A unique new outreach campaign with the goal of raising awareness about the world-leading climate change research in Manitoba’s Arctic launched Friday.
Expedition Churchill: A Gateway to Arctic Research is highlighting the research being done in the Churchill and Hudson Bay region by scientists from the University of Manitoba.
The project includes a new Arctic research-themed dining car that will travel the rail line between Winnipeg and Churchill as of Sunday, coinciding with the long-awaited return of passenger rail service to Churchill.
The project will be using the VIA Rail passenger train as an opportunity to promote climate change awareness.
In addition to the train, a multimedia e-book and interactive kiosks will be located throughout the province, including at the zoo’s Journey to Churchill Exhibit, Travel Manitoba, James Richardson International Airport, the Town of Churchill, the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, and in the Wallace building on the U of M campus.
“The University of Manitoba is known as a global leader in climate change research in the Arctic, Churchill and Hudson Bay regions of the north,” said Dr. David Barnard, the university’s president and vice-chancellor.
“This unique outreach project links science, community, education, conservation and tourism in a manner that benefits our province and our world.”
Churchill mayor Mike Spence said his community is seeing the impact of climate change first-hand.
“We’re at the forefront of Arctic climate research,” he said, “and Expedition Churchill is a useful and necessary tool as we use education to advance this important research work for the planet.”
Climate change research is nothing new for the U of M, home to the Centre for Earth Observation Science. The centre is one of the largest and most influential Arctic sea ice-focused research groups in the world.
“Climate change is arguably one of the most significant challenges our civilization has ever faced,” said David Barber, the university’s Canada Research Chair in Arctic system science.
“We’ve known for years that this was coming and we have done little to nothing to minimize its impacts.
“Our major new research facility in Churchill and the Expedition Churchill outreach program, will allow us to bring cutting-edge climate research to the public and to the policy-makers who ultimately both have the responsibility to create and enforce policies which will stabilize our climate system, and hopefully avoid the most harmful impacts of our changing climate.”
WATCH: Arctic Gateway Group on the Churchill Line