Canada's newest territory: A university student says Nunavut is an abundant land
- August 10, 2009 3:05 PM |
- By Your Voice
Submitted by Doug Ramage
About/Bio: I am a University of Saskatchewan engineering student working in Nunavut as an environmental health and safety summer student for AREVA Resources Canada Inc., a mining exploration company.
After completing a year of geophysics/geology, I accepted this position because I see mining as an important industry and I believe it should be done in a sustainable, responsible manner. Outside of university, I am a father to a five-and-a-half-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter and I am getting married in September 2009.
My take: Now is the time to visit Nunavut, Canada's newest territory. What appears to be a barren territory is actually a land teeming with life. Much mining exploration is currently being done and there is no time like the present to have a close look for yourself. It is a great place to take photographs.
I landed in Nunavut on June 1st to what appeared to be a barren landscape of snow and ice. It was the first day of my field season, and I had never been north of Prince Albert, Sask. before, aside from one camping trip in the summer to La Ronge, Sask. Now, I found myself in Canada's arctic.
The mighty Thelon River was virtually indistinguishable, the wind was whipping around us, and I thought, how can anything live, grow and survive in such a hostile environment. To me, this seemed essentially a desert, just instead of sand, it was snow. The tundra appeared flat, and being far above the tree line, you could see the jagged horizon miles away. The 24-hour sunlight offered no relief, and wind was brutal, often whipping the snow off the tundra, creating white-out conditions and leaving snow dunes in its wake.
As the snow began to melt over the course of the 'spring' in July, more wildlife started to appear. Ptarmigan began littering the landscape around camp while the arctic fox kept a beady eye on them. Arctic hares roughhoused around, and the odd caribou made an appearance on the horizon. Suddenly, this barren landscape was springing to life. Wolves, grizzly bears, muskox all began appearing as if out of nowhere. Arctic poppies began blooming, and birds began their nesting season.
Nunavut wakes up in the spring. Submitted by Doug Ramage.
While out fishing for char one weekend, it began to rain pretty good on us for about five or 10 minutes. Shortly after the rain stopped you could see the ground start lifting and moving. The rain had disturbed all the black flies lying around on the tundra and they were now swarming.
I had a bug jacket so I was fine. Some locals didn't have bug jackets on and had to retreat to their tent they had set up.
Each black fly is the size of a pinhead. Submitted by Doug Ramage.
Now that it is into August, the caribou are everywhere. While trekking across the tundra between sites I had the opportunity to photograph two caribou. I sat down with my camera and watched as the two grazed on the land. Undisturbed and unaware of my presence, they wandered within 25 yards of where I was sitting. After they left the area, I started back on my trek thinking what an awesome experience that was.
Part of my summer position is to do site inspections and monitoring, which has given me a greater appreciation towards mining with a sustainable approach and respect for the environment. I have had the chance to see and experience what few people may ever have the chance to and am thankful for that.
Nunavut is alive and abundant. Nothing can truly describe this land in words, and it is something that should be experienced as it is such a dynamic, changing landscape. With the current and future exploration in the area, now is the time to experience something that you will remember for a lifetime.
Flowers make a splash in the territory. Submitted by Doug Ramage.
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