Arctic Ambassadors

A bear checks out the humans on the Tundra Buggy.

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.
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The teens were within inches of this female bear!

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.
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The third bear spotted by the teens.

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 3.

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.
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Some of the teen ambassadors in front of the Polar Bear Holding Facility.

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 2.

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.
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The second wild polar bear Rachel saw

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.
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Rachel, with one of our bears, before her trip.

Hello everybody,

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.
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Hali attended Keeper Leadership Camp, sponsored by Polar Bears International, in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Read her previous post, Eye to Eye with Wild Polar Bears.

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!
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Hali is attending Keeper Leadership Camp, sponsored by Polar Bears International, in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Read her previous post, Polar Bear Camp for Keepers.

Today was an amazing day out on the tundra. Before we even left our dock, a polar bear wandered into our camp area to explore the Tundra Buggies®. After sniffing about under our sleeping quarters, the bear slowly ambled over to our buggy to investigate US! Words just can’t describe the emotions I felt when I locked eyes with this beautiful animal. We saw each other, and the tears welled up. To be face to face with a wild polar bear in it’s own home was truly priceless.
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We landed in Churchill on a turbo prop plane at 9:30 this morning, eager to start our adventure at Polar Bears International’s Keeper Leadership Camp. Upon arrival, the group was loaned Canada Goose Chilliwack parkas to keep us warm on our journey. We headed into the Polar Bear Capital of the World for the first time on a Tundra Buggy® vehicle. The dirt roads along the way were lined with Canada geese and snow geese. Churchill served as a thriving Canadian armed services base during WWII as well as a rocket research center until the late 1960s. Today, this small community of 850 people relies on ecotourism as its major economic activity. Each year, thousands of tourists flock to Churchill to observe beluga whales, birds, and polar bears. The lives of the local people are intertwined with the polar bear population along the Hudson Bay.

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Hello everybody!

The official countdown to Teen Leadership Camp, sponsored by Polar Bears International, is in two weeks! (Read post Teen Leadership Camp: Arctic Ambassadors 2010.) I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to go immerse myself in polar bear habitat. I am eager to learn about these great white bears, and I am even more excited to come back and inspire others to make changes that can help the bears in the wild. There is so much we can do to help, and I am ready to share that information with my peers when I get back from Churchill!
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