Tuktoyaktuk residents will learn how to monitor impacts of climate change
Federal government gave over $500K toward the climate change resiliency project
Some residents in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., will soon have the skills to monitor climate change in their community, as part of a new program.
"It's important that people know exactly what is happening and the changes, and what is being impacted here," said Shaun Cormier, project manager for the Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation.
Cormier said the hamlet was one of several communities selected across Canada for funding that would go toward a community-based monitoring program.
The corporation was granted $517,000 for the three-year climate change resiliency project. Much of the summer was spent planning, gathering resources and talking to researchers in the area.
Cormier said they worked with the steering committee — which is made up of a wide range of people including researchers and members from the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Mangilaluk School, and the local hunters and trappers committee.
The committee put together an event in the fall called World Café on Climate Change, which helped launch the project.
"We just talked about climate change basically for two to three hours and formulated discussion around different topics in the community," said Cormier.
He said about 50 people of all ages showed up and shared their knowledge and their questions in regards to climate change.
Cormier said the hamlet has teamed up with the Aurora Research Institute based in Inuvik, where they are putting on a training session over the weekend so community members can learn how to monitor.
'We just hope that it grows'
Erika Hille is the special projects co-ordinator for the Aurora Research Institute, and helped put together the training.
She said the project will have residents working as climate change monitors.
"[They] will be going out on the land to measure climate change indicators … the training course is an introduction on how to actually measure those indicators."
The indicators that the steering committee chose focused on thickness and composition of lake ice, water temperature and quality, permafrost monitoring and field basics.
Hille said although lots of researchers come to the region, there isn't much monitoring.
"Monitoring is a really great place for the community to step in and to do long-term projects, measuring changes over long periods of time rather than the two-year duration of a research project."
Edwin Amos, senior technician with the Aurora Research Institute, will help put on the training. He said that many elders in Tuktoyaktuk, like his grandfather, have seen climate change firsthand.
"Some of them even predicted it before research has been done," said Amos.
"For my grandfather, he's talked about the differences in the climate and weather and how one day we won't even see snow in [the] North anymore."
Cormier said the goal is to have the monitors teamed up in pairs of one elder and one youth, so knowledge can be shared together.
He said permafrost monitoring will occur every couple of months, whereas monitoring of water will be every few weeks.
"We just hope that it grows and continues long past the three years and grows into something bigger."