$1M Arctic Inspiration prize funds 3 community projects

A science project that connects researchers to Inuit in Nunavut, an education initiative that aims to get Inuit parents involved in their children's education, and a housing project in Labrador are all sharing the million dollar Arctic Inspiration prize money.
Students from the Environmental Technology Program in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, visited the Vancouver Aquarium in April, 2011. They were informing the Vancouver Aquarium about Inuit views and issues, as well as training Aquarium staff about northern issues - the kind of work that will continue thanks to a $325,000 Arctic Inspiration Prize. (file photo)

Two years ago, a group of environmental technology students in Pond Inlet paid a visit to Laval University in Quebec City.

“The interaction and communication between the scientists and students was so successful that it inspired the graduate students from Laval and University of Quebec in Rimouski to create a program called Arcticonnexions,” said instructor Shelly Elverum at the time.

Today that program still exists and its offshoot, called “Ikaarvik,” was one of three community projects to win a share of the $1 million Arctic Inspiration Prize awarded at the ArcticNet conference in Halifax last night.

“It connects researchers in northern communities,” says Eric Solomon, who works with the Vancouver Aquarium and is also the project's leader. “That means a lot of face to face which means travel, which is expensive, of course, but it's really important way to build the kinds of relationships that we need to build.”

“I'm really excited and I'm kinda shaky,” says Betty Kogvik, who also works on the Ikaarvik project. “It's just making me smile more, and I'm really excited.”

Ikaarvik involves people in Cambridge Bay, Pond Inlet, Kugluktuk, Pangnirtung and Gjoa Haven, as well as researchers from the University of Quebec, and the Institute of Ocean Sciences.

Parents in education

Mary Simon launched the parental engagement initiative in Iqaluit in March, 2013.
The Amaujaq Centre for Education also won $325,000 to go towards its National Parent Mobilization Initiative, which launched in Iqaluit in March of this year.

The project aims to “give parents the resources they need to get their children to school all day, every day, well rested and ready to learn,” says Mary Simon, who chairs Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s National Committee on Inuit Education, the team leading the project.

Similar parent engagement events have been held in Nunavik, the Inuvialuit settlement region and Nunatsiavut.

Housing in Labrador

SakKijânginnatuk Nunalik aims to build 'healthy homes in thriving Nunatsiavut communities.' (Arctic Inspiration)
​SakKijânginnatuk Nunalik received $350,000 in prize money.

The project aims to build “culturally suitable and environmentally adapted” housing in Northern Labrador, that could serve as a blueprint for other parts of Canada. Partners include the Nunatsiavut Government and Memorial University.

The Arctic Inspiration prize acknowledges important Arctic research and its application to life in the North.

It’s funded by the S. and A. Inspiration Foundation and organized by ArcticNet.

This is the second year the prize has been awarded.


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