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[Zoonaute news] Ikaarvik : Barriers to bridges awarded arctic inspiration prize to expand collaboration in support of arctic communities

le Ven 13 Déc 2013, 16:01
IKAARVIK: BARRIERS TO BRIDGES AWARDED ARCTIC INSPIRATION PRIZE TO EXPAND COLLABORATION IN SUPPORT OF ARCTIC COMMUNITIES

Vancouver Aquarium Arctic Connections program leads to award bringing Ikaarvik initiative tonew Northern communities

Ikaarvik: Barriers to Bridges, consisting of researchers and community members from the Vancouver Aquarium, Arctic communities, Fisheries and Ocean Canada (DFO) and ArctiConnexion, as well as partner zoos and aquariums, is a proud recipient of the Arctic Inspiration Prize, awarded last evening at the 9th annual ArcticNet Scientific Meeting. This prestigious prize is awarded to multidisciplinary teams who have made a substantial and demonstrated contribution to the gathering of Arctic knowledge, and who will execute a concrete plan to implement their knowledge for the benefit of the Canadian Arctic and its communities.

“We are honoured to receive this significant and respected prize and are committed to making an impact, in support of – and collaboration with – Canada’s Arctic,” said Eric Solomon, Ikaarvik team leader and director of Arctic Programs at the Vancouver Aquarium. “With this prize, Ikaarvik will build stronger, more effective collaboration among our partner Inuit communities and scientific researchers, improve public discourse about the Arctic, and increase leadership capacity among young emerging Inuit leaders.”

Each year, the Prize Committee awards a total of $1 million CAD to one to five teams. This is the second annual year for the prize, which is being awarded to three teams, each of which will receive $325,000 to put their plan into action.

Ikaarvik was one of three teams selected for this recognition, based on its work to date to remove barriers to communication and cooperation between northern communities and scientific researchers, and to reframe the Arctic dialogue in Canada. Specifically, the award recognizes the success of the 2011 Arctic Connections Southern Expedition, which has been widely recognized as a model of best practice for its type of programming.

In 2011, Ikaarvik team leader Eric Solomon teamed up with Shelly Elverum, Arctic College instructor in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, to bring a group of students from Pond Inlet to meet with government agencies and researchers, and to work with staff and volunteers at the Vancouver Aquarium. The program was tremendously effective, and has had a significant impact on the Pond Inlet community, researchers, and Aquarium staff and volunteers.

This collaboration improved the relationship between scientists and the community of Pond Inlet, built local capacity to further engage in relevant scientific research, and provided a voice for the community to reach a large southern Canadian audience through the Vancouver Aquarium. It also inspired graduate students at the Centre for Northern Studies (University of Laval) to form a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to improving the relationship between scientists and Canada’s Arctic communities.

Moving ahead, the Arctic Inspiration Prize will be used to expand key components of the successful 2011 Southern Expedition to four additional communities and four additional zoos and aquariums in Canada. It will also involve the Canadian Rangers Ocean Watch program (a research partnership between the Department of National Defense, DFO and the Vancouver Aquarium) as both a case study and a practical application of Ikaarvik’s bridge-building.

The $1 million CAD Arctic Inspiration Prize (arcticinspirationprize.ca) is awarded annually and is made possible through the generous endowment of the S. and A. Inspiration Foundation, the commitment of ArcticNet to voluntarily manage the Prize, as well as the contribution of numerous volunteers and partners.

Vancouver Aquarium Arctic Connections
The Vancouver Aquarium Arctic Connections initiative bridges southern and northern perspectives, knowledge and ideas. Our goal is to create greater awareness and understanding of important issues that affect both northern and southern Canadians, and to create a place for respectful, solutions-oriented dialogue. vanaqua.org/canadasarctic

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