The stations were developed with funding from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and are being set up in remote locations in the Cambridge Bay area as part of a project supported by Polar Knowledge Canada and other groups. The researchers involved have been working closely with the southern Victoria Island community, benefitting from the expertise of many residents, including ice guides and heavy equipment operators who have turned the skills they acquired working with mining companies to the service of science, pulling the labs over ice and snow on large sleds to distant research sites.
The stations are intended to serve the community as well as science. They can act as weather stations, informing hunters of wind conditions and temperature along travel routes, and could provide caches of emergency supplies. Perhaps most importantly, they could be used to improve communications in remote areas, so that in an emergency a hunter could call for help on a cellphone.
“We are guests on Inuit land,” says Schimnowski, “and Inuit know how to live off the land better than anyone else. We receive support from the community in many different ways, and so out of respect we provide support to the community. It’s a way of saying thank you.”
See: Polar Knowledge