Celebrating the diversity of habitats and protected areas on campus, the provincially significant wetlands in the Total Loss Farm nature area have been officially named the Kiiktaanaa Mash’ing Wetland Complex. The name, meaning Spring Peeper Marsh, was provided by the Elders & Traditional Knowledge Keepers Council and was formally invested in a ceremony on April 25.
“Thanks to our extensive collaboration with the Michi Saagiig consultation liaisons, the Trent team determined early on how best to collect environmental data and Indigenous knowledge (IK) in order to effectively plan for the preservation of wetlands in our Nature Areas,” said Julie Davis, vice-president of External Relations & Development. “We’re pleased that the province has recognized the value of this wetland to the hydrology of the region, and that they accepted the name the Elders Council recommended for the wetland.”
Four season studies of the wetland complex have been completed, and baseline hydrological monitoring has been in place since early 2022 to allow for the advancement of the University-Integrated Seniors Village and non-profit long-term care facility while mitigating impact to the natural environment. In anticipation of the construction of this important community infrastructure, the Trent campus planning team has ensured that protections for the Kiiktaanaa Mash’ing Wetland Complex including development setback buffers to protect the flow and function of the wetland. In response to the IK and environmental data collected as part of the planning for the Seniors Village, the University significantly expanded the boundary of the Total Loss Farm nature area from 13 hectares to 22 hectares, thereby preserving more green space on campus.
"It is a benchmark for how consultation and environmental planning should take place where we allow the environment to govern the land more so than typical western policy-based directives," said Gary Pritchard, Conservation Ecologist & Indigenous Engagement/Placemaking Specialist from Curve Lake First Nation, speaking about his being engaged to review the environmental studies and wetland setbacks for the site.
Evaluated under the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System, the provincially significant designation ensures the complex is protected from development.
How the Trent Lands Plan promotes caring for the land
The Trent Lands Plan governs development projects like the Seniors Village as well as how the Trent land stewardship team cares for the Trent Nature Areas, including important features like the Kiiktaanaa Mash’ing Wetland Complex. Currently, the Trent land stewardship team is collecting data about the features, habitats, and wildlife that exist on the Trent Lands. That includes mapping and describing forests, wetlands, open grasslands, shrubland and wildlife movement. The team also collaborates with Trent faculty, students and local community groups to share observations about wildlife sightings, invasive species, and to gain insight from local Indigenous peoples on caring for the Trent Lands on the Symons campus. This knowledge will inform how best to care for the Trent Nature Areas and the larger University Green Network.
Where the Seniors Village fits in the Trent Lands Plan
The Seniors Village is a cornerstone project in the Trent Lands Plan, providing hands-on learning opportunities for students and to advance research into aging. The Village will also help reduce the long waitlist for long-term care in Peterborough, one of the oldest-aged communities in Canada.
The Trent Lands Plan uses a set of guiding principles to aid in decision making around such projects. Land-use decisions on the Trent Lands must promote learning and discovery; environmental resilience and integrity; economic resilience, leadership and innovation; and social resilience, community, and inclusivity. The Seniors Village aligns well with these principles by providing important academic and research opportunities for students and faculty, strengthening the University’s fiscal sustainability, and helping older adults in the local community live well as they age.
The importance of the Trent Lands Plan for the future of Trent and the surrounding community is made apparent by the University’s ability to manage these priorities: simultaneously protecting the health of its Nature Areas while furthering its academic, economic, and community-oriented goals.