Cast off to fish­ing sea­son with three fishy tales de­signed to get you hooked

The Victoria Standard - - Front Page - CAROLYN BAR­BER

On May 1, staff and stu­dents of Wag­mat­cookewey School gath­ered for the launch of the newly re­leased Unama'ki In­sti­tute of Nat­u­ral Re­sources (UINR) book en­ti­tled in Pemi’kwe’k Milipun­qekl Plamu: Swim­ming Through the Sea­sons.

The chil­dren’s book, writ­ten in Mi’kmaq and English, com­bines tra­di­tional knowl­edge and the most cur­rent sci­en­tific re­search to tell the story of salmon (plamu) as they hatch from their eggs, make their way in Mid­dle River to the Bras d’or lake, the open ocean, and back to Mid­dle River.

“We had to re­ally think like chil­dren to ask what we would want to know and how we would want to know it. It went through a few drafts be­fore we could get it to the point where we felt com­fort­able that the kids would un­der­stand what we were try­ing to say,” said UNIR Di­rec­tor of Aquatic Re­search and Stew­ard­ship Shel­ley Denny, fol­low­ing the launch. Denny was joined at the launch by co-au­thors and UINR Re­search As­sis­tants An­gela Denny, Emma Gar­den and Tyson Paul.

“I think we re­ally tried to get into the minds of chil­dren. Espe­cially with the younger life stages [of the salmon], we tried to make it play­ful and to con­nect with them at that level,” said Gar­den.

“With salmon, there’s so much rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion,” added An­gela Denny. “It’s hard to nar­row it down and try to cap­ture the au­di­ence. It was a lit­tle chal­leng­ing, but we man­aged to get through it.”

Some char­ac­ters in Pemi’kwe’k Milipun­qekl Plamu: Swim­ming Through the Sea­sons will be fa­mil­iar to read­ers of other UNIR chil­drens books, sim­i­lar to the ‘easter eggs’ found in pop­u­lar chil­dren’s movies.

“You know how in Pixar movies there are lit­tle things from each of the other movies? That’s the con­text where we have char­ac­ters from the other books. They’re not the fo­cus of the book, but they’re there. That’s fun for kids, if they have read the other books. It creates con­ti­nu­ity. And then, also, see­ing us in the books, like Tyson,” said Gar­den.

“That’s me fish­ing in there,” said Paul. “We do adult fish counts, and our smolt wheel is in there, too.”

Re­search on the lives of Mid­dle River salmon is on­go­ing. The team re­cently an­nounced the in­stal­la­tion of a smolt wheel on Mid­dle River. The de­vice will catch At­lantic salmon smolts to es­ti­mate their abun­dance and mon­i­tor fish pop­u­la­tions. The book will be up­dated to re­flect any new dis­cov­er­ies.

“It de­pends on what comes from the re­search. As we learn some­thing new, we will have to up­date it. It’s not fic­tion. The speak­ing part is the fic­tion part. Other than that, it’s non-fic­tion.”

All UINR chil­dren’s books (The Oys­ter Gar­den: Kiju' Tells Her Story, Tiam–this is Our Story, Kataq: Jour­ney of our Eels) and other UINR pub­li­ca­tions can be viewed/down­loaded here: http://www.uinr.ca/ li­brary/pub­li­ca­tions/.

Wag­mat­cookewey student Miguel Bernard (cen­tre) ac­cepts the draw prize of a salmon from Unama’ki In­sti­tute of Nat­u­ral Re­sources (UINR) Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Lisa Young (right) and Di­rec­tor of Aquatic Re­search and Stew­ard­ship Shel­ley Denny. Young, Denny and...

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