Hello Ukkusiksalik

Hello Ukkusiksalik

Hello Ukkusiksalik is the name of an SOI alumni-led expedition into Ukkusiksalik National Park in Nunavut. Being the least visited park in Canada – located 140 kilometres from the hamlet of Naujaat (Repulse Bay) – its pristine and rugged landscape has barely been captured on camera. So Arctic 2014 participants Justin Fisch, Matt Szczepanski, and Edmond Bruce set out to explore the park on snowmobile and document its hidden beauty.

Using professional videography equipment, a documentary and a series of high-quality photos will be produced. This will help achieve the team’s goal of raising awareness about Arctic natural environments, the actions needed to preserve them, and the ability of youth to be involved in conservation and the great outdoors. In 2003, Ukkusiksalik became Canada’s 41st national park, however it wasn’t protected under the Canada National Parks Act until 2014.

Ukkusiksalik National Park is home to animals like caribou and polar bears, but is rarely frequented by people. Upon completion of this project, Justin, Matt and Edmond will be the park’s first official visitors. In March 2015, the Hello Ukkusiksalik team travelled to Nunavut according to schedule. Unfortunately, poor weather prevented them from reaching their selected destinations in the park.

 

Fast forward to spring 2016, when the Hello Ukkusiksalik team takes a second attempt at success. Thanks to funding from the Government of Nunavut and other generous sponsors, as well as increased support from the community, they made it! With six members of the Naujaat community, the team ventured out on a multi-day snowmobiling trip.

The expected release of the film will be Spring 2018. Stay tuned for more information of what is sure to be an incredible cinematic journey through this precious Northern park.

About Justin Fisch
Justin is a young adventurer hailing from Nova Scotia, Canada. The son of native Cape Bretoner and a Belgian expat, he holds three passports and never seems to figure out to which he really belongs. A global citizen by default, Justin is an avid absorber of languages, speaking native English and French, in addition to professional proficiency in Spanish and Portuguese. He dabbles in Mandarin Chinese, to the chagrin of anyone who’s ever heard him butcher “你好” (ni hao/hello).

A lawyer by trade and an outdoor guide by passion, Justin has led backpacking expeditions throughout the southeastern US, led canoes down Florida’s magical rivers, helped clients up Nicaragua’s stunning volcanoes, interpreted Bolivia’s stunning Andean culture, and encouraged toughness while snowshoeing Québec’s supernatural winters. His passion for environmental protection and protected area systems led him to work in environmental law and policy, where he previously served the Government of Canada as Parks Canada’s national Youth Ambassador for the 2015-2016 term. In this role, he found novel ways to connect Canada’s youth with their rich natural and cultural history, while engaging the new generation of environmental stewards. His role as the producer of the Hello Ukkusiksalik Documentary Expedition fuels his passion for Arctic travel and discovery, while allowing him to maintain a strong network of involved youth and discovering remote corners of Nunavut’s Kivalliq region. In his spare time, Justin teaches environmental law at the University of Ottawa.

About Sam Foss
Samuel’s thirst for adventure and the outdoors have led him to experience and capture the world around him at every chance he gets. As the son of a former photo journalist, his passion for photography and videography turned from a hobby into a lifestyle as he began to set his sights on careers in that field. Samuel has done promotional video and photo work for various non-profit organizations throughout the years. His more recent projects and achievements include editing and co-producing for the Hello Ukkusiksalik Documentary and winning the University of Waterloo 48 film contest. Samuel currently studies Global Business and Digital Arts at the University of Waterloo. He hopes to translate his creativity, business/digital media skills and passion for the outdoors into initiatives that do good on a larger scale.

About Matt Szczepanski
Matt, from Mississauga, ON, is the Media Director for this project. Bringing his creativity and videography skills to the table, his role includes the coordination and collection of footage for the documentary, and producing the final film. He hopes to pursue a career in documentary film production.

About Edmond Bruce
Edmond, of Naujaat, NU, is serving as the project’s Trip Leader. He is responsible for garnering support in his community, and will work as the expedition snowmobile driver and bear guard. Edmond is an experienced hunter, and has profound experience and knowledge of the land and ice in that region of the Arctic. He will also help share his culture with others through the documentary.

About Tarek and Sophie Inspiration Grants
The TSI Grants were first offered in 2014, in an effort to support Students on Ice alumni initiatives to generate positive change in a community, area or region around the world. The grants are funded by Tarek Sherif and Sophie Nicholson, and administered by the SOI Foundation. In the program’s inaugural year, three approved projects were successfully completed. These include Youth Up, Igniters Canada, and Hello Ukkusiksalik.

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This website was made possible by a generous contribution from the Leacross Foundation.