2015 Qaujisarniq Nunamik Education Program
Proponent: Nunavut Arctic College
Background: In the spring 2012 and 2014, data and knowledge derived from the Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals (GEM) Program) was incorporated into the “Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Module” of the Environmental Technology Program (ETP) at Nunavut Arctic College’s Iqaluit facility. The intent of the upgraded module, called the Qaujisarniq Nunamik Education Program (QNEP), was to provide students with a series of culturally and environmentally relevant lessons that used GIS and familiarized students with geoscience data so that they could learn how such knowledge could be incorporated in day-to-day community-related decision-making. ETP graduates are the future environmental practitioners in Nunavut and will be looked to by their communities as the experts on a range of issues including those related to the resource industry. Statistics collected after QNEP 2014 proved that the course has been successful. On average, students said they had a good-to-excellent understanding of the GEM program after completing QNEP. Students also said they felt they had a good-to-excellent understanding of how GIS can be used as a decision-making tool with regards to the environment.
Students also said it was very beneficial to use local data and incorporate traditional knowledge into course material to learn the fundamentals of GIS.
ETP students represent a key stakeholder group in the dissemination of land-based knowledge and making this type of information more understandable to the broader community. Another key stakeholder group are those already in the workforce and involved directly or indirectly in the geoscience and resource industries. QNEP 2015 would like to open its classrooms to these key stakeholders from Inuit and government partner organizations to a 3-week course. Through a promotional recruitment campaign, QNEP 2015 would like to expand participant base beyond the ETP students to those currently in the workforce that could benefit from training in the applicability of geoscience data and knowledge in order to develop skills required to make decisions related to economic development, land use planning, and environmental stewardship.
Objectives: The 2015 QNEP program builds on the success of the 2012 and 2014 QNEP and further integrates GEM data and traditional knowledge into the ETP’s GIS module. Opening QNEP 2015 to members and employees of Inuit and partner organizations in Iqaluit increases the dissemination of GEM and GIS knowledge across Nunavut. The program increases accessibility of geoscience data for Nunavummiut students and workforce and creates opportunities to enhance awareness and interest among Nunavummiut in training and career opportunities in Nunavut’s geoscience industry. Incorporating Traditional Knowledge (Quajimajatuqangit) into course material through student- led material development and knowledge awareness activities develops technical literacy and interest among Nunavummiut in geological mapping tools and technology and demonstrates the practicality of using geoscience data to inform land-use and resource exploration decision-making.
Benefits to Canada: Nunavut’s economy is expected to depend greatly on the natural resource and geoscience sectors for the foreseeable future which will create employment opportunities. By educating Nunavummiut on issues related to the geoscience and resource sectors, a ready workforce is created in the territory to respond to the current and future industry needs. Further, culturally appropriate training centred around local employment opportunities are essential to meet the growing demand for human resources from increased industrial activity in Nunavut. Overall, QNEP 2105 will provide participants with better familiarity with ArcGIS, GEM and geoscience so they are better able to use data in conjunction with traditional knowledge to make land-use decisions.
Nunavut Student Geoscience Field Training
Proponent: Nunavut Arctic College
Background: With a focus on building geoscience capacity in the North, in the spring of 2013 and 2014, as part of Dalhousie University’s normal Senior Field School Program, Nunavut Arctic College, the Department of Earth Sciences and the Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office (CNGO) initiated a geoscience training initiative for northern youth. The geoscience training initiative was developed with the goal of providing students from the Nunavut Arctic College’s Environmental Technology Program (ETP) with meaningful training opportunities that would open doors to careers in the public and private sectors and/or higher education. In 2013, two ETP students, Patricia Peyton and Candice Sudlovenick, participated in the inaugural year of this training initiative from May 19 to May 29, alongside 21 other Dalhousie University students to southern Nevada and eastern California. In 2014, three ETP students, Randy Hinanik, Karlene Napayok and Joanna Panipak, attended the Dalhousie field school from May 18 to May 30. A fourth participant, Ed Long, from the Yukon, also attended in 2014. The six students participated in group field trips, field work exercises and customized exercises designed to develop field skills (i.e. identification of rocks and minerals in the field, recognition and recording of geological structures, and understanding the basic principles of geological mapping). In addition the field school served to introduce the students to the nature of field work, camp infrastructure and daily routine which were modelled after typical mineral Canadian exploration and government mapping projects. Following the field school, the Nunavut-based students worked as geoscience field assistants for CNGO staff in regional and targeted mapping projects. It was clear that their field school experience prepared them for the rigors of field work and they were able to integrate into the field crew as effective contributors to the overall project goals.
Objectives: The 2015 Nunavut Student Geoscience Training Field School focuses on four major themes: Regional Stratigraphy, the idea of looking at geology through time; Compressional Tectonics, the study of mountain building events; Extensional Tectonics, and the development of big valleys; and Strike Slip Tectonics. In addition to providing practical training to northern participants about how to observe and record salient geological data, the field school is structured to provide exposure to “camp life” that students should expect to face in the professional world. The Nunavut Student Geoscience Training Program represents part of a larger pilot project that ETP, Dalhousie and the CNGO are formulating in an effort to draw more young Inuit into earth sciences like geology and palaeontology. Other key components of the pilot project include providing opportunities for the Nunavut students to work as summer field assistants on regional and thematic CNGO and GEM projects, being taught basic geology at the CNGO offices, and writing a report of their field school and summer work experiences.
Benefits to Canada: This program provides geoscience training and mentoring opportunities for students, professionals and Northerners, increasing the number of qualified northern-based geoscience professionals, which is expected to lead to local and regional employment opportunities within both the public/private sectors. This program also provides a vehicle for the training of technical skills and knowledge in geological mapping tools/technology, and the broader dissemination of modern geoscience data and information amongst northern students.
Integrating digital technology into geologic field instruction
Proponent: Yukon College
Background: Digital data collection and cartography are fundamental components of the primary mapping conducted by government surveys, academic researchers, and mineral exploration companies. However, most field instruction at the undergraduate level is centered on paper-based maps and handwritten data collection. Yukon College proposes to integrate current best practices into instruction by purchasing handheld computers and mapping software in order to prepare northern students for employment in geoscience fields. This includes instruction in GIS-based digital mapping and data collection, and the integration of publically available geoscience data. Students can then draw on this expertise to benefit local employers when entering the northern workforce.
Objectives: The purchase of handheld computers and mapping software at Yukon College will: 1) standardize instruction with current geological survey and industry techniques, and 2) provide a platform for integrating GEM geological mapping products into instruction. Students will interact with GEM data during field exercises and utilize publically available geoscience data. They will be able to apply GIS skills in the workplace and contribute to resource-related decision making.
Benefits to Canada: This project and related instruction will provide northern students with valuable experience in digital geoscience data collection, display and map construction. Students will acquire valuable and current skills that will benefit future employers, be they mineral exploration companies, environmental consulting firms, or northern governments. Training will assist graduates in resource-related decision-making, including land-use decision making. This project will train skilled employees who will have the ability to contribute to the development of northern resource industries in Canada, ultimately impacting Canada’s economic development. Yukon College Geological Technology Program graduates will be met with increased success in the workplace and will be able to disseminate their expertise over the course of their careers, benefiting northern co-workers and those from across Canada.
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