August 4, 2010

Expedition Update

Students look towards Parliament Hill

Good morning and welcome to the first daily journey update for the Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition 2010! Over the course of the next two weeks, we will be updating these pages with hundreds of photos, videos, and student journals – as often and as frequently as we can! We are also tracking the ship via our satellite GPS system and we will update the Expedition Team’s exact location and activities throughout their exciting journey! 

Things are certainly hopping here at SOI HQ! Last night, our students began arriving to Ottawa, Ontario Canada’s capital city – where they were met by our SOI staff at the airport and were whisked downtown to Encounters with Canada’s Terry Fox Centre where our team of participants will be staying before jetting north on our First Air charter flight to Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, on August 6th. But more on Kuujjuaq later!

The Terry Fox Statue across Wellington Street from Canada's Peace Tower

Today, as our students continue to arrive, they will join a team comprised of 80 participants from across Canada and around the world. Our facilities here in Ottawa are equipped with a many boardrooms, activity rooms, a restaurant, and of course, sleeping quarters! We will also have our Tech Team set up our computers, so that students can begin writing about their adventures.

Inuit Elder David Serkoak and SOI Education Program Director Tim Straka
with students and two of the 'Famous Five'

But the students will largely be out and about today, exploring Ottawa and getting to know one another, as well getting to know our Education Team members – all of whom arrived last night! The weather here in Ottawa has been beautiful this summer, and the weather for the next two days looks to be partly cloudy but warm and pleasant!

To learn more about our Education Team and our youth participants, visit our Expedition Team page for all of their biographies!

We would like to mention, too, that none of this would be possible without the assistance of many, many government, corporate and other philanthropic partners! To help us thank them – please visit our Partner Page and learn who’s making a difference in the lives of the leaders of today and the leaders of tomorrow!

As expected, here are some photos taken from last night's arrivals and student activities already taking place in Canada's Capital!

Students visit the Canadian Museum of Civilization!

Ice Breakers!

Zodiac Tag! - Look out for those Bergy Bits!

*Photos by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice*

Let the expedition begin!

Journal Entries:

Marine Riponi, Student
Terry Fox Center, Ottawa, Ontario 

La journee a ete affreusement longue ! D'abord parcequ'on attendait encore et encore entre les vols, dans les avions ...mais le pire a ete le probleme de d'avion pour atterir a Ottawa. A cause d'un orage, l'avion n'a pas pu atterir. Il a alors fait un detour, attendant que l'orage passe, puis il a finallement atterit a Toronto. Nous avons attendu dans l'avion que l'orage passe, puis on nous a dit q'une autre equipe devait “prendre le volant” de l'avion, et finallement que le vol etait annule et qu il fallait en prendre un autre.. on a dut recuperer les valises, les faire reenregistrer etc … heureusement, nous avons ete chaleureuse;ent acceuillie a ottawa par 3 membres du staff: Jeff, Scobie et Mike. Nous avons finalement survecu a 24h passees sans dormir, ayant hate de voir la journee du lendemain!


Aanchal Ralhan, Student

Terry Fox Center, Ottawa, Ontario 

Hey Everyone - So I arrived here in Ottawa today at 8 am, I was one of the first students to arrive and I came to the center with one other girl named Vera from Hong Kong! I'm meeting new people every hour, and its definitely one of the most exhilerating experiences ive ever faced, as these 77 other people will be my family for the next 2 and a half weeks! We also received SOI hats, American Apparel t shirts, Columbia Hoodies, and Brita Water Bottles! All these awesome sponsors making our trip that much more enjoyable! Later in the afternoon we went to the Canadian Civilization Museum, and looked at many exhibits! Off to bed now for an early rise at 6:30! Love you guys, Aanchal


Andrew Wong, Student

Terry Fox Center, Ottawa, Ontario 

Hello everyone back in Burlington and elsewhere! I have arrived in Ottawa where the expedition youth and team are joining together. We will spend tonight and tomorrow here ,briefing, and with pre-expedition preparation. But first, let me note how interesting it is when one has spent months and months thinking and waiting for such an amazing experience to begin, and finally, when the day has come, you can hardly believe you are here! The last twenty-four hours have been a blur; quite exhilirating actually! After a late night of packing (3AM), I boarded the train and waved a long goodbye to my parents who stood at the platform, their figures getting smaller and smaller as the train gained speed. During the train ride, I met a few fellow 'expeditioneers' (Moe and Fatin) and we chatted for the next six hours. Upon arriving in Ottawa, we were warmly welcomed by SOI staff who drove us to the Encounters at the Canada Terry Fox Centre where we are currently staying. It's dinner time soon, but let me say this: it's been a pretty hectic day so far but I remain extremely excited for each and every upcoming day! Right now, my excitement is certainly taking care of my tiredness! Two days until we fly to Nunavik! I can't wait! I'll keep you posted! Check back every day!


Carolyn St. Vincent, Student

Terry Fox Center, Ottawa, Ontario 

Today I left my hometown of Bristol, Rhode Island to venture out into the unknown.  Everything went pretty smoothly on the way here, besides the fact that Tristan and I sat in the wrong departure gate for about an hour before realizing. When we finally arrived at the Canadian airport we anxiously rushed up to the large group of students standing by the fountain. Thankfully we thought to make sure they were with the Students on Ice -because they weren't. Tristan and I would have became the newest additions to their national track team. (I run track in high school but nationals? I think that's pushing it).

The bus to Encounters was awkwardly quiet, and my new friend Connor clearly didn't like that. He tried getting me to sing “bus songs” but I refused because I didn't think it would be appropriate to show off my absolutely amazing voice (kidding, I have a horrible voice).

I have already learned so much! I never knew one could talk for hours about the one simple topic -water. In fact, it was brought to my attention that water is not simple at all. If I got anything out of our discussion it was “never drink distilled water!” Thanks Paul. I was also amused to seek the relations between water, the luge, debating, evolution, life and personal opinions. I cannot wait to face more of Paul's “challenges” during the remainder of my trip.  

Miss everyone a ton already! 


Fatin Chowdhury, Student         

Terry Fox Center, Ottawa, Ontario 

At 6:00 am today, I had finally finished my last minute packing and started my journey towards Ottawa from Mississauga. The sun was already up and as the GO train approached, I said farewell to my parents, my mom's hint of anxiety clearly apparent on her face. As much as she was excited for me, I could sense how tense she was; she told me “don't go anywhere dangerous, be safe!” The doors shut. Till then, I hadn't realized that I had barely slept the night before and my weary eyes fought off any urge to doze off as the excitement superseded any sign of exhaustion. During the train ride to Ottawa, I was able to talk and get to know two of the other students, Moe and Andrew. Once we started to talk about our expedition themes, arctic sovereignty issues, and our own experiences with environmental issues, I began to feel like I could clearly communicate my thoughts with them. We arrived at EWC around 2:30 pm where we were welcomed by SOI staff with warm smiles. I was eager to meet new people as there are students from all around Canada and the world. After settling down and satisfying our hunger, we were able to learn about each other more and talk about why we want to go to the Arctic. The day ended with a slideshow of the Arctic, a short glimpse of what we were about to see in a few days. Tomorrow's going to be a packed day!


Arctica Cunningham , Student

Terry Fox Center, Ottawa, Ontario 

I am having such an amazing time so far! It is only the first day, but we have done so much. I arrived at the Terry Fox Centre at 11:30 last night and crashed on my bunk, as everyone else was already asleep. This morning all the early arrivals began meeting each other over breakfast and various sports outside. We went on an amazing walking tour of Ottawa; highlights for me included seeing the “Changing of the Guards” and finding out that Canada has actually had one female Prime Minister! We all found a shady spot and ate lunch, getting temporary relief from the heat and humidity! We spent this afternoon at the Museum of Civilization,  and again I learned so much! I am having a fabulous time and I can't wait to see what we are going to do next!


Eirik Stein-Andersen, Student

Terry Fox Center, Ottawa, Ontario 

Hey everyone. I've just arrived in Ottawa at the Terry Fox Centre where we'll be staying for the first 2 days. I'm one of Norway's representatives on the trip. I was both excited and nervous when I arrived. I received my name tag and met some of the Students on Ice staff, who were all very helpful. I put my stuff by the bunk-bed and we immediately left for the Canadian Museum of Civilization. I also met some of the other students, who are all really cool. We got to see a play, and some exhibitions about the Inuit and First Nations. We went back to the Terry Fox Centre, and played some fun games. We ate dinner and had a meeting all together. It was really fun seeing all the different students. All in all it was a great day, and I'm super excited for the expedition.


Hannah Jacobs, Student

Terry Fox Center, Ottawa, Ontario 

Wow, what an amazing first day! With everyone arriving the excitement is high and the feeling of being on an expedition is coming back to me. I am thrilled to be a part of another Students On Ice adventure. I just want to send a big thank you to everyone that supported me and helped me achieve my dream of doing both polar regions in one year. I can't wait to dive full force into the expedition and absorb as much knowledge as possible! This time I will do my best to write everyday and keep everyone up to date.


Jonathan Alexander, Student

Terry Fox Center, Ottawa, Ontario 

Today was a pretty good day going on a tour around downtown Ottawa, and touring the By-Town Museum for the first time and walking around Parliament Hill, had lunch and meeting new people and going to the Canadian Museum of Civilization for the fourth time.


Meagan LeMessurier, Expedition Staff

Terry Fox Center, Ottawa, Ontario 

Hi Faithful Followers,

Today was the official start of the Students on Ice (SOI) Arctic Expedition Youth Expedition 2010.  I arrived yesterday at the Encounters with Canada (Terry Fox Center). We had an orientation with fellow staff and then headed to a wonderful dinner in New Edinburgh.

Today was a different day, due to some students arriving late Tuesday night some of us spent the day touring around downtown Ottawa with a quick lunch in the park and a tour of the Museum of Civilization.  It was a tiring day but very interesting.  Tonight we will be partaking in workshops, presentations, and officially meeting everyone involved in the expedition.

Tomorrow, the plan is to undertake a “speed-dating” like orientation with the students meeting the researchers, staff, and others for 15 minutes each. After that, an official launch is planned at the Canadian Museum of Nature, with the media (so keep an eye out).

I will write again tomorrow (I promise), and I hope everyone is doing well and having just as much fun as I am! 


Megan Schlorff, Student

Terry Fox Center, Ottawa, Ontario 

Today has been a very long, but fulfilling day.  I started my journey to the Terry Fox Centre in Ottawa at 3:20 am., which was very early but totally worth it.  I took two trains and then arrived in Ottawa around 2:00 pm.  I feel like the entire group has easily adapted and meshed together.  The staff members are enthusiastic and welcoming and are doing all they can to make this trip unforgettable.  You can really feel the energy from the participants and it is evident that the excitement is building.  I have started my journal and I am really looking forward to creating this keepsake.  We made some egg tempera in the journal workshop and I have added some to my journal doodles.  My goal is to fill my journal with as much “stuff” as possible, including paper, brochures, and other colourful objects.  I am excited to explore Ottawa tomorrow!


James Raffan, Expedition Staff

Terry Fox Center, Ottawa, Ontario 

Woah, Just had a good look at the expedition team list on the wall!  This is going to be a multi-national/jurisdictional extravaganza with just over a hundred actors!  Team members are floating in from all points of the compass and by an arresting array of conveyances… just had a conversation with Chrissy McCabe who arrived here in Canada from her home in New York City on a SEA DOO!  Go figger on that one… By the time everybody gets here, we’ll have representatives of at least seven countries—France, Hong Kong, Monaco, Norway, Tasmania (Go Scobie!), USA and Canada.  And, from across this great land, we’ve got eleven Nunavutmiut and representatives from every other territory and province except Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, including a record seven folk from Newfoundland and Labrador.   

As people arrive and marry their schedule with the SOI expedition ebb and flow, those who arrived earlier are out and about touring Ottawa and the Museum of Civilization, while the rest of us are doodling around the Ottawa base, getting to know each other as we keep house and serve as a meet-and-greet service for those walking through the doors with that wide-eyed mix of angst anticipation.  The crew’s coming together and it feels great!


Julie Hanson-Akavak, Student

On the Tarmac of the Esso Avitat at Macdonald-Cartier International Airport

Ottawa, Ontario

Today is Tuesday, I am sitting here in the FIRST AIR plane getting ready for takeoff to Ottawa, Ontario to meet all of our people that will be taking place on the Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition 2010. I am so excited and anxious to be chosen for this excellent trip. The weather here in Iqaluit is so beautiful, the sun is shining, and the water is calm. I am happy to experience this kind of trip. I have so many other spectacular events that will take place during my time on this earth and this is only the beginning. Things will only get better from here.


John Crump

It's been said often enough that the youth are the key to the future. That's why UNEP/GRID-Arendal is supporting the 2010 Students on Ice expedition to the Canadian Arctic. SOI is an award-winning organization that offers unique educational expeditions to the Antarctic and the Arctic.

The ship-based journey will explore the northern reaches of Nunavik and eastern Baffin Island, Nunavut. It will involve 79 students, aged 14-19, as well as an international team of staff, consisting of 35 scientists, historians, artists, elders, explorers, authors, educators, leaders, innovators and polar experts. Expedition participants include over 25 northern aboriginal youth, as well as students from China, Monaco, Norway, the United States and every region of Canada.

John will be writing updates from the Lubov Orlova as it sails through the Arctic waters, looking for whales, seals, polar bears, walrus, and seabirds and visits northern communities. The students will be learning about the effects of climate change on Arctic ecosystems; consider scientific and traditional knowledge system perspectives; and participate in 'hands-on' educational and research activities. Among other things, John will be talking about the Arctic in a Global Context and will focus on some of the similarities between what's happening in the far north and other regions of the world experiencing the effects of climate change.


Mike Jensen

Not much to report on today – I purposefully took a flight a day earlier than last year’s so that I could ensure I would get a full night’s sleep before the two weeks of insomnia starts. I took a morning flight to Ottawa that was fairly uneventful and arrived in Ottawa to pretty much the same temperatures and humidity that I had left in the ‘Peg. Got to the hotel, checked in, and immediately met up with Scobie Pye, one of my fellow SOI staffers from last year.

Scobie is the consummate adventurer – our Tasmanian devil, as we refer to him. And if you spend an afternoon and evening with him, you get regaled with every story imaginable. On the ship last year, his stories were legendary, told during the evening wind-ups. The students (and yes, even the staff who had heard them many times before) hung on every word. And today, I had the master storyteller all to myself. I spent hours listening to him spin yarns about his home in Tasmania, trips to Antarctica, and expeditions around Norway. His stories ranged from the hilarious (Zodiac mishaps) to the alarming (few polar bears spotted around the Norwegian coast this season). It was truly a relaxing and entertaining start to my journey this year.

Tomorrow is a relatively late start (8:15am). Getting picked up by the SOI staff and put to work preparing for the arrival of the remaining expedition staff. I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and meeting some new ones. Meetings, collaborative planning time and an all-staff dinner round out the day. And even some students from a few Northern communities will arrive! Can’t wait…

For now, sleep beckons. Good night!


Stay Tuned for Further Updates!


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