On-the-land winter field camp offered for Dehcho students


A camp this coming February will take Dehcho high school students on the land to learn about winter ecology, scientific research, and traditional knowledge.

The camp will be hosted at the Scotty Creek research station, about 50 kilometres south of Fort Simpson, where scientists will team up with the Dehcho Guardians to run the program.

“It’s a lot of fun and a lot of learning,” said William Quinton, director of the research station.

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Students will learn about hydrology and water resources in the area, including snow processes, how snow interacts with vegetation, water movement in snow and soil during winter, permafrost, lakes and muskeg, and how climate change has affected those processes.

Students and staff plot out a course for drones at a winter camp. Photo: Submitted

Time is set aside for activities like snowshoeing, photography, storytelling, and games.

“It’s a unique opportunity. It’s going to add a real, practical, hands-on side to what they’re reading about and maybe learning about in schools,” Quinton said.

“If they have an interest in environmental science, being out on the land, and climate change and what to do about it, we’re working with some people that are experts in the field.

“A lot of times science careers seem out of reach. We want to erase that and show it is in reach, and we’re studying things that are important to communities who are seeing the land change so dramatically.”

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Students and staff with a data collection drone. Photo: Submitted

To apply for a place at the camp, students must to submit a brief statement about why they want to attend and demonstrate support from their school or band.

More information can be obtained from Quinton or staff at Líídlįį Kúę High School.

Quinton said the eventual goal is for Dehcho Indigenous groups to help lead the research station and similar camps. No members of the Dehcho Guardians program were available for comment.

“It’s clearly on Indigenous lands and they’re interested in taking on the leadership of this and of the station,” Quinton said.

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“It’s going to be one of the first Indigenous-led research stations or parks in the world.”