Julie Hall is an artist and horticulturist who hails from Windsor-Essex. Her work and interests often focus on what is remarkably and distinctly regional, from architecture to ecosystems; through the use of communal iconography, her illustrations are meant to rouse collective memory and spark conversations around shared history and experience. Hall studied Visual Arts at the University of Windsor (BFA), Studio Art at the University of Guelph (MFA), and received her horticultural training from St. Clair College.
Lake Sturgeon, Detroit River: The venerated lake sturgeon, once widely abundant in the Detroit River, was nearly extinguished here by the 1950s. Beginning with European settlement, this ancient species fell victim to a powerfully synchronized combination of human threats — thoughtless extermination, commercial overfishing, loss of migratory pathways, destruction of spawning habitat, and industrial and agricultural pollution — all of which contributed to a reduction in Detroit River sturgeon to around 1% of its previous plenty.
Over the last 20 years, collaborative, inclusive, and informed restoration efforts on both sides of the border have made possible the slow but successful reintroduction of lake sturgeon to the Detroit River. This illustration (sturgeon surrounded by eggs, native aquatic plants, and sunken river litter) is meant to celebrate a piece of our deep natural heritage and the incredible efforts to restore and maintain it. In doing so it also exposes some of our dire, catalytic missteps, and highlights the opportunity we all share to begin healing our many damaged communities.