Friday, October 15, 2010

Day #5-Amazing Photos & Stories from Kathryn, our Arctic Ambassador


Inspirational! Unbelievable! Life-changing! These are only a few words to describe how incredible today was! Waking up in the morning in my small,warm bunk was very nice, but the huge gust of arctic wind I had to walk through to get to the dinning cart, was not! Still, the excitement of loading the tundra buggie up for our last tundra excursion was motivation enough to get ready in a hurry. The tundra was beautiful today! Clear skies, calming winds, and POLAR BEARS! Right from the get go we saw a big polar bear laying right beside the path! She was rolling around and chewing some of the bushes, as well as curling up to sleep, making the cutest picture ever!! It was incredible to see! Later we saw another polar bear in the distance. She was checking out some of the other tundra buggies! We were so jealous....until she started to walk our way. We all silently gasped in shock and anticipation! We were all quiet and smooched up against the side of the buggie with our cameras ready as she came to the side of our buggie! As she headed for the back of our buggie we all quietly ran to the outdoor observation deck of the buggie. I got the very corner, which turned out to be the BEST spot! Because as she curiously looked at us and sniffed the air, she walked up to the corner, where I was standing, and stood up and leaned against our buggie!! Her face, a very large and wild polar bear, was 2 feet from myself! She just looked straight into my eyes and stared. WOW! What an indescribable experience that was. Once you have had that silent, poignant connection with a wild polar bear, you develop this sort of inspired emotion that really cannot be described to anyone who has not had that experience. Polar bears, though strong and dangerous, are very gentle and curious creatures, with a sense of elegance about them. I consider myself extremely lucky to have experienced that connection, which will also allow me to bring that inspiration to people back home, to help spread the message of conservation. We also got to see 2 males fighting! It was so fantastic to see them up on their hind legs, pushing and playfully biting each other! What amazing creatures. It breaks my heart the think that these amazing animals could become extinct in my lifetime.
We also got to do something very rare and special; go out of the buggie and onto the tundra ground! It was then that i realized i had not been on the actual ground for over 24 hours! But it was very cool and special to feel the tundra under my feet and feel it's texture. We learned about the plants that live there and about the different liken that grow there. Luckily, no polar bears we around so we didn't have any encounter(although i was partly hoping!). When we got back to the lodge, we had a video conference with a 4th grade class! Each student came up to the camera and asked us a question which we then answered. They were so cute! It felt very cool to pass on our information and message about polar bears to the younger generation. We also talked to a 12th grade class, where i mentioned to them that they were at the prime age to be making a difference in climate change as they become the new leaders in our world.

Interesting fact of the day:
· Polar bears have huge neck muscles! They can pull a seal up from the water with just their necks and fling them around in the air to kill them. For humans, it would be the equivalent of throwing a huge bag of dog food into the air with juts our necks and teeth!
Tonight, we had the absolute pleasure of video conferencing with the president of PBI. He can be described as the funny, loud kind of guy with the ability to inspire an entire organization and 18 teens to the point of tears. He told us why our generation was so important to the future of our world and how this is our battle to fight. But it was the words that he used that lead us all to tears. Its hard to describe this to someone who hasn't been here to experience, first hand, what its like and actually see the affects of climate change, as well as seeing the animals it affects, but to us his speech gave us the motivation, inspiration, and sense of power and ability to go out and change the world! By the end of the speech, we were all in tears in a big group hug! His speech tied in perfectly when we then planned our group forward action plan. After 2 hours of discussing, coordinating, and planning we had all formed a group project called; "Green Across the Sea." Our goal is to significantly reduce the carbon levels in the atmosphere by getting a company or organization in each of our communities/countries to agree to reduce their carbon footprint by 5%, by Oct 16th of next year. Its very ambitions, but if successful, we will be able to make a huge difference! (Look for our website: Green across the Sea, by Nov 16th). I am so inspired to come back and show people how much one person can affect the world.
This is my last night in the tundra buggie lodge, as well as in Churchill :( One of things I've loved most of all about this trip, was the people. This group has literately become a family. We all get along equally in a judge-free environment. Everyone has been consistently positive and I've loved laughing and learning with all of them. We all have inside jokes and we are very famous for our group hugs! I couldn't feel more supported and connected with any other group. It is really awful to think I have to leave here tomorrow. If I could, I would stay here forever. But being here has given me so much which i know will stay with me no matter where I go.

-Kathryn Ravey

No comments: