Sites and sights in Northern Québec

Bonjour! It’s Sandra here to give you a wee update on what I’ve been up to since I parted with the rest of Team Shrub on Herschel Island two weeks ago. I left with a heavy heart but with the cheering prospect of reuniting with my old research team from Université Laval (the « other Team Shrub », led by Prof. Stéphane Boudreau) for the second half of my field season.

A “get-to-know-your-fieldmates” 18-hour scenic drive and a couple of flights later, we got to Umiujaq, an Inuit village of about 350 people on the coast of Hudson Bay in Northern Québec. The name of the village means « which resembles a boat » because of the cuestas shaped liked traditional Inuit canoes.

I have been continuing my quest for root collars here on the other side of Canada, where dwarf birch (Betula glandulosa) is the one and only king of the tundra. My devoted helpers Marianne and Marc-André have valiantly struggled through temperatures ranging from freezing cold to much, much too hot, with continuous clouds of black flies and mosquitos that forced us to eat our lunches in our bug nets.

The great thing with Umiujaq is that your efforts are often rewarded tenfold, and two nights ago the skies glowed green with a spectacular display of the northern lights. There’s no better end to a long day out!

The northern lights over the Hudson Bay.

I am now off to Salluit, one of the northernmost communities of Northern Québec, for the last stretch of my fieldwork campaign. Meanwhile, Team Shrub will be getting out of Herschel (on the 13th if the weather allows – keep your fingers crossed for them!) and I am sure they will be updating the blog with crazy tales of muskoxen and helicopter rides.

Au revoir!

By Sandra