Today was the first day of the 2017 Young Leaders’ Summit on Northern Climate Change. Participants from Yellowknife, Hay River and Cambridge Bay met at the Yellowknife Airport then flew to Whitehorse. We arrived in Whitehorse around 3:30, where we met up with the participant from Inuvik. The first night has been pretty relaxed. We arrived at our campsites at Robert Service Campground. A group of participants went to buy groceries while the remainder set up camp. Throughout this period, the final participants from Whitehorse and Carcross arrived. For supper we cooked NWT Whitefish over the fire and ate fish burgers, salad, potato salad and cookies. For supper we were joined by members of BYTE, a Whitehorse-based youth empowerment group, as well as Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee and Minister John Streicker. Dinner was delicious. The downtime also gave us a chance to get to know one another and talk to John and Tracy about climate change in the territory. John told us a story of when he first noticed the true beauty of the North, incidentally he moved to the Yukon shortly after. His experience years ago is tied into a current climate hot topic, the diversion of glacier melt from one watershed to another due to recession. This has caused the drying of a portion of the Slims River. This was a topic that he and the participants were all keen to discuss. We plan to go see this dried river later in the week.
The rest of the night wasn’t very busy. We went around in a circle discussing what we would like to get out of the experience. After cleaning up, a group went for a walk on the Millennium Trail, which runs through our campground, while others painstakingly wrote this blog post. It was a great first day and everyone is looking forward to what we have planned for the rest of the trip.