Proud proclamations of Northerner’s affinity for the Northwest Territories aren’t hard to find.
The word “spectacular” sprawls across the territory’s signature licence plate; the City dubs Yellowknife the “capital of cool;”and brave pun-purveyors occasionally don a “It comes with the Territory,” shirt. But what is it that makes NWT “spectacular”? What makes it “cool”? And why have so many visitors-turned residents fallen in love with the territory?
With Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-NWT’s release of its annual Love the Land photo calendar, the non-profit organization asks just that.
“We know people love it, so we’re like, “‘hey, show us why,’” said Shannon Moore, communications manager at CPAWS-NWT.
This year, during the lead-up to the sixth edition of the calendar – which has featured 12 scenes captured across the territory since its inception in 2012 – NWT residents offered nearly 100 answers.
From there, submissions related to the 2018 incarnation’s theme of “people enjoying the land or signs of people enjoying the land,” were narrowed down by judge selection to a dozen winning photos.
With the contest open to amateur and professional photographers alike, Moore said the annual roundup of visual love notes to the region drew repeat contributors as well as newcomers.
Offerings from first-time submitters included the grand prize winner, Bryana Matthews, whose shot of toes sticking out from a lakeside tent graced this year’s cover.
Barbara Paquin, whose sophomore entry appears as an inset photo for the month of May, told Yellowknifer she’s “not a photographer, just someone who takes photos.”
Photographer or not, Paquin’s submission, that of a toddler sitting lakeside in the sand, captures a common theme among other images showcased in the calendar: the little things that fuel a fondness for the territory.
For Paquin, it’s those little things that make up her love for the land.
“I love berry picking. I love the colours in the fall, the blue lakes, the big beautiful skies, the aurora, fishing and canoeing,” she said.
Proceeds of calendar sales go toward CPAWS-NWT’s conservation efforts across the territory. According to Moore, “people want to protect the land they love,” and the funds raised will help the charitable, non-government organization do so.
CPAWS-NWT, in concert with First Nations and other communities, identifies areas with conservation value, including representative regions or ecosystems unique to the territory. Through environmental evaluations and research, the NWT branch of the nation-wide group advocates on behalf of communities that seek to have their land protected. According to Moore, recent projects, made possible through funding initiatives like the photo calendar, have paved the way for a soon-to-be finalized joint territorial and national park.
“We’ve helped with the Thaidene Nene establishment process, at the east arm of Great Slave Lake,” Moore said, adding that CPAWS-NWT is excited about the opportunities the new park will offer for visitors, residents and all lovers of the land.
The 2018 calendar can be purchased for $20 at the Book Cellar and online at CPAWS-NWT’s website.