Covering 1.5 million square kilometres, or about one seventh of Canada, the Northern Arctic Ecozone extends over most of the nonmountainous areas of the arctic islands and parts of northeastern Keewatin, western Baffin Island, and northern Quebec. It is among the largest arctic ecosystems in the world. Winters pass in near darkness with the polar night measured in weeks and months rather than hours. Snow may fall any month of the year and usually remains on the ground from September to June. Extremely low temperatures and an average precipitation of about 200 mm per year characterize the climate. When not covered in snow, much of the landscape is typified by barren plains covered in frost-patterned soils and the occasional rock outcrop.
A desolate, cold, and dry land seemingly devoid of life -- such might be a visitor's first impression. But to those who have seen the colourful profusion of wildflowers along an arctic stream, heard the tinkling call of the ascending Horned Lark, or watched a herd of Muskoxen stand resolute against a fierce winter blizzard, this land is alive and full of wonder.