October 2017

Vicia Cracca by Misha DonohoeWHITEHORSE―When Yukon artist Misha Donohoe discovered the vibrant blooms of the purple pea plant (Vicia cracca) in the industrial area of downtown Whitehorse, she was enchanted.

“It was interesting to me because it is an introduced species that attracts many native pollinators, and because it’s gorgeous,” she said. “I was struck by the delicate, sweeping beauty of its vines and tendrils.”

WHITEHORSE—“If this is power, I don’t want anything to do with it.”

Growing up in a home where she experienced physical and emotional abuse, Magi Cooper sought to distance herself from what she saw as a destructive energy.

“I saw power as a dangerous thing,” said Cooper. “My father held all the power, and I felt like I had none.”

Early in her career as a counsellor and therapist, Cooper worked with women and children who had similarly experienced the misuse of power. She expanded her practice to include men after an important realization.

“I wanted to stop the intergenerational cycle of family abuse, and I realized that unless we begin to work with the people—mostly men—who are perpetuating this violence, we will not be able to facilitate change.”

WHITEHORSE—Since 2015, Jen Jones—a Trudeau Foundation Scholar, PhD candidate and long-time Yukon resident—has been working alongside Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation (LSCFN) to research how major development projects, such as mines, impact the health and wellbeing of LSCFN citizens.

“We’re in a real period of flux—Carmacks is known as the hub of the Yukon, and there appears to be a lot of interest in resource development around us,” said Alan Steel, LSCFN Executive Director. “Our citizens want to make sure the resources are used with respect, and they want to minimize negative effects on our community.”

Through the course of her research Jones has spent considerable time in Carmacks, attending community events and hosting training and knowledge-sharing workshops. She has also hired citizens to collaborate in developing and conducting surveys.

WHITEHORSE— A few years ago, Finnish scientist Ville Kuittinen and his team at the Karelia University of Applied Sciences in Finland were sitting in the dark during a power outage.

“We thought: ‘This is silly,’” he said. “As researchers studying sustainable energy generation, we were so often left without power. That’s when we started exploring the potential of biomass to create electricity in small scale.”

Biomass is an industry term for producing heat or energy, or both, by burning natural materials, such as plants or woodchips. Using woodchips is more efficient than burning whole logs because the feed of combustible material can be controlled to create a constant stream of heat or energy.