NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Guiding the way to new ventures
Students begin Level 2 training for ecotourism in Arviat

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, Sept 12, 2012

The Arviat Community Ecotourism Initiative took another step forward in developing tourism opportunities by holding a training session for ecotourism students this past month.

NNSL photo/graphic

Martha Akatsiak examines an old kayak stand during Level 2 ecotourism training in Arviat this past month. - photo courtesy of Wes Werbowy

Seven students participated in the first part of the Level 2 ecotourism training course, with part two scheduled to be held during the summer of 2013.

Taking part in the training were Joachim and Martha Akatsiak, Daniel Alareak, Jason Curley, Cameron Emiktowt, Pierre Koomuk and Peter Mamgark.

The ecoguide training program was funded by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc, the Kivalliq Inuit Association, Kivalliq Partners in Development and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor).

Instructor Wes Werbowy said the three-week segment was demanding, with students being exposed to various elements required of a guide in the discipline.

He said the trainees became aware of their vital role in the future of this economic opportunity through classroom theory on customer service and visitor perceptions.

"The guide is seen as the face of Nunavut," said Werbowy.

"The participants realized the professional dedication required of them in this important role.

"They also expanded their abilities in navigation, photography, wildernessbased first aid and bear safety."

Werbowy said the students' knowledge base of the land was also expanded with the identification of the plants, flowers and insects of the vicinity.

He said they also learned to interpret the archeological evidence of the area's history.

"While on the land near Sandy Point, for example, numerous tent rings pointed to the habitation that had taken place there.

"What was unusual was the proliferation of kayak stands, which indicated a seafaring dedication of these early survivors."

Alareak said he was thrilled with the training opportunity.

He said every student recognized the photography of animals and plants formed an important part of the program.

"We need more training and guide training in Nunavut," said Alareak.

Martha agreed, saying it was fun to learn new things.

"It's good to know all this before we guide tourists," said Martha.

"I found I will need lots of patience and professionalism."

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.