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The latest news from CPAWS YUKON

December 2020

In this edition: 

  • Take Action for the Arctic Refuge
  • Success! Canadian banks won't fund Arctic drilling 
  • Wishing farewell to Dr. Nowak 
  • Happy Holidays from our ED 

Here we go again. The Arctic Refuge needs your voice. It’s a phrase you’ve heard (or read) numerous times this year. The truth is, the outgoing administration intends to hold a lease sale as soon as possible. They’re aiming for January 6th, just before the new administration takes over. The U.S. Government isn’t acting in good faith, but we still have to. It’s critical we get our concerns on the public record.

Currently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is undergoing a comment period on seismic testing in the Arctic Refuge this winter. Seismic testing in the winter could scar the landscape and harass denning polar bears. Will you tell the Fish and Wildlife Service to take these concerns seriously, and say no to seismic testing? The deadline is January 6th, so you’ll hear from us about this again in the new year.

Even as the US Government tries to open the refuge, the tide continues to turn in other ways. In fact, we’ve seen a tremendous victory for the Arctic Refuge in these past weeks. Scotiabank recently announced a policy that would add them to the list of Canadian banks that will not fund projects in the Arctic Refuge! We didn’t have “pro-bank demonstration” on our 2020 bingo card, but we braved the chilly weather in Whitehorse to show our appreciation along with Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. It’s easy to forget that it was only a year ago that we joined the Gwich’in Tribal Council and Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation to speak with banks in Toronto. We’re grateful how quickly they chose to become allies in this cause.

Over the past year, we’ve also had the benefit of our Conservation Science Coordinator, Dr. Katarzyna Nowak, help us increase our capacity for science-based recommendations to conserve our wild spaces. Kate’s worked hard on numerous projects, often behind the scenes, informing our technical submissions, supporting our campaigns, and leading on many conservation projects. We’re really excited that Kate will continue to work on conservation in the Yukon in her new role teaching conservation planning with Yukon University. Here are some highlights from the year that she had a role in:

Her insight and experiences have helped greatly, and will help set up CPAWS Yukon to make informed and effective recommendations on what conservation could look like in the Yukon.

Thanks for all your hard work Kate and we wish you well in your new role at the University!

It’s been an interesting year to say the least. While this year’s been anything but normal, we wanted to say thanks for all your support. Here's a short message from our Executive Director, Chris Rider for this final update of the year:

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are here, and another year has almost passed us by. But of course, this was not just any year. It was 2020. 

I can say with confidence that this has been the hardest year of my career, and like many of you, I really struggled at times. There were long periods where the future felt completely uncertain, and others where everything was changing so quickly that it seemed impossible to look too far ahead. Meetings and events were constantly being cancelled, finances were uncertain and maintaining relationships became much harder when we couldn’t all be in the same space. It was difficult. 


But despite these challenges, I leave 2020 feeling hopeful for the future. In the last month alone we’ve celebrated some big progress in our campaigns. ATAC’s proposal for a road in the Beaver River Watershed was rejected, and now there's a chance to create a land use plan that's right for the region. Every major bank in Canada and the US has committed to never funding any project that would harm the Arctic Refuge. We are one step closer to our goal of protection for this important area. We also ran two successful river trips into the Beaver River Watershed and the Indian River Watershed (watch out for the short films in 2021) and a number of surprisingly effective online events.


I’m so proud of all of the great work our team has achieved.Thank you for being with us every step of the way - it’s important to remember that an organization like ours is only as strong as our members and supporters. 


As we head into 2021, I hope you’ll continue to join us for the ride. It’s sure to be exciting!


- Chris Rider

That's it for from me this year. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and happy holidays! 
- Adil 


Non-Profits we love

Every month, we will be highlighting a non-profit doing awesome work. We believe working together will help us create a stronger future for conservation and end the "Non-Profit Hunger Games"


Just next door, CPAWS BC is welcoming a new Executive Director. Annita McPhee is a Tahltan woman and the first Indigenous person to lead a CPAWS chapter. She brings with her the experience from a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Social Work and three terms as President of the Tahltan Central Council. 

Learn more here:

Welcome Annita! 






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