CABIN at the NWT water stewardship strategy implementation workshop, October 24-25, 2018
On October 24 and 25, the Government of Northwest Territories hosted their annual Water Stewardship Strategy Implementation Workshop in Dettah, a Yellowknives Dene First Nation community located near Yellowknife. Under the theme of ‘Linking Knowledges and Ways of Knowing’, the workshop focused on the exchange of stories, perceptions and knowledges to facilitate collaboration, relationship-building and shared learning among water partners to ensure the waters of NWT remain clean, abundant and productive for all time.
Four representatives from the Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance Division (WQMSD) Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) program attended the workshop:
- Stephanie Strachan: CABIN Pacific-Arctic-Athabasca (PAA) watershed lead and Panel Member for the “Ways of Knowing if the Land and Water are Healthy” session
- Cari-Lyn Epp: CABIN lead, Expanding geographic coverage; scoping for Northern biomonitoring plan
- Emma Garden: CABIN lead, Training Coordinator; Poster presentation “3 Key Reasons why CABIN works”
- Brittany Armstrong: CABIN Yellowknife Rep; Poster presentation “CABIN in the North”
With more than 70 participants representing 15 NWT communities, CABIN’s participation at the workshop was focused on:
- establishing/building on existing relationships with local indigenous communities
- communicating the role CABIN can play in watershed assessment, as a complementary tool to Traditional Knowledge (TK)
- identifying training opportunities as a way to expand CABIN’s geographic coverage
- enhancing our understanding of regional environmental issues and concerns as a first step in scoping a northern biomonitoring plan
The workshop was a success, with many informative panel presentations and engaging discussions. Key takeaway messages for the CABIN team as scoping begins on the northern biomonitoring plan include:
- There is a strong desire from the partners to find ways to better link traditional knowledge with western science to support a more holistic view of the health of the environment. CABIN is already being implemented by some Indigenous organizations in the NWT as part of their community-based water monitoring programs.
- Baseline data and long term monitoring programs are highly valued by northern Indigenous communities as a way to support assessment of changes in their environment;
- Interest in CABIN was generated, particularly with existing and emerging Guardians programs. Reaching out to Guardians programs and engaging youth in Indigenous communities will be central to expanding CABIN’s presence in the north.
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