CHARS: Research in the Canadian Arctic

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We started off our first day in Nunavut heading into the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS). CHARS was built as part of Canada’s Northern Strategy. This new Arctic research facility demonstrates state-of-the-art design that brings science, technology, and traditional Inuit knowledge together under one roof.

The 7,888m² CHARS campus includes a two-storey main building with cutting-edge laboratories and public spaces such as a multi-use knowledge-sharing area. The copper-colours, the history of the Copper Inuit and the curved spaces of large qaggiq snow houses are all reflected in the design of the building as well as the art showcased inside the building.

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We spent the morning organizing meetings with staff at CHARS. We first met with Ann Balasubramaniam and Lynda Orman part of the Knowledge Management and Engagement team to discuss best practices for community-based research. We also talked with Matilda Tomaselli, a researcher in wildlife health with experience in research ethics. These meeting have been integral in shaping the goals of the project.

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meetings with chars staff

Ann Balasubramaniam, Lynda Orman, Tad McIlwraith, and Alex Borisenko (left to right) discuss community engagement in Cambridge Bay

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We also met Ian Hogg, Team Lead for Ecosystem and Cryosphere Research at Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR). We had previously met Ian in Guelph, Ontario for the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) Consortium meeting in October, 2018 where he presented a talk titled ‘Canada’s Arctic‘. His talk highlighted the importance of Arctic ecosystems and the role CHARS is playing in facilitating research in Canada’s North. During our visit to CHARS, Ian sat down with us for an interview further highlighting these topics.

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interview with ian hogg

Ian talks about the changes being observed in the Canadian Arctic and the tools needs to effectively research shifting ecosystems

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ian hogg talks to ibol

At the BIOSCAN meeting held in Guelph, Ontario on October 2018, Ian highlighted CHARS and Arctic research

Click image for video of his presentation

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