Trent University has received $350,000 from TD Bank Group (TD) to implement environmental enhancement projects in the new University Green Network (UGN), a key component of the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan, which features a commitment to maintain 60 per cent of the Symons Campus in Peterborough as nature areas and green space.
“The Trent Symons Campus Lands are a precious asset, rich in natural and cultural heritage, vital to the resilience of Trent and our communities,” says Jennifer Clinesmith, director of Campus Planning & Development at Trent University. “We are thankful that this generous grant supports our plan to be an active caretaker for a valuable ecosystem, while prioritizing teaching and research on the land and encouraging all to appreciate and engage with nature. Our goal is to demonstrate best practices taught in the classroom through active stewardship of our beautiful natural environment.”
The University Green Network prioritizes engaging students in hands-on learning as well as collaborations with with Michi Saagiig First Nations and a variety of local community organizations.
The grant, given over three years, will help advance environmental stewardship of the UGN – a large and connected 868-acre system on Trent’s Peterborough campus that includes diverse habitats, wildlife corridors, productive landscapes and diverse green spaces that support ecological function and biodiversity. Stewardship efforts will be guided by the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan, which was approved earlier this year.
The grant will help fund an ecologist to lead creation of the UGN Systems-Level Plan – a best practice planning approach to take a landscape-level view and identify composition and relative representation of habitat types across the UGN. The plan will identify priorities for restoration and enhancement of the natural environment, as well as innovative and actionable opportunities to bring ecologically regenerative elements into the campus. Implementing the System-Level Plan recommendations will involve students, Michi Saagiig First Nations, and organizations including Camp Kawartha and Peterborough Green-Up.
Expected actions include creating a meadowland bird habitat, removing invasive species, creating nesting mounds for Blanding's turtles (a species at risk) and creating new natural spaces within the campus.
Educational signage, featuring western and Indigenous knowledge about flora and fauna, will be installed alongside trails and walkways. Interpretive signage will also be installed throughout the UGN to support learning about natural features, including Indigenous Traditional Knowledge about species of interest and concern to Indigenous peoples.
"At TD, we believe that creating a vibrant planet and healthy environment is foundational to feeling confident about our collective futures,” says Carolyn Scotchmer, executive director of TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. "That’s why we are dedicated to developing, enhancing and protecting natural spaces across Canada including the Trent University campus lands. These enhancement projects will help create environmental benefits for the local Trent community, as well as health and social benefits."
Trent’s new ecologist will liaise with the Nature Areas Stewardship Advisory Committee, School of the Environment faculty, Indigenous Environmental Studies and Biology departments, and a variety of Master’s programs to embed the UGN Stewardship Plan actions into coursework. The ecologist will also liaise with local First Nations to engage Indigenous youth in the work.
“For the past three years, Elders, Knowledge Holders and Consultation Liaisons from Curve Lake have participated in the creation of the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan,” says Chief Emily Whetung of Curve Lake First Nation. “Through this ongoing engagement, we have ensured that Indigenous Traditional Knowledge has an active role in guiding the relationship the University has with the land. This ongoing collaboration presents an opportunity to showcase the positive relationship between public institutions and First Nations."
About the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan
Approved by the Board of Governors in February 2021, the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan was a three-year endeavour that culminated in a framework for the evolution of the Symons Campus. The Plan advances the University's mission as a learning institution, steward of the natural environment, and community anchor. The Plan includes guiding principles, inspirations from around the world, and emerging best practices to achieve an inspiring vision to demonstrate leadership in environmental education and stewardship, and respect for Indigenous Traditional Knowledge. It commits the University to maintain 60% of its lands as Nature Areas and green space and to ensure new buildings meet high environmental standards. Trent’s Symons Campus represents a substantial portion of the City of Peterborough’s woodlands and wetlands, and many enjoy trails and wildlife in its 11 nature areas. The Plan introduces a University Green Network to connect these Nature Areas and greenspaces across the campus and provide a robust network of rich and biodiverse natural features. Access the Trent Land and Nature Areas Plan at trentu.ca/trentlandsplan.
About Trent University
One of Canada's top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that's personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Today, Trent's unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent's students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent's Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.
Cara Walsh, Communications & Media Relations Officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.