Students at Jonah Amitnaaq Secondary School (JASS) benefitted from a recent partnership of sorts between their school and conservation officers at the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Environment, Wildlife Management Division office in Baker Lake.
The process began when first-year JASS senior high social studies teacher Bence Csaba was assigned to teach a course called, appropriately enough, wildlife.
Csaba had just moved to Baker to begin his first year teaching in the North, and had never taught a wildlife course previously.
At first, said Csaba, he didn’t know which direction he would take with the course material, although he did receive plenty of support from the high school administration and staff at JASS.
“While I was looking through the curriculum outcomes and course outline, I realized that, perhaps, I should walk over to Wildlife Services to see if they had any suggestions,” said Csaba.
“Since then, conservation officers Russell Toolooktook and Robert Arsenault have been giving me advice.
“Then, this past month on Friday, Aug. 23, I asked Russell and Robert to come in as guest speakers and, without hesitation, they agreed to come in and provide a presentation for multiple classes.
“The two officers also brought their summer student, Erik Ikoe, himself a former student at JASS, to talk to students about his summer job with Wildlife Services.”
Csaba is teaching the course to a combined group of 35 students from Grade 10 to Grade 12.
He said the Government of Nunavut (GN) created an online hunting safety course specifically designed for Nunavut that the class is completing.
“This is one of their biggest projects, and, hopefully, everyone will have completed the 10-module course by the end of the year and received a certificate, hoodie and cap.
“And all this came about from the day I went in and asked the officers to give me some guidance on what I should be teaching the students.
“They had plenty of resources and were super co-operative, so I figured why not teach it at high school when it was the GN that created this information about wildlife management, Arctic ecology and management of the land.”
Csaba also starts every class looking through news items with his students.
He said they look at Nunavut news, national news and global news.
“It is important for our students to see what is happening around the territory, the country and the world,” said Csaba.
“I would like to thank my principal, Christopher Snow, and my vice-principal, Catherine Mourot, for supporting me in creating a stronger partnership with Nunavut Wildlife Services.
“According to Inuit societal values, if we work together for a common cause, we will be successful.”