Forest Ecology Research Group

NWT Field Course

Course overview:
The climate of the high latitude regions has warmed significantly over recent decades with correspondingly large changes in the coupled biologic, hydrologic and cryotic processes that characterize these temperature-sensitive ecosystems. This course will focus on the integrated ecosystem responses of cold regions to recent warming in terrestrial, aquatic, and wetland environments in the Northwest Territories. A central theme of the course will be permafrost and the thaw and degradation processes that are happening with warming as these cryotic changes have far-reaching consequences for associated ecosystem processes and functions. This will include an examination of the ecohydrological implications of changing permafrost conditions, responses of forests to climate warming and permafrost thaw, changing aquatic habitat quality with active layer slumping, among others. The course will also include a Yellowknife-based component introducing students to the political and regulatory context of NWT land management. NWT’s environmental management framework is unique within Canada. Guest lecturers from First Nations, Federal and Territorial Government Departments as well as regulatory and co-management boards will help students to develop an understanding of how the Territory’s history and cultural diversity has influenced the current land management system. For more details please see the OUFBP course outline (PDF).

Dr. Jennifer Baltzer
Dr. Kevin Stevens
Jason Paul (Teaching assistant)

Visiting instructors:
Dr. Steve Kokelj (GNWT Permafrost Scientist)

2014 Field Course Logistics
Deposit payment
Please send a cheque for $2750 (and your signed acknowledgment of risk forms; see below) by July 1 payable to Wilfrid Laurier University to
Dr. Jennifer Baltzer
75 University Ave. W, Science Building N3022D
Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3C5

Acknowledgement of risk forms
Please download, print and carefully read the following forms and return completed, signed forms with your course deposit by mail.
Acknowledgment of risk
Field risk assessment

Travel and accommodation
Air travel to and from Yellowknife: You must arrive in Yellowknife by August 10 at the latest and depart for home no earlier than August 23. Westjet and Air Canada have daily flights from Toronto Pearson and we will pick you up from your flight. If you are arriving early, please contact Dr. Baltzer to organize a meeting place and time.

All in-course travel, food, and accommodation will be covered by your course fees.

During the course we will be staying at the Trapper’s Lake Spirituality Centre, located on a beautiful lake on the outskirts of Yellowknife. This facility is part of the MacKenzie Diocese but they regularly host small groups such as our own. Trapper’s Lake has several buildings and cabins with modest, comfortable accommodations. You will be sharing a room with another student. Breakfast and dinner will be provided daily by our hosts and we will pack bagged lunches for field work. IF YOU HAVE ANY FOOD SENSITIVITIES OR REQUIREMENTS PLEASE LET ME KNOW. This will allow our hosts and I to ensure that everyone is well fed.

Field gear
Please see the Field Gear form outlining gear you should bring and what we will provide.

Field Gear

2013 Field course images

CABIN sampling protocols at Mosquito Creek

In the classroom/lab at Trapper’s Lake

2011 Fire site near Bechoko

Electrofishing at the Cameron River

Tour of the Mackenzie River with Mr. Danny Beaulieu

Giant Mine tour

Setting minnow traps at Baker Creek

Quadrat sampling on a permafrost plateau

Slumping lithalsa

Some NWT wildlife

Peatland sampling

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