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Communications / Outreach

Outreach and Education

Activities at the Community Science Centre at Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik

In 2010, a Community Science Centre was built at the hub station of the CEN Network at Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik. The Science Centre has been designed to serve the needs of several communities: the circumpolar science community for research planning, coordination and information exchange, the Canadian research community for national research workshops and coordination of field operations, and the local Cree and Inuit communities for information exchange, identification of northern research needs, science training of northerners, exchange of traditional knowledge, and outreach activities. This facility also includes a classroom and a permanent, interactive display translated in four languages (English, French, Cree and Inuktitut). The display is open to schools and to the general public, and since 2012 a science education coordinator and activities with the Cree and Inuit school students have been partially supported by ADAPT.

AVATIVUT: Bridging Environmental Science and Community-based monitoring

The accelerated climate change now being experienced in many part of the circumpolar North has underscored the need to involve local residents in community-based monitoring of their environment. To address this need, environmental scientists have teamed up with a northern school board and education specialists to develop the program AVATIVUT « Science in Nunavik: Hands-on learning activities for high school students linked to their territory ». This program aims to engage high school students of Nunavik (in the eastern Canadian subarctic) in environmental science, including data collection and archiving. The topics include monitoring of berry productivity, snow and ice cover and permafrost, and are partially supported by the research program ADAPT. The involvement of students is achieved through various hands-on learning activities integrated into the science and technology curriculum, and data are collected according to standard protocols developed by CEN researchers. The activities are sparking interest in science and are contributing to local capacity-building in environmental monitoring and research support. Avativut means "our environment" in Inuktitut, and the web portal (http://www.cen.ulaval.ca/avativut/) allows input, access and archiving of the data and photos obtained by the school students. The portal also allows consultation of scientific protocols and video clips, communication between classes and with scientists through a forum, and provides the location of experimental sites. The database will grow in value over time and will help to archive the state of the environment in real time, thus providing an "environmental snapshot" of Nunavik. With this initiative, Inuit youth are contributing to long-term environmental monitoring and to a better understanding of northern ecosystems.