Do the Trent Nature Area signs need a makeover? Trent Student Timothy Calupig takes a closer look

Have you ever been on a hike and wondered which way to go? 

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Signs probably helped you figure it out.

They are an integral part of enjoying the great outdoors!

Signs help us navigate our way through forests, trails, and boardwalks so we can enjoy all the beautiful scenery nature has to offer. After all, no one wants to get lost in the woods!

Although a sign might just be a 2-dimensional surface intended to convey information, there is a lot more to a sign than meets the eye! 

Timothy (Timo) Calupig is a Trent University student and he is conducting his community-based research project on the Trent Nature Area’s current trail signage.
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Timo’s objective is to make recommendations to:

  • update;
  • standardize; and
  • improve

the signage along the Trent University nature trails.

At present, there are some problems with the signage in the Nature Areas.

For example:

  • Informal entrances to the Trent Nature Area trails don’t have signage
  • There is unnecessary duplication of information .
  • Empty space exists on signs that could be used more effectively.

Timo hopes to address the signs on the property, their safety protocols, and usage issues at the Trent Nature Areas.

The project has four main components:

  1. Inventory of Trent Trail head signage
  2. Review of Trent signage policy
  3. Survey other signage in Peterborough
  4. Develop recommendations for a new signage system

Each component has its own methodology with the exception to the development of recommendations for a new, improved, and updated signage system for the Trent Nature Areas.

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First, Timo has to create an inventory of the trail head signage.

He narrowed down 4 important case study nature areas, 3 of which are recognized in Trent’s Stewardship Plan, to inventory the types of signage used, listed below:

  • Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Area Trail (NAT)
  • Canal NAT
  • Lady Eaton NAT
  • Promise Rock NAT

Photographs of their signage systems were taken, attached with researcher notes and a “geotag” to each photo to remember where the sign was located.

Timo proceeded to conduct internet scans of trails and their specific signage system.

The review of Trent’s signage policy required extensive discussion with key experts who know the logistics and management of the signage system.

Based on interviews, Timo took the participant information and cross-referenced it with literature he found online. This included government regulations, Trent policies, and best management practices for trailhead signage. He wanted to identify tools and resources that are relevant in the development of a trailhead signage system.

Timo has learned that signs are…

  • An important access point for visitors;
  • A way to connect to nature;
  • Important tools to improve accessibility on our trails; and
  • Considered among the most used information source on trails.

Timo reminds us that students, staff, faculty, Peterborough citizens, and nature loves all enjoy the Trent Nature Areas – which means an improved signage system must be put in place to enjoy for years to come!

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Signs help inform us of property rules, safety, and usage issues. Better signage can foster awareness, create a culture of conservation, and teach us how to be good stewards of the trail system.

Improving the trail head signage system will enhance user experience, provide better guidance on trail use, and provide consistency with signage on Trent University campus.

If you are interested in learning more about Timo’s research, he is presenting his findings at the Trent Celebration of Research being held on March 25th at the Student Centre!

Thank you so much for your research Timo and we can’t wait to hear more!

Here is what Timo has to say about his experience:

“I was born and raised in Toronto, and am now here in the quaint and humble City of Peterborough. My arrival here is like many others my age, for an educational experience that can only be found here at Trent University. In my time here, I’ve been able to grow as an individual and develop great relations. Presently, I’m working on a community-based research project that I hope may provide beneficial results to Trent and its nature areas. I truly hope and intend to have this project become a part of my legacy at Trent University. My experience at Trent University is a shared one. Where the choices, achievements, and joy I have found here is thanks to the collaborative support of a great community of friends, faculty, staff, and just good  company to get along with. As I continue to work on my community-based research project, I intend and hope to provide beneficial results for the Trent Nature Areas and its trailhead signs. That way this project may contribute to a legacy that is valued by those present and future at Trent University.”

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