Ecology North, in collaboration with the community of Fort Resolution, including Deninu Kue First Nation, Fort Resolution Metis Council, Deninu School, GNWT ENR, and the University of Saskatchewan, helped to develop a pilot project aimed at engaging Fort Resolution youth in cumulative impacts assessments related to water. We saw an opportunity to build on ongoing research and monitoring efforts in Fort Resolution by developing a program to engage community youth in aquatic cumulative effects monitoring, while also linking to ongoing high school science curriculum.
The core focus of the project, in addition to ongoing collection of data to assess cumulative water impacts in the NWT, was youth capacity building. One of the key goals of the project was to encourage youth to become knowledgeable and interested in carrying out monitoring work in their communities with researchers, scientists, technical staff and community organizations.
The project was broken into four learning sessions, which were a series of workshop style sessions that combined western science and traditional knowledge, hands-on activities, instruction and break-out group work. Each session focused on a different part of the research and monitoring process and gave students an opportunity to learn and try out new skills. Three detailed curriculum resource templates pertaining to water, ice and fish were also developed as part of the project. The curriculum resources are designed to provide guidance, activities and information for teachers interested in incorporating activities that can reflect learning about cumulative effects.
Over the course of the project students developed their own individual research projects on a topic of interest to them. The projects were student-led and student-driven and followed an inquiry-based learning process that was part of the experiential science curriculum taught by Mr. Ted Moes at Deninu School.
The project was recently compiled into a book, titled "Learning About Our Environment: Experiences from a youth-focused environmental research and monitoring project in Fort Resolution NWT". The book highlights the collaborative project - what we did and why we did it - but really focuses on the work of the high school students from Deninu School.