Thursday, October 1, 2009

Georgia's Blog Day 3


Tuesday 29 Sept

I was awakened by Robert Buchanan singing “Oh what a Beautiful Morning”. Personally I prefer the Gordon MacRae version, but I didn’t have much time to ponder this bizarre wake-up call because I had to report for breakfast duty. I hurriedly got dressed in my bunk and hid my hair under a hat.
Meal duty was actually quite pleasant, and I even made toast! Then we piled onto the Tundra Buggy, which was warmer today because we were all more properly dressed. One of the supervisors, Ian, taught us all about the local flora and fauna, and we actually got to go on the ground. There were little mussel shells everywhere, and squishy kelp because the tide was out. I loved taking pictures beside the giant wheels of the Buggy. I thought that would probably the most special moment of my day, but I had no idea what would come later.
After seeing no wildlife save some birds, we came back to the Lodge for lunch. The food is really good here, and it goes especially appreciated after being out in the cold. We even got fresh baked cookies. Someone had spotted a bear out on the tundra, so we rushed through a presentation about how to interact with and teach people. Once again the gang boarded the Buggy and after a short while, we saw a dot of a polar bear. We got gradually closer and closer, until the bear was maybe 100-200 meters away. It was just resting, because it’s too hot for the bears to be active at this time. Yep, 40 degrees is too hot for them. After maybe ten or so minutes, the bear got up to come and investigate us. I will forever remember the thrill, the view, the air, when a wild polar bear is ambling towards you. One of the girls compared the polar bear walk to the waddling ducks in the Aristocats. I went out on the uncovered platform of the buggy and was honestly only four feet above the bear. It just sat, staring. I loved the moment it made eye contact with me! It sits really slumped over, almost like a dog when it’s not feeling well. If I were to anthropomorphize, I would say it’s funny that this apex predator would act so sheepish and diminutive! Robert had us focus on the bear, and imagine what it would be like if we were one of the last people to have seen polar bears. My eyes were water, but I blamed it on the nippy wind. The cold didn’t bother me much, but most of us had stiff fingers from taking pictures without wearing gloves. Eventually the bear got up and retreated a little. It took a drink for a large puddle, which is really rare. The bears don’t need much water, because they only eat seal blubber which doesn’t require water to digest. Even the Tundra Buggy veterans had never seen a bear drink before.
I helped prep dinner then we watched Kay (the Aussie chaperone) give a presentation about climate change and the Aurora Borealis. It was some pretty dense stuff but I grasped most of it. We took a break for brownies then brainstormed how to approach the video project we are supposed to make. We’re targeting adults and emphasizing the fact that there is only five years to stop really permanent damage. I’m not that excited to do the video, though I did joke with the guy in charge of the film (a different Ian with cool glasses) if he was going to do German expressionistic or French nouveau. One of the other supervisors is from White Bear Lake! I told him that White Bear Lake didn’t really exist, because you’ve always realized you went the wrong way home from the Xcel before you reach it.
We watched some intense videos about how important this issue is and how little time we have. Everyone got a little misty-eyed watching some 12 year old girl talk to the U.N. about conservation. It really lit the fire under my butt. I think I’ll bike to school, and try to get Hopkins to ban Idling while waiting to pick up kids. I’ve got so many ideas, though I also feel like curling up in a ball and crying until it all goes away. We did more blogging, then bed.

1 comment:

DaisyGiraffe said...

Georgia, I'm a board member with Como Friends. I heard all about you today on a tour of our own Polar Bear Odyssey. My husband and I are visiting Churchill next October so I'm enjoying your blog very much.