Explore Topic: Northern Rivers and Watersheds

River drainages and watersheds are a prominent physical feature of the Earth’s surface and a basic concept of geography. The Alaska Canada Barrenlands Traverse will travel through four major northern watersheds:

  • The Yukon River
  • The Mackenzie River
  • The Coppermine River
  • The Thelon River

Teachers can use the expedition as a tool to introduce and discuss the concept of river drainages and watersheds. Have students locate each river on the map, have students identify where the expedition will cross from one watershed to the next. The expedition will be using these rivers as travel corridors, just as they have been used for centuries.  What is it about rivers that makes them good places to travel?  Each of these rivers has a human history associated with it. Have your students do more research on their own to discover what that history is.  How have these rivers contributed to the movement of people and goods in the past and today.  All of the communities that will be visited by the expedition are located along or near one of these great northern rivers.  Why do you think rivers make good places for people to build communities? What do these rivers have in common and how are they different?  How are rivers a part of the place you live?





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