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2012-13 Stewardship project summaries

A total of six projects have been awarded Species at Risk Stewardship Program funding for 2012-13:

Breeding Bird Survey Routes 1-4

Project lead: Aurora Research Institute

Species at Risk focus: Short-eared owl, Rusty blackbird

The breeding bird survey (BBS) program started in 1966 and covers all of North America. Currently, there are four routes in the Inuvik and Fort McPherson areas that are not being completed due to a lack of surveyors. This project will rectify this by doing point counts and training recent Environment and Natural Resources Technology program graduates how to do BBSs. There are seven bird species listed as ‘sensitive’ that occur in these areas.

Results will be submitted to the regional BBS coordinator for inclusion in the North American-wide database. Before, during and after the field work, the project leader will train graduates to identify birds by sight and by song, and train them to do BBSs following standardized national protocols. Results will also be submitted to the Gwich’in Renewable Resources Board and to local elders, as this project helps fulfill one of the Board’s research and monitoring interests.

Gwich’in Species at Risk Brochure

Project lead: Gwich’in Teaching and Learning Centre, Gwich’in Social and Cultural Institute

Species at Risk focus: Wolverine, Peregrine falcon, Olive-sided flycatcher, and grizzly bear

The Gwich’in Social and Cultural Institute will encourage involvement in stewardship activities through outreach, education and awareness-building by producing a species at risk brochure highlighting species in the Gwich’in region. The focus species are: wolverine, peregrine falcon, Olive-sided flycatcher, and grizzly bear. With the help of elders and translators, the brochure will use both English and Gwich’in languages, and will provide general species and conservation information.  The brochure will be distributed to all residential addresses in Inuvik, Aklavik, Fort McPherson and Tsiigehtchic. The intent is for this brochure to be the first in a series that will highlight species at risk in the area.

Tibbit Lake Taiga Shield Study Camp

Project lead: Yellowknife Catholic Schools

Species at Risk focus: Taiga Shield ecozone – includes, wolverine, Common nighthawk, Yellow rail, Rusty blackbird, Horned grebe, Short-eared owl, and shortjaw cisco.

The Tibbit Lake Taiga Shield Study Camp involves taking high school biology students on the land to work and learn alongside species at risk, ecosystem and wildlife biologists and Yellowknife Dene Elders. The camp will provide youth with the opportunity to experience, study and appreciate the habitats, flora, fauna and cultural importance of the ecosystems of the Taiga Shield. A field study project will be completed by the students, and will include a presentation on species at risk, biodiversity (vegetation) and aquatic invertebrates, and traditional knowledge in the area.This project was funded through the Species at Risk Stewardship Program in 2011-12 and received very positive feedback from those involved.

Learning about species at risk: NWT Sparks, Brownies, Guides and Pathfinders

Project lead: Northwest Territories Girl Guides of Canada

Species at Risk focus: SARC assessment schedule species

The Girl Guides of Canada, which includes Sparks (5-6 year olds), Brownies (7-8 year olds), Guides (9-11 year olds) and Pathfinders (12-14 year olds), are expanding their species at risk focused project to girls in Hay River, Fort Simpson, Inuvik and Yellowknife. By building on four key teaching objectives, and by using crafts, games, presentations and/or guest speakers, the project will build awareness of species at risk in female youth to achieve the:

  • ‘Going Outside’ keeper (Sparks)
  • ‘Saving our Plants and Animals’ badge (Brownies)
  • ‘Endangered Species’ badge (Girl Guides)
  • ‘Up Close and Personal with Nature’ module (Pathfinders)

There will be approximately 260 girls earning this badge, which can have a long-term impact on NWT wildlife that is immeasurable at this stage. Each girl will receive a DVD of the movie The Lorax, which encourages environmental action for conservation and fits with the Stewardship Program and the Girl Guides of Canada objectives.

2012 Dehcho Youth Ecology Camp

Project lead: Dehcho First Nations

Species at Risk focus: to be determined

The goals of the Dehcho Youth Ecology Camp are to help enhance community capacity through youth by exposing them to ecology related topics and western science methods, and by promoting a better understanding on Dene cultural and land-based knowledge systems. The all-encompassing goal is for all youth to consider post-secondary opportunities and career choices in ecology-related fields. Incorporating species at risk into the camp will teach youth about species at risk in the north and Canada, and about how human activity can positively and negatively affect the well-being of wildlife and wildlife habitats. The goal is to foster and encourage aptitude for learning and increase understanding and awareness of species at risk issues, and how people relate to those issues. A lesson plan will be created for the species at risk-segment of the camp, which will use traditional/community knowledge and science to teach about history, species at risk legislation, processes for listing species, status categories and case studies.

Reindeer Daze History Camp

Project lead: Inuvik Community Corporation

Species at Risk focus: Bluenose-East caribou herd, Gray-headed chickadee

The Reindeer Daze History Camp has two distinct segments: Part 1 – historical background of Reindeer Station, Part 2 – Historical caribou populations. Part 2 of the camp will encourage junior high students to learn about the reasons for caribou population cycles in the area, and actions of governing bodies in response to the cycles. The students will build on their link between governance and stewardship by learning about by-law making ability under the Inuvialuit land claim, and by knowing how to contact and approach local HTCs with concerns. The students will practice writing letters to the Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk and Aklavik HTCs about their concerns relating to conservation.  As a value-added to the camp, the youth will learn about and listen for the gray-headed chickadee while out on the land, as Reindeer Station is one of the only known locations of the species. The youth will report back to the Inuvik HTC, ENR and the Species at Risk Secretariat with details about the camp, including any observations of the gray-headed chickadee.