Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 2 - Ottawa

I knew that there were some perks to being a part of this great adventure (umm, hello? Going to the Arctic?) but there was no way to predict this one. One of the fantastic Students On Ice staff members is a gentleman by the name of Peter Adams. Peter has lots of credentials and experience behind him with regards to the Arctic, but today there was one credential that got us something that few others get to do. Y’see, Peter is a former Member of Parliament for the federal Peterborough riding in Ontario.

So what did that get us? Well, only on to the floor of the House of Commons. Thousands of people get to SEE the House chamber from behind barred windows as part of the regular tour, but we got to go IN to the chamber. Not only that, but a few of us sat down. In the MP’s chairs. Including the Prime Minister’s. That’s right, the big cheese himself – Stephen Harper. And I encouraged the students to do the same. Took some pictures of them too, including one that should be next to this entry. Meet (clockwise from bottom left) Lauren Sutherland, Travis Payne, Jack Krantz and sitting in the PMs chair himself, Taylor Verrall. Learn their names, they may very well be sitting in those chairs in a few years as actual Members of Parliament. (Well, except Jack – he’s American!) Taylor is especially politically active. At 15, he is already involved with the Green Party of Canada. And is one heck of a good debater and conversationalist.

Friday is the big day. We fly to Kuujjuaq (pronounced Koo-joo-ack) where we tour the community and board the boat on our Arctic adventure! Confucius once said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Tomorrow, we take that step…

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 1 - Ottawa

The second day of my Students on Ice Arctic expedition was mostly spent greeting the various students arriving for this great adventure. I got to meet lots of great young adults from Pond Inlet to Victoria to St. John’s, from Rhode Island to New York, and even Monaco! And I discovered something quite quickly… no matter where they are from, when they have something in common, teenagers can talk. And talk. Aaaaand talk. But they are all a dynamic and entertaining group and I was thrilled to be one of the first people they met on their journey.

It was suggested I write more stories in my blog, so here goes. Waiting at the airport with me was one of my fellow Expedition staff members, Scobie Pye. Scobie is quite the character, hailing from Hobart, Tasmania (giving him the nickname of our Tasmanian Devil). He’s also a wealth of information as you can probably guess from his bio on the Students On Ice website.

Scobie makes is a tradition to greet students at the airport each expedition. In between waiting for delayed flights, lost luggage and urgent trips to “the loo” by jet-lagged travelers, Scobie inundated me with stories of the North, including visits to northern Russian mining towns. He could write a book… if he hasn’t already.

Thursday we are off to a behind the scenes tour of the Canadian Museum of Nature, a trip to the Parliament Buildings (I’ll be sure to say hello to Stephen Harper). I’ll end off with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” We are definitely going where there is no path…

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 0 - Ottawa

Welcome to day 0 of my Arctic adventure! Today was technically a staff orientation day, so there really isn’t too much to report. Lots of meetings, information and a trip to a Mexicali Rosa’s for dinner took up most of the day. But already there are 15 students in residence, mostly from Nunavut. Already conducted our first bed-check, although the students are so exhausted, most were already asleep. Tomorrow, the rest of the students arrive and I hope to be involved in meeting them all! Amelia Earhart once said “Adventure is worthwhile”. I can’t think of a better way to end my first entry on the road. Let the adventure… begin!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Off to the Arctic!

I'm off to the Arctic to be a Polar Educator, working with 70 students age 14-19 and a few dozen scientists and other educators, as part of the Students On Ice program. It's a great program that gives these students an opportunity to experience for themselves the effects of climate change on the polar regions of Earth.

Read all about Students On Ice and check out the specific page for the expedition I'm going on. The itinerary is here: and includes a map of where we are going. I'm hoping to blog as much as I can with photos. The blog and images should also be on The Manitoba Museum's website.

A big thanks to Students On Ice and the Association of Natural History Museums of Canada for choosing me to go on this exciting adventure. Also, many thanks to The Manitoba Museum for giving me the chance to take this incredible opportunity and supporting me as I prepare for it. Special thanks to Sean, Cortney and Ray for covering for me while I'm gone.

Let the adventure begin!