Few people have seen Alberta’s Plateau Mountain Ice Cave in the past 40 years, hidden as it is behind government gates with only an oil company’s road passing nearby.

But Charles Yonge, a retired geologist and avid caver, will soon be trekking into the cave with camera in hand to document the changes wrought by global warming. Thanks to an independent research grant from The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Yonge plans to collect samples from the cave — as well as seven other Albertan caves — to further our knowledge of these largely unknown ecosystems.

Farther north, climate change is also the focus of another RCGSfunded project. Andrew Spring, a PhD candidate at Wilfrid Laurier University, will be examining how warming temperatures in the Northwest Territories are affecting the availability of traditional foods for local First Nations people. Venturing into the communities of Deline and Kakisa, Spring plans to assess how grassroots programs such as the mapping of traditional activities can help the locals adapt to the changes without giving up their traditional economy.

Other research projects receiving funding from the RCGS include an examination of the environmental history of the Porcupine caribou’s transboundary migration, a study of the challenges inherent to urban aboriginal health-care services and an analysis of immigrant indebtedness in Canadian cities.

For more information on research grants, visit rcgs.org/programs/research_grants.