The Morwick Groundwater Research Centre wins Learning by Design’s “Outstanding Project Award”

Last June, the MG360 Institute launched a campaign to build the Morwick Groundwater Research Centre (MGRC), a cutting-edge hub for groundwater studies at the University of Guelph. The campaign kicked off with an initial donation from Ted Morwick, and is now over 60% of the way towards achieving its goal. We invite and encourage people to connect with us to help meet our fundraising target, and are excited about what the MGRC will offer as a space to showcase new technologies, carry out valuable research, and to train the next generation of groundwater science professionals.

Today, we are excited to share that the MGRC has won an “Outstanding Project Award” from Learning By Design, whose Architectural and Interior Design Awards of Excellence program recognizes exceptional educational spaces.

Designed by WalterFedy architects, the MGRC will be built on the same footprint as the existing Bedrock Aquifer Field Facility, minimizing the environmental impact of the renovations. The Learning By Design committee stated that when complete, the MGRC will be “a modern learning environment that exhibits many design attributes that others may emulate.” In particular, the judges indicated that “the Net Zero Carbon approach is commendable, something for which the community can be grateful for, which benefits society as a whole. Preserving the existing barn is tremendously beneficial to the environment, as are the other measures indicated. Exposed structure becomes a theme and a point of continuity between program spaces. The building is appropriately scaled and reflects the nature of the earth-science focus.”

Rendering of the MGRC exterior.

The finished MGRC will be a multi-functional space. It will house two classrooms that can become a larger room for conferences, and a two-story transparent groundwater well in which downhole instruments will be demonstrated. An onsite borehole into the underlying bedrock aquifer will provide a unique hands-on teaching tool, linking lectures to real-world demonstrations. In addition, a rock wall in the atrium will replicate the Silurian dolostone sequence and formation, typical of the local bedrock aquifer used by the City of Guelph for municipal, commercial, and industrial water supply. The MRGC will also house a rock core library, enabling students and professionals to put their research methods to the test. All together, these features will make the MGRC a world-class facility for research, technology demonstration, education, and public outreach. Groundwater is a vital resource to Canadians and to communities across the globe, and the research carried out at the MGRC will help ensure its sustainable future.

The Learning by Design recognition is an exciting affirmation of the value that the MGRC will bring to students, researchers, partners, and the community, and we are keen to keep the campaign momentum going. You can stay tuned to our blog for future updates, learn more about the MGRC here, or reach out to us directly about ways to help our campaign.

Rendering of the MGRC classrooms.
Rendering of the MGRC atrium with the Silurian dolostone rock wall.

Dr. Ferdinando Manna and Dr. Jonathan Munn join Morwick G360’s team of Principal Investigators

Morwick G360’s mission to enable evidence-based stewardship of the world’s groundwater resources is only possible through high-quality, collaborative field research programs. Today, we are please to welcome two new colleagues to the Institute who will help carry out that research. Dr. Ferdinando Manna (left) and Dr. Jonathan Munn (right) have both received five year appointments as Assistant Professors in the School of Engineering at the University of Guelph, and join the Institute as Principal Investigators. These familiar faces – both were Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Scientists with MG360 previously – will play a key role in advancing groundwater science and sustainability at the University of Guelph in the years ahead.

Dr. Manna is a groundwater hydrologist with expertise in the assessment of groundwater recharge rates in fractured rock. He studies hydrological processes occurring across the critical zone from the atmosphere to the water table in fractured aquifers, especially in regions with seasonally dry or semi-arid climates. For example, Dr. Manna has studied recharge conditions in the southern Apennine mountains – the main source of drinking water for southern Italy – measuring long term climate variability and water table fluctuations. Dr. Manna’s approach includes combining field research – physical and chemical observations – with numerical modelling at different temporal and spatial scales.

Dr. Munn is a contaminant hydrogeologist who specializes in the characterization of bedrock aquifers. He applies various sensor-based field techniques to measure flow system properties at a range of scales. He has carried out field research in the City of Guelph and surrounding area, designing and installing monitoring wells and characterizing hydrogeological units to better understand the bedrock aquifers that supply the region with drinking water. Dr. Munn brings with him a wealth of knowledge regarding multilevel monitoring systems and innovative approaches for measuring groundwater contaminants to inform remediation techniques.

We are excited to have both of these exceptional researchers on board, and are eager to build momentum together towards a better understanding of groundwater resources and sustainability. Please join us in wishing Dr. Manna and Dr. Munn all the best as they begin their new roles with Morwick G360 and the University of Guelph.

Remembering Michael MacCarthy

Morwick G360 is saddened by the loss of our good colleague and friend Dr. Michael MacCarthy. We would like to take a moment to honour his legacy and celebrate his many achievements. Mike was an Associate Professor in Environmental & Civil Engineering at Mercer University, and a Special Graduate Faculty at the University of Guelph (Canada). He was an Associate Editor & Member of the Editorial Board for the Hydrogeology Journal (International Association of Hydrogeologists), and in 2019 received the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Southeastern Section’s Outstanding New Faculty Research Award.

Mike led the Engineering for Development program at Mercer University, designed to help students become leaders in finding sustainable solutions for the environment and to improve the lives of under-served people. Through this program, Mike joined with MG360 to help maintain cost-effective, sustainable sources of drinking water in developing communities around the world. Mike worked with MG360 faculty and students to create the Spring Wells Project, which monitors contamination levels and water quality in mountain springs around cities in the San Juan province of the Dominican Republic. Research here will provide valuable data to ensure the sustainability of drinking water sources in mountain communities worldwide. The project is a clear example of the meaningful work Mike carried out during his career.

In addition to performing research with real-world humanitarian impact, Mike also served as a mentor to graduate students here at MG360 and the University of Guelph, and will be remembered for his care, and his commitment to training the next generation of researchers dedicated to a sustainable future for all. We at Morwick G360 mourn the loss of this exceptional individual. He will be remembered fondly by colleagues, friends, students, staff, and all who knew him.

Introducing Morwick G360’s New Advisory Board Member Glen Kirkpatrick

We are pleased to announce that Glen Kirkpatrick (PEng, PG) is joining the Morwick G360 Groundwater Research Institute’s Advisory Board this Fall. Throughout his career, Glen has demonstrated a clear commitment to groundwater research. With degrees in environmental engineering, contaminant hydrogeology, and strategic management, Glen’s insight into groundwater science and the field of contaminant remediation is exceptional. He is currently a Vice President and Member of the Executive Committee for Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., a consulting firm engaged in remediation practices in the northeastern United States. Glen’s work involves the remediation of sites impacted by chlorinated solvent DNAPLs, PFAS, and other recalcitrant contaminants.

The Morwick G360 Advisory Board plays an important role in shaping the future direction of the Institute. By providing input and oversight, they help chart a path forward, enabling the Institute to achieve its mission. With Glen’s combination of experience and expertise, we are pleased to have him as part of the team.

Morwick G360’s Mission: Enable evidence-informed groundwater resource stewardship by providing a world class research institute of excellence for training and collaboration to advance knowledge, professional practice, and policy.