Sunday, January 27, 2013

Gypsy Life in Germany

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to spend some time with Norbert in Germany before heading back to the great white north. What an incredible experience. I wish I had a little more time to write about my experiences there, but a little eye candy will have to suffice. Thanks for the adventures Norbert, I look forward to many more in the future.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Churchill Reflections Part 3

Snow softly fell as the sun rose over the southern horizon. The sky was gray and bland, but an excitement stirred amongst the great white bears as they frolicked in one of their most cherished substances: snow. The first significant snow of the season blanketed the tundra. After three to four months of a snow-free tundra, the polar bears rubbed and rolled in delight, cleaning their fur and enjoying the cool sensations.

After Leadership Camp 2012 ended, our first week of Tundra Connections began. When I was first brought into the PBI family I had a difficult time grasping exactly what Tundra Connections was. BJ, head of field operations for PBI, would explain that we did live webcasts from the tundra, but it was hard to image what that really meant, and how it actually materialized.


Churchill Reflections Part 2

Colorful lichens and mosses decorated the tundra as September quickly turned to October. Larch trees held on to their last orange needles. Arctic foxes and hares could be spotted from a great distance, looking out of place in their sub-arctic home. Beluga whales were spotted in the mouth of the Churchill River nearly every day. It seemed hard to imagine that the lush, vivid environment I first experienced would soon become a vast frozen landscape in which only the most resilient of creatures could survive.

If there is one skill that I honed as a volunteer for PBI in Churchill it is the ability to roll-with-the-punches…

Churchill Reflections Part 1

An adobe fireplace flickered in the corner as I snuggled up on my grandparents’ couch over the holidays. My toes were comfortably nuzzled into my slippers from the Arctic Trading Post in Churchill, Manitoba. These slippers are one of my most cherished possessions. I take them with me wherever I go.
We flipped through a few photos from the fall. It has been just over a month since I returned from Churchill, where I volunteered for six weeks with Polar Bears International.
We paused. My grandmother asked, “So, of all the places you’ve been recently, which was your favorite?”
My face contorted into puzzled wrinkles. “I can’t pick a favorite… they’re all so different.”
Another pause. “Well… actually, Churchill. Definitely Churchill.”

Connecting with the Tundra

Soft shuffling brought me slowly to awareness as people began to stir and morning light began to tease the horizon. I crawled down from the top bunk of Buggy 8, barely able to crouch upright despite my 5’2” stature. Dawn cast a gentle purple glow across the barren tundra pools. I glanced at Lance over breakfast, sipping my coffee, “Quite a way to start the day…”