January 2017

WHITEHORSE— When it comes to Yukon minerals, most people think of gold. That’s not the case for Elliott Merkley, a second-year student in the Geological Technology program at Yukon College.

Merkley’s interest in mineral processing and aggregates (processing the rocks required to recover gold or build highways, for example) is what helped make him the first-ever Yukon College recipient of an annual scholarship offered by the Canadian Mineral Processors BC/Yukon branch.

Merkley, who moved to Whitehorse for the program from London, Ontario, says he’ll use the $1,800 prize to pay for his last semester of school, which he’s currently completing.

This is the second year in the scholarship’s history that it has been awarded to both a senior-level and a junior-level student.

The senior scholarship is generally given to an undergraduate student in the later years of a four-year degree. The junior is given to a student starting out in the field.

WATSON LAKE—The Anglican Church Thrift Store in Watson Lake will be one-half larger when it reopens this spring. The 780 square foot store has a 480 square foot addition. The construction was done entirely by students in the Skills for Employment Carpentry program run by the town’s Yukon College community campus.

“We are extremely happy with the end result. The store was getting far too crowded,” said Jenny Skelton, one of the four women who staff the store on a volunteer basis. “The students worked very well together and did a great job.”

“The Thrift Store is used by everybody in the community whether to donate or select items.”

Skelton noted that the original building was also constructed by community campus students back in 1990. The Thrift store has operated in the community since 1970. The students also added a changing room to the store.

WHITEHORSE—Mark Preston is a Tlingit visual artist, but his most recent work can almost be read as a poem. 

“It brings in a kind of Japanese philosophy, like a haiku,” said Preston of White Space, the show opening this month at The Hilltop Bistro at Yukon College. “You don’t have to tell the whole story. If you place the words right, then the whole story unveils itself to you.”

White Space consists of a series of small wooden panels. Each is debossed with a single abstract representation of a traditional image. Each is painted pure white. From a distance, the panels look blank. Up close, the carvings become clear.

“I think people are too distracted by textures and colours and sounds,” said Preston. “I take away all the distractions so what you’re left with is a sort of subtle image.”

WHITEHORSE—Two permafrost core samples taken from alongside the Alaska Highway in Yukon will be part of a new Arctic gallery at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa.

While permafrost cores have travelled south for research purposes many times, this will be the first time in Canada that permafrost cores will be publicly displayed in a museum.

“We wanted visitors to the Arctic gallery to learn about ways in which the changing climate is affecting Canada’s North and the risk to highways and buildings from thawing permafrost,” said Caroline Lanthier, Senior Content Developer for the Arctic gallery, Canadian Museum of Nature.

“The timing of the museum’s request was fortuitous as my colleague and I had been devising a way to display permafrost cores, both for research purposes and public viewing,” said Dr. Fabrice Calmels, permafrost researcher.