Rural Planning & Development Student Profile: Agriculture and Source Water Protection
Erinn Lee is a Master’s student in the Rural Planning and Development program at the University of Guelph. She is also a participant in the Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) Scholarship Program. As part of this program, she had the opportunity to participate in a professional development course focused on the agricultural industry with other graduate students from diverse research disciplines.
Her thesis research contributes to OMAFRA’s Environmental Sustainability research priorities. It is supervised by Dr. Sheri Longboat, with Dr. John FitzGibbon and Dr. Hugh Simpson as advisory committee members. The research aims to inform and enhance the development of alternative agricultural phosphorus management tools in the Lake Erie Basin across four categories: financial tools, regulatory approaches, land use policies, and agri-environmental programs. The research employs a mixed-methods approach: a Policy Delphi with over forty experts in the agricultural and water management fields to identify priority phosphorus management policy options followed by one-on-one interviews with farmers to identify place-based implementation considerations. The research explores the interplay between agri-environmental policy development, communication, and implementation.
She supplemented her graduate courses and research with a summer work term with OMAFRA as a Research Assistant in the Program Co-ordination, Research and Partnerships unit in the Environmental Management Branch. She had the opportunity to lead and co-lead two projects: one focused on Indigenous food sovereignty and one focused on navigating conflicts between the Drainage Act and the Endangered Species Act. The team had the opportunity to participate in farm and woodlot tours during their placement.
Photo: Hannah Tellier and Riley Knudsen, fellow summer students at OMAFRA, learning about the livestock industry during a farm site visit.
Erinn had a wonderful experience working at OMAFRA. She feels grateful to be part of a graduate program that encourages and supports professional development opportunities for its students, including conferences, field trips, work terms, and more!