VIU News

Posted by Suzanne de la Barre

Hello folks! Read about our adventure in VIU news:

https://news.viu.ca/viu-students-learn-responsible-tourism-management-field-school

 

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CBC Radio Interview

Posted by Suzanne de la Barre

While in Whitehorse, students were given an opportunity to go live on CBC North’s Yukon morning show – A new day hosted by Sandy Coleman.  On March 2nd, Suzanne was accompanied on by Erin, Nobeia, and Anna to discuss how the students were enjoying their time in the Yukon, how they hoped to apply their knowledge, and what else they were learning while studying winter tourism in the Yukon.

To listen to this interview, follow this link:

https://app.criticalmention.com/app/#/report/a8db2725-6850-4087-b1a6-87383193bf41/clip/33178061/play

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Yukon Wildlife Reserve and Takhini Hot Pools – Day Six

Posted by Yan on behalf of the students.

Today was such a sunny day, we began our last day of this field trip at the Bean North Café. We had some nice soups, fresh bagel sand some cookies for dessert. We then went to the Yukon Wildlife reserve which is a unique wildlife viewing opportunity featuring 12 species of northern Canadian mammals. Our tour guide Lindsey took us on a 5 km loop around the area and we got to see the wood bison, Canada lynx, arctic foxes, woodland caribou, thin horn sheep, mountain goat and more. Lindsey also explained to us that the animals here have plentiful space, are well-cared for and healthy. Yukon Wildlife reserve offers a very educational tours, interpretive tours to all visitors, and some workshops for people as well.

We then came to the famous Takhini Hot Pools! The hot springs have been operated for more than 100 years. It has a relaxing 36° and 42° Celsius, with water entering the pool at 47 degrees. The water in the pool is natural and rich in minerals. The students indeed enjoyed the warm water after spending some time outside in -18° cold air. They dipped their hair in the water and tried the hair freezing contest.

Then we had dinner at the Balsam café. We had a nice discussion about what we have learnt in this week and we all can’t believe how time flies. Each of us asked a question and everyone took turn to answer it. The field trip is officially closed and everyone is sad to say goodbye.

Students then headed back into town where they picked up their finished glasswork from Lumel, and are now packing to leave tomorrow.

Here are some pictures of students in the Wildlife Reserve and Takhini Hot Pools:

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Hot Stuff in a Cool Place – Day Five Afternoon

Posted by Lydia on behalf of the students

The art walk and glass blowing today was probably my favourite activity of the trip (so far)! It was so nice to see what local artists in the area are creating and to be able to create something ourselves at the Lumel glass blowing studio.

We walked around downtown and hopped into a couple of art studios that were in the middle of developing new exhibits, all of which were created by Yukon artists and a few others from across Canada. I was particularly interested in the artist co-op, “Yukon Artists @ Work”, where there are over 20 members of the not-for-profit with their artwork on display and available for purchase. Art is such a beautiful way to express different cultures through visual talent.

Our next stop was the Lumel Studio. The work that Lumel does to help the community is incredibly admirable, offering workshops and opening up the studio for anyone, including the “River Walkers”, disenfranchised youth, and elderly community members, to come in and be involved in creating such beautiful pieces. We also had the pleasure of seeing a small group of Grade 7s at the studio who were making icicles to be put on display in the community. The team is full of such enthusiastic characters, Mark and Tyler were super helpful in guiding us to make our own glass flowers and blown glass floats. Lumel is so open and community-conscious; they really are “The Happiness Factory”.

Here are some photos of the students creating their class creations

 

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Winter Forest School – Day Five Morning

Posted by Erin on behalf of the students

Wow, another amazing day in the Yukon! This morning we had the fortunate opportunity to join Emily Payne and Erin Nicolardi as part of their Rivers to Ridges Forest School Program they offer in Whitehorse. As recent winners of the prestigious Arctic Inspiration Prize, I was excited to get to spend some time and learn with two inspiring women entrepreneurs!

Our experience began in a warm and inviting wall tent in the middle of the forest outside Whitehorse. The goal in this transitionary space was to slow down and experience what was around us in nature, and that started with a gratitude circle where we each shared what we were thankful for today. Then, in typical fashion, we suited up for the outdoors! We were lucky enough today to be greeted by endless blue skies and the bright sun, which only contributed to the fun we had in the deep fluffy snow. The remoteness we experienced on our walk with Rivers to Ridges was vast, and it reminded me of why Yukon is becoming such a popular destination for winter tourism. The reminder of everyday hectic life can certainly be escaped in the trees and pristine white snow found here. Combined with lessons on identifying common trees, and looking for wildlife tracks, the opportunity of play was also emphasized. Who knew playing hide and seek was still so much fun!

They also introduced us to creating friction fires with a bow drill demonstration. Used in cultures from all over the world, and here in the Yukon, a friction fire is a technique that can be used to start a campfire when spending time outdoors. Their hands-on demonstration showed how simple pieces found in the forest can be utilized, which further enforced the connection to the land so many of us desire.

Connecting with nature is such an important aspect many of us are missing in modern life. Not only did Emily and Erin remind us how essential it is to make this outdoor connection, but also how fun it is and the tranquil effect it has. This is something I experienced with the help of Rivers to Ridges, but will most certainly be taking home with me.

Here are some photos of the students in the trails, playing a game, and trying to start a friction fire.

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Kicksledding – Day Four

Posted by Anna on behalf of the students.

So finally, the long-awaited day was here, we were about to hit Marsh lake with kicksleds! Coming from Finland, kicksledding was something familiar to me and something I very much relate to my childhood. Could there be any better way to spend a day in Yukon than explore its beautiful nature with Finnish-made sleds?

Well, like with most of the winter activities, today we were also under the influence of mother nature and it decided that there’s not going to be a trip to the lake as the trails were covered with snow and the wind was blowing hard as well. Our lovely host Anne, the owner of the Kicksled Revolution, however, had made a plan B like every responsible tour operator does to make sure that we all have a pleasant experience and return back sound and safe.

We started the day from the office of Kicksled Revolution and had a little talk about the history of kicksledding. The plan B was to make a little 4K tour at S.S. Klondike National Historic Site. We started the trip with a short introduction to techniques and hit the trails and hit them pretty fast in order to keep us warm. This time it wasn’t that much about enjoying the landscape but to keep moving and enjoy the physical part of kicksledding. It was so nice to get active and see a little bit around Yukon river.

Let’s start the Kicksled revolution!

Here are some photos of the students on kicksleds, and talking with Anne

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Dog Sledding & Seminar – Day Three

Posted by Amy on behalf of the students.

Today was a busy day! Most of our day was spent at Sky High Wilderness Ranch where we got to go dog sledding! It was fun to interact with the dogs, and we even got to play with some puppies. After dog sledding, we were given the opportunity to speak with Jocelyne the manager at the ranch, about operations and answered some questions about dog sledding culture, and just her history with Dog sledding and operating a tourism business. It was a great learning experience for us, students, to have this type of conversation.

After warming up in the large yurt and enjoying some snacks at the ranch, we headed back down into town through an incredibly beautiful scenic drive. The mountains were very visible and so far this is one of my favorite things about being in Whitehorse, being nestled in all these mountains.

We then went to meet with Paul Sparling who currently owns a commercial ice fishing business. He wanted to talk to us and hear our opinions on his idea for taking visitors out ice fishing with him since many people are very interested in what he does. It was interesting to see the perspective of his business from a different industry with him wanting to get involved in tourism, we also all appreciated the learning experience to have discussions and give our input on different ideas.

Here are some photos of the student’s dog sledding, with the puppies, and the mountains on the drive back in.

 

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Aurora Viewing – Day Two Evening

Posted by Nobeia on behalf of the students.

The main focus of the evening was the aurora viewing. We gathered at 9 pm and arrived at the camp around 10 pm. The whole scheduled aurora viewing session was from 10 pm to 2 am of the next day. Amenities on site, such as wooden cabins, snowshoes, campfires, special tripods for photos, and guides were a great addition to the experience. People can stay inside the wall tent to get some rest and to keep themselves warm or share each other’s experiences while they were waiting for Aurora. Wood stoves, hot drinks, and sofa seats were available in each canvas wall tent. I really enjoyed the snowshoes that were provided for the tourists, it really enhanced our viewing experience during the viewing session as the snow in some places at the camping area was deep. There was also one tent making maple taffy that we got to roll on the snow to cool it down and I thought this unique Canadian experience was really valuable. There were bonfires burning outside of the tents during the session to offset the harshness and cold weather. The tents and cozy atmosphere really made our viewing more comfortable, took away the worry of the cold weather, and was almost like a glamping experience.

Viewing aurora is a probability event because no one can guarantee anything of a natural scenery. Luckily we did get to see some aurora last night. Generally speaking, it was a very happy trip for everyone to share the beautiful moment.

Here are some photos of the students with the Aurora, around a campfire, and making maple taffy.

 

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Seminar – Day Two Morning

Posted by Amy on behalf of the students.

This morning students partook in some seminars from their field school leader Suzanne, Bente from SIU, and guest speakers from Yukon Tourism and Northern Tales. Here’s what they have to say:

Erin: “Sarah, from Yukon Tourism, gave some amazing insight into what the market for winter tourism market looks like in Yukon. Having this insightful information will be valuable as we head out to experience the many experiences Whitehorse and area have to offer!”

Yan: “Great presentations in the morning! We have for sure gained a lot of in-depth insights. Lovely lunch at the local cafe.”

Amy: “I really enjoyed talking with Seb, the operator of Northern Tales, because it gave us a chance to ask him some real like application questions about the tourism industry in the north, and his experience with a northern tourism business. It was also nice having Sarah there to answer a lot of our questions on Tourism in Yukon and how it’s growing so rapidly, and how they involve all the different stakeholders in decisions”

Anna: “Today we were lucky to spend some time with several local tourism stakeholders to discuss tourism in circumpolar regions and in Yukon specifically. What a great way to start the new week in Yukon!”

Lydia: “It was incredibly interesting and valuable to get an overview of Yukon tourism from different perspectives, and to be able to compare it to trends and statistics in other circumpolar regions. I appreciated getting to interact and ask questions so freely in such an intimate and friendly professional setting, it gave me a better grasp on the progress of tourism in the Yukon.”

and Nobeia: “Such productive seminars we had. The magical Aurora Borealis dancing is the main attraction, thus, most tour trips and tours focus on that. In terms of knowledge mobilization, nearly all of the presenters mentioned their concerns about the emerging Chinese market. It is believed that Chinese tourists will booster the local tourism industry into a new peak of development.”

Here are some photos of students at the Visitors Centre today, with Seb from Northern Tales, and the course instructor Suzanne with Sarah from Tourism Yukon.

 

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Whitehorse Arrival – Day One

Posted by Amy on behalf of the students.

Students have all arrived safely in Whitehorse! Some of the students enjoyed the last little bit of the Rendezvous Festival, and then all students enjoyed a lovely dinner. Here are some short comments from the students about their first impressions of Whitehorse!

Yan says “We arrived at Whitehorse today!!! What a nice group of people! The weather is good, chilly and refreshing. And we had lovely dinner at Suzanne’s place together with Tracy and Dirk. Thanks for tonight!”

Erin writes “Even on our descent into Whitehorse I was already amazed by the unique ecosystem I could see out the window. I was excited to land and explore this city that was surrounded by vast forest and snowy mountain peaks. Lucky enough for us we were able to catch the end of the Rendezvous Festival, reminisce over maple taffy, and learn who a ‘Sourdough’ resident is!”

Amy says “It’s so nice to be back in the North again! I really did miss it! I’ve enjoyed wandering around Whitehorse, and have really enjoyed the crunching of the snow beneath my feet! Dinner was lovely and delicious, and I can’t wait for what the rest of the week holds.”

Lydia says “Arriving in Whitehorse was such a mix of emotions; exhaustion, excitement, and awe. After spending weeks researching the culture, the history, and the expectations for temperature and temperament, I didn’t know what to expect stepping off the plane. So far settling in has come with ease and I have undoubtedly felt welcome, especially having had the chance to experience the last portion of the Rendezvous festival alongside the many community members and my fellow Field School colleagues. In addition to this, we also had the pleasure of having a wonderful dinner with Suzanne’s family, where we had the chance to relax and enjoy a fantastic meal provided for us from a recent moose hunt from her brother-in-law. It was lovely to be able to sit and hear about the history of mining and the traditions that the family has grown up with in comparison to experiences from the other girls from around the globe.”

Nobeia says “This is the first day of arriving the Yukon where I only read about on the articles. But here I am with my great classmates and my dear supervisor. The first impression of the Yukon is so great especially the white snow and the sound of boots touching the snow land. People are friendly and willing to share their thoughts with others. I am hoping to discover more in the Yukon and I know it will be just fantastic.”

and Finally, Anna writes “First day in Whitehorse and words cant describe how warmly we were welcomed by Suzanne, Tracy, Dirk and fellow students from VIU. We had a dinner together, moose spaghetti! while getting to know each other and learning how the moose on our plate was hunted.”

Here are some photos of the student arriving in Whitehorse, and a group photo after dinner.

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