Fall 2011

Fall is upon us in the Big Land. The leaves are busy blowing in the wind and the Labrador Institute (LI) is full of activity as well! Summer has been quite eventful and we are now falling into the prospect of a very busy semester.

One very big piece of positive news for the LI from this summer's events is that Dr. Kachanoski, President of Memorial University, during his speech at Expo Labrador 2011 announced the doubling of the base budget for the Labrador Institute! As a result, several new faculty members will be located in Labrador.

Martha and Jennifer have finished their work on Very Rough Country. The book was launched in North West River at the Labrador Interpretation Centre on June 27, 2011. This date also commemorates the 106th anniversary of the date that Mina Hubbard departed on her expedition into the Labrador wilderness. The book is being sold at the Labrador Institute as well as several stores in Goose Bay. It can also be ordered through the LA for $20. Sales are going very well on the publication!

In Labrador West, the LI office has moved with the College of the North Atlantic from its Campbell drive location to its new location on the Nichols-Adam Highway. The LI office is located in the main foyer, next to the Administration area. The Grand Opening of the new building is scheduled to take place near the end of October; officials from CNA and Memorial University will be on hand for the official signing of the new CNA/MUN co-location agreement for Labrador West. Also in Labrador West, Karen continues to work on the Labrador Institute library catalogue with updates that includes material that was not previously catalogued. This will improve the ability of researchers to find quality research materials. Materials can be found by searching our catalogue and can be checked out at the CNA library in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, where our collection is housed. As well, a new and improved catalogue system is coming our way soon! Details will follow at a later date.

With the Nunatsiavut Social Work program, Intersession courses went well under the instruction of Dr. Doug Wharram, Dr. John Thistle and Jennifer Wight. The students in this program are now on their first work placement.

As mentioned in our Spring update,the LI's North West River Research Centre is almost finished and the grand opening is upcoming! Stay tuned for dates! Thanks to partnerships between MUN and some governmental agencies, the Centre will now be able to offer substantial research assistance to people studying in Labrador. A wet/dry laboratory, meeting space, office space, and residence space means that various research needs can now be met here in Labrador. The LI has also been able to acquire various pieces of field equipment that will be an asset to researchers who are interested in studying the land here.

From November 3-6, a group of Grenfell Campus researchers, educators and administrators visited the Labrador Institute in Happy Valley – Goose Bay. While in the area, they took part in meetings that facilitated an exchange of ideas with Labrador Institute staff around possible collaboration opportunities between Grenfell Campus and the Labrador Institute. The group took part in several trips around the area as well as a visit to the new research facility in North West River.
Since the event, our own Jennifer Butler Wight and Dr. Ivan Emke, associate vice-president (research) Grenfell Campus took part in an interview on CBC's Labrador Morning on November 8 to talk about the meetings and the other happenings that took place.

On December 1, 2011, Dr. Montevecchi presented the award winning film "Arctic-Cliffhangers", a story of the cliff-dwelling seabirds inhabiting the North that represent some of Canada's most spectacular wildlife. The film spotlights and interprets aspects of the biology and life history of seabirds and provides insights into the interactive role that humans play in affecting ecosystem balance, as well as the new challenges the sea birds are facing due to climate change. In addition to communicating some of the latest scientific findings on polar marine research, Arctic Cliffhangers also documents and showcases the age-old hunting traditions carried on by Canada's aboriginal subsistence hunters. Dr. Montevecchi also presented findings from seabird research in Labrador and answered questions from the audience. Dr. Montevecchi is a world-renowned Research Professor of Psychology, Biology, and Ocean Sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Dr. Montevecchi is currently engaged in an ecosystem research program focused on the behavioural ecology of marine and terrestrial birds, with a focus on environmental influences on animal behaviour and ecology.

Also in December, Jennifer Wight did a video talking about the Labrador Institute's connection with a new Northern Research Program, Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic (ReSDA).