With summer swimming in full swing at Kincardine’s beautiful Station Beach, the Municipal Innovation Council (MIC) and the University of Windsor are ramping up our Smart Beach efforts.
So, don’t be alarmed if you see two Smart Beach t-shirt-wearing individuals walk up to you in hopes of striking up a conversation!
Can you spot a rip current?
The Smart Beach survey duo are hitting the beach to survey local residents and visitors as part of this pilot project. But what do the surveys involve? And what are researchers trying to learn from them?
We asked Dr. Chris Houser, Dean of Science at the University of Windsor and lead researcher on the project:
“We’re going to be asking beach users some very simple questions, such as demographic questions, how many people they’re with and where they are from. We’re also going to be asking questions about beach safety: things like what knowledge they already have, can they spot a rip current, do they know what conditions are good versus bad to swim in and ultimately, what is their own swimming ability.”
“From these questions, we get a better understanding as to what people perceive as dangers here on the beach.” -- Dr. Chris Houser
Meet the Smart Beach students
With that background, it’s time to introduce our incredible Smart Beach survey duo: Madelyn Eybergen (pictured left) and Jessie Byers (pictured right).
Both are currently students at the University of Windsor and are entering their third year at the university this September.
Madelyn grew up just outside of Kincardine and tries to spend as much time as she can along the shores of Lake Huron. She enjoys many different water sports and is a certified lifeguard—Madelyn taught surfing lessons at Kincardine’s Station Beach with locally owned Surfsup Eco Shop.
She is now working in Ripley, training a support dog, running a henna tattoo both at the Kincardine Promenade on Sundays, promoting beach safety and raising awareness around the Smart Beach project. It’s a busy summer for Madelyn, but she’s excited to join the #SmartBeach team and looks forward to talking to anyone and everyone this summer along the waterfront!
Jessie grew up in Brockton and is currently studying neuroscience at the University of Windsor; she aspires to be a pediatrician and aims to work with children in whatever profession she decides to pursue. She is currently working as a day camp leader in Chesley during the week and will be instrumental in promoting beach safety at Station Beach on the weekends.
Jessie helped the MIC and the University of Windsor develop the beach surveys, which aim to help the #SmartBeach team understand how beachgoers interact with Station Beach.
So, if you see the two familiar faces below at Station Beach this summer, say hi, introduce yourself and ask them all those burning questions you’re sure to have about the Smart Beach project!
Becky Smith is the Director of the Centre for Municipal Innovation.