Tom Andrews and Jurjen van der Sluijs Engage Us With Talk on "Drones and Tree Rings"

This Video is Copyright of the Government of Northwest Territories

Blog Post by Tom Andrews

To celebrate International Mountain Day, as part of the University of Alberta 2016 Mountain Festival, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife, NWT hosted a presentation on December 15, 2016 by Tom Andrews (Territorial Archaeologist, Government of the Northwest Territories) and Jurjen van der Sluijs (Department of Lands,  Government of the Northwest Territories ) speaking about recent research to document a Shúhtagot’įne caribou fence, at Moose Horn Pass in the Mackenzie Mountains, Northwest Territories. 

Constructed in the late 1800s or early 1900s, to provide meat to trade at a Hudson’s Bay Company post, the wooden fence is threatened by an increased incidence in wildfires.  In 2016, a team of dendrochronologists (tree-dating scientists) from the University of Saskatchewan and a drone mapping team from the Government of the Northwest Territories collaborated with Shúhtagot’įne elders to ensure that the fence is adequately documented in case of loss to wildfire. Dendrochronological analysis will accurately date the fence while drone-borne photography and video will allow the creation of high resolution 3D models of the fence and its landscape.

The presentation focused on the team’s fieldwork in July, 2016 showing the process of sampling the fence for dendrochronological analysis and the use of two different drones to create high resolution maps from orthophotos and HD video of the fence’s length.  Elders helped the team understand how the fence functioned by driving caribou to a corral where hunters waited in ambush.

This event was part of the Canadian Mountain Network’s 2016 Mountain Festival, made possible through the generous support of the University of Alberta faculty of Science, the University of Alberta faculty of ArtsNSERCCampbell Scientific CanadaFirst Air, and Marmot Basin. Search #IMD2016CMN to find live-tweets and posts from the 2016 Mountain Festival!

See the Canadian Mountain Network's YouTube channel for more Mountain Festival videos!