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The latest news from CPAWS YUKON

May 2021

In this edition:

  • Annual General Meeting on Monday June 14th from 5:30-6:30pm. Register Here.
  • Lorraine Netro wins Glen Davis Conservation Leadership Prize
  • Biden Administration pauses oil and gas leases in the Arctic Refuge
  • Momentum for mining reform and Brewery Creek lawsuit
  • Bats in McIntyre Creek
  • Community Clean Up hosted by Friends of McIntyre Creek
  • A message from Executive Director, Chris Rider

The 2020-2021 year was incredibly challenging, but we still saw many important victories for conservation. Some notable events include all five major Canadian banks committing not to fund projects in the Arctic Refuge, ATAC Resources’ proposed road in the Beaver River Watershed rejected and many more. Join us on Monday June 14th from 5:30-6:30pm for our virtual Annual General Meeting where we’ll discuss our work over the past year. 

If you’re interested in helping us in our work to conserve wild spaces, you could consider putting yourself forward to join our Board of Directors. The CPAWS Yukon Board meets once a month, and provides oversight and governance of the organization. If you would like more information on becoming a board member, you can contact our nominating committee at 867-335-1191, or send us an email . We hope to see you all at the AGM!

In case you missed the good news, CPAWS and WWF Canada recently announced that Lorraine Netro is the winner of this year’s Glen Davis Conservation Leadership Prize. Lorraine has spent over 20 years working to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou. Lorraine is a board member for the Gwich’in Steering Committee and the Alaska Wilderness League and sits on the Advisory Committee on Climate Action and the Environment for the Assembly of First Nations. Congratulations Lorraine! 

“I am truly humbled and honored by this special recognition to receive the Glen Davis award.  Glen Davis’s honorable conservation legacy in Canada and beyond is truly memorable and significant.

Mahsi cho to all who made this happen.

As a Gwitchin, it is our belief that we do not accept honorable recognition for ourselves.  I will accept this award on behalf of my family, community, our nation, for all those who came before me and those who will come after me, and those who walk with us to protect our Sacred Lands, the animals and waters. Being stewards of our lands has been taught to us from generation to generation, it is our responsibility to our children, grandchildren and all future generations.  More so today with threats to our Sacred places and traditional way of life, the challenges of Climate Change and living in pandemic.  Our voice, our work is not done until we have permanent protection for our sacred places.” - Lorraine Netro

Lorraine, and everyone working on the Arctic Refuge Defense Campaign, got some great news a few days ago. Deb Haaland, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, released a Secretarial Order that suspends oil leases in the Arctic Refuge and orders a new environmental review. This new review needs to examine the ecological and cultural impacts of drilling that the previous review ignored.

The Secretarial Order doesn’t void the leases, or withdraw the previous administration’s Record of Decision. There is still a lot of work to do to get permanent protection of the Arctic Refuge, but this is a good step in that direction.

Photo by Peter Mather

The Yukon also has the potential to take some important steps in the right direction through the Yukon Mineral Development Strategy. Last month, Conservation Manager, Randi, wrote an opinion piece in the Yukon News highlighting the momentum for mining reform that this process generated. However, there is still much work to do. A recent lawsuit against Yukon Government by a former chief mining engineer raises some serious questions about the Brewery Creek project and the financial securities of mines. You can read Randi’s thoughts in this Letter to the Editor.

Photo by Malkolm Boothroyd

May 21st was Endangered Species Day, a day to acknowledge the thousands of species around the world whose populations are in decline, and the efforts of those working to conserve and protect them. This year, our Conservation Coordinator, Maegan, wanted to take you on a deep dive into the world of bats. Last year, as she was working on her project in McIntyre Creek, she set up bat detectors that record the echolocation calls. Together with local researchers, they found thousands of calls! Read up on all the batty goodness in our latest blog.

Maegan setting up a bat detector along McIntyre Creek, by Julie Thomas 

Speaking of McIntyre Creek, the Friends of McIntyre Creek are hosting a Community Clean Up tomorrow Saturday June 5th, which is World Environment Day! Join them from 10am – 12 noon at the McIntyre Creek Pump-house to get some time outdoors and help keep this important corridor clean!

Finally, this past week has been a little hard for all of us with the discovery of a mass grave of children at the Kamloops Residential School. Here is a short note from our Executive Director, Chris:

Last weekend, we learned that a mass grave, with the bodies of 215 innocent children, was found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. It was a horrific revelation that was sadly not surprising. Residential School survivors have always told us that they existed, and we can expect to learn of many more in the coming years.

I had debated whether I, or CPAWS Yukon, should speak out about this. I questioned whether it was our place, as an organization founded by settlers and which is to this day mostly staffed and led by settlers. What could I, as a white man, add to the conversation? Ultimately though, after much conversation with First Nations colleagues and team members, we decided silence is complicity.

It is important for people like me - and for organizations like CPAWS Yukon - to stand with our friends, colleagues, mentors and loved ones at times like these. We are grieving with you, for every child that was lost at, and due to the impacts of residential schools and colonialism.

It is time for a reckoning and we cannot stand by in silence.

Chris Rider
Executive Director


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"

I wanted to share two resources for anyone struggling, or needing support.

Liard Aboriginal Women's Society (LAWS)

LAWS has the Indian Residential School Resolution Health Support Program. The Residential Health Support Worker will provide all eligible former IRS students and their family members with referrals to supports as they pertain to the IRS Settlement Agreement. You can learn more here:

Yukon Aboriginal Women's Council (YAWC)

Yukon Aboriginal Women's Council is a nonprofit that supports leadership for and by Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse peoples in the Yukon and northern British Columbia. Elders Dorothy and Joyce and counsellor Maisie are available for support, at 1-866-667-6162 or in person to our office in Whitehorse at 407 Black Street.The Indian Residential School Survivors Society Emergency Crisis line is also available 24/7 for those who need support 1-866-925-4419. You can learn more about YAWC here:





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