JASON STRAKA, ecologist
As I was bumping over the frozen Peace-athabasca Delta on my snowmobile this past winter, my eyes were searching the ground for muskrat lodges. The delta is an interesting place. It can feel like it goes on forever, and it’s got some real environmental issues: there’s oilsands development upstream and a hydroelectric dam nearby. Two Cree guides go with me to help spot these muskrat dens and, together with the Fort Chipewyan community, they’ve helped my team identify a dwindling muskrat population. The fieldwork we conduct over our three-day treks across this landscape will help determine why that’s happening. For me, this tour is also another kind of learning experience; the guides, each over the age of 50, have such immense knowledge of this land and how to live on it. I’m lucky to get a glimpse of that.