Students start by planning what camping gear they will need and what they would like to eat while they are away.
Emvironmental Technology Program Students prepare for their annual winter field camp.
They have to be prepared to live and thrive on their own for 8 days and 7 nights. Students then pack all their camping, survival and scientific gear and head off to Crazy Lake by snowmobile where they split off into first and second year camps.
During the week, first year students learn how to manage a winter camp and divide up camp chores. Students learn how to cut snow blocks and make snow caves, snow walls, snow trenches, simple igloo like shelters and finally igloos…they cut a whole lot of blocks over the week. In addition, they learn a variety of other winter survival skills and partake in team building exercises.
Students learn to make snow caves for survival.
They also review their wilderness first aid which they learned during fall field camp. They take this opportunity to learn and practice the challenges of dealing with first aid emergencies in winter.
Meanwhile, the second year students learn how to conduct scientific research during variable winter conditions. ETP’s second year students complete a limnological survey of Crazy Lake which includes collecting data on snow depth, black and white ice thickness, lake depth, and zooplankton collection.
Students also learned how to use a state of the art hydro lab to collect pH, salinity, turbidity, and other physical and chemical measurements of the lake. ETP has been collecting data on Crazy Lake for over 10 years making it one of the most thoroughly studied lakes in Arctic Canada.
This year we added a snow survey of the Crazy Lake watershed. This data will help researchers find out how much water is contained in the watershed and will be added to the watershed when it melts.
Time to pack up the tents and equipment for the trip home.
Unfortunately, the weather turned bad on Day 5 of our camp and we decided to come back early to avoid blizzard like conditions. We are happy to report there were no major injuries and everyone was happy to take a warm shower!
We made up the two days of the camp during the following week.
It’s important to have a well thought out plan whenever you participate in Arctic research, and to stay flexible and change your plans according to weather conditions.
The Environmental Technology Program would like to thank:
- Celine Jaccard (Nunavut LEAP) for teaching students Wilderness First Aid scenarios and leadership activities.
- Aaron Spares (Dalhousie University) for assisting in instructing the limnology field camp and building snow shelters.
- Murray Richardson (Queens) for helping to set up the snow survey on Crazy Lake.
- Jamal Shirley (Nunavut Research Institute) for assisting in instructing the limnology field camp.
- Mary Ellen Thomas (Nunavut Research Institute)for emergency check ins and in town support.
- Troy Netser and James Taparti (second Year ETP students) for teaching igloo building.
Daniel Martin is the instructor for the Environmental Technology Program in Iqaluit.