There has been plenty of discussion, research and opinion shared on the topic of climate change, and one American researcher will be in northwestern Ontario for the next six months to do some on-the-ground investigation.
Kelsey Jones-Casey, a Fulbright fellow working through Lakehead University, will be studying how climate change may be impacting the well-being of people who use the outdoors a lot.
For her research, Jones-Casey will canvas trappers, anglers, woodlands workers and others about how changes in weather conditions have impacted them mentally and emotionally.
"I feel like there is very little partnership, at least informal partnerships, between the US and Canada in this region around climate issues in particular, and conservation issues," she said.
"So I'm really excited to build some relationships with people in this area."
As for her own observations, Jones-Casey said she has noticed major changes in weather in her home town of Duluth, Minn. and feels anxiety about it.
"It had changed who I saw myself as, from someone who enjoyed the north woods and the outdoor lifestyle to wondering what it's going to be like in 30 or 40 years," she said.
That concern led her to connect with researchers in Canada and that those conversations inspired her to do her own work, she said.
Speaking with people 'who live close to the land'
Jones-Casey's research is geared towards speaking with people "who live close to the land," she said, adding that it is likely to include recreation or subsistence hunters or anglers, as well as farmers, guides or anyone else who spends a lot of time outdoors.
She said she'll be collecting feedback on whether people feel things are changing, if so, how and to what extent they see things changing in the future.
Similar studies are being done in Labrador, Jones-Casey said.
"I think that people are thinking about it and reflecting on it and I want to be able to capture that and to share the stories with people on a wider scale," she continued.
Jones-Casey said she's taking the feedback through her website; she also plans to host focus group discussions in a few communities in the Lake Superior basin.