Environmental and Social Change in the Western Canadian Arctic
There is no more poignant image describing the Arctic's uniqueness than to see the sun hovering above the horizon at 2 in the morning in June and July; a truly breathtaking and spiritual experience. My Arctic work has been personally transforming for me on many levels, and I have seen the real impact of these wild places in the lives of numerous students. More than once, I have returned to Prince George after an Arctic trip to see a student researcher rent a vehicle and head right back just cuz' they wanted to be part of it again. These are lands of incredible beauty and diversity, but also incredible harshness - which translates into very unique adaptations for both natural and human ecosystems. The Arctic studies that we have undertaken are humble attempts to understand the demanding and unique environmental forces at work there. What these ecosystems lack in biological diversity, they more than make up for in structural and functional diversity to endure across the sharp ecological gradients that occur. The Arctic cultures are as interesting and unique as are the very different natural ecologies that I have observed in these northern lands.