Stephen Sims, PhD - Water Life Initiative

Stephen Sims, PhD, a cellular physiologist in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, is a longstanding member of the Water Life Initiative: an organization that aims at ensuring the continued health and vitality of the water system within the District of Muskoka.

Sims became actively involved in ecological preservation when he joined the Muskoka Lakes Association, which then led him to volunteer with the Water Life Initiative.

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Muskoka is considered one of Ontario's gems, ranking in the top tourist destinations in the world by National Geographic Traveler.

The organization is responsible for collecting water samples at several sites on Lake Muskoka, including Walkers Point, Browning Island and Eileen Gowan Island.

The members test the samples periodically during the summer months, and record the temperature and clarity of the water. They test for coliform bacteria, and then send the samples to a provincial lab for measuring other markers, including pH, calcium and phosphorus levels.

“Sustaining healthy lakes is a high priority and something that touches me personally,” Sims said. “This volunteer activity allows me to give back to the lakes, and ensure this legacy carries on for future generations.”

It all began in the early 1930s, when Sims’ grandparents bought property in Muskoka. And growing up Sims had the good fortune of spending time every summer at his family cottage on the lake.

The natural and stress-free environment of Muskoka is the perfect getaway from Sims’ busy and demanding life as a cellular physiologist.

“Swimming in the lakes of Muskoka is a major source of enjoyment and relaxation,” explained Sims. “Every time I’m at the lake I am thankful for the spectacular natural beauty.”