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Arctic Sunwest pilot Olivier Maydew takes Moe on a tour of the northern communities, en route to Diavik. The beaver's big trip happened yesterday. - Nathan VanderKlippe/NNSL photo

Moe on the go

Nathan VanderKlippe
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Sep 25/02) - This is a story about a boy named Andrew.

Or at least, it's about Andrew's beaver named Moe. But it's not even really that, since Andrew's beaver hardly looks like one: a brown sock with googly-eyes, felt feet and a felt beaver tail.

Andrew lives in New Minas, N.S., so Moe's origins should be clear. But it's not even really that, because although we know that Andrew is a Grade 4 student, we don't know where the Moe the beaver came from.

Or at least, Krista Rivet doesn't. She got to work last week and found a package on her desk. The package came from Trenton -- she doesn't know who from -- and Moe was inside.

Moe, as it turns out, is one ingenious teacher's class project. This May, Andrew and 26 of his classmates made sock beavers and sock moose and sent them out to relatives across the country. Included in the package were a notebook and a map of Canada.

The first people to get the package, in Port Williams, N.S., kept Moe for a week and wrote about it in the notebook. Then they sent it on to other people in another province. The goal was for Moe to travel to all of Canada's provinces and territories and get back to New Minas by November.

So far, Moe has been to Newfoundland, Manitoba, Alberta, B.C., Alberta, Ontario and now the NWT.

His trip has been fraught with adventure and peril. For example, in Edmonton, a girl named Heidi rescued him "from the clutches of a horrible death by a wiener dog."

But that was nothing compared to his NWT expedition. So far, Moe has written a quiz -- he didn't do very well, as his reading and writing skills are poor -- visited a high school English class, gotten his picture taken with the education minister and spent a weekend out at Walsh Lake.

Yesterday, he flew to Diavik and a number of small communities along the way.

Rivet, who works in Education, Culture and Employment, was intrigued by the package when she got it.

"This is an extremely clever class project," she said.

It was a stroke of luck that Moe landed on the desk of an educator, because Rivet and her office were all abuzz when Moe arrived. And they determined to make his NWT stay the best of all.

After all, they're helping to educate a child.

"The opportunity for this child to learn so much about all these different areas in the country through a beaver is hilarious," she said.

"Anyone across Canada who has been part of this project would have been affected in some way by it, touched by the sentiment of it."