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Arctic River

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Most of the Canadian Arctic is still in the Ice Age. In the Mackenzie basin, however, the extraordinary energy of one great river, the Mackenzie, transforms the ecosystem from its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains to the Arctic River.

Every summer, life in the Mackenzie River Delta bursts forth, briefly but dramatically. Beluga whales give birth here, and millions of migrating birds make the Delta their nesting grounds. Hardy flora bloom and flourish. Lemmings abound, and beavers, muskrats and other fur-bearing animals thrive. Caribou feed on the expanses of tundra.

The life forms that have evolved in the Mackenzie ecosystem are perfectly adapted, unique, and exceptionally tough. But the species are few and very tightly linked. Their numbers can fluctuate radically, leaving the whole ecosystem vulnerable to sudden change, such as that caused by technological intrusion.

A timely film, given the increasing efforts to exploit the Canadian Arctic for its oil and minerals.

1987, 21 min 37 s

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Honorable Mention - Category: Photography
National Educational Media Network Competition
May 17 to 21 1989, Oakland - USA