Caleb Dickey is green to Yellowknife and to his role as the new project officer with environmental organization Ecology North.
The experience he brings to the job is green as well, but in a different sense. Last year Dickey graduated from the University of Manitoba’s Environmental Studies program and also interned with the Nature Conservancy of Canada where he conducted species surveys and habitat assessments.
“I had quite a bit of background in doing environmental education with youth, teaching them basic concepts of ecology and biology,” he said.
“I did do some courses that were specifically on Northern climates and Northern issues. My courses dealt with federal law as well and that applies here.”
The new project officer is happy to finally be in the North, a region that he and his wife always talked about visiting and figured they should take the opportunity to come here “before we got stuck down south,” he said with a laugh.
As a lover of the outdoors, he likes to explore it on cross-country skis and is looking forward to canoeing and fishing once the weather warms up.
One of the first projects on his plate at Ecology North is the school gardens program for students in grades 3 and 7. Ecology North has been running the vegetable growing program with schools in Yellowknife since 2010 and today seven schools and one youth organization are involved.
The actual gardening will start in the spring. In the meantime, Dickey is coordinating with the teachers at to see what they plan to do with the program.
“We partner with the teachers and help provide some material and we can go in once or twice with each class and do a workshop with the kids.”
In the few months that Dickey has been in Yellowknife the two biggest environmental issues on his mind are the effects of mining in the territory and climate change, which “is affecting the North disproportionately compared to the rest of Canada,” he said.
But it was too early for him to make any pronouncements on how exactly climate change will affect the territory.
“That would be a good question to answer after I’ve been here for a year or more,” Dickey said, smiling.