, economic, cultural, and environmental perspectives.

World Water Day Virtual Events Schedule Was As Follows:  

  • March 18 - Community Art Show - Local artists and community members of all ages share what water means to them through creativity and creation! Click Here to View Gallery
  • March 18 - 7:00PM to 8:30PM - Brave Blue World facilitated discussion with Nancy Langston (SS/GLRC) & Dr. Casey Huckins (BIO/GLRC) as part of the Sustainability Film Series.  
  • March 22 - 6:00PM - Water-focused Husky Bites presentation and the Three Minute Thesis-style research competition open to undergraduate and graduate students of all majors.
  • March 23 - 4:00PM - Opening Ceremony - featuring the Woodland Singers and a Water Prayer by Kathleen Smith (KBIC-NRD)  
  • March 23 - 4:30PM - Youth speaker Braedon Butterfield, member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and an aspiring journalist will present a talk about valuing water.  
  • March 23 - Art Night for All with local art educator and artist Melissa Hronkin, with a reading of “We Are Water Protectors” by Carole Lindstrom, followed by an art project honoring the value of water for all living things.  Lisa Denomie, author of Sea Yoga, will guide us through an expressive movement activity.  Judy Sarosik, teacher and artist of Peace Crane Mobiles will lead us in folding an origami fish, and tell us a bit about her artwork and love of nature.  
  • March 24 - 3:45PM - Announcement of 3 Minute Thesis Winners. 
  • March 24 - 4:00PM - Panel discussion featuring Diane P. Dupont, professor of economics at Brock University; Patty Loew, Director of the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research at Northwestern University and a professor in the Medill School of Journalism; and Ali Mirchi, assistant professor of water resources engineering at Oklahoma State University and a Michigan Tech alum.
  • March 24 - 5:30PM - Closing Ceremony - featuring the Woodland Singers and a Water Prayer by Kathleen Smith (KBIC-NRD)
WWD21 Community Art Show
Grinnell by Emily Gemignani

Community Art Show - "The Art of Valuing Water"

Click Here to View Gallery

 World Water Day 2021 is about what water means to people and other creatures, and how we can better protect this vital resource. The Michigan Tech World Water Day Art Show is an opportunity for local artists and community members of all ages to share what water means to them through creativity and creation! Be sure to click the link above and check out the gallery!

Brave Blue World


    2021 Sustainability Film and Facilitated Discussion Series                                        Presents: Brave Blue World

From reuse to energy generation, the film explored new innovations and technologies across five continents that have the potential to solve the world’s water crisis. The film highlighted scientific and technological advancements to ensure the world’s population has access to clean water, safe sanitation services, and protects the environment. Brave Blue World features scientists, engineers and activists from around the world. (2020)  

Discussion Facilitators: 

Dr. Nancy Langston, Dept. of Social Sciences, is an environmental historian who  explores the connections between toxics, environmental health, and industrial changes in  Lake Superior and other boreal watersheds. Her research focuses on environmental health, water and watershed policy, and Great Lakes environmental policy.

Dr. Casey Huckins, Dept. of Biological Sciences, focuses his research on the ecology and restoration of aquatic systems including lakes, streams, coastal wetlands and the riparian ecosystems that connect them. Dr. Huckins investigates ecological patterns and processes in systems influenced by human actions.

Click here to view the event flyer. 

Co-Sponsored by 
Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative
Keweenaw Land Trust
Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
MTU Great Lakes Research Center
Sustainable Futures Institute
Dept. of Social Sciences
College of Forest Resources & Environmental Science

              Husky Bites with Andrew Barnard & Travis White

This special Husky Bites program was put together in celebration of World Water Day! Dr. Andrew Barnard and Mr. Travis White presented some of the exciting work they and their fellow researchers at the Great Lakes Research Center are doing around the Great Lakes and beyond, including engineering an autonomous jetski that will help map the bottom of Lake Superior and advance research in the area of marine autonomy. Autonomous marine vehicles can aid in data collection to identify invasive species, monitor the effects of climate change, evaluate fish populations, assess water quality, and much more. Not only does their widespread adoption and use help to protect our limited water resources for economic, environmental, and social benefits but also related technologies promise to make global shipping smarter, cleaner, and more efficient. Throughout the conversation, Andrew and Travis shared a few tall tales from their experiences working on and around the water that inspire their work and fuel their passion for protecting water resources. 

Three Minute Thesis Competition

As part of the 2021 Michigan Tech World Water Day celebration, a virtual Three Minute Thesis-style competition replaces the student poster presentation this year.

The student 3MT competition had two categories:

  1. Original student research
  2. Course-based research

Original Research Thesis Award Winners

Coursework/Informational Award Winners

Thank you to everyone who submitted a thesis, you can view all submissions                                for each category by clicking the following link. 

Original Research Thesis Entries
Coursework/Informational Thesis Entries

 Meet our Youth Speaker:

Braedon Butterfield

Click here to watch the Youth Speaker event recording

Braedon Butterfield was our youth keynote speaker this year.  Braedon speaks from his heart - "In my very short life I have moved around a great deal. Yet, there is only one place that I can say with confidence is my home. That is Lake Superior. I was raised in Ojibwe country by many different families. I am a big brother to 5 brilliant little sisters. Many people have taken part in my upbringing, but my education comes from four places, Waadookodaading Ojibwe immersion school, the many people I have met, the trees, and most importantly my mother. I currently live in Red Cliff, Wisconsin with my dad. I am an aspiring journalist who works with my mentor Mitch Bollo at the local radio station in Baraga. Just as the people in my life helped me, I hope to one day help people gain some understanding of our crazy, chaotic world with my journalism."

Melissa Hronkin

Art Night Event

Click here to watch the Art Night event recording

Local artist, Melissa Hronkin, led an inspiring reading and discussion of “We are Water Protectors,” a new book by Indigenous author Carole Lindstrom, followed by an art project honoring the value of water for all living things. Afterwards, Lisa Denomie, author of “Sea Life Yoga,” guided listeners through an expressive movement activity. Also featured, Judy Sarosik, teacher and artist of Peace Crane Mobiles lead a class in folding an origami fish, and told us a bit about her artwork and love of nature. 

World Water Day Panel Event

Click here to watch the recording of the Panel Event

We joined Diane Dupont, Patty Loew, and Ali Mirchi for a panel discussion exploring the question “what is the value of water?”. The panelists shared short presentations of their diverse research and storytelling focused on the value of water in advance of an open discussion.

  Meet the Panelists:

Diane Dupont

Diane P. Dupont is a Professor of Economics at Brock University. In 2020 she was made an inaugural Fellow of the Canadian Resource and Environmental Economics Association for her contributions to the field and has been the recipient of Brock’s University Distinguished Research and Creative Activity Award, as well as held Brock’s Chancellors Chair for Research Excellence. She works in the fields of environmental and natural resource economics, particularly where they intersect in the area of non-market valuation. Her research program concentrates upon examining ways to encourage more efficient and sustainable use of water resources both on the supply and demand side. On the supply side, she looks at factors that help to identify which water utilities operate most efficiently and sustainably. On the demand side, she has undertaken a number of non-market valuation studies to determine the value of good quality water as it relates to individuals’ perceptions of the health effects of tap water, as well as their willingness to pay for water-based recreational activities.

Water, A Valuable Resource
Diane P. Dupont, Department of Economics and Environmental Sustainability Research Centre,
Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Water touches every aspect of our lives. We are very familiar with some aspects and recognize
the value of the benefits provided. However, water supports the provision of many other goods
and services that we take for granted and do no value appropriately, leading to misuse. This
paper discusses the Total Economic Value (TEV) framework that is used to help us understand
better the myriad goods/services provided by water. Water is used both directly and indirectly
in the provision of active use goods/services (examples of direct are water used to produce
beverages or run industrial processes while examples of indirect use include water-based
recreational activities and flood control). Passive use benefits from water are independent of
actual use and include benefits that arise from cultural practices, as well as desires for
preservation and conservation of water bodies. Methods and approaches for obtaining the
value of these different types of water benefits are discussed.

Patty Loew

Patty Loew, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research at Northwestern University and a professor in the Medill School of Journalism. A citizen of Mashkiiziibii- the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe- Dr. Loew is a former broadcast journalist in public and commercial television. She is the author of four books, including Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal; Native People of Wisconsin, which is used by 20,000 Wisconsin school children as a social studies text; Teachers Guide to Native People of Wisconsin; and Seventh Generation Earth Ethics. In 2019, she produced a StoryMap and GPS-guided Indigenous Tour of Northwestern:   

Loew has produced many documentaries for public and commercial television, including the award-winning Way of the Warrior, which aired nationally on PBS in 2007 and 2011. She works extensively with Native youth, teaching digital storytelling skills as a way to grow the next generation of Native storytellers and land stewards. In 2019 Dr. Loew was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and received the state of Wisconsin’s Martin Luther King Jr. Heritage Award.   

Water for the 7th Generation:  A Submersive Approach to Research, Teaching, and Outreach
Patty Loew, Mashkiiziibii-Bad River Ojibwe, is a digital storyteller who weaves research, teaching, and outreach into her collaborative work in Native communities. Dr. Loew will share  excerpts from some of the environmental stories her Northwestern journalism students have produced, as well as some of the documentary shorts Bad River youth have produced in summer workshops.

Ali Mirchi

Dr. Ali Mirchi is an Assistant Professor of water resources engineering in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at Oklahoma State University. He holds a PhD in civil engineering from Michigan Technological University, a Master’s in water resources engineering from Lund University, and a BSc in civil engineering with a concentration on water resources from the University of Tabriz. He applies systems modeling and analysis techniques, including system dynamics simulation, hydro-economic optimization and watershed hydrologic modeling to advance understanding of coupled human-natural systems at different scales. His research focuses on water resources planning and management to derive policy insights that promote water sustainability. Dr. Mirchi is currently working on research projects in the southcentral/southwestern U.S. and northeastern Tunisia, investigating adaptive water resources management strategies in the face of population growth, competing demands, and climatic extremes. He is an Arab-American Frontiers Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, and an active member of the ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI) and a number of other professional organizations.

Water sustainability for functional socio-ecological systems: An Iranian perspective 
Ali Mirchi, Oklahoma State University
Water sustainability in Iran has been undermined in part by ecological-economic undervaluation of water. Having implemented a primarily supply-oriented management paradigm in the last few decades, Iran is now facing a host of challenges such as extensive groundwater table decline, drying-up of lakes and wetlands, and sand and dust storms. This talk will highlight prime examples of water-related socio-ecological challenges in the country and what has been done to address them. 

                                  World Water Day Sponsors

We extend sincere gratitude to all of our World Water Day partners, funders and event sponsors.  We acknowledge the generous support of the Great Lakes Research Center and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

           Previous World Water Day Themes/Guest Speakers