January update on the divii project

Hello peers, colleagues, and friends! It's been a little while since I've done a little update on the divii project on here, so please keep reading if you'd like to hear about the "meat and potatoes" of my MSc work.


Back in Victoria, the project is still full-steam a head in many ways:

  • This fall, I was able to present my proposed research questions remotely to the Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board (GRRB) and a few of the Renewable Resources Committees (RRCs). I got some great feedback and questions and now the written research proposal is undergoing a first round of revisions from my peers at UVic, and should be ready for spring 2022.

  • I have been working to organize and clean up the camera data and am now ready to start processing the ~450,000 images. Édouard Bélanger spent a few hours with me in December, helping to get the data reading for tagging (thanks Ed!). I will start working on these over reading week (February 21st - 25th) and I suspect it will take me until the end of the summer to complete this.

  • I will be presenting a project update remotely at the bi-annual GRRB meeting in February, and will attend RRC meetings remotely as they start back up in the spring.

  • I have updated the schools that I am available for remote presentations if they'd like, while we work on planning in-person engagement in the fall.

While I don't have any fieldwork photos to share, I have been enjoying the diversity of animals captured on the remote cameras as I sort through data (be sure to check out the camera highlights website page). Even though I'd rather be on the land, these images make being in the office (some 2,200km away from the study area) enjoyable, and grounds me in the important work we are doing in this project.


Field work update:

Since the summer, myself and my colleagues have been diligently planning a two-week field work session for February 2022. I was scheduled to present a project update in-person at the GRRB bi-annual meeting, as well as at various RRC consultations. Towards the end of the trip, I was scheduled to participate in three days of snowmobiling into the mountains from Aklavik to service the camera array with community members and the GRRB. I secured additional funding to host a community open-house for the divii project in Aklavik, and arranged travel to all the schools in the Gwich'in Settlement Area (GSA) to talk about the project with youth. I was also arranging to hire an elder to visit the schools in Aklavik and Fort McPherson with me to share their knowledge and stories about divii and the Northern Richardson Mountains.


With flights, accommodations, and dates all coordinated and Territorial and University paperwork approved, I made the difficult decision to cancel the trip with just a few weeks notice. The communities in the GSA have been hit hard by the recent Omicron wave. While these communities recover from their biggest outbreaks of the pandemic, I want to give my respect and acknowledgment of the toll this situation takes on each person. I felt that continuing with the planning did not align with that value, and so have decided this isn't the time to visit and plan time in community. My travel planning focus has shifted to looking forward to the fall of 2022 and in the meantime, I wish everyone in the GSA my best as they navigate these scary times. I also want to thank the GRRB, school principles, RRC coordinators, and my UVic support team for their efforts in planning this work with me and supporting the decision to cancel.


Thank you for catching up. If you have any questions or comments about this work, I'd love to hear from you. Please get in touch (sydneygoward@uvic.ca)!


Stay well everyone!


Syd



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