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The latest news from CPAWS YUKON

April 2021

In this edition:

  • Some news on Thomas Berger and Adam Kolton 
  • Chris Rider and Lorriane Netro speak about their work as guests on a new podcast 
  • Yukoners want environmental protection, a new poll shows 
  • Federal government budgets money to support the Yukon on climate change initiatives 
  • Yukon Mineral Development Strategy recommendations to the Yukon Government 
  • Some intitaives for Yukoners to participate in

This month, I’m unfortunately passing along some sad news. We lost two great men, who both left an indelible mark on the people and the land in the North. Thomas Berger left an enormous legacy with his work on the Berger Inquiry, the Peel Watershed case, and his extensive work that helped advance land claim negotiations in Canada. Tom was kind, warm hearted, and quick to chuckle. He passed away from cancer, aged 88. We felt grateful for the opportunity to get to know him.

Adam Kolton spent decades working with the Alaska Wilderness League and the National Wildlife Federation on protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We’ve had the pleasure of working with Adam over the past few years on the campaign to protect the Porcupine caribou herd and we were shocked and heartbroken to hear of his passing. Adam was only 53. You can read about him here.

Our thoughts are with Thomas and Adam’s family – including his wife and two sons – and his colleagues across North America. We hope their legacy will continue through the work that we do.

CPAWS Yukon and the Yukon Conservation Society will be hosting a gathering at the healing totem pole in Whitehorse on Tuesday May 4th at 12:00. We invite you to join us to celebrate his life and legacy in the Yukon. You can find more info here.

One of the things that Thomas Berger helped bring to the forefront was to amplify the voices of First Nations people. Recently our Executive Director, Chris, spoke about working with different partners, including First Nations, to advance conservation efforts in an episode of “Around The World in SDGs”. This podcast by the Inter Council Network explores sustainable development goals with stories and analysis from various different perspectives. They also spoke with Lorraine Netro about her work on the Arctic Refuge that you can listen to here.

On Earth Day, we shared some exciting news from a poll that was conducted earlier this year in the Yukon. Together with the Yukon Conservation Society, we commissioned a poll that was conducted independently by DataPath Systems. The results affirm Yukoners’ concern for the environment, and are a reminder to the territory’s new government that issues like climate change, conservation, and mining reform must be priorities. 

To help the territory achieve conservation wins, the federal government recently released their 2021 budget. Budget 2021 proposes to provide the Yukon Government with $25 million in 2021-2022 to support climate change priorities, $2.3 billion nationwide over 5 years to reach targets of 25% protection of land by 2025 and puts special emphasis on Indigenous Guardians programs and working with Indigenous peoples to address species at risk. The new Yukon Government has an excellent opportunity to set ambitious conservation targets and meet our climate goals.

One of those ambitious goals also includes the future of mineral development in the territory. You can recall our calls for public comments on the Yukon Mineral Development Strategy earlier this year. The final recommendations have come out and our Conservation Manager, Randi Newton, has been going over the recommendations. She wrote a blog comparing the strengths and weaknesses of the recommendations that you can find here. While there’s room to improve, that’s not a reason to drag our feet on important issues like updating the Yukon’s mining legislation and putting a pause on mineral staking during land use planning. The recommendations by the Mineral Development Panel to the Yukon Government should get the ball rolling on working to shape the future of the territory.

We also have a great opportunity to shape the future of the territory through the Dawson Regional Land Use Plan. The draft plan is scheduled to be released in June 2021, so keep your eyes peeled, and rest assured we’ll help break it down when it is.

Finally, we’ve been approached to help amplify some awesome initiatives. The next two items aren’t campaign related, but I think you’ll find them pretty interesting.

As residents of the far North, we’re no strangers to natural hazards - from intense wildfire seasons to winter rain-on-ice and permafrost thaw. Information Insights, a local consulting firm, is recruiting residents in the Whitehorse area to join virtual focus groups that explore how you have or would respond to these events and what you expect your neighbors, community leaders, and state government to do. This is part of a National Science Foundation research project. More info on the project is available here. Participants will each receive $50 for the 90 minute virtual session. To sign-up, please complete the qualification survey here. Spots are limited. If you have questions, contact Michelle Deckard at [email protected].

Starting May 1st, and lasting the entire month, many outdoor-loving people will be participating in a global initiative called Backyard Bio. This is an opportunity to be a community scientist by observing the natural world around you and sharing it on social media using #backyardbio and uploading observations to iNaturalist. For teachers and eco clubs, you can also register students and volunteers to the BackyardBio website and connect with other classrooms and groups worldwide. Join the BackyardBio initiative and help share the beauty of the Yukon with others across the world! BackyardBio is an event presented by Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants – a Canadian and U.S. registered non-profit. I’ve highlighted them in a little more detail below as a non-profit we love!

- Adil 

P.S. the header image has been topic of a little debate here at the office. A camera trap in McIntyre Creek picked up this mystery mammal. We're going back and forth between cougar or lynx. What do you think? 


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"

Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants 

Exploring By The Seat Of Your Pants brings science, exploration, adventure, and conservation live into classrooms through virtual speakers and field trips with leading experts across the globe. You can learn about their work here: and learn about the Backyard Bio program here:





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