Government of the Northwest Territories

Brock University and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding in November of 2020. This exciting three-year partnership is between Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ On The Land Unit within the GNWT. Both organizations are enthusiastic about collaborating and co-creating courses based on traditional knowledge, including a focus on the people of the North and their important voices.

Aurora with silhouette of trees at Vee Lake outside of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada

Key Partnership Goals

Each organization will be contributing valuable skills to ensure the co-creation of course content that will eventually be available  to the staff of the GNWT to facilitate ‘on the land’ environmental knowledge and leadership training.

The main goals of the partnership between the ESRC and the GNWT include co-creating the following:

  • A Professional Development social science course grounded in providing additional way of knowing to assist local leaders in sustainable community building
  • Co-creating accessible courses that will be part of a non-credit certificate to empower the next generation of environmental sustainability leaders in the Northwest Territories

Meet the GNWT Team

Vincent Casey

Outreach and Education Coordinator, On the Land Unit, Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Meet the Brock Team

Ryan Plummer

Ryan’s multi-faceted program of research broadly concerns the governance of social-ecological systems. In striving to advance knowledge of collaboration and adaptation within complex systems, he has focused on exploring the theoretical underpinnings and ethical implications, modelling their processes, examining the roles of social capital, and investigating the influences of social learning. Water resources are the context in which his research mainly occurs.

Findings from his research have been published in leading international journals such as Ecological Economics, Ecology and Society, Environmental Management, Frontiers in Ecology and Society, Global Environmental Change, Journal of Environmental Management, Society and Natural Resources and the UN journal, Natural Resources Forum. In addition, he is the author of Outdoor Recreation (Routledge, 2010), and co-editor of Adaptive Capacity and the Making of Environmental Governance (with D. Armitage, Springer, 2010) and Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems: the Role of Learning and Education (with M.E. Krasny and C. Lundholm, Routledge, 2011). He serves as a Subject Editor for Ecology and Society.

The scholarly quality of his research program was formally recognized in 2008 with the awarding of a Chancellor’s Chair for Research Excellence. In 2004 he received the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Award for Teaching Excellence and in 2008 he was selected as one of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Excellence in Education Award winners for Promotion of Sustainable Practices.

Amanda Smits holds a BA from Wilfrid Laurier University in Political Science with a specialization in business administration. She also holds a Master of Education from Brock University focused on administration and leadership. As the Centre Administrator for the ESRC, Amanda acts as project manager on multiple innovative community partnerships and is focused on translating ESRC research findings to the general public, through the use of knowledge mobilization techniques. In 2019, Amanda completed the Certificate in Knowledge Mobilization from the University of Guelph.

Samantha Witkowski

Samantha holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Laurentian University, and completed her Master of Sustainability at Brock University in 2020. Her interests surround monitoring and evaluation (M&E) strategies in environmental planning and management. In her thesis research, she investigated stakeholder perceptions of key performance indicators for M&E and environmental management. This research involved a systematic review of literature encompassing M&E associated with collaborative and adaptive environmental management. The insights gained from this scholarship were applied and assessed within a local environmental stewardship initiative in Summer 2019.

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