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Photos courtesy of Kelvin and ISAMR program
École secondaire Kelvin High School
students recently offered a helping hand to the community of Churchill by
sending a large supply of food to the north.
The students are members of the ISAMR (International Student-Led Arctic
Monitoring and Research) program, which has them conducting arctic research
under the mentorship of Dr. Jane Waterman and Dr. Jim Roth from the University
of Manitoba and Dr. Ryan Brook from the University of Saskatchewan. Students
from the Park School of Baltimore and Churchill’s Canadian Junior Rangers are
also partners in the program.
When Kelvin students went to the Churchill Northern Studies Centre in
early November, students made the journey by plane. In the past, students
travelled by train, but the rail line to the community was recently closed. Combined
with the closure of the town’s port, the result has been a community in
transition that faces many daily challenges. The cost of food,
especially fresh foods, is enormous due to transportation costs to Churchill.
“It makes the cost of getting food
more expensive,” said teacher Szandra Temesvari. “It was a lot cheaper bringing
food up by train than by flying it.”
For example, a can of soup can cost
$7, while a litre of milk is almost $15.
Kelvin students saw an opportunity
to help their friends up north.
“Since we were already flying up
there, and could bring extra luggage with us, we thought why not bring
something to help,” said student Laia Shpeller. “We asked Jill Larkin, who
heads the Rangers program, what they needed, and she suggested supporting their
breakfast program. They serve hot meals to 200 students every morning.”
Kelvin students held a toonie drive
to raise funds for a major grocery purchase; they managed to raise over $1,200
for the food drive.
“We purchased cereal, ham,
breakfast sausage and lots of fruit,” said student Alex Roth.
“We also bought a lot of dairy
products because that is also hard to come by up there,” said student Paulina
Students had to keep in mind their
allowable luggage weight per passenger.
“We were each allowed to bring
three 55-pound bags with us,” Laia said. “So we limited ourselves to one bag of
luggage each. There’s 30 of us flying up there, so that gives us a maximum 60
bags/coolers/boxes of food we can bring up. We were weighing all of our
packages of food last night.”
During trip, Kelvin students also worked
with the Canadian Junior Rangers to
build miniature greenhouses out of scrap materials readily available to the
“We’re exploring how we can build
low-cost greenhouses, so we can enable them to grow some of their own produce,”
Ms. Temesvari said.
The Rangers also treated Kelvin
students to a traditional meal and served as friendly hosts during the trip.
“We’re so privileged to have this
connection with the Junior Canadian Rangers,” said teacher Donna Labun. “While
these trips are focused on science, they’ve helped us to deepen our cultural
understanding and connection to the community.”
The Kelvin research trips are made
possible through a Natural Sciences and Engineering
Research Council of Canada PromoScience Grant.