This year, Trent University celebrates its 50th anniversary.
When the Environmental and Resource Studies/Science (ERS) Program was started at Trent in 1974 it was one of the first environmental programs at a Canadian university. Over the past 40 years, FOCA, and many lake members have worked with Trent professors and graduate students on issues ranging from shoreline surveys, algae and aquatic plants, invasive species, climate change, rural waste management and fisheries.
Eric Sager is heavily involved in projects which focus on the ecology and management of invasive aquatic plants. He is also the Manager of Trent’s field station, the James McLean Oliver Ecological Centre, located in the Kawartha Lakes region on the shores of Pigeon Lake. Over the past 5 years, he has partnered with the Kawartha Lakes Stewards Association to educate shoreline residents about the ecology and management of aquatic plants. He was instrumental in the research involved in their guide to aquatic plants in 2009.
Dr. Tom Whillans has worked in the Environmental & Resources Studies department at Trent University for over 30 years. He has contributed heavily to establishing Trent’s position as a leader in community-based research and teaching. Dr. Whillans’ research is focused on ecosystem development, habitat reconstruction and ecological restoration. He continues to be dedicated to connecting universities to community organizations (such as FOCA) in order to find solutions to local environmental issues. Dr. Whillans most recently designed and taught the shoreline survey field course which he delivered in partnership with the Coalition of Haliburton Associations (CHA), and sits on the Ontario Biodiversity Council alongside FOCA.
Dr. Paul Frost a professor in the biology department, directs his research toward the quality of our water and how to maintain healthy algae levels in our lakes (a concern fort most waterfront property owners). He is working hard to help us better understand and improve water quality in Ontario’s aquatic systems. Dr. Frost has done quite a bit of public education and sharing with lake associations and others. As the David Schindler Endowed Scholar at Trent, Paul hosts an annual lecture on aquatics. The inaugural lecture featured a panel which included FOCA’s Executive Director Terry Rees.
Dr. Michael Fox is a fisheries Biologist with tremendous experience with Ontario’s invasive and native fishes. Dr. Fox provides technical support as a member of the Fisheries Management Zone 15 Council, where FOCA is also represented.
Dr. Julian Aherne, Dr. Peter Dillon, Dr. Catherine Eimers, Dr. Shaun Watmough, Dr. Anurani Persaud are all freshwater scientists who – among other things – are co-investigators in the Muskoka River Watershed Monitoring and Management Consortium – a collaborative monitoring program aimed at early detection of cumulative effects and predictive models enabling the management of multiple stressors at small and large scales.
Ian Attridge instructs Environmental Law at Trent, and has written numerous articles and provided stewardship, conservation law and land trust policy advice to FOCA many times over the past 20 years.
Jacob Rodenburg Co-instructs Trent’s Environmental Science for Teacher Education course, and is a driving force behind the award-winning Wollaston Lake Young Stewards Environment Camp for children 9-12 years of age.
FOCA’s Lake Stewardship Assistant, Deanna Panitz, is a recent graduate from Trent University with an honours degree in Environmental & Resource Science and Geography. Deanna feels her studies at Trent University have prepared her well for her work with FOCA and beyond. “I was fortunate enough to have professors who involved their students in all aspects of research, from designing and running experiments to analyzing results and writing reports.” Deanna also participated in a Community Based Research Project this past year where she investigated environmentally responsible remediation options for damaged shorelines along the Gull River in Minden, Ontario.
Trent University has considerable infrastructure, resources and researchers in the Environmental & Resource Department, and continues to serve as a tremendous resource for the waterfront community.