The Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation focuses on scientific research, communication, and thought leadership on water issues in the Great Lakes region and beyond. The Burke Center specializes in “translating” science to the general public, government agencies, NGOs, agriculture, and the private sector, helping to edify water policy in a wide variety of geographies and subject areas. As society enters an era of increasing water tension and scarcity, a key goal of the Burke Center is to improve water literacy among people everywhere.

The Burke Center will promote the health and sustainable use of the world’s freshwater resources, one of the greatest global challenges of our time. As public policy has evolved to address these challenges, it has become clear that effective and lasting solutions to complex water problems requires an integration of insights from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

In order for society to sustain the health of its freshwater resources, it is essential that leaders think critically across disciplines and collaborate to identify creative solutions and inspire action. The Burke Center will address these needs by integrating the education, research, and outreach programs at Northland College with the resources of Forest Lodge to:

  • train future water resource stewards,
  • develop solutions to water resource problems, and
  • catalyze conversations among regional, national, and international leaders on sustainable freshwater use

With facilities located in both the Great Lakes watershed (on campus), and the Mississippi River watershed (at Forest Lodge), the Burke Center is uniquely positioned to conduct science and outreach in two of the largest watersheds in North America.


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