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20th annual Kivalliq Science/Culture Camp in Baker Lake

Students and teachers swooped into Baker Lake recently to participate in the annual Kivalliq Science/Culture Camp in Baker from.

The Sept. 4 to 9 event was sponsored by the Kivalliq Science Educators’ Community (KSEC) and drew a total of 32 students, seven teachers and three elders (Jennifer Eeviuk, Susan Toolooktook and Timothy Eeviuk) — with every Kivalliq community being represented.

The theme to this year’s camp was Rocks and Minerals.

Victor Sammurtok School teacher Glen Brocklebank of Chesterfield Inlet said a geologist from Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM) visited the camp to support the teachers, and sections in first aid and the Global Positioning System (GPS) were also presented to the students.

Victor Sammurtok School teacher Glen Brocklebank, right, of Chesterfield Inlet teaches a course on the Global Positioning System to a group of students attending the annual Kivalliq Science/Culture Camp in Baker Lake from Sept. 4 to 9. Photo courtesy Lyndsay Hines

He said the camp was exciting this year, with only one of the 32 students having attended a previous camp.

“It started off on a Wednesday afternoon with a number of people saying they weren’t sure if they wanted to be here and, by Monday, they were saying science camp should never end,” said Brocklebank.

“The GPS section seemed to be a favourite of the students because it was really practical and hands-on, but some of them said geology was the best part and a few others preferred the section on the first-aid scenarios.

“It really helped that we had fantastic weather this year – a little bit of snow and bugs, but no rain – as I woke up every morning wearing my winter parka and snow pants but, by the end of the day, I was wearing a bug jacket and long-sleeve shirt.”

Brocklebank said another highlight of the camp was the mine tour, during which everyone got to visit AEM’s Meadowbank Gold Mine.

He said the students saw where a lot of their relatives are working and staying at the mine. They also got to eat a meal at Meadowbank, which a lot of the kids really enjoyed.

“The students get a non-renewable resource credit (understanding mining and geology) for attending the annual Kivalliq Science/Culture Camp, as well as a wilderness credit (being on the land and camp life),” said Brocklebank.

The winning team in the chili/bannock cook-off during the annual Kivalliq Science/Culture Camp are, from left, Tasha Ningeocheak (Coral Harbour), Shakira Pudlat (Coral Harbour), Jasmine Nagiyak (Arviat), Trinity Papak (Rankin Inlet), Leonie Netser (Coral Harbour), Emily Brown (Rankin Inlet) and Annie Kritaqliluk (Arviat) in Baker Lake from Sept. 4 to 9. Photo courtesy Lyndsay Hines

“For me, personally, the highlight for camp life this year was the chili/bannock bake-off. The teachers had five minutes to support their team of students, and the students had 90 minutes to prepare bannock for elders and chili.

“We had more boys than girls this year – three tent groups of boys and two of girls – and they were all vying for the bragging rights for having the best bannock and/or chili.

“This year, the best chili went to a girl’s tent and the best bannock went to a boy’s tent, so it was spread out fairly well and the judges had a tough time with their final call, which wasn’t unanimous.”

Brocklebank said special guest Jim Kreuger appeared at the camp and said in the 20 years of the KSEC Kivalliq Science/Culture Camp, this year was the hardest to pick the winners of the chili/bannock bake-off.

He said it’s really something to see how far the camp has gone since its humble beginnings.

“KSEC has been around for 25 years and the camp for 20, so that’s pretty impressive.

“The level of interaction with the students this year was just fantastic, which made it a very, very strong year for the camp.

“We had five or six teachers participate who are only in their first-or-second year of teaching in Nunavut and, sometimes, the teachers get just as much, or more, out of the camp as the students do.

“The chance for teachers to meet other teachers in the region, learn, and see their students in their own environment is one of the most beneficial things the camp does for teachers and, this year, the schools had more student applicants than spots available so, after 20 years, the camp is still going strong.

The annual Kivalliq Science/Culture Camp returns to Baker Lake in 2020.