Teen Arctic Ambassadors: Day 5

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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.

We started the day off with a lovely song from BJ and a wonderful breakfast of blueberry pancakes and maple syrup. Next, we set off on the tundra and watched a presentation from the Green Team regarding climate change. We burst into fits of laughter as the Orange Team performed their skit, which featured the evil, ignorant businessman.

In another special experience, we were given the chance to physically go down onto the tundra and learn about some of the plant life that the polar bear lives with, viewing it from their eye level. After this, we saw a polar bear coming toward us from across the tundra. We were fortunate enough to have the polar bear stand up, lean against the buggy, and come almost face to face with us. Polar bears have such sensitive hearing that they are more likely to hear a whisper than a loud bang. Kindra Maples, one of our inspirational facilitators, then told us to whisper to the polar bear and have that special moment with this animal. For us, seeing and hearing the polar bear and being close enough for us to feel its breath really sent the message home of why we are here.

After this amazing experience, we had to be pulled away from the polar bears to receive the equally inspiring experience of talking to students from a Canadian class of fourth grade students class and one of the ambassadors, Brenna Woods’, high school. It was very difficult to hold our concentration during these videoconferences with the arrival of two polar bears that enthralled us with their quirky behavior and the first snow fall on the tundra. The snow was a unique experience for the Australian team. Then another hour was spent viewing our resident polar bears spar, roll around, and dazzle us with their character.

The rest of the afternoon was spent creating our forward action plan, and through that we created the latest organization on the environmental front run by 2010 Teen Arctic Ambassadors, Green Across the Seas, which will focus on reducing carbon emissions in local and global organizations. Following this, we had a videoconference with Robert Buchanon, CEO of Polar Bears International, who highlighted the power of youth and challenged us even further to make our organization a powerful force in our communities. Robert believed we were truly going to make a difference as the Northern Lights shined on us during our stay in Churchill. The day was finished with John Gunter, general manager of Frontier North Adventures, providing us with a unique insight into ecotourism. He became our first official green pledge in the Green Across the Seas crusade!

All of these experiences have touched us in many ways and ensured our participation once we return home. From all the Arctic Ambassadors, thank you for providing the youth of tomorrow with inspiration to last a lifetime.
The Teen Arctic Ambassadors of 2010.