Kivalliq Regional Science Fair

Students from Jonah Amitnaaq Secondary School in Baker Lake joined students from host Victor Sammurtok School in Chesterfield Inlet for the annual Kivalliq Regional Science Fair in Chester from April 12-15.

Kivalliq Science Educator’s Community (KSEC) president Glen Brocklebank said other schools across the Kivalliq region weren’t able to send delegations to this year’s event for a multitude of reasons.

Brocklebank said the Kitikmeot region also had a science group, but it didn’t survive the shutdown caused by the Covid pandemic.

He said KSEC is currently in survival mode while it tries to rebuild all of its programs.

“We traditionally used to send four participants from each community to the regional science fair, while the host community was allowed to send eight students,” said Brocklebank.

“This was only our second fair back from Covid and we’re simply not where we were before the pandemic. We’re rebuilding capacity at this point in time.”

Brocklebank said he harbours good hopes for the fair moving forward.

He said KSEC sent out a lot of correspondence to the other regional secondary schools and several of them did email the science group back asking questions about the event.

“So, I have high hopes for next year that more communities will participate in the science fair and, hopefully, we’ll be back to where we were before the Covid pandemic hit.

“Our students, of course, were hoping for more community participation this year. We all were.

“We all want to celebrate science and we have some great young scientists in the region who we also want to celebrate.

“So, we’re hoping to return to the prowess we enjoyed before the pandemic.”

The theme to this year’s fair was Traditional Knowledge on the Cutting Edge of Science. The participating students got to work with local people in Chesterfield Inlet to construct their own pana (snow knife) and sealskin sheath. They also learned how to make an iglu at the fair.

The top three winners at this year’s event were: first place, Grade 9 student Ivalu Leishman-Brocklebank (Insulation Investigation 2); second place, Grade 11 student Kayalaaq Leishman-Brocklebank (Willows: A Reflection of Change?); and third place Grade 8 student Brian Mullins (Polar Vision), all from Victor Sammurtok School.

Students from Baker Lake took home awards for best project report, best interview and best Inuktitut display.

The top-three winners from Chesterfield Inlet will now advance to the Canada-Wide Science Fair at Carleton University in Ottawa from May 25 until June 1.

Brocklebank mentioned that Baker Lake will host the regional science/culture camp during the first week of September.

“Our camp was fairly well-received this year with all but one community attending,” he said. “KSEC will send out biweekly reminders by fax and email about the science fair in August and September because some schools offer science programming in the first semester, as opposed to the second semester by others.

“We’ll be trying hard to get the word out about next year’s fair, promote it and give it as much support as we can as an executive.

“In the past, we’ve had ultra-competitive fairs with really, really good projects from different schools, and to return to that next year is our ultimate goal moving forward. We’ll be rebuilding almost everything in the regional schools.”

Darrell Greer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kivalliq News