Members of NSERC PermafrostNet were honoured to attend the 2020 Northern Lights Showcase at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa between 5 – 8 February. The event is Canada’s number 1 Eastern Arctic and Northern conference, featuring presentations, an exhibitor showcase, workshops and a variety of networking opportunities. The first Northern Lights event was in 2008 and now happens every two years, focusing on the socio-economic and cultural development of Nunavut, Nunavik and Labrador / Nunatsiavut.

“The quality and engagement of the speakers and panelists at the workshops I attended were very high.  The presenters were all sincere, approachable and knowledgeable, and I learned a great deal about the North and Northern engagement”

Shirley McKey, NSERC PermafrostNet Director of Operations

PermafrostNet had a booth on the show floor, where we were able to speak to delegates and members of the public; explaining who we are and what we do. We had a lot of interest from visitors to the show, wanting to know all about permafrost and sharing their experiences of living with permafrost in a changing world. The showcase was a fantastic opportunity to engage and hear from Canadian businesses, community leaders and indigenous government about permafrost and life in the North. The event was attended by Scientific Director (Stephan Gruber), Director of Operations (Shirley McKey) and Knowledge Mobilization and Communications Coordinator (Tristan MacLean).

The conference sessions covered a wide range of areas impacted by permafrost change, such as infrastructure, housing, construction, transport and communication as well as areas where collaboration will help the network share knowledge and serve northern communities such as education and communications. Of particular interest to the network were the sessions ‘Northern Infrastructure: Building for the Future‘ and ‘Arctic Research & Education: Supporting Sustainable Northern Communities‘ as well as the opportunity to make connections and build relationships with many residents and organizations based in the North whose lives and livelihoods are being directly impacted by permafrost thaw.


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