The community applauded the efforts of Trent University students to explore the county at the 21st annual U-Links Celebration of Research March 23.

The annual event offers a glimpse at the work done by students through the U-Links Centre for Community Based Research. The 23 research projects investigated topics from wetland protection, healthcare and plastic use. More than 40 people attended at the Minden Hills Community Centre.

Project co-ordinator Amanda DuncombeLee said she was pleased with the turnout.

“It’s amazing to see everyone gather around the posters and try to find out more,” Duncombe-Lee said. “The students did a great job, from what I’ve seen, explaining.”

Guest speaker Ray Letheren talked about a model for single-use plastic reduction in communities. Letheren’s model is being examined by Dysart et al through a U-Links project. A report will soon come forward to the municipality about it, he said.

“If you don’t read anything else this year, read that report,” he added. “Our hope is that every community in Ontario will soon join us in this campaign.”

U-Links co-chair Larry Clarke said the projects this year were excellent, with many centring on environmental issues. He added the research is critical for small communities to address their needs.

“It’s something very important to this particular community because that’s our future. We have to have research and data that enables us,” Clarke said. “It at least provides some tools and solutions for us to push some of these needs up to a level of government, so that perhaps (we) can see some change.”

The day also featured a presentation from Emily Anon, who discussed her thesis on the impact of U-links research in the county. She found the centre had led to many useful outcomes, including policy changes, programming and organizational learning.

“I have no doubt that all this work will go on to do important things in Haliburton County. Taking it a step beyond the purely academic pursuits to the kind of research that connects and strengthens our world for everyday people,” she said.

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