Past grant-funded research projects

LC-Top-50-Research-College-2019.jpg Researchers, faculty members, staff, external partners, and students have collaborated on past research projects, solving challenges and addressing the needs of our community, province and world. Delve into our past research projects below.


Internal funding







The Antibiotic Alberta Plant Project Phase 2


The Microbial Research Group of Lethbridge College has launched the Alberta Antibiotic project, which has the goals to identify new antibiotics from Alberta plants and to engage our students in scientific and applied research. Finding new antibiotics is a priority as declared by the World Health Organization and will serve the agricultural, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries. Our group has identified several plants with antibacterial activities and are characterizing antibiotic molecules from a plant extract. Our native plant extract library constitutes a valuable resource for local and global industries who are interested in discovering safe alternatives for use as antibiotics.

Commercial scale production of freshwater shrimp (Hyalella azteca)
  • Funding for project: CARIF​
    John Derksen instructing students
  • Project duration: January 1st to June 30th, 2019
  • Lead researcher: John Derksen (Chair, Aquaculture of Excellence)


Freshwater, Ostracod shrimp are an abundant natural form of forage in many lakes in North America and Alberta, providing enhanced growth rates to resident fish species. Though capable of production on a small scale for lab studies, no large-scale production of this species is documented. We wish to produce freshwater shrimp on a commercial scale for the purpose of: 1) providing a live diet to enhance the intensive culture of walleye (Sander vitreus) in recirculating aquaculture systems, and 2) enhancing the recycling of solids in aquaponics systems.

Optimizing academic and professional success through the creation of an inclusive healthy learning and work environment
  • Funding for project: CARIF
  • Project duration: January 1st to June 30th, 2019
  • Project Leads: Coreen Roth (Vice-President People & Planning) and Shelley Carter-Rose (Director, Student Services)
  • News story:

The ultimate goal of this applied research project is to review and analyze research data to assist in the development of a plan for a college-wide health and wellness strategy, and support the development of student and employee health and wellness plans for 2018-2021.  Faculty will conduct this study, with a project outcome to generate a report with conclusions and/or recommendations regarding the types of initiatives the data supports going forward, and how it can help us identify what an organizational strategy and plan for Lethbridge College should include.

Outdoor Play - What are the realities in Southern Alberta?
  • Funding for project: CARIF
  • Project duration:  January 1st to June 30th, 2019
  • Lead Researchers: Cheryl Hatten (Instructor, Early Childhood Education) and Dr. Hanako Shimamura (Instructor, Early Childhood Education)
  • News story:

This project will gather baseline data, via an on-line survey, from ECE educators in Lethbridge and surrounding area on their current knowledge and practices surrounding outdoor play, their beliefs and perceptions about outdoor play and outdoor risky play, as well as barriers to outdoor play and outdoor risky play. This data will be used to inform a program of research for the ECE program at Lethbridge College as well as to determine in what areas Lethbridge College can provide leadership and support to community partners.




The Virtual Home


My research asked the following questions:

1. Does an immersive experience change spatial perceptions to increase architectural ‘buy-in’ for smaller, more sustainable spaces, communities and interior finishes?

2. Is there a potential to increase industry partnerships (local architects, designers and furniture/finish suppliers to virtually draw/model and showcase product within the virtual environment?

3. Does interactivity impact the user’s immersive experience. (ie. Turning on lights, moving walls, changing finishes?)

The Virtual Home Project strove to implement true human-centered design thinking practices into a world highly influenced by the corporate media. It was critical to re-think the design process via the use of virtual reality tools and gaming software and to marry these tools with the world of architecture.  Discoveries were made on both the consumer and the designer side and a unique home prototype was ultimately created and experienced in the virtual world.  It was in essence, designed by its own community, through survey results, speaking events, student engagement, social media polls and focus groups.  While the involved consumer provided feedback, I was able to push the boundaries and implement passive, sustainable design features in the structure, design, lighting and finishes.

The home resulted in a fully transformable, high tech, fully closing 600 square foot home, that (when polled) 90 percent of consumers were willing to live in. 

360-Degree Storytelling


The overarching goal of this applied research study was to determine how to use 360 video to engage various audiences in journalism. I did this through surveys and six focus groups aimed at three demographics (two focus groups per demographic) – 16-29, 30-59 and 60 and over. I also developed a best practices guide for creators of 360-degree pieces for both technical and narrative aspects of storytelling and presented it at the RTDNA conference in Toronto in June 2018.  It was introduced by our industry partner, Global News and alum of our program, Troy Reeb, Senior Vice President of News, Radio & Station Operations, Corus Entertainment Inc. and Global TV. DCM students also created immersive projects as part of curriculum in their second year of study. 

Supporting Students Through Texting, Photos, and Explain Everything
  • Funding for the project: CARIF
  • Project duration: 2017-2018
  • Lead researcher: Jeff Hamilton (Instructor, Academic Upgrading)


In his document, Academic Success & Educational Technology: Analysis of Student Needs and Expectations, Andy Benoit lists 7 themes that arose from the Educause Survey of Lethbridge College Students during 2013 - 2015. The first theme, Students want their instructors to be available or “connected” outside of the classroom to provide timely support and information, shows a desire by students to connect with their instructors outside of class time.

Traditionally at Lethbridge College faculty has been encouraged to provide office hours outside of class time. This still works well for many students. However, with the devices students, and faculty, have at their disposal, alternate forms of communication may be beneficial to many students. This study will research the effects of providing students with an instructor’s cell phone number to communicate through texts, images and customized videos. This research can inform faculty, perhaps, on alternative ways of engaging and supporting their learners.

Optimizing Haskap Berry (Lonicera Caerulea L) Drying Techniques as a Value Added Food Product


Haskaps, also known as honeyberry, are being grown locally. The perishable and delicate nature of this berry requires that much of the fruit be processed or preserved. Phoenix Haskaps have asked for assistance in developing value added products for the marketplace.

Drying these berries in the same manner as other fruits reduces the berry’s health – promoting benefits and negatively affects dried appearance. This proposal looks at factors involved in drying whole berries, including drying temperatures, air flow and drying times. The proposed research hopes to identify optimum drying conditions that will produce a high quality, cost effective, shelf-stable product.

Poverty and its Effects among Post-Secondary Students: A Mixed-Methods Study
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    Shaylene Wall, Instructor, General Studies
    Funding for the project: CARIF
  • Project duration: 2017-2018
  • Lead researcher: Shaylene Wall (Instructor, General Studies)


Poverty is a complex issue that suffers from common misconceptions, especially here in Canada. When we think about students, we do not often consider their challenges with poverty. Previous studies addressing post-secondary students dealing with poverty have only considered their financial challenges through measuring their income levels. The current applied research project, Poverty and its Effects among Post-Secondary Students: A Mixed-Methods Study, focuses on the connection between poverty and how it is related to other aspects of students lives; more specifically; income, health, food security, quality and safety of accommodation, and academic achievement. Using a mixed methods technique of surveys and interviews to examine this existing gap in research, this study has been able to address the following research question: “What is the experience of post-secondary students at the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College who live in poverty?” The results can directly benefit students through informing policy-related decisions and institutional planning, which include but are not limited to student services, financial services, and health services.

Poverty and its Effects among Post-Secondary Students: A Mixed-Methods Study, has also provided a unique opportunity for Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge to collaborate on a research project that has provided deeper insight into the issues of poverty that directly impact post-secondary students. Together, these institutions will have the opportunity to expand the scope of the study by sharing the results to multiple partners both locally and regionally. 




The Transition of the Practitioner to Instructor
  • Funding for project: CARIF
  • Project duration: 2016-2018
  • Lead researcher: Dr. Jim Urasaki, Instructor, Criminal Justice


This research study will investigate the process of transition that former police officers have undergone in order to become a college instructor. The transition of professional practitioners to instructors is a relevant topic of discussion as a successful transition will contribute to the goal of providing opportunities for student learning from individuals with relevant industry and professional expertise. This study may provide insights into the development of novice college instructors and provide opportunities to facilitate the development of appropriate perspectives and instructional strategies for present and future faculty.

The Antibiotic Alberta Plant Project
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    Sophie Kerneis (2nd from right) and Leanne DuMontier (centre) with student researchers
    Funding for project: CARIF
  • Project duration: 2016-2018
  • Lead researchers: Dr. Sophie Kerneis-Golsteyn (Instructor, Biological Sciences) and Leanne DuMontier (Lab Technician – Agriculture)


Infectious diseases affect millions of people around the world. The discovery and commercialization of antibiotics were able to save many lives. However, the overuse of antibiotics has led to the development of many antibiotic resistant bacteria. Since 2009, the World Health Organization has declared antibiotic resistance has a threat. They stated in their 2017 report that if nothing is done “humans could soon find themselves in an era where simple infections once again kill millions every year.”(1).

The Antibiotic Alberta Plant Project (AAPP) developed at Lethbridge College has the aim to identify new antibacterial molecules towards pathogens from plants that are growing in Alberta. To date, no commercialized antibiotics have been isolated from plants, even though traditional medicines and ethnobotany have shown some antimicrobial properties in many plants around the world (2).  The isolation of antimicrobial molecules from plants is of great importance as it could be the opening to new antibiotic molecules discovery.

We were able to establish at Lethbridge College, the Alberta Prairie plant library with 89 extracts ready to be tested towards different infectious agents. The techniques and equipment are also in place. From our first screenings we were able to identify active extracts towards S.aureus,  A.baumanii, and P.aeruginosa, bacteria of the ESKAPE group (bacteria causing hospital acquired infections and showing more resistance towards antibiotics). One extract was fractionated in collaboration with Dr Raymond Andersen, natural chemist, UBC, Vancouver, allowing the identification of two molecules with antibiotic activities. We will continue the isolation of more antibiotic molecules from the plants showing antibiotic activities. In collaboration with the Cancer Cell laboratory at the University of Lethbridge, we will determine the cytotoxic dose of the active molecules on human cell lines. The ideal molecules would be the ones for which the cytotoxic dose human cells would be higher than the active dose to bacteria. We will look for industry partners that would be interested by the isolated antibiotic molecules. The application of these molecules can be broad as antibiotics are now commonly used in our everyday life, to cure, or prevent infections in humans and animals.

References: 1.  WHO. Prioritization of Pathogens To Guide Discovery, Research and Development of New Antibiotics for Drug-Resistant Bacterial Infections, Including Tuberculosis. 2017; 2.  Nciki S, Vuuren S, van Eyk A, de Wet H. Plants used to treat skin diseases in northern Maputaland, South Africa: antimicrobial activity and in vitro permeability studies. Pharm Biol. 2016;54(11):2420–36. 

Toward Understanding and Reciprocity among Indigenous and Non-Indigenous People: The Impact of the Lethbridge College Experience on Student Bias
  • Funding for project: CARIF
  • Project duration: 2016-2018
  • Lead researchers: Terry Dreaddy (Instructor, Criminal Justice) and Dr. Jennifer Davis (Instructor, School of Liberal Arts)


Lethbridge College has committed to increased understanding and reciprocity among Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.  In education, implicit bias can add to this crisis if there is a lack of awareness of its influence on students. This study was designed to bring awareness to the issue of bias and measure the impact of the college experience on negative biases held by students.  It was intended to either affirm that our efforts to prepare students to be more culturally sensitive are succeeding or to identify the need for more specific intervention. Using a variety of validated instruments designed to measure explicit and implicit bias, we have shown that a Lethbridge College education does not affect the level of student bias against First Nations peoples, at least in the four programs we measured. This opens the door for futher research to identify and embed successful ways of reducing bias into the curriculum so that in the future Lethbridge College won't just offer training in cultural diversity, we will be able to say that we offer training that makes a demonstrable difference.

Feel The Heat


Decision-making for crop management can be improved with detailed, frequent observations of soil, weather, and plant conditions. The temperature of a crop reveals information on its well-being: the cooler the crop is compared to the air temperature, the more successful it is at obtaining water. In this project we built and tested a wireless infrared camera to measure the temperature of plants in an agricultural field. From this data, we developed a computer program that translates the images into an indicator of water stress level that is useful for irrigation scheduling.




Engaging Students in a Flipped vs. Traditional Classroom
  • Funding for the project: CARIF
  • Project duration: 2015-2016
  • Lead researcher: Jeff Hamilton (Instructor, College and University Preparation)


Lethbridge College provided active classrooms and opportunities to "flip" a course. Research shows that active learning spaces promote student engagement. Research also shows how using a flipped class approach can also promote student engagement. However, little, if any, research has related the environment of flipping a course on student engagement. This project asked the question, "Does a flipped classroom in an active learning space lead to greater student engagement than in a traditional space?"

Dry Lips Oughta Move to Lethbridge College: A Theatre Initiative to Create New Ways to Teach and Learn in the FNMI Career Pathways Program (Phase One)
  • Funding for the project: CARIF
  • Project duration: 2015-2016
  • Lead researcher: Dr. Chris Gringard (Instructor, General Studies)


Theatre was incorporated into the FNMI Career Pathways Program as a way to develop teaching and learning in NAT 1150: Exploring FNMI Perspectives. Students were part of the research and development of a play they were studying (Thomson Highway’s Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing); their contributions in this exploratory stage (Phase I) were carried forward to the play production in May 2016 (Phase II). Highway will join us offering a Master-Class and a public presentation to the community. The process was documented, demonstrating how theatre works and how Phase I reflects an Indigenous research methodology.

Effect of Personality on Program Choice and Likelihood of Retention in a College Setting
  • Funding for the project: CARIF
  • Project duration: 2015-2016
  • Lead researchers: Dr. Jennifer Davis and Shaylene Wall (Instructors, School of Liberal Arts)


Our previous research established that the incoming students at Lethbridge College self-assort into different programs based partly on personality. This study combined previous data, collected in 26 different Lethbridge College programs, with data from a final pre-graduation personality assessment. These results allowed us to (1) assess whether a person’s goodness of fit to the personality of their program affects their likelihood of completing their program and (2) assess the degree to which participation in a specific academic program changes a students’ personality over time.

Undergraduate Bachelor of Nursing Students’ Involvement in Simulation during Speciality Nursing Practice
  • Funding for the project: CARIF
  • Project duration: 2015-2016
  • Lead researchers: Liz Cernigoy and Sheri Wright (Instructors, School of Health Sciences NESA/SPHERE programs)


The purpose of this SoTL research was to explore the preparation of students for specialty nursing practice through the use of simulation. Students participating in the research were in the second year of their nursing program within a clinical practice course at the time of their participation. Research indicates that including simulation in nursing education enhances learning and promotes student engagement.

GO! History
  • Funding for the project: CARIF
  • Project duration: 2015-2016
  • Lead researcher: Marda Schindler (Instructor, General Studies)


Lethbridge has a rich history of community development encompassing the growth of social and cultural institutions combined with industrial and agricultural industries. Several aspects have been studied, but an integrated accessible, online public resource is missing. What people see every day had no link with the past. The multidisciplinary GO! History project created an interactive app that forms the basis of a self-guided tour composed of local historic sites significant to community development. The initial project in Lethbridge historical research served as a methodological and technological framework to create a Lethbridge tour, which can be expanded into surrounding counties.

The Informed Pop Music Consumer in the Digital Age
  • Funding for the project: CARIF
  • Project duration: 2015-2016
  • Lead researcher: Dr. Brent Cottle (Instructor, Liberal Arts)


The popular music industry is at a critical juncture – the industry, artist and the distributors are all asking how to continue to ‘make a buck’ off music at a time when recorded music is available in so many free or nearly-for free digital venues. This project will examine the popular music consumption habits of students at Lethbridge College over a year-long period and will examine whether or not these consumption habits change based on the amount of information these students have about the critical issues facing musicians and the industries that serve them.


External funding


Determination Of The Efficacy Of Nitrogen Injection/Gassing To Prevent Oxidation In Prepared Artisan Mustard

Culinary Careers at Lethbridge College has been working with food producers for more than 25 years, providing insight and support for our partners. In addition to menu development, quality testing and yield testing, the applied research area of Culinary Careers has recently been involved with organoleptic research on fish and produce (Integrated Fish and Plant Systems IFPS) and the value-added food product development of haskap berries (Lonicera caerulea).

Luco Farms has developed a line of artisan mustard formulations and have slowly been expanding their business in Southern Alberta. Before expanding their operations further, Luco Farms wants to reduce the discoloration that commonly occurs in their prepared artisan mustard product. Therefore, Lethbridge College is partnering with Luco Farms to develop methods which can help to reduce the discoloration in their prepared mustard without the use of artificial additives. Nitrogen injection/gassing may be a technology that can be used for this purpose.

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Development of Highly Productive Zero-Waste Food Production Platform Based On Microfiltration and Nutrient Recycling (2017-2018)

Lethbridge College has partnered with 1722497 Alberta Ltd. to develop a zero-waste food production platform based on microfiltration and nutrient recycling designed to provide a highest yield output in the greenhouse space. The partnership would enable the removal of suspended smaller micro- and nanoparticles that can create problems in the drainage system of the vertical farms developed by the company. This project will utilize the uniquely designed microfiltration process using biochar's micro- and nanopore network that can efficiently trap these particles. Besides solving this problem, it will also minimize the need for aquaponics growers to add plant nutritional supplements to their systems, thus mitigating the ongoing industry problem of nutrient mismanagement in Canadian aquaponics production. In addition, the platform will create a niche value added product – highly concentrated nutrient solution active biochar, which has the potential to significantly reduce the operational costs of the aquaponics industry.

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Merging Realities: An Event of Multiple Perspectives (2018)


The Virtual Reality (VR) industry is growing exponentially and the School of Media and Design at Lethbridge College (LC) is striving to take the lead though program development and research. 'Merging Realities: An Event of Multiple Perspectives' is a full-day conference on VR that will focus on the latest developments in technology and the opportunities for industry and academia. Keynote speakers include Google Daydream's Alex Katzen and MetaVRse Co-founder and CEO, Alan Smithson. 

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Vision and Leading Outdoor Play Symposium In Alberta (2017)


There is an urgent need in Alberta and across Canada to enhance the quality of children’s outdoor play experiences and environments through applied research, curriculum in early childhood programs and professional development. The Symposium will bring together, related industries, community stakeholders, researchers, educators, students, employers, and policy makers to address the current issues around children’s outdoor play in the early years.

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Enviro-Span Modular Culvert Systems Six Mile Coulee Creek Project (2015)
John Derksen (right)


Lethbridge College wishes to partner with Enviro-Span Modular Culvert Systems and the City of Lethbridge to test the environmental impact of a new product called the Enviro Span Modular Culvert System (ESMCS). Invented in Canada, the ESMCS represents a new paradigm in both structural and environmental stream crossing technology. The ESMCS takes the old technology of corrugated, galvanized steel, open bottomed arch culverts, and overhauls it with a combination of new material technology and advanced design.

This combination allows the stream crossing structure to adapt to change over time in a manner similar to smart material technology. It also allows the ESMCS to be installed with minimal environmental disturbance and degradation. This is significant because there is a pronounced need by private sector resource extraction industries as well as the Federal and provincial governments for clear span, environmentally friendly, arch culverts to protect fisheries and other sensitive ecosystems across Canada.

In this project, Lethbridge College will investigate the impacts of the ESMCS on the aquatic ecosystem by installing an ESMCS over Six Mile Coulee Creek which is located on City of Lethbridge property directly behind Lethbridge College. The ESMCS will serve as a permanent stream crossing for the City of Lethbridge's public hiking trail system and as an ongoing aquatic testing and training site for Lethbridge College. The results of this initial project will benefit Enviro Span who will use the research to improve and develop the product for broader application throughout Canada. Resource extraction industries such as forestry, oil & gas, and mining will benefit by having an affordable, environmentally friendly stream crossing that is durable, long-lived, and if needed, recoverable and reusable.

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Six Mile Coulee Project (2015)
John Derksen (right)


The intent of the Six Mile Coulee project is to create and produce a video that will both create community awareness of an industry/post-secondary/government research partnership and serve as a marketing tool for a unique industry product that has been achieved through an NSERC Level 1 Engage Grant. This video will be tailored to the specific needs of each partner and will be available in its various forms online through YouTube, partner websites, and through industry presentations.

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Optimizing and Expanding Commercial Aquaponics Systems (2013 - 2015)
Charlie Shultz


Building on ten years of experience in aquaponics and at the direct request of industry, Lethbridge College used NSERC funding to assist commercial aquaponics producers to optimize their systems and to overcome existing and potential technical and policy issues such as organic certification and pest management.

Moreover, Lethbridge College investigated the use of higher value fish species and their suitability for aquaponics through the use of experimental aquaponics mini-systems. Such activities have the potential to further establish aquaponics as a secure method of commercial food production while increasing efficiency and profitability. This program also generated innovation as existing aquaponics technologies and practices were adapted to meet the needs of current and potential producers in the region, across Canada and internationally.

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Identification of Giardia Species from Water Samples by PCR and Genotyping (2013)


Lethbridge College partnered with Hyperion Research Ltd (Hyperion) to develop a rapid genotyping method for characterization of positive Giardia water samples. In this project a simple molecular diagnostic laboratory method was developed using nested polymerase chain reactions (PCR), DNA sequencing and pyrosequencing techniques to differentiate human pathogenic Giardia strains from non-pathogenic strains isolated from Giardia positive water samples. These tools gave Hyperion Research Ltd. the ability to inform their customers of the public and human health risks of a positive Giardia test from a water sample.

This project also highlighted Lethbridge College as a centre for biotechnology innovation in Canada. Lethbridge College was also able to use the techniques developed through this project to attract new students, as well as additional research and partnerships. This will attract industry and private company funding that will fuel the market driven biotechnology, environmental, public health and agricultural innovation cycle in the future.

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Other funding

VRI Potatoes (2017)
Dr. Willemijn Appels


A section center pivot near Chin, AB, has been instrumented with Trimble Irrigate IQ technology, which allows control over each nozzle on the pivot. The field is subdivided in four quarter sections, one of which is always in potatoes. In this project we evaluate the performance of the technology and most importantly, the effect of precision irrigation on the field water balance and crop performance. We instrumented the field with soil moisture sensors based on maps of topography & soil EC, and point soil samples. The producers increased the complexity of the irrigation rate prescription map throughout the season based on information from these sensors and field scouting. After the growing season, hydrological modeling will be performed to provide possible driving mechanisms for some of the in-season observations and to improve irrigation mapping for future years. Partners in this project are GrowTEC, Sunrise Ag, and the Potato Growers of Alberta.

UAV Technology In Irrigated Agriculture (2017)


Lethbridge College purchased a fixed-wing UAV in spring 2017 with three sensors for visual, multispectral, and thermal infrared imaging. The UAV was used to obtain imagery at the polycropping and VRI field sites. The images were then used for spatial detection of plant (water) stress after validation to measurements on the ground.

Polycropping For Water Use Efficiency (2017)


This plot size study examines if the mixing of wheat cultivars can compensate for yield losses under water stress conditions.

Henderson Lake Phoslock Project (2015-2017)
John Derksen (right)
  • Project duration: 2015 - 2017
  • Lead Researcher: John Derksen (Chair, Aquaculture Centre of Excellence)


Lethbridge College conducted Phoslock sample collection and separate water quality analysis at Henderson Lake for the City of Lethbridge in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Manz Biofilter Project (2015-2017)


This research project involved the testing of a small scale back flushing slow sand filter system developed by Manz Engineering Ltd. (Calgary, AB). The filter was tested for its ability to remove inoculated Cryptosporidium oocysts, Giardia cysts and E.coli from municipal water at different filtration flow rates both by direct filtration and back flushing. 

Building Capacity – Creating Specialized Outdoor Play Training to Empower Children’s Experiences (2016)
  • Funding for the project: The Lawson Foundation
  • Project duration: 2016
  • Lead Researcher: 
  • Post-secondary partner: Okanagan College
  • News Story: Lethbridge College has received a major grant for a special research project, advocating childhood outdoor play.


The goal of this project is to develop and implement specialized training about children's outdoor play that may be delivered face-to-face or on-line, at no cost to the participants.

The Antibiotic Alberta Plant Project Phase 2
Lethbridge Storm Water Outfalls Monitoring Study: Microbiological, Pesticides and Nutrient Analysis (2012-2015)
John Derksen (right)


This three-year storm water monitoring project sought to determine water quality within Lethbridge storm water discharges and the Oldman River. Monitoring focused on measurements of turbidity, and analysis of thermophilic fecal coliforms including Escherichia coli, pesticides, and nutrients in storm water at eight outfalls and catchment areas, as well as three Oldman River sites and one creek site (Six Mile Coulee Creek), all within the City of Lethbridge. Sites were sampled once a month from April until September from 2012 to 2014, as well as during major rainfall events.