From the September/October issue of FPA Voices

FIELD NOTES

Stephan Schott is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA).

Since his first visit to Nunavut in 2006, Professor Stephan Schott has focused on research that supports the people living in Canada’s North.

“What motivates me is to change the living conditions in remote communities that are really struggling with challenges of food security, suicide rates and unemployment,” he explains.

One of his largest projects, which is funded by a $5.6 million grant from Genome Canada, among others, is based in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut. He and his research assistants are working with residents, the local Hunter and Trapper Association, colleagues at Carleton’s Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre and biologists from Queen’s University on a food security, harvest and fishery study.

The research involves the collection of traditional knowledge about hunting and fishing practices and areas, fish sampling and analysis and a harvest study with local hunters.  All the information will be displayed in an online interactive atlas developed by Carleton’s Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre.

“We will document traditional environmental knowledge in the region including the health of the fisheries, the cost of hunting and fishing, changes to harvesting areas, along with travel routes and hazards,” says Professor Schott, who visits the region several times a year.

He says the partnership with the local residents is particularly valuable.

“The community members have hundreds of years of experience based on knowledge transfer from one generation to another,” he explains. “We are working with them to understand their traditional ways of using resources sustainably and to come up with future visions that balance their traditional way of life with sustainable economic activities in the modern economy.”

Professor Schott is also working with graduate students from Canada’s North who are studying at Carleton in the interdisciplinary Masters of Sustainable Energy. They are conducting fieldwork in the North to find alternatives to predominantly fossil-fuel based electricity and heating systems.

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