Western Arctic Research Center (WARC)

Aurora College, Inuvik, Northwest Territories
What the facility does

Offers logistical and research support to researchers working in the Western Arctic Region

Areas of expertise

As a regional research center of Aurora College, the Western Arctic Research Centre (WARC)’s mandate is to improve the quality of life for Northwest Territories residents by applying scientific, technological and Indigenous Knowledge to solve northern problems and advance social and economic goals. WARC operates year-round and is home to a robust research team in addition to a full suite of supports for external researchers.

WARC is located at the boundary between the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and Gwich’in Settlement Area, just south of the tree line on the eastern edge of the Mackenzie Delta. The Research Centre, located in the town of Inuvik, sits within the continuous permafrost zone on the boundary between the boreal forest and arctic tundra biome. The permafrost conditions in the western Arctic region are highly variable, largely depending on the glacial history of the terrain. This makes WARC an excellent platform from which to study permafrost change.

Staff are actively involved in research and monitoring programs throughout the Northwest Territories. The Centre has a strong GIS (geographic information system) research program, supporting community driven hazard mapping and climate monitoring, in addition to supporting the development of mineral strategies in the Western Arctic. It leads the Beaufort Sea Coastal Restoration Project which examines the effects of thaw slumping on the nearshore waters of Kugmallit Bay, and is investigating the feasibility of using indigenous plant species to mitigate these effects. WARC is home to the Permafrost Information Hub, an initiative to improve collaboration and information sharing between permafrost researchers and northern stakeholders. In addition, WARC staff lead research projects related to water quality, wind, solar, and heat energy, space, manufacturing, permafrost, and risk mitigation, among others.

Because of our skilled technical staff and unique location in the Western Arctic, WARC is a partner in several monitoring programs, including air quality, water quality and permafrost monitoring. Additionally, it is home to the Western Arctic Ethnobotany Garden, which highlights the Indigenous traditional uses of plants found in the Mackenzie Delta region. Using traditional knowledge from both the Inuvialuit and Gwich’in, the educational garden emphases the critical role plants play in our life: food, fuel, tools, medicine, and more.

WARC offers logistical support to visiting researchers including travel support, local advice for research planning, and connection to community groups. The facility provides equipment and safety gear rental for Northern field research deployments including, boats, skidoos, satellite phones, rifles, camping equipment, and warm outdoor clothing. Support of our experienced field technicians can be arranged if needed. We provide researchers with office space, access to a research library, high-speed and wireless internet, laboratory space and equipment, accommodations, and highly skilled research technician support. In addition, the facility is equipped with storage and freezer facilities where researchers have the option of storing field equipment in one of our storage areas when not in use. WARC Research and monitoring services can also be provided on a contractual basis, and hiring of local research assistants can be facilitated.

In addition to in-house research programs, WARC field technicians have invaluable on-the-land experience and hold T E (traditional ecological) Knowledge and historical information about the western arctic region and environment. Technicians provide research support including accompany researchers to the field, assisting with the collection of samples or maintaining monitoring equipment for research groups during off-seasons, while researchers are stationed at their home institutions

WARC boasts a connected, engaging and successful outreach program. We host speaker series (in-person and virtual), supporting educators with engaging STEM activities that tie into the curriculum, support youth groups with on-the-land and STEM activities, and offering outreach support for researchers (ie work with researchers to ensure that research engages local people and organizations as much as possible, and provide customized workshops based on researchers needs and priorities.)

Research services
  • Housing accommodations
  • Field Equipment Rental
  • Lab Space and Equipment
  • Support Space (office space, equipment staging area, loading bay, and workshop, long-term cold and warm storage)
  • Logistical planning and guidance
Sectors of application
  • Aerospace and satellites
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Education
  • Energy (renewable and fossil)
  • Environmental technologies and related services

Specialized lab

Equipment

Function

Field Equipment

18 ft Crestliner with 40 hp outboard Yamaha motor

 

Motorized boat

 

Field Equipment

18 ft Crestliner with 50 hp Yamaha motor

 

Motorized boat

 

Field Equipment

20 ft Harbourcraft with 225 hp Honda motor

 

Motorized boat

 

Field Equipment

21 ft Hewescraft with 225 hp Suzuki motor

Motorized boat

 

Field Equipment

Inflatable zodiac

 

Non-motorized boat

Field Equipment

Canoes

Non-motorized boat

Field Equipment

BRP Expedition Sport (E) 550F

 

Snowmobile and toboggan

Field Equipment

Polaris 340 EDGE Touring

 

Snowmobile and toboggan

Field Equipment

BRP TUNDRA 330F

 

Snowmobile and toboggan

Field Equipment

BRP GTX 550F

 

Snowmobile and toboggan

Field Equipment

BRP TUNDRA 240

Snowmobile and toboggan

Field Equipment

Snowmobile and boat trailers

 

Field Equipment

Generators and camping gear

Field Equipment

 

Field Equipment

Field Safety Gear

  • Winter / cold weather clothing
  • Shotguns
  • Satellite phone

Laboratory

Millipore Milli-Q Gradient A10 Water Purification System

 

Laboratory

VWR Symphony Gravity Convection Drying Oven (4)

 

Laboratory

OHAUS Adventurer Pro Analytical Balance (2)

Weight up to 8100g capacity with readability to 0.1g

Laboratory

GENESYS 10 UV-Vis Spectrophotometer

 

Laboratory

Compound Microscopes

 

Laboratory

Tuttnauer Tabletop Autoclave

Sterilization of equipment, materials or liquids

Laboratory

Dissecting Microscopes

 

Laboratory

OHAUS Scout Pro Balance

Weight up to 4000g capacity with readability to 0.1g

Laboratory

ThermoScientific Environmental Chamber

Plant growth (germination) chamber designed for applications requiring illumination and precise temperature control and uniformity over a broad temperature range.

Laboratory

Heraeus Biofuge Stratos Centrifuge

 

Laboratory

Millipore Milli-Q Integral Water Purification System

 

  • American Geophysical Union
  • Canadian Space Agency
  • Canadian Museum of History
  • Canadian Museum of Nature
  • Center for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children
  • Carleton University
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Government of the Northwest Territories
  • Gwich’in Tribal Council
  • Gwich’in Renewable Resources Board
  • Hotıì ts’eeda
  • Inuvik Community Greenhouse
  • Inuvik Robotics and Engineering Club
  • Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
  • Inuvik Hunters and Trappers Committee
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Northwest Territories Geological Survey
  • Northwest Territories Centre for Geomatics
  • Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists
  • Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
  • Sahtú Renewable Resources Board
  • Tlicho Government
  • Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation 
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Guelph
  • Université de Montréal
  • University of Ottawa
  • Western University
  • Wilfred Laurier University
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Title

URL

Indigenous mapping conference giving attendees new on-the-land skills

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/indigenous-mapping-conference-1.5315663

Aurora College gets $150K for climate change drone project

https://cabinradio.ca/21362/news/environment/aurora-college-gets-150k-for-climate-change-drone-proj…

Tuktoyaktuk residents will learn how to monitor impacts of climate change

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/tuktoyaktuk-climate-change-program-1.4929164

Aurora College gets $410K for Beaufort Sea coastal research

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/aurora-college-coastal-research-funding-1.4676436

Beaufort Sea Coastal Restoration Project

https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/25903637d16c437ab1879fbafb1157cc

Aurora Research Institute receives funds for Arctic research

https://www.myyellowknifenow.com/29635/aurora-research-institute-receives-funds-for-arctic-research/

Yk nursing students receive $20,000 health research ‘studentships’

https://nnsl.com/yellowknifer/yk-nursing-students-receive-20000-health-research-scholarships/

N.W.T. online STEM challenge gives kids a fun and educational activity during COVID-19 restrictions

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/online-stem-challenge-inuvik-1.5537882

Getting kids into STEM: Inuvik science educator gets national recognition

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/annika-trimble-national-award-inuvik-1.5141095

Tales from the Western Arctic Research Centre (WARC) -Part 1

https://arcticresearch.wordpress.com/2020/07/22/tales-from-the-western-arctic-research-centre-warc-…

Aurora College students will build and launch satellite

https://cabinradio.ca/6511/news/education/aurora-college-students-will-build-and-launch-satellite/

Celebrating nursing knowledge

https://nnsl.com/yellowknifer/celebrating-nursing-knowledge/