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  • Writer's pictureElaine Ho-Tassone

Port Dover has a fishy new mascot

An 8-ft sturgeon, created by more than 200 members of the public during Great Art for Great Lakes workshops, now calls the Port Dover Harbour Museum home.

Volunteers collected plastics that washed up on the shores of Lake Erie (Long Point Biosphere Reserve), turning them into 'scales' that were then assembled into the center of the mosaic fish. The scales were placed within the outline of Lake Erie, symbolizing the plastics issue the lake faces. The idea to depict a sturgeon was inspired by Elaine's initial talk at the artist information session in Norfolk County (where lead artists Holly Anderson and Suzanne Coverett Earls met), in which Elaine discussed the historical significance and presence of this prehistoric fish in the Grand River watershed. Although the Dunnville Dam prevents sturgeon from returning to the Grand River, it is a symbol of hope for systemic changes in the future that may restore the historic greatness of the Grand River/Lake Erie ecosystem.

The arts are being used in this research as a way to reach populations that aren't conventionally engaged in current water management practices. The GAGL workshops engaged with hundreds of members of the Canadian public in addition to Indigenous youth - view all the completed installations/works here. A traveling arts exhibit Elaine is organizing in the new year will bring Indigenous youth's art and storytelling to water managers and the Canadian public - stay tuned!

More photos and the final installation are below ('in-progress' photos and the Facebook post are courtesy of Waterlution/Great Art for Great Lakes and Suzanne Coverett Earls).

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