There is so much going on in the world of polar bears that it is hard to keep up and stay afloat. Progress is being made with conservation, research, education, and leadership. The San Diego Zoo and its partner, Polar Bears International, have made drastic steps in the direction of leadership to try to make a difference for polar bears, their habitat, and their future.
Each year, Polar Bears International hosts Teen Leadership Camp and Keeper Leadership Camp in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Each year, the San Diego Zoo sponsors a young adult and a keeper to attend the camps (read posts from our 2009 Teen Arctic Ambassador, starting with Teen Arctic Ambassador Lives Life in the North). Each camp is a week-long experience full of lectures, discussions, observations of the bears, and the overall experience of being immersed in the atmosphere of the tundra.
This year, the two individuals representing the Zoo are dedicated to teaching and conservation. Rachel Juhnke is one of our very own Zoo Corps teens; she will be attending the Teen Leadership Camp with teens from the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Also traveling to Churchill is Hali O’Connor, one of our bear keepers here at the Zoo, who will be attending the Keeper Leadership Camp.
These two amazing ladies are going to be taking their journeys to the arctic tundra of Churchill this October and are going to come back with personal experiences that connect them to the polar bears and the understanding of why we need to help them. They promise to write about their experiences for blog readers, so check back often.
Kindra Maples is a Project Polar Bear coordinator for Polar Bears International and an educator at the San Diego Zoo.