Picture perfect
Wildlife officer wins poster award in Norway

Daniel MacIsaac
Northern News Services

INUVIK (Oct 15/99) - Inuvik has a new poster boy -- John Nagy from the Department of Resources Wildlife and Economic Development.

The wildlife officer recently took first place in the poster competition held at the 10th annual Arctic Ungulate Conference held in Tromso, Norway. Currently on display at the RWED office in Inuvik, the poster earned Nagy and the department acclaim, if not fame and fortune.

"There was still the same pile of work waiting for me when I got back, the elves weren't in when I was gone," he conceded, adding, "I did get a little plaque and a beer mug from the University of Tromso -- the beer mug's been the most useful thing so far -- but of course there's also the international recognition for the work we're doing here."

Nagy said posters and poster competitions have become a well-established component of wildlife conferences over the years, so that groups can summarize, in a visual and succinct manner, the conclusions of the research they're presenting. He said that conversely it's only been recently that youth are getting involved -- as at the Beaufort Sea 2000 conference -- and creating posters of a purely artistic variety.

Nagy said his own award-winning poster was one of six submitted by RWED along with one submitted jointly with a group from Fairbanks, Alaska. Dealing with caribou, reindeer and muskox, Nagy said the Norway conference attracted delegations, and poster-submissions, from a variety of circumpolar nations. But does his own poster have any artistic merit?

"Being artistic helps in creating posters, but I'm hopeless," he confessed. "I just did it digitally and used a lot of maps and graphics and a minimum of words."

Nagy said the poster summarizes the work RWED has been doing defining herds among the Bluenose Caribou over the last three years through genetic studies and satellite tracking.

"We've identified three herds that are genetically different in the area from the Delta to Coppermine and south to Great Bear Lake," he said. "The fact that there was more than one herd was first identified back in 1995 when we showed there were three different calving spots and at least two different geographical areas for rutting -- so we started tracking them."

Nagy said the three herds have been temporarily labelled as the Bluenose East, Bluenose West and Cape Bathurst herds -- and that the ongoing study will aid in caribou co-management.

"One of the key things is identifying population and harvest levels in each herd and being able to recommend sustainable-harvest levels," he said, "and the whole idea of management is identifying who is managing the herds and who should be involved in making management recommendations."

So, with Nagy it's not simply a case of life imitating art, but art helping to manage life.