Sustainable University + Vital Community
We recently hosted a virtual town hall to share the draft Trent Lands & Nature Areas Plan and to answer your questions. View the presentation and recording.
The completion of this plan comes at a seminal moment in the history of the University, the community, and the world around us. Economic stability, the environment, and reconciliation are primary concerns. Locally, housing, unemployment, and a lack of serviceable employment lands are top of the agenda. The pandemic has made these challenges more urgent and acute. Trent University as a leading academic institution, major landowner, and economic driver in the community has and will continue to play a significant role in our collective response to this context.
In 2017, Trent University was challenged to update the Symons campus lands plan in a way that would enhance the learning environment, advance community needs and aspirations, build our financial sustainability, reflect our leadership in environmental and Indigenous studies, and strengthen our reputation. In response, we launched a collaborative process to bring together the Nature Areas Stewardship Plan (2002), the Endowment Lands Plan (2006), and the Trent Lands Plan (2013) into one integrated stewardship and land-use planning framework.
Trent’s Symons campus is rich in natural assets. A primary goal of the campus framework plan is to conserve biological diversity, maintain ecological functions, and sustain ecosystem services across our more than 560 hectares. Trent remains committed to maintaining sixty percent of our lands as Nature Areas and green space, and to being an active caretaker for a valuable ecosystem. At the same time, a priority of the lands plan is to enable developments that meet urgent campus and community needs to proceed in appropriate locations and with high standards for environmental sensitivity. These projects will enhance the student experience, create new research, teaching and experiential learning opportunities, and bring the campus and community together. They will also create a sustainable source of income to enable Trent to remain a vibrant and innovative University.
The Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan has been an ambitious undertaking and has set new standards for campus planning. It began with field studies to document natural features and species, with a focus on collecting and integrating indigenous traditional knowledge. A master campus archaeological study was completed and an extensive engagement process has involved the campus community, Michi Saagiig First Nations, local residents, and alumni. We have studied precedents in land-use planning, campus developments, and environmental stewardship from around the world.
The resulting plan will serve as a framework for the continued evolution of the campus over the next few decades. It advances education on the environment, preserves our valued Nature Areas, and provides targeted actions for a healthy ecosystem. It will enable us to respond to housing pressures on our campus and in the community, and create employment opportunities for students and the region we serve. It will enrich the campus environment and create a greater connection between town and gown. And it will create a revenue stream for the University to invest in advancing our mission, which has never been more critical.
We invite you to review the plan and imagine the possibilities for future generations.