Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Coop: Community Based Ecological Monitoring Program

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: biology, environmental monitoring, traditional knowledge, community based monitoring, ecology

Principal Investigator: Svoboda, Michael (4)
Licence Number: 15030
Organization: Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Coop
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2017 2015 2013 2012 2011 2009 2008 2006
Issued: Feb 27, 2012

Objective(s): To monitor and assess changes in an area that covers the range of the Porcupine Caribou Herd and nearby coastal and marine areas. Interviews with local experts are conducted annually by community researchers.

Project Description: The Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Coop uses both local and scientific knowledge to monitor and assess changes in an area that covers the range of the Porcupine Caribou Herd and nearby coastal and marine areas. Interviews with local experts are conducted annually by community researchers. Observations about fish, berries, caribou, unusual animal sightings, weather conditions, and other aspects of the environment are recorded. These observations are presented and discussed at the Annual Gatherings and at community meetings and are accessible on the Coop website.

While the entire project also includes communities in Alaska and Yukon, research in the NWT will be conducted in Aklavik, Tuktoyaktuk, Inuvik, Tsiigehtchic, and Fort McPherson. One researcher will be hired to conduct interviews in each community. Those communities with both Gwich’in and Inuvialuit people will have two researchers, one for each population. A training session will take place, likely in early January, in Inuvik. Each researcher, in conjunction with local organizations and individuals, will develop a list of local experts who may be interested in being interviewed. Approximately 20 interviews will be conducted by each researcher. A set list of questions relating to the local experts observations about fish, berries, caribou, unusual animal sightings, weather conditions, and other aspects of the environment will be used. Not every interviewee will be asked every question, only those relating to their area of expertise. The researcher may also use a map of the local region and, with the assistance of the interviewee, mark the locations of specific observations. Researchers will largely record information using hand written notes, but for some questions or for some interviews, a tape recorder may be used with the permission of the interviewee. After the interviews are completed, the researcher will put together a written report as well as a presentation for the Annual Gathering. The date or location for the Annual Gathering has not yet been decided but these activities will be finished by the end of March.

Community researchers will be hired from each community (1 in Tsiigehtchic, 1 in Fort McPherson, 1 in Tuk and and 2 each in Inuvik and Aklavik to interview either Gwich'in or Inuvialuit hunters and trappers). Researchers will receive training and on-going support in interview techniques, report writing, and presentation skills. Researchers will be responsible for conducting approximately 20 interviews with members of their own community. They will prepare a final written report and give a presentation at the Coop Annual Gathering. Gathering will also be a venue for local representatives to validate and review interim findings. Compensation will be given for each component of the project completed. Approximately 20 hunters and trappers from each community will be sought to give interviews concerning their on the land observations over the past year. Each interviewee will receive a copy of their community's report. Final reports will be widely distributed and available from local organizations. The Coop is looking into involving more youth in its programs, possibly as an in-school indicator monitoring program.

Each person interviewed will receive the report put together by their local researcher. The Annual Gathering, open to all interested individuals and organizations, is an important method by which results are communicated. Observations from each set of interviews will be presented and discussed and each presentation becomes an important component of the Proceedings. Gathering Proceedings will be widely available from local organizations or the Coop. Posters displaying summaries of various topics covered by the community monitoring interviews will also be displayed at the Gathering and distributed to interested organizations. The Coop website is also an important communication tool and contains past Gathering Proceedings as well as the results from the community monitoring program. Audio visual videos will be placed on website

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from February 27, 2012 to December 31, 2012.