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AROUND THE NORTH: Greenhouse plans year-round garden in Inuvik

On Aug. 22, the community greenhouse received a helping hand.
Its roof, suffering from rain and water damage on the building’s commercial side, needed patch repairs.
Solvest, which was installing solar panels in the community, offered to do the repairs free, marking a step toward a larger partnership.
The greenhouse’s executive director Ray Solotki hopes that working with the company will help establish a year-round garden in the community.
"Part of this is because they’re nice guys and they care about the community and they want to give back. And part of this is we’re hoping to build a partnership. We’re not just fixing an old greenhouse where people dig in the dirt, but actually building something new that will help people have food all year round," she said.
Solotki said they need to raise $400,000 from multiple sources to help support that effort.
The partnership is one step in a larger project of developing year-round greenhouses, supported by solar panels, to provide fresh veggies to Northern communities. Solotki hopes the idea can be scalable between communities.
"Maybe it’s a big shipping container here producing enough food for 120, 150 people. Maybe in the communities," she said.
A shipping container would require energy, and while normal costs to produce that power would be prohibitively expensive, installing solar panels could fill the gap.
She added it would provide an opportunity to employ residents, and support food sovereignty, where local people decide what to grow, and how to distribute it through the year-round greenhouse.
– Nick Pearce

Aurora Research Institute to buy UAV to map climate change
The Aurora Research Institute will be better able to research the effects of climate change on Northern communities thanks to a $150,000 grant for an unmanned aerial vehicle and light detection system, stated a news release.
The grant comes from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) College and Community Innovation Program. The equipment can create "high-resolution 3D maps of urban and remote areas, measuring snow depth, monitoring permafrost thaw, measuring ice thickness, and monitoring ice road maintenance," the news release stated.
The institute, which hosts a drone program, will benefit from a "more advanced and complex system, (so) ARI and its partners can develop applications more suitable for the Arctic environment," stated Pippa Seccombe-Hett, the college’s vice-president of research.
– Nick Pearce

Community invited to feast
Deh Gah Got’ie Koe/Fort Providence
Individuals hungering after food from the land were given an opportunity to sink their teeth into culinary creations at a community feast in Fort Providence.
The community feast was held to "celebrate the return of the participants of the Elders and Youth Culture Camp," according to a bulletin on social media.
Those who attended the camp were set to prepare and serve food from the land between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Aug. 29.
The evening was also set to include prizes and transportation for elders.
All community members were invited to attend the feast held in the community hall.
– Erin Steele

Meditation back at public beach
Hay River
Community meditation is returning to the Hay River public beach.
The free sessions will be held in the beach shelter from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, running until Dec. 18.
There will be no class on Oct. 9.
The meditation sessions are being presented by the Town of Hay River, the GNWT, and the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority.
– Paul Bickford

Mentorship offered to tourism companies
Less experienced tourism operators will have an opportunity to buff up their knowledge, thanks to a Tourism Business Mentorship Program offered by the GNWT.
Applications for the program are currently being accepted for both individual and group tourism operators in the NWT.
The program intends to help participants "gain valuable skills in business, leadership and networking to help maximize their potential and become successful and profitable independent tourism operators," states the GNWT’s website.
Program participants are required to be NWT residents and have a valid tourism operator license or be a business or organization that is engaged in the NWT tourism sector.
– Erin Steele

Fall-winter FoodFit course kickoffs
The FoodFit program is offering an opportunity to kickstart healthy lifestyles in Inuvik.
Sessions runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays and run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Aurora College and the homeless shelter, respectively.
Each session includes a discussion on healthy eating habits, which would typically involve a hospital dietician, cooking time and 30 minutes of physical activity.
Funded by Community Food Centre Canada, the Community Garden Society of Inuvik manages the program. There are 15 spots open to anyone 17 and up. The program’s last spring-summer session reached 40 people, and boasted 12 graduates who were participants who attended a minimum of nine weeks out of 12.
– Nick Pearce

American researchers Alicia Sendrowski, left, and Natalie Anderson are studying driftwood. Nick Pearce/NNSL photo

Researchers knock on the Delta’s driftwood
Beaufort Delta
Often overlooked unless you’re drying it for a fire, driftwood is quietly shaping the natural landscape.
Researchers Natalie Anderson and Alicia Sendrowski are in the Beaufort Delta from the United States to study and understand how an innocuous piece of the scenery plays a bigger role than most would expect.
"People don’t think about it at all, it’s just there," Anderson said.
She discovered her passion and later started her PhD on the subject in 2012 when she experienced a massive "wood flood" while kayaking. It was a large congested mat of logs floating down the river.
As an avid paddler who was often on the water, she was interested.
For the uninitiated, wood transport affects water levels and the volume of the stored wood.
These systems can create "really intricate and fascinating shorelines, really complex environments," Anderson said.
Without the driftwood, it’d be a simpler landscape.
The researchers plan to give back by sharing their studies through pictures and story-formats, rather than graphs, they said.
– Nick Pearce

Energy planning discussed
Deline residents were set to have another opportunity to join the conversation on energy planning thanks to a second workshop held Sept 5.
The workshop was scheduled to take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the cultural centre.
"(It’s) about Deline’s Community Energy Plan to get off diesel and replace (it) with renewable energy," stated a bulletin on social media.
Renewable energy sources include "solar panels, wood pellet boiler systems (biomass) and hydro at Great Bear River," according to the bulletin.
The workshop was also set to include the creation of a community energy committee and a presentation on solar farm installation in remote communities.
– Erin Steele

Photos snapped at farmers’ market
Lli Goline/Norman Wells
Individuals wanting to capture that perfect freeze frame were set to have their chance thanks to a photo booth set up at the Norman Wells farmers’ market and arts and crafts fair.
The booth was scheduled to be set up for photos between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Ray Persson Memorial Arena in Norman Wells on Aug. 31.
"Bring home a souvenir from the fourth annual Norman Wells Farmers Market," stated a bulletin on social media advertising the event.
"All proceeds will go to the fifth annual Norman Wells Farmers Market."
The cost for a picture with frame was $10.
– Erin Steele

Housing workshop held
Acho Dene Koe/Fort Liard
Those with something to say about housing in Fort Liard were set to have their chance to speak up during a housing workshop put on by NWT Housing Corporation.
The two-day workshop was set for Aug. 27 and 28.
"Join us at the Seniors 9-Plex to discuss housing goals for the Fort Liard Housing Plan," stated a bulletin on social media.
"Community leaders and the Housing Corporation want your input!"
A dinner and introduction were scheduled to take place from 5:30 p.m to 6 p.m. on the Tuesday.
Wednesday’s activities were to include breakfast, lunch and dinner along with three workshops between 9 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.
– Erin Steele

Application period closes
Those interested in joining the We Matter Hope Council had until Sept. 4 to submit their applications.
The organization had openings for two to three new members for a two-year term.
It was seeking applicants from the NWT and the Western and Arctic regions of Canada between the ages of 16 and 26 who were interested in youth advocacy for mental health and life promotion using hope, culture and strength.
– Erin Steele