by Nadine Changfoot, Academic Co-lead, Community Environmental Sustainability (PBTO-HALIB) Hub

Trent University has received a $150,000 funding infusion thanks to the generosity of two change-leaders, John and Thea Patterson, who have created a new endowment fund to support Trent graduate research at Abbey Gardens in Haliburton that puts community first. The Patterson Abbey Gardens Graduate Research Assistantship adopts the CFICE model where Trent graduate students become immersed within the organization and community of research.

Left to right: Jamie Schmale (MP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock), Marie Gage (U-Links), Heather Reid (Abbey Gardens), Thea Patterson, John Patterson (Distinguished Guests and Donors), Mary-Lou Gerstl, Sheila Ziman (both of Haliburton Highlands Land Trust), Nadine Changfoot (CFICE CES Ptbo-Halib Academic Co-Lead). ©Nadine Changfoot

Abbey Gardens has been a CFICE partner in the Community Environmental Sustainability Hub of Peterborough-Haliburton (CES Ptbo-Halib) since 2012. CFICE funded a Trent graduate student research assistant for four years during summer to early fall months that was extremely beneficial for both students and Abbey Gardens.

Tom Whillans and Melissa Johnston. ©Nadine Changfoot

Melissa Johnston (CFICE RA 2015), working with Heather Reid, offered significant contributions and improvements to the Abbey Gardens market table and understanding of agriculture community and food security in Haliburton. Melissa will defend her Masters of Sustainability Studies thesis in May. Her thesis was inspired and developed from her position at Abbey Gardens.

Jenna Snelgrove (CFICE RA 2016), working with Heather Reid, Sheila Ziman, and Marie Gage, prepared ecological tours of Abbey Gardens and Dahl Forest, a property owned, managed and protected by the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust. Through her research, she learned she very much enjoyed contributing to public education.

“The CFICE model builds upon the vision of Trent Professors John Wadland and Tom Whillans who started community campus partnerships, importantly inspired by the Brundtland Report, between Haliburton and Trent University in 1989,” says Prof. Nadine Changfoot (CFICE Phase I Academic Co-Lead CES Ptbo-Halib). “CFICE and Trent’s Masters of Sustainability Studies program have been providing an immersive experience for graduate students in Haliburton with the support of U-Links,” says Nadine Changfoot. The Patterson’s generous gift will continue to put community first in a sustainable way for Abbey Gardens in Haliburton.

For more information, please check out the recent Trent University press release.

Left to right: Profs Tom Hutchinson (on Melissa Johnston’s thesis committee), Nadine Changfoot (CES Ptbo-Halib Academic Lead), CFICE RA 2015 Melissa Johnston, CCE visionaries Profs John Wadland and Tom Whillans, Julie Davis (VP Advancement), Prof. Asaf Zohar (Director, MA Sustainability Studies)

Left to right: Profs Tom Hutchinson (on Melissa Johnston’s thesis committee), Nadine Changfoot (CES Ptbo-Halib Academic Lead), CFICE RA 2015 Melissa Johnston, CCE visionaries Profs John Wadland and Tom Whillans, Julie Davis (VP Advancement), Prof. Asaf Zohar (Director, MA Sustainability Studies) ©Nadine Changfoot

About John and Thea Patterson

John and Thea Patterson have devoted their lives to making the world a better place. Through thoughtful discussion, and concrete action they tackle global challenges. They have spent decades incorporating education, technology, business and faith into their work both here in Canada, and abroad. The Pattersons have respectively been involved with several organizations including, Canada World Youth and the Canadian Federation of University Women. Alarmed by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa, they visited Rwanda and reconnected with ICA Canada to work in Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda. In 2008, they founded Abbey Gardens, a not-for-profit charity comprised of a reclaimed open pit quarry that provides economic and recreational opportunities for the community as well as programs for learning about sustainable living. Both of their children attended Trent University, as have a number of other family members. John and Thea Patterson will receive Honorary Doctor of Laws degree at this year’s convocation for the commitment both Mr. and Mrs. Patterson exemplify as global citizens with a concern for the well-being of the planet.

About Abbey Gardens

Abbey Gardens is a not-for-profit charity that is transforming a spent gravel pit (300 acres) into a green space that provides economic and recreational opportunities for the community. With gardens, hiking trails, Food Hub, educational displays and local business partners (including a craft brewery) all located on site in the beautiful Haliburton Highlands, Ontario overlooking Grass Lake. Every element of Abbey Gardens helps further their mission to create opportunities to learn about living more sustainably. Visitors to Abbey Gardens can tour the gardens, visit the heritage breed ponies and chickens, shop for local food at the Food Hub, enjoy lunch at their new restaurant patio or participate in one of their excellent programming options throughout the year.

2 thoughts on “New graduate research assistantship endowment to strengthen Trent’s commitment to experiential learning adopts CFICE model”

  1. Kate says:

    Are you seeking new grad students?

    1. nicolebedford says:

      Hi Kate,

      Yes, they are seeking new grad students! The best person to contact about this opportunity is the Academic Administrative Assistant for the Masters of Sustainability Studies (MA SS) program. I will put you in touch via email. Thanks for your interest!

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