Tribute to Delta Marsh Field Station

In 2011 the Delta Marsh Field Station closed after 44 years of operation, a sad ending to a facility that had made immense contributions to ornithology since its founding in 1966 by Dr. Jennifer M. Shay.

The Delta Marsh Field Station was an environmental education and research facility of the University of Manitoba located on the southern shore of Lake Manitoba about 100 km northwest of Winnipeg. The station provided an important venue for teaching undergraduates and graduates about ecology and the practice of science. Indeed work at the station produced over 130 theses and 370 journal publications spanning ecology and the environmental science, with work on both plants and animals.

Its demise in 2011 cannot be attributed solely to damage that had been incurred by floods, nor can it be argued that its closing was the result of diminished usage – the number of user-days in the 1990s and 2000s were high (Hobson et al. 2012). Rather its closing reflects a broader problem of lack of coherent support for field facilities by many universities, and by diminishing support by governmental agencies.

For an excellent editorial on the contributions of this wonderful station to ornithology read: Hobson, K.A., D.R. Norris, G. Goldsborough, and S.G. Sealy. 2012. Requiem for a field station: the loss of a Canadian ornithological treasure. Avian Conservation and Ecology 7(2): 7.