Archive for October 2010
Flying to Churchill, in Manitoba, Canada, always fills me with excitement and anticipation. And as the flight into town began its descent, I felt like I was going home. I love it up here. I love the smell of the cold and the enormous sky. I first came to Churchill in 1993 as a graduate student, and I am happy to return to the Polar Bear Capital of North America as a panelist for Polar Bears International’s Tundra Connections program.
“What is that?” keeper Pamela Weber wondered as she surveyed the reindeer exhibit at the San Diego Zoo. In the corner of the exhibit was a furry black bundle, completely unexpected. Did a wild raccoon or opossum somehow make its way into the enclosure? Upon closer inspection, Pamela realized it was, of all things, a baby reindeer!
Rachel is the San Diego Zoo’s 2010 Teen Arctic Ambassador. She is sharing what she learns at Polar Bears International’s Teen Leadership Camp. Read the previous post, Teen Arctic Ambassadors: Day 5.
As Teen Leadership Camp 2010 starts to come to a close, I find myself reflecting on all of the great things that I will be taking with me back to San Diego. I have been so inspired by the wild polar bears, the presentations, and, of course, the other teen ambassadors. We formed a very tight-knit “family” during this past week, and it is going to be very hard for all of us to part ways.
Teens from the U.S., Canada, and Australia attended Polar Bears International’s Teen Leadership Camp. Below is a post written by the whole group. Read a previous post from the San Diego Zoo’s 2010 Teen Arctic Ambassador, Teen Arctic Ambassador: Day 4.
Today the connection was truly felt. The force of climate change was driven home by Robert Buchannan and all of the facilitators and was helped by our resident two polar bears outside the window of our Tundra Buggy. Last night ended with incredible inspiration by a fellow ambassador, Alannah Watkins, and the facilitators, Cynthia and Andrew. We were dazzled by the map of the retreating sea ice in the Arctic, which drove home the importance of taking action.
I cannot even begin to describe the feelings running through me right now, but I’ll give it a shot! This morning, October 13, my fellow ambassadors and I got out on the tundra and headed for the Tundra Buggy Lodge, the place we are going to call home for the next few nights. On the way to the Lodge, we saw three different bears. The first bear was far away, but the fact that we were observing a polar bear in its natural habitat put many of us in a state of shock, wonder, and amazement.
Today (October 12) was a very eventful day full of learning about the little town of Churchill. In the morning, we made our way to the home of a local trapping couple, Jim and Betty. I learned a lot about their lives as trappers and how much they relied on the land for their source of income, and it gave me a new perspective on the lives of local townspeople. I learned that they had immense respect for the animals they harvested. Their stories showed how close the people of Churchill are to nature and how much they respect it.
Rachel is the San Diego Zoo’s 2010 Teen Arctic Ambassador. She is sharing what she learns at Polar Bears International’s Teen Leadership Camp. Read her previous post, Teen Arctic Ambassador: Day 1.
Imagine yourself in one of the most isolated places on Earth, where trees struggle to grow against the harsh arctic conditions. The wind blows across the ancient permafrost layers, and the majestic apex predator, the polar bear, roams free.
Today, Sunday, October 10, I embarked on the trip of a lifetime. This morning, my facilitator, Kindra, and I headed north to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, to study wild polar bears. As we arrived in Winnipeg after a long day of flights, I kept thinking “It’s finally here!” after many months waiting in anticipation. We were greeted by the other ambassadors and facilitators, and I couldn’t have been put with a nicer group.
After spending what we thought was an unstoppable day on the tundra viewing a mother polar bear and her two cubs, the next day proved us wrong. This time we again saw a polar bear off in the distance of our lodge early in the morning. This bear had no interest in coming any closer, which was perfectly fine with us. Taking in the beautiful colors of the sunrise as we headed out on the Tundra Buggy for the day was enough. However, we were in for quite a surprise!