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Wide open classroom

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Dec 22/06) - Learning how to trap animals and snare rabbits is something you can only learn by doing it yourself.

For students in Sheena Adamson's wildlife class at Samuel Hearne, a three-day crash course taught them enough to catch a rabbit.
NNSL Photo/graphic

Sheena Adamson's wildlife class recently spent a few nights on the land, staying at a cabin donated by Environment and Natural Resources. RCMP officer Jennifer Van De Walle was also on the trip and is shown with a rabbit the group snared on their excursion. - photo courtesy of Sheena Adamson

Adamson said the recent excursion on the land was made easier with the assistance of John Jerome, who has knowledge of the region.

"John is quite knowledgeable and has spent a lot of his life out on the land," said Adamson.

"He is a really wise fellow. He had a gentle way of teaching the students how to snare and trap."

The class, which is an optional course offered to students at the high school, focuses on animals and their environments.

The class is also a good tool to teach the students to use traditional knowledge.

One of the modules in the course is an "on the land" experience.

The class recently spent three days out on Jackfish creek, which is a two-hour snowmobile ride from Inuvik.

The students were involved in planning the trip, which gave them the responsibility of being prepared for the conditions in the bush.

"We slept in a cabin that is owned by Environment and Natural Resources," said Adamson.

The group of seven students were also joined by Const. Jennifer Van De Walle.

The cabin was heated by a wood stove, which proved to be a constant challenge for the group.

"We were always getting more firewood," said Adamson.

The group attempted a moose hunt on their second day in the wild, but did not see any.

"We all went out on skidoos, but just ended up learning more snaring techniques," said Adamson.

Planning for the excursion started in September, said Adamson.

"I started this with Chris Gilmour, who is another teacher here at the school," she said.

"He knew how to plan these things, so it made it easier," said the new teacher.

Kyle Ittunga, one of the students who braved the bush for a few nights, said the trip was a fun one and he learned a few things.

"It was my first time out with the school on a field trip," he said.

"I would go again if I could."

Jody Andre is another student who is eager to get back on the land.

"We got to stay in a cabin which was nice, but there were seven of us in there," she said.

Andre has been on the land before, but was still able to learn some new things during the class trip.

"I learned how to set my own snares," she said.

"I'll use those skills in the future for sure. It was a good program, good times."