A few short years back Adam Bathe, John Blyth and myself, Chuck Blyth, decided to start a small northern company based on building capacity for people so that they could maintain the health of the land and preserving the cultural heritage of its peoples. Cruising down the Nahanni Range Road towards the NWT late one night Adam Bathe and I heard an episode of “This American life” where they talked about “thought partners”. Adam said “Hey that’s how we can do it. We can have the best expertise for people without the big office and overhead. So people can get the best advice at a more affordable rate. We can network with all the people we trust and know can do the best for us and our clients.” We sat around the campfire at Flat lakes and planned out the next year.
As David Crosby said: “The river may be hot or cold but you should dive right into it else you’ll find it’s passed you by!” So we dove into the fast running river of choice and chance and it was quite the paddle these first few years. Our small company Blyth & Bathe Inc. has sure been taken to some big water and some nice eddies.
Teaching environmental monitoring in many of the small northern towns has opened up new friendships and has sure been gratifying. Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Inuvik, Tulita, Whati, Ft Simpson, Nahanni Butte, Lutsel K’e to name a few. It’s so great to be able to make a difference. When we went to many of these awesome small settlements we found that they also needed other types of training. For example, firearms safety training so that people could get their possession and acquisition license. So all three of us got our instructors certification and we have been able to offer this course all over the north. That in itself took quite a bit of effort from us to convince the Chief Firearms officer that they needed more instructors. Since receiving that certification, people from every town we visit say “You guys can teach that? Sign us up!” And people from the communities have signed up fast.
Two years ago I spent part of the summer on Great Slave Lake with their keepers of Thaidene Nene, the Lutsel K’e Denesoline. About that same time Adam and John did a Traditional Use Study for Wrigley so that they could have information in relation to a proposed mine by Devonian Metals. Devonian gladly paid for it despite all findings and knowledge remaining entirely with the band.
I love my job and I love this company. It’s so unique for me to work with my son and his great friend Adam Bathe. They say mixing business and friendships together doesn’t work but I beg to differ. I think for me it’s been a chance to be pulled into a younger way of thinking and for them I guess my role is the sober second thought sometimes.
It is so cool to know that you never know what new opportunity will present itself. And what other company could I work for where I can do fulfilling work that really makes a difference. Let me give you some examples. This year we got the privilege of building a resource management course for the NWT Board Forum. This course will help the members of the land and water boards, renewable resources councils and Mackenzie Valley environmental Impact review Board. Right after this we got to start on a project where we got to write the State of Protected Areas Report for the NWT. I get to represent Dehcho First nations and in-particular Nahanni Butte in negotiation with Parks Canada to get the Benefits that they deserve for giving such a great gift to Canada – The Nahanni National Park Reserve.
As Blyth and Bathe Inc. has continued to grow over the past few years, we’ve recognized that to help everyone better understand who we are and what do, an update to our brand and online presence would go a long way. We embarked on the process of rebranding our company in late 2013, and are now poised to connect and grow with our communities and stakeholders in new ways. As part of our refocusing, we’ve also launched a brand new website and blog, which we hope will become a resource for all those in the North.
This year our annual AGM on the Flat lakes has to be put on hold. Why you ask? – well John and Adam are working on the Traditional knowledge competent of the Species at Risk report on Barren-Ground Caribou and I am forging ahead with negotiations for Dehcho and a cool new program of helping to build the Dehcho’s own “On the land Program”. It is envisioned that this will be a program somewhat like the Haida Watchman or the Keepers of the Thaidene Nene but will be year-round and cover the entire Dehcho. Stay tuned to see how this turns out.
We do our first big workshop in the coming months at Sandy Creek. If you’re interested to learn more, or just interested in saying hi, drop us a line in the comments below, or here on our contact page.