A Cambridge Bay lunch of fresh-sliced raw Arctic char served with a squeeze of lemon. Don’t ask what the lemon cost.

Government of Nunavut offices in Cambridge Bay (C) James Snider/WWF-Canada

Our goal in participating with the Nunavut Planning Commission’s  initiative is to explore certain collaborative conservation outcomes with the Inuit, such as a plan that supports the completion of a Protected Areas Strategy for the territory, and measures that protect critical habitats for migratory tundra caribou herds, especially calving grounds. We’re also discussing how the Inuit of Canada and Greendland might steward the last of the planet’s permanent northern ice-cap, in the face of climate change.
Cambridge Bay’s windswept, snow-covered landscape bordering a sea still frozen solid, serves as backdrop to these talks – a marked contrast to the lush greenness we left behind in southern Ontario, where the warblers have already poured through.
Here in Victoria Island, far north of Yellowknife, there is still ice and snow as far as you can see (C) James Snider/WWF-Canada

But, incredibly, we did see six geese in low formation at 10:00 p.m. last night (the sun is now up continuously, so there is no sunset or sunrise) and snow buntings flitting about town. Lapland longspurs are arriving and singing their little hearts out and glaucous gulls are gliding overhead, all being closely monitored by the ever-present cunning town ravens.
Some distance away (Mt. Pelly Park), a raven couple have constructed a nest of bird bones and caribou antlers lined with muskox hair on top of the park’s “Welcome” sign. And today we learned that tundra swans and sandhill cranes have been spotted out on the land near town, anticipating open water that is still weeks away.
Rooftop covered in caribou antlers (C) James Snider/WWF-Canada

We’re doing all our own cooking, to save money, hence the lunch of raw char (Inuit sushi), bought at Kitikmeot Foods, which supplies this entire Arctic region.
Lunch of raw Arctic char (c) Monte Hummel

The price of the lemon here (on the south shore of Victoria Island in the Arctic Ocean) was a serious jolt. But it won’t go to waste. We plan to have the rest of the fish poached in lemon butter for dinner.
I may never return…