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From polar bears to bees

Place-based science at core of Labrador youth summer camp

Labrador youth got a taste of everything science at this year’s Labrador Lands and Waters Science Camp.

Group of children and young adults on a beach in sunshine, eating ice cream
Students enjoy the last day of the Labrador Lands and Waters Science Camp in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
Photo: Submitted

Since 2018, youth from across Labrador have travelled to attend the camp in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, where students learn about science pathways and barriers to learning science in remote and northern locations are decreased.

The camp ran from July 10-14 and targeted Grades 8-11.

Mckenzie Hutchings is the lead organizer for the camp, along with Jamie Jackman and Chelsee Arbour.

“Labrador is rich with research and this camp was created as a way to bridge local youth with the research happening on their homelands,” Ms. Hutchings explained. “Activities are chosen based on student interest and reflect the current research and science happening in the local area, as well as the students’ home communities. Each module also demonstrates career paths in various fields of science.”

Relevant to the lands

This year’s activities included bee-keeping in Labrador; archaeology; polar bears; insects; plants; drones; contamination and discard studies; marine sciences; engineering; climate change; and geographical information systems.

Children and adult standing on wharf. Adult is explaining a concept
Local academics and researchers guide the learners at the camp.
Photo: Submitted

The activities for the participants are specific to Labrador for a reason.

“This is a place-based science camp where the information students are learning is relevant to the lands on which the camp takes place,” said Ms. Hutchings. “We have a specific focus on local science and research opportunities where students can engage and learn from professionals working in Labrador. We also incorporate Indigenous science and traditional knowledge to increase their exposure, their knowledge and also to build important community connections.”

Group of youth examine a polar bear pelt
Learning from a polar bear pelt.
Photo: Submitted

Students also have the opportunity to experience local foods during camp with catering and food preparation that is reflective of Labrador culture.

“Students have had fried bread and jam, bakeapple and redberry tarts and traditional soup, all of which they thoroughly enjoyed.”

Memorial’s Labrador Campus runs the camp, which is free including travel costs, in partnership with the Nunatsiavut Government, NunatuKavut Community Council and the Innu Nation, as well as the Torngat Wildlife, Plants and Fisheries Secretariat.

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