Fourth year Emily Amon is on track to complete her third community-based research project with us. This time, she’s studying the ecologically sensitive Harper Creek watershed. Amon is hopeful her work will influence City policy and raise awareness about the hazards facing the Creek.
Driven by a passion for community-based research and environmental science, fourth-year Trent student Emily Amon returned to the TCRC in the fall of 2016 to pursue a third community-based research project with us. Her new project will examine the Harper Creek subwatershed to identify the areas that most need increased soil permeability in order to reduce the amount of sediments and other contaminants that run-off into the creek.
Amon is interested in community green spaces and water quality, so this was a natural project for her. Harper Creek is an ecologically sensitive part of Peterborough, she says, and with increasing urbanization in the area, including plans to build a casino, we need to understand the hazards facing the subwatershed.
Like many TCRC students, Amon appreciates the opportunity to study real problems facing her community. “I don’t see the point in answering questions that no one is asking, or that only academics are asking,” she says. “With community-based research I can come up with solutions to problems that we’re actually seeing.”
Amon’s research is part of a broader push by Peterborough GreenUp (who is hosting her project) to increase soil permeability in Peterborough by de-paving property and installing rain gardens. It’s something that’s on City Hall’s agenda as well, and Amon plans to present recommendations to the City about which areas to prioritize when she finishes her project.
Even now though, in the early stages of Amon’s research, she feels like her work is raising awareness. “There’s been a lot of public concern about the social problems presented by the casino, but I think my work has drawn more attention to the environmental concerns around it.”
Amon hopes her work will encourage people throughout Peterborough to consider building rain gardens on their property. “They’re something anyone can implement,” she says. And they make a big difference by absorbing rain water, which reduces flood risks and diverts contaminants away from streams, rivers, and lakes.
Amon plans to continue her community-focussed approach to environmental research after she graduates from Trent. “The only way to achieve environmental goals is to focus on the community where the problems are,” she says. “There are no one size fits all solutions. So community-based research seems more sustainable, and more likely to succeed.”