By Jenn Watt
Published Dec. 7 2017
Research projects underway in Haliburton County seek to better understand cultural attitudes to map potential bus routes for public transportation and discover previously undocumented Indigenous history.
More than a dozen projects have commenced under the supervision of professors at Trent University and co-ordinated by U-Links Centre for Community Based Research based in Minden.
“I think there will be some pretty good things coming out in the spring” said U-Links director Sonja Addison. In March U-Links offers a Celebration of Research held in the county where people can discover the results of the work done over the year.
This March attendees of the celebration can expect to hear about bird monitoring at Abbey Gardens climate change attitudes in Haliburton County and the history of Windy Pine once a girls camp and now a Trent University academic retreat.
Community groups can apply to have research done by current Trent students by contacting U-Links which assists with matching interested academics with local groups.
“They’ll come to us and then we will work on a project proposal with them draft something with them and that proposal will outline all of the requirements for the project the research questions. We help them design it so that it can fit into one of the courses or for an independent student to take up” Addison said.
Research must fit into four categories: environmental economic social (which includes health) and cultural.
One student is researching the Indigenous history of the region.
“Investigating the history of Indigenous habitation prior to settlers is critical for our community to understand and recognize the unique and enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories” the project description reads.
“The goal of this project is therefore to gather and evaluate accurate information about the history of Indigenous habitation in Haliburton County: 1) Who they were 2) What traditional territories are included in the county and 3) How this connects to present day First Nations such as Curve Lake First Nation Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation Chippewas of Rama First Nation and Algonquins of Ontario.”
Addison said the student has already amassed a large amount of information and she is looking forward to seeing the end result of the research.
Another project addresses greening cemeteries looking into environmentally friendly ways to intern human remains.
Master’s students are working on two projects that will evaluate the results of the four-year Love Your Lake initiative which provided feedback to lakefront property owners about the best ways to renaturalize shorelines to better the local environment.
Those students will be supervised by Dr. Tom Whillans who was guiding the Love Your Lake program in partnership with the Coalition of Haliburton Property Owners’ Associations.
Addison pointed out that in the past U-Links has done more projects related to the environment and has become known for that work. However there are also opportunities for social studies students to come to the county to assist community groups.
“We have access to a number of other departments in the university that would be available to work on projects that are more related to health and mental health and social endeavours” she said. “We’ve got the psychology department working on a project with four master’s students in the community which is really exciting.”
The professor in the psychology department is interested in working on aging studies and is receptive to proposals from the community.
Anyone who wants to pitch an idea is encouraged to get in touch with Addison at email@example.com or by calling 705-286-2411.