Commentary : what impact will the oil industry have on seabirds in the Canadian Arctic? / Levy, E.M.
Arctic, v. 36, no. 1, Mar. 1983, p. 1-4
ASTIS record 11366
Traditional environmental impact statements have not adequately discussed the impact on seabirds and other arctic marine life of oil at levels that do not cause immediately discernible toxological responses. "Of particular importance in this regard is the effect of oil at sublethal levels on individuals and populations that are already stressed at or near their levels of tolerance, i.e. under conditions where any additional stress, however small, could be the 'straw that breaks the camel's back'. Future EIS's would be of considerably more value if they were to address the impact of oil from the point of view of stress, though it must be realized a fully satisfactory quantitative assessment is impossible because of the lack of a fundamental understanding of stress levels and how they interact." Other stressors would include chronic discharges of wastes and increased human disturbance along with ships and aircraft. Specific factors contributing to overall stress can be reduced (e.g. restricting harvest of a species). The author urges more research be carried out for a better understanding of the general ecology of various species of seabirds.
Distribution and migration of the bowhead whale, Balaena mysticus, in the eastern North American Arctic / Reeves, R. Mitchell, E. Mansfield, A. McLaughlin, M.
Arctic, v. 36, no. 1, Mar. 1983, p. 5-64, figures, tables
ASTIS record 11367
Large catches of bowhead whales, Balaena mysticetus, were made in the Eastern Arctic of North America, principally in Davis Strait, Baffin Bay, the Lancaster Sound region, Hudson Bay, and southern Foxe Basin, between 1719 and 1915. Initial stock sizes have been estimated as 11 000 in 1825 for the "Davis Strait stock" and 680 in 1859 for the "Hudson Bay stock." The separate identity of these two putative stocks needs confirmation through direct evidence. Three sets of data were used to evaluate historic and present-day trends in the distribution of bowheads in the Eastern Arctic and to test hypotheses concerning the nature, timing, and routes of their migration. Published records from commercial whale fisheries prior to 1915, unpublished and some published records from the post-commercial whaling period 1915-1974, and reported sightings made mainly by environmental assessment personnel between 1975 and 1979, were tabulated and plotted on charts. Comments made by whalers and nineteenth-century naturalists concerning bowhead distribution and movements were summarized and critically evaluated. The major whaling grounds were: (1) the west coast of Greenland between ca. 60°N and 73°N, the spring and early summer "east side " grounds of the British whalers; (2) the spring "south-west fishing" grounds, including the northeast coast of Labrador, the mouth of Hudson Strait, southeast Baffin Island, and the pack ice edge extending east from Resolution Island; (3) the summer "west water" grounds, including Pond Inlet, the Lancaster Sound region, and Prince Regent Inlet; (4) the autumn "rock-nosing" grounds along the entire east coast of Baffin Island; (5) Cumberland Sound, a spring and fall ground; and (6) northwest Hudson Bay/southwest Foxe Basin. The belief of whalers that some segregation occurs within the "Davis Strait stock" cannot be refuted or confirmed on the above evidence. However, the evident predominance of young whales and females with calves in early season catches at the Pond Inlet floe edge and in summer catches well inside Lancaster Sound and Prince Regent Inlet suggests that the route and timing of their migration differs from that of adult males. Apparently most of the whales taken on the autumn "rock-nosing" grounds were large males. The possibility that females and calves circumnavigate Baffin Island, returning south by way of Fury and Hecla Strait, is neither proven nor unproven. Evaluation of harpoon recoveries did not yield irrefutable evidence of interchange between any presently recognized bowhead stocks; however, this evidence along with recognition of distinctive morphological features does indicate that bowheads exhibit site fidelity to some degree. The conclusion is that the bowhead population in the Eastern Arctic, severely reduced by whaling activities, continues to occupy much of its former range and follows the same migratory schedule. There is no reliable and consistent evidence of appreciable recovery in absolute abundance of any Eastern Arctic stock.
Birds of Sarcpa Lake, Melville Peninsula, Northwest Territories : breeding phenologies, densities and biogeography / Montgomerie, R.D. Cartar, R.V. McLaughlin, R.L. Lyon, B.
Arctic, v. 36, no. 1, Mar. 1983, p. 65-75, figures, tables
ASTIS record 11379
Forty species of birds were observed during field studies at Sarcpa Lake, Melville Peninsula, N.W.T. during the summers of 1981 and 1982. Evidence of breeding was found for 22 species and the first definite breeding records for the Melville Peninsula were obtained for Glaucous Gull, Pectoral Sandpiper and Semipalmated Sandpiper and Semipalmated Sandpiper. A hybrid pair of gulls (Glaucous x Herring Gull) also nested and this appears to be the first definite North American record of such a hybrid nesting. Fourteen additional breeding species expected to be present, based on maps in Godfrey (1966), were not found. Average breeding bird density (35 pr/km²) was comparable to that on Bylot Island, but considerably higher than that measured at other High Arctic sites. Neither average breeding bird densities nor phenologies changed appreciably from year to year despite a late spring melt in 1982. In both years birds began their breeding activities as soon as suitable nesting and feeding habitat became available. A biogeographic analysis based on the occurrence of breeding birds at 25 other sites across the Canadian Arctic indicates that the avifauna at Sarcpa Lake is more similar to those of High Arctic island sites than to those of mainland sites, but includes none of the species whose ranges are mainly within the Arctic Archipelago.
The status and distribution of trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator) in the Yukon / McKelvey, R.W. Dennington, M.C. Mossop, D.
Arctic, v. 36, no. 1, Mar. 1983, p. 76-81, figures, tables
ASTIS record 11380
The presence of a breeding population of Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator) in the Yukon is established from previous summer records of swans and by data from extensive aerial surveys. The population is estimated to number about 50 pairs, with at least 32 pairs found near Toobally Lakes in southeast Yukon Territory. Habitat, nesting, population, and migration data are presented for the Toobally Lakes population. The habitat is characterized by rolling hills interspersed with water bodies from 5 ha to 250 ha in the area, frequently influenced by beaver. Nesting and cygnet development appeared to be later than those reported for Alaska or Alberta. Cygnet production was 19 young by August 1980 and 26 young by July 1981. Band returns indicate that part of the Yukon population winters in Montana. Recommendations for habitat protection are made.
Summer diet of the bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) in the Canadian High Arctic / Finley, K.J. Evans, C.R.
Arctic, v. 36, no. 1, Mar. 1983, p. 82-89, ill.
ASTIS record 11368
Stomach contents of 34 bearded seals taken in three High Arctic localities (Grise Fiord, Pond Inlet and Clyde) during the summers from 1978-1980 were examined. At least 12 species of fish were present but sculpins (Cottidae) and arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) comprised the bulk of the diet. Eelpouts (Lycodes spp.) and polar cod (Arctogadus glacialis) were also ingested in considerable amounts. In 15 of 19 stomachs containing > 1 kg food, fish contributed > 90% of the wet weight. The whelk Buccinem and the shrimp Sclerocrangon boreas accounted for most of the invertebrate component of the diet. Clams, cephalopods, anemones, sea cucumbers, polychaete worms and other invertebrates occurred in small amounts. The largest measured weight of stomach contents was 7.6 kg from a seal that had fed heavily on arctic cod. There were no significant differences amongst the three localities in the amount of food ingested; however, the proportions of arctic cod and sculpins varied considerably among localities. Bearded seals fed on the available size range of arctic cod but were limited to the smaller sculpins (<200 g), eelpouts (<200 g) and polar cod (<350 g).
Inuit and polar bears : cultural observations from a hunt near Resolute Bay, N.W.T. / Wenzel, G.
Arctic, v. 36, no. 1, Mar. 1983, p. 90-94, figures
ASTIS record 11369
The relationship between Inuit and polar bear (Ursus maritimus Phipps) is examined. The emphasis is placed on cultural aspects of Inuit polar bear hunting. A single hunt near Resolute Bay, N.W.T., is described and comparisons are made to Inuit polar bear hunting behaviour in the Clyde River area of Baffin Island.
International cooperation in treeline research / Kallio, P. Sonesson, M.
Arctic, v. 36, no. 1, Mar. 1983, p. 95-96, figure
ASTIS record 11370
This article outlines northern circumpolar treeline research as discussed at the Fennoscandian Tree-line Conference held at Kevo and Abisko in 1977, and the Northern Quebec Treeline Conference held at Poste-de-la-Baleine, Quebec in 1981. A description of post conference visits is given. The article concludes with the recommendations formulated at the first treeline conference. These recommendations focussed on cooperatively attempting greater knowledge of "ecology of the delicately balanced transition zone between the forest and the treeless part of the north."
Christopher Middleton (ca. 1690-1770) / Barr, W.
Arctic, v. 36, no. 1, Mar. 1983, p. 98-99, ill.
ASTIS record 32561
... He appears to have gone to sea at quite an early age, his service aboard Hudson's Bay Company ships beginning around 1719, possibly even earlier. Early in his career Middleton established his reputation as a meticulous and innovative navigator: in the spring of 1726 he published a paper in the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions on the variation of the magnetic needle in Hudson Bay. The following year he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, a great honour for a ship's captain of only two years' standing. Shortly afterwards, Middleton's path crossed that of Arthur Dobbs, an influential Anglo-Irish landowner and a hard-line free trader who bitterly resented the Hudson's Bay Company's monopoly. Furthermore, Dobbs was convinced that a practicable Northwest Passage could be found via Hudson Bay and he decided to pursue its discovery, incidentally hoping to break the Company's monopoly in the process. Using his considerable influence in London, Dobbs persuaded the Admiralty to mount an expedition to search for the Northwest Passage via Hudson Bay. Further, by arranging a commission for Middleton in the Navy, Dobbs induced him to leave the company and to command this enterprise. ... Leaving Churchill on 30 June 1742, Middleton's ships headed north. They discovered and entered Wager Bay but were then locked in the bay for several weeks by drifting ice. By means of boat journeys, however, Middleton established to his own satisfaction that the Northwest Passage did not lie through Wager Bay. Emerging again into Roes Welcome Sound pushed north once more, only to have his hopes dashed on reaching the cul-de-sac of Repulse Bay. Frozen Strait was still ice-covered; hence, there was no chance of pursuing the search into Foxe Basin. Having called at Marble Island for water, Middleton sailed for home, satisfied in his own mind that there was no route to the Pacific through Hudson Bay. ... To Middleton we owe the exploration and mapping of Wager Bay, the northern part of Roes Welcome Sound, and Repulse Bay. Such a highly qualified judge as Captain W.E. Parry, for whom Middleton's discoveries were the starting point of his own second expedition, was extremely impressed by the carefulness and accuracy of Middleton's observations and surveying. It is extremely ironic that, while the names of Lieutenant John Rankin and Arthur Dobbs are commemorated in the place names of Rankin Inlet and Cape Dobbs, Christopher Middleton's name appears nowhere on the map of the Hudson Bay area. Rectification of this situation is long overdue.
Samuel Hearne (1745-1792) / Speck, G.
Arctic, v. 36, no. 1, Mar. 1983, p. 100-101, 1 port.
ASTIS record 32562
... Hearne was born in 1745 in London. He was an indifferent schoolboy and at the age of eleven was in the Royal Navy under the command of Admiral Samuel Hood. He saw action during the Seven Years War but left the Navy and, in 1766, became an employee of the Hudson's Bay Company, which sent him to Fort Prince of Wales at the mouth of the Churchill River. ... During its first century the Company had made no determined attempt to penetrate the interior and only the most half-hearted excursions were sent to seek Anian. By the 1730s, however, significant opposition to Company sovereignty and its implementation of its charter obligations had arisen in both England and America. Arthur Dobbs, Surveyor-General of Ireland, initiated a twenty-year struggle to force the Company to meet its charter terms. His challenges generated enough interest to induce the House of Parliament to offer a prize of £20,000 for the discovery of a strait. He applied for and was granted permission to lead an expedition into the North, accompanied by two white men and certain Indians, to "promote ... our trade, as well as for the discovery of a North West Passage, Copper Mines, etc. ..." The attempt was a humiliating failure. Two hundred miles northwest of the fort the Indians robbed the white men and left them to reach safety as best they could. Hearne began again in February 1770, with only native companions. He got three hundred miles inland and four hundred miles north of the Churchill before he was robbed. He turned toward home. Nevertheless, it was the farthest north any European had yet explored inland North America. On the return to the Churchill, Hearne met Matonabbee, an important Chipewyan chief, who offered to guide a third attempt toward the Arctic. Norton agreed and between December 1770 and June 1772 Hearne - again the only white man - headed an expedition across the Barren Grounds. ... Starvation and death in arctic storms were constant attendants, but in the end he was at the mouth of the Coppermine River on Coronation Gulf. ... But he had paid a price. He had watched the butchery of Eskimos at Bloody Falls on the Coppermine River and seen starvation decimate his companions. And he was to see his work sneered at by the scientific and military worlds. Among other criticisms, they said there could be no plant life where he reported because there was none on Greenland in that latitude; the sun could never by visible for twenty-four hours as he said; and the Indians could not possibly roam over such vast areas as he claimed. ... Samuel Hearne was the first European to cross the Barren Grounds to the Arctic and thus prove there is no waterway through our continent. He discovered and charted many major lakes, including Great Slave Lake where Matonabbee Point and Hearne Channel credit his work. His record of natural history of the Barren Grounds and the peoples who roamed over them stands unchallenged, and the establishment of Cumberland House saved the great Company from failure and set it on its way to its present eminence as the longest lived commercial venture of all time.
Jane Franklin (1791-1875) / Rahmani, G.
Arctic, v. 36, no. 1, Mar. 1983, p. 102-103, 1 port.
ASTIS record 32563
Jane Franklin, nee Griffin, was born December 1791 of Huguenot stock. She was educated, lively, and curious. At the age of 17 she visited the hold of a prison ship and later visited other prisons - places where European women had not before ventured. Jane was a very good friend of Franklin's first wife, the poetess, Eleanor Porden. A year after Eleanor's death from tuberculosis, Jane and John Franklin were married. In 1830, Jane accompanied her husband to Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania), where he served as Lieutenant-Governor of a penal colony. It was here that Jane's interest in travel and social reform blossomed. She was the first woman to climb Mount Wellington and to travel overland from Melbourne to Sydney. To encourage free immigration she established an agricultural settlement on the Huon River. She also attempted to improve conditions for female convicts. While Franklin was engaged in searching for the Northwest Passage, Lady Franklin travelled to the West Indies and the United States, where she climbed Mount Washington. When uneasiness about the Franklin expedition became expressed by the Admiralty, Lady Franklin contributed £3000 to any ship making extreme exertions in the attempt of finding Franklin's ship or survivors. She tirelessly supported search efforts for many years to come, contacting Russia and the United States for their support, as well. She placed her last hopes on Leopold McClintock who commanded the Fox, which had been purchased and refurbished at Lady Franklin's expense. In September 1859 McClintock returned with relics of the expedition and a document which told part of the story. Lady Franklin continued to travel widely throughout her life, visiting the United States, South America, Hawaii, Japan, China, India, and Africa. ...
George Back (1796-1878) / Neatby, L.H.
Arctic, v. 36, no. 1, Mar. 1983, p. 104-105, 1 port.
ASTIS record 32564
George Back, British admiral and arctic explorer, was born in 1796 and joined the Navy in 1808. At the age of thirteen he was wounded, made a prisoner of war, and lodged in the French fortress of Verdun. He passed several years of captivity by devoting himself to the study of drawing and mathematics. Returning to the Navy in 1818, Back sailed as mate in the Trent, under Lieutenant John Franklin, on an abortive voyage into the Spitsbergen ice. In the following year, his qualifications as artist procured him an appointment on Franklin's first overland expedition to the Polar Sea (1819-1822). ... The courage and endurance displayed by Back at that time was a greater service to discovery than any of the later expeditions made under his own command: he saved the lives of Franklin and his surgeon-scientist John Richardson and so preserved the priceless geographical and scientific data gathered by the expedition. Between 1825 and 1827, Back was second-in-command of Franklin's second overland expedition. The lessons of the costly previous journey had been well learned; with minimum hardships and casualties, the map of the North American Arctic was vastly extended. Nearly half of a previously unknown shoreline was laid down by the two expeditions. ... In the years of 1836-37, Back commanded H.M.S. Terror on a cruise into northern Hudson Bay. The ship was beset and drifted for months in bitter cold, heaved up on a mound of ice. When this frozen platform collapsed, the ship was nearly capsized into the waters of the bay, but she escaped with numerous leaks and a badly wrenched keel to reach a home port. ... In Back, the "gentleman" predominated over the "officer". He managed his Fish River boat crew with tact, but he exasperated the factors of the fur trade - who professed to be his equals and whom he ought to have made a point of conciliating - by his conceit and patronizing airs. On the other hand, his aptitude for dialects permitted him to fraternize with Metis, Indian, and Eskimo: he relished posing as a "great chief". But he was not a "great captain". His qualities of courage, of endurance, and of resource in calamity were best displayed in a subordinate capacity under Franklin. Nevertheless, he gave "colour" to his sphere of life by his numerous adventures and by his manner of recording them. ...
Matthew A. Henson (1866-1955) / Robinson, B.
Arctic, v. 36, no. 1, Mar. 1983, p. 106-107, 1 port.
ASTIS record 32565
America's only famous Negro polar explorer was the co-author to the major geographical quest of the century - the search for the North Pole. ... At the age of 12 he escaped a loveless home - he never knew his mother, who died when he was two - and found his way to Baltimore and the benign Captain Childs, master of the ship Katie Hines. Befriending the frail, hungry, frightened boy, Capt. Childs bent the rules in signing Matt on as cabin boy; he recorded Henson's age as 15 rather than the illegal age of 12. In the five years that Matt sailed on the Katie Hines, Childs taught the young Negro reading, writing, mathematics, navigation, and general proficiency at the sailor's varied trade. These skills would ultimately prove indispensable in Henson's travels with Robert Peary. ... After proving his value to Peary during a year in the Nicaraguan jungle, Henson worked alongside him in a Philadelphia shipyard until Peary took another leave of absence to return to Greenland in 1891. Henson joined the party. His ocher-coloured skin, far from an asset in the racist U.S., helped him in the Arctic. To the Eskimo, Henson was not a white man but a prodigal brother who had forgotten his native tongue and the ways of survival in the harsh northern environment. In successive expeditions, his rapidly growing skills in speaking the Eskimo language, driving dogsleds, hunting, and trading for dogs and furs proved invaluable. In a short time "Miy Paluk", as the Eskimos called him, was to become hero and legend. He was the most important member of the seven expeditions spread over a period of 18 years. One expedition alone lasted four years, during which Matt's courage, sacrifice and physical strength saved Peary's life and the lives of others more than once. ... In 1898 the Navy granted Peary a four-year leave of absence to search for the Pole once more. Peary planned to approach his goal this time via the frozen arctic sea. ... Henson selected the field teams, choosing the best and strongest Eskimo hunters, skilled sledge builders and dog handlers. The Eskimos were loyal to Matt, who now spoke their language fluently. ... On the next-to-last march of the successful expedition, Henson knew at the outset how far the last day's journey would be, and his experience told him how many hours it would take to travel that distance. The sun was his clock. Sighting the position of the sun as he started that final advance on 6 April 1909, Matt knew where it would be when he had reached the Pole. Thus it was that he arrived 45 minutes before Peary, who, after taking an instrument sighting, said "This is it, the Pole at last". ... Back in the States, Matt drifted into semi-obscurity. In 1913, President Taft appointed him to a Civil Service job as a messenger boy at the New York Customs House. Over the ensuing years, as many as six bills were introduced in Congress to retire Matt with honour and a pension, but all failed. ...
Diamond Jenness (1886-1969) / Helmer, J.
Arctic, v. 36, no. 1, Mar. 1983, p. 108-109, 1 port.
ASTIS record 32566
... Jenness quickly found his curiosity about anthropology blossoming into a vocation. In 1911 he was appointed Oxford Scholar to Papua, New Guinea, where he spent twelve months studying the Northern Entrecasteaux. Upon his return to New Zealand, he was asked to join the Canadian Arctic Expedition, an ambitious government-funded scientific enterprise under the direction of the well-known arctic explorers Vilhjalmur Stefansson and R.M. Anderson. In June, 1913, Jenness found himself aboard the refitted whaling vessel Karluk steaming northward to the Bering Strait and beyond to the Beaufort Sea. ... In the autumn of 1913, the small vessel became locked in the sea ice off the northern coast of Alaska. Unable to free itself, the ship drifted helplessly westward towards the Siberian Sea, where it was finally crushed in the ice off Wrangel Island. Eight men perished in their bid to reach the mainland. By a stroke of fortune, Jenness was not aboard the Karluk when she drifted off; he, Stefansson, and several others had left the ship earlier on a routine hunting trip. Abandoning the hopeless task of searching for the Karluk, which was lost to sight when they returned, the hunting party headed for Barrow, Alaska to rendezvous with the remaining two vessels of the expedition, the Alaska and the Mary Sachs. Jenness spent his first winter at Harrison Bay, Alaska, where he learned to speak Inuktitut, gathered information about Western Eskimo customs and folklore, and experienced at first-hand the precarious existence of the northern hunter. In the spring of 1914, he set out along the coast to the expedition's base camp at Bernard Harbour in the Coronation Gulf region. Here he engaged in one of the most important goals of the Canadian Arctic Expedition-the study of the Copper Eskimos of Victoria Island, a people first brought to the attention of the "civilized world" by Stefansson only four years earlier. When Jenness arrived in the Coronation Gulf region, only a handful of Europeans had visited the land of the Copper Eskimo. Merchants had only just begun to ply their trade in the area, and the missionaries and Northwest Mounted Police were yet to arrive. As a consequence, the Copper Eskimo remained largely unaffected by contact with the outside world. Jenness, therefore, was charged with recording a virtually pristine aboriginal way of life that would change radically within a generation. Jenness spent two years with these Central Eskimo people, living for one year as the adopted son of the hunter Ikpukhuak and his shaman wife Higalik. During that time he hunted and traveled with his "family", sharing both their festivities and their famine. The monographs and publications that resulted from this field work have been recognized by scholars as "the most comprehensive description of a single Eskimo tribe ever written." ... During his tenure with the National Museum, Jenness published two seminal articles on northern archaeology. The first paper identified a new prehistoric culture in the eastern Arctic - the Dorset Culture - which Jenness believed to have preceded the Thule Culture (the ancestors of the contemporary Inuit) by a millenium or more. The second paper hypothesized the Old Bering Sea Culture of the Bering Strait area, a complex which Jenness believed not only preceded the Thule Culture in the western Arctic but which was ancestral to it. Considered radical at the time of their publication, these theories are now widely accepted, having been vindicated by carbon-14 dating and subsequent field research. Jeness's interest in the Arctic never waned. As late as 1968 he was still articulating his concern for the Inuit struggle to survive. Among his last works was a series of five volumes published by The Arctic Institute of North America that reviewed government policies toward the Inuit of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. ...
Clifford Symington Lord, 1908-1981 / Wheeler, J.O.
Arctic, v. 36, no. 1, Mar. 1983, p. 115-117, 1 ill.
ASTIS record 50262
Dr. C.S. Lord, formerly Chief Geologist of the Geological Survey of Canada and Chairman of the Board of Governors of The Arctic Institute of North America, died in Ottawa on 4 October 1981. With his passing Canadian earth science lost one of its most able and knowledgeable geologists, especially of the Canadian Shield in the Northwest Territories, as well as one of its most modest and dedicated servants. ... Clifford Lord's broad regional and varied logistical experience, coupled with his demonstrated organizing ability, made him a natural choice in 1954 for Chief Geologist of the Geological Survey - a post he held with distinction for nearly 20 years. This was a period of great expansion and diversification of the Geological Survey program. Although he understood the value of geophysical and geochemical surveys, many of which were begun and carried out during his term as Chief Geologist, he always maintained that geological surveys were the core activity of the Survey and provided the ground truth against which other types of geophysical and geochemical surveys should be judged. While Chief Geologist he introduced a project management system, which though perhaps somewhat cumbersome, was years ahead of its time in the Federal Government. The essence of his system, in a more streamlined form, is used by the Survey today. During most field seasons he visited numerous field parties to learn, first-hand, the geology of various regions of Canada, to become familiar with new techniques, and to observe how the scientists operated in the field. ... Between 1963 and 1971 C.S. Lord carried out many assignments on behalf of the United Nations, Canada's External Aid office and its successor, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). ... As an authority on the geology of the Canadian Shield north of latitude 60° he was elected a Fellow of The Arctic Institute of North America. Furthermore, owing to his Arctic experience, his influential position as Chief Geologist of the Geological Survey, and his administrative talents, he served as a most useful member of the Board of Governors of the Institute, being Chairman in 1960. ... He contributed much to our understanding of the geology of Canada, especially the Precambrian of the Arctic, and provided practical advice for mineral development. Because of his modesty, few except those who followed in his footsteps, appreciated the magnitude and quality of his achievements.
Joseph Dewey Soper, 1893-1982 / Soper, R. Beck, T.
Arctic, v. 36, no. 1, Mar. 1983, p. 118-119, 1 ill.
ASTIS record 50263
... "Dewey Soper is a man of action and acuity, in a particular sense l'homme engagé, second to none as a pioneer of the North whose courage, industry and initiative inspire us to find our country and extend all its benefits into our lives." Those well-chosen words stand today as an epitaphic tribute to a man who spent the early years of his career in arctic exploration and a lifetime in the study of natural history and in pursuit of scientific knowledge. ... - he was an outdoorsman first and his vocations and avocations stemmed from this prerequisite. ... In the context of his lifespan, arctic explorations occupied a small segment of his 89 years, yet they left an indelible imprint on his life and in his own mind forever stood as the pinnacle of his achievements. His three expeditions were conducted in 1923, 1924-26 and 1928-31. The latter two took him to southern Baffin Island and comprised eleven separate journeys of exploration. ... Viewed in perspective - considering the lack of modern equipment and the unsophisticated means of communication and travel - those ventures into the interior and across Baffin Island were remarkable conquests. ... Soper's successful crossing and return in January-February, 1926, covered 1050 kilometres. His courage and determination are reflected in two sentences from his own writings: "I still feel extraordinary admiration for the splendid efforts of Akatuga and Newkequak who endured so much fatigue and suffering without a murmur, and what seemed the incredible hardship for the dogs. It is impossible to forget the frightful cold of 70° below zero as we forged our way over the frozen Lake Nettilling and across the Great Plain of the Koukdjuak to Foxe Basin and back to the east coast." In 1929, newspapers published accounts of J.D. Soper and his successful six-year, 30 000-mile search for the nesting grounds of the blue goose. ... The location of the nesting grounds of the blue goose had been a mystery to naturalists.... In 1926 he met an Inuk hunter on the Tikkuut Islands ...who claimed that he knew the exact area where kungovik nested. Later another Inuk at Cape Dorset corroborated the story: the location was Bowman Bay on the west coast. ... Assignments that followed his return to the "south" included a two-year wildlife survey of Wood Buffalo Park ..., [and] Chief Federal Wildlife Officer for Alberta, Yukon and Northwest Territories. ... Soper was a prolific writer. ... - over 130 research papers, monographs and general-interest articles appeared in a variety of publications. ... In the years that followed his official retirement he continued to do field work, usually alone and in remote wilderness camps. ... He enjoyed sketching and watercolour painting, and much of his art was used to illustrate his writing. ... One quality that set him apart from so many of his peers was that he retained his boyish enthusiasm for the natural world to the end of his life. He only hung up his boots and binoculars for good when failing health forced him into hospital. ...
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