Trent University graduate student, Dylan Radcliffe, has been concerned about urban development and wants to do whatever he can to protect nature areas.

If that means doing extensive research during his Masters Degree in Sustainability Studies on park management systems – so be it!


Dylan has been an influential change-maker – and is constantly fighting to protect our natural areas in innovative ways.

His graduate research focuses on understanding how lower-tier governments, like townships, can partner with Land Trusts, non-profits, and charities to better manage nature areas within their communities.

Many municipalities just don’t have the resources to properly fund a parks management department. This means many parks aren’t managed efficiently.


Dylan’s research focuses on how lower-tier municipalities can outsource and delegate certain tasks to community groups to run parks in urban areas. This has been proven to  create healthier and more vibrant parks and infrastructure within a region.

There have been many successful examples of strong partnerships – where Township’s give away park management responsibility to Land Trusts to manage these nature areas on behalf of the city. However, in Canada, this hasn’t existed very much and is more popular in the United States.

Dylan is most interested in learning what resources these organizations leverage in order to succeed.

He is focusing his research on how Land Trusts:

  • Structure their organizations;
  • Gather resources;
  • Find revenue sources;
  • Acquire capital;
  • Recruit volunteer resources
  • Acquire space to work
  • Model the partnership structure

He is also reviewing some questions, such as who owns the land and what sort of government intervention is required?


Dylan wants to study successful partnership structures in order to replicate the model more readily, in more areas.

He is conducting interviews and collecting information with a review of the current academic literate. He has contacted a select few organizations here in Canada and is eager to provide recommendations and advice to move these organizations further. He anticipates his research can be used to develop better parks management structures.

In Dylan’s “spare time” he is devoted to the Peterborough Field Naturalists and many other projects in Peterborough that fight for protection of our nature areas, such as Jackson Creek.

Thanks for sharing your project Dylan and all the best to you as you continue your research on this important subject!

Here is what Dylan says about his experience:

“I like my relaxed supervisor Tom Whillans. He let’s me go at my own pace, and the atmosphere with the other students and our graduate cohort has been a unique and rewarding experience. I am thankful for the opportunity to continue this important work and be able to conduct meaningful work in the area.”



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