Youth Knowledge Fair 2018
After a successful event in 2016, a new group of 60 youth came together in Edmonton from across the Mackenzie River Basin to present research on climate change. In a similar program to 2016, youth bonded while experiencing the University of Alberta campus – and comparing their research posters across their communities.
Tracking climate change
Climate change immediately affects the lives of young people in the Mackenzie River Basin. Whether it is warming water temperatures, changes to ice freeze-up and melt, thawing permafrost, or changes to migration patterns, young people feel the impacts of climate change on their diets, seasonal patterns, harvesting practices, and many other aspects of their lives.
At the 2018 Youth Knowledge Fair, the youth got to learn from their Elders how water, fish, and fishing livelihoods have been affected by changes to the climate. They also got to share their own perspectives of climate change through posters that were research-based and personal. Their work was incredible, and students complemented their posters with artwork, food, stories, and videos from their home communities.
Presenting their final work at the Youth Knowledge Fair, students got to speak to many guests from across the Mackenzie River Basin, the university campus, and the city of Edmonton, who wanted to hear their land-based knowledge about climate change.
Hands-on learning activities
In addition to participating in the Youth Knowledge Fair, students got to experience life in Edmonton and on the University of Alberta campus. They kicked off the weekend with a film about the Amazon at the Telus World of Science, where they also got to hear from Molly Chisaakay of Dene Tha’. They also spent the weekend taking tours of the university campus, dissecting fish in a science lab, trying their hands at dendrochronology research, and designing water transport systems based on renewable energy.
Youth shared a variety of highlights from the weekend, including learning about climate change and feeling at home on a university campus. Their message to other youth: participate! In their words, the Youth Knowledge Fair is “so much fun,” an “amazing opportunity” and “it’s a great experience, meeting people learning new things, it’s pretty cool overall.” Referring to the opportunity to share local knowledge, one participant would tell other young people “to use their knowledge and don’t be shy to tell their stories and to be confident in their work.”