Trent Students Rock Their Research

50+ STUDENTS! 32+ PROJECTS! 27+ HOSTS!

CHERYL LYON – A jam-packed space, a loud buzz of excitement at the Trent U Student Centre on 21 March as the Trent Community Research Centre (TCRC) celebrated more than 25 years of undergraduate students’ community research. The Greenzine was there to find out what focus was given to research related to climate change that helps inform our local climate crisis responses.

TCRC sees local communities as rich ground for student learning through research − as rich for knowledge discovery and application as any faraway country, ocean or subject. The “win-win” is that local communities benefit from the research results and the student researchers get the marks and the recognition.

From the 32 projects posterized for the event, the Greenzine chose three climate-related projects relevant to the Peterborough region.

“Lesson in a Backpack:” Renewable Energy in the Classroom

Sophia Ramirez-Hennessey brought earth and space science together by capitalizing on the interest of a local classroom of students in technology. Together, they mapped sunlight changes throughout the year in Canada, including this region. Calculating what capacity of solar energy is desired/needed, and what is actually possible in the Peterborough area, could be useful in adaptive calculation for local renewable energy planning and growing season adjustments.

poster of “Lesson in a Backpack:” Renewable Energy in the Classroom by Sophia Ramirez-Hennessey
Sophia Ramirez-Hennessey

Sustainability and Food Security

Maggie Devins-Cann, Jadyn Shand, Nicole Mwaura and Eve Lockhart researched questions about sustainable farming practices to cut costs while improving the soil for Tecasy Community Garden near Burleigh Falls. Tecasy Ranch generates fresh produce for a local food bank. The students’ research suggested 4 ways for minimal ecosystem impact and continuing strong yields:

poster for Sustainability and Food Security
poster by Maggie Devins-Cann, Jadyn Shand, Nicole Mwaura and Eve Lockhart

Creating a natural fertilizer specific to Tecasy soil; addition of a secondary water source to lessen stress on the watershed; fortifying crop rotation; and improving pest management by combining natural and organic methods with current physical pest removal. They suggested further research on the social aspects of sustainability.

Get Your Feet Wet: Affordable Options for Rural Water and Septic Systems

Ryan Shanker and Hilary Wright brought sustainability in the climate crisis together with the hot topic of affordable housing in their research location: the highly rural City of Kawartha Lakes. Rural communities rely on well water and septic systems. This becomes an economic and social justice issue when the high cost of constructing these systems drives up the price of the housing, limiting rural residents’ housing affordability. Meetings with industry professionals and a literature review concluded that:

poster for Get Your Feet Wet: Affordable Options for Rural Water and Septic Systems
poster by Ryan Shanker and Hilary Wright

Communal systems of water and wastewater servicing small-to-moderate development sizes, within local contexts would make development more efficient and affordable than private water and waste system. In other words, no sprawling, land-levelling suburbs, more affordability, less maintenance, better environmental protection and economic sustainability.

Hilary Wright and Ryan Shanker

The Greenzine focused on climate-related research projects but so many other fields were also represented at the celebration. Find them on the TCRC website.

We previously covered research on 50% Local Food by Trent graduate Katerina Laakmann.

Trent Students Rock Their Research © 2023 by Cheryl Lyon in the Greenzine is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 

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