Here are some of the many news stories
that have been published related to the expedition!

Arctic adventure an eye opener

By Jenn McGarrigle - Nanaimo News Bulletin
Published: September 23, 2010 5:00 PM

While many of his friends were enjoying the weather in Nanaimo this summer, Carson Hardy was studying the flora and fauna in the Arctic.

The Dover Bay Secondary School graduate participated in the Aug. 4-20 Students on Ice Arctic Expedition 2010.

The expedition took about 80 students aged 14-19 on a tour of the northern reaches of Nunavik and eastern Baffin Island, Nunavut. Students were accompanied on the ship-based journey by about 30 world-renowned scientists, historians, artists, explorers, educators, leaders and polar experts.

On the trip, Hardy saw polar bears, whales and walruses. He got a first-hand look at how human activity is changing the environment and came back with a renewed determination to help.

“Lots of the talk on the trip was about climate change,” he said. “We saw first-hand what’s happening to the environment. I want to do as much as I can.”

Hardy, who began the environmental technology diploma program at Camosun College in Victoria this month, went on the trip to gain experience in his field.

He saw vast patches of grey rock with no lichen growing on them that used to be buried year-round under ice and snow, wore shorts and a T-shirt most days and visited some places, including Walrus Island, normally inaccessible due to ice.

Students were told about how less ice is having an effect on wildlife.

Polar bears, Hardy learned, swim to shore when the ice melts and then fast until the ice returns. When the ice season is shorter, it also shortens the polar bear’s hunting season and is causing them to eat different prey than normal, such as water fowl.

Hardy took water samples, studied different types of plankton in the ocean and helped with research on ocean currents by throwing bottles containing GPS trackers overboard at different locations.

“We threw more than 300 bottles with GPS co-ordinates over the side and depending on where they land, we can figure out what the ocean is doing,” said Hardy. “It was good experience.”

After completing his college program, Hardy plans to go into a career that focuses on ensuring B.C.’s natural resources are harvested sustainably.

He would also like to go on another trip with Students on Ice, which hosts voyages to the Antarctic for high school and university students.


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Eastport youth enjoys Arctic adventure

By Andrew Robinson, The Beacon

September 15, 2010

It was not quite as icy and cold as he may have anticipated, but Eastport’s Trent Powell certainly had a trip to the far north he’s unlikely to forget any time soon.

Mr. Powell, who’s entering Grade 10 this fall at Holy Cross School Complex, was one of 75 students who travelled to the Arctic Circle on The Polar Ambassador as part of the Students on Ice program.

The program gives young people like Mr. Powell the opportunity to experience the Canadian Arctic in the flesh, and to receive hands-on education on how climate change is impacting the environment, with particular emphasis on the polar ice caps.
The 16-day journey began on Aug. 4, where Mr. Powell met up with other students in Ottawa. There, the group visited the newly opened Canadian Museum of Nature.
On Aug. 6, he then boarded a plane that took him to Kuujjuaq in northern Quebec. When he first set foot in the Canadian north, the environment wasn’t quite what he expected.

“There was more trees than I expected to be where we first started our voyage,” he said, adding he had anticipated to encounter a more barren landscape.

“It wasn’t overly cold when we got there – probably 15 C or so. That really blew my mind that it was that warm in an area where it’s supposed to be 0 C that time of year.”
Conditions did not differ much as he travelled further north by boat, though there were some colder moments experienced during rainy weather at sea.

As part of his travels, Mr. Powell got to hear from a variety of guest speakers spanning many professions. They included CBC news anchor Peter Mansbridge, former Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Trevor Taylor, migratory birds conservation biologist Garry Donaldson, Arctic biologist, historian and documentary filmmaker David Gray, adventure photographer Lee Narraway, and Inuit elder David Serkoak, amongst others.

His favourite speaker was Jeannette Menzies, a foreign service officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade who also represents Canada on an Arctic Council Task Force.

“They discuss issues within the Arctic Circle,” he said, adding interested parties also include Scandinavian countries, Russia, and United States. With Ms. Menzies, he said the students took part in debates as part of a mock-Arctic Council.

Mr. Powell was also intrigued with Mr. Gray’s biology background, which he used to ask questions about wildlife and wildlife behaviour.

Melting glaciers trouble

His ultimate goal for the trip was to experience the affects of climate change in action, and this he accomplished when witnessing melting glaciers at Auyuittuq National Park on Baffin Island.

“The glaciers there, that used to be huge and reach all the way around the mountains, are now just barely at the tops of the mountains, and streams of water are gushing out from them,” said Mr. Powell.

The trip also provided the unique opportunity to see polar bears, walruses, and millions of seabirds.

Cape Dorset, Nunavut, proved to be Mr. Powell’s favourite stop on the trip. There, the group took part in activities associated with Inuit culture, including throat singing, games, and interesting culinary items, including raw seal.

“That was interesting. I wouldn’t recommend it – it’s not my favourite.”

People from Samoa in the south Pacific Ocean were also visiting Cape Dorset as part of a cultural exchange.

Another highlight was getting to mingle with the other students, who had come from as far away as the southern United States, Monaco, France, and Norway, as well as Canada.

Having now been there in person and listening to others talk about the Arctic, he said it seems all the more apparent to him that people need to take immediate action in order to help protect the environment from climate change.

“We have to change now, or the polar caps will melt,” said Mr. Powell.

He also said anybody who may be interested in taking in future Students on Ice endeavours should definitely give it a shot.


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Sailing towards an environmental career

Expedition allows teen to explore nature, up close and personal

By Sonia Mendes, Kitchissippi Times

September 9, 2010

As students head back to class and trade stories of their summer adventures, Nepean High School’s Patrick van Walraven might just hold the trump card amongst his classmates. The 16-year-old Faraday Street resident just returned from an actionpacked scientific expedition to the Baffin Island region – complete with close-range polar bear sightings, authentic throat singing presentations and trying new and
unusual foods. “I got to try eating raw seal meat,” says the softspoken teen with a smile. “It was cold and bloody and had a mild fishy taste to it, but I’m really glad that I tried it.” Van Walraven was one of four Ottawa-area teenagers that participated in the Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition 2010, a two-week voyage aboard a Russian Arctic exploration boat that explored the northern reaches of Nunavik and eastern Baffin Island. The journey involved nearly 80 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. “I really enjoyed David Gray’s skin and bones workshop,” says van Walraven when discussing the highlights of his trip. “We got to see animal skulls and learn about a variety of different animals.” Van Walraven says he first learned of the opportunity through Chris Drummond, his geography teacher at Nepean. Drummond recommended that van Walraven apply for a partial scholarship, and as a result he received $4,000 towards the cost of the trip – which was worth close to $10,000. “I raised almost $3,000 on my own – through the support of my family and with the help of community leaders
and businesses,” says van Walraven. He’s quick to add that his mom helped a lot with preparation and fundraising. Along the way, van Walraven had the opportunity to
learn about glaciers and icebergs – with lessons from scientific experts. “Most of the adults on the trip worked in the environmental field,” explains van Walraven. “Following our explorations every day, we’d get back on the boat and the adults would give presentations about what they did and their areas of expertise.” One such expert was Paul Hamilton, an employee of the Canadian Museum of Nature who studies diatoms,
or microscopic plants. Now that the trip has concluded, the students themselves
are also encouraged to share their stories. Van Walraven says he plans to present at his school auditorium as well as the community legion, likely sometime in October.
Most importantly, the trip has reinforced his resolve to continue his scientific studies.
“I know for sure that I definitely want to work somewhere in the environment,” says van Walraven of his aspirations. “I’m also interested in engineering, so I need to figure out exactly how I’m going to combine the two.”


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Once in a life time experience

By Roxanna Thompson, Northern News Services

September 2, 2010

DEH GAH GOT'IE KOE/FORT PROVIDENCE -- A Fort Providence youth has had a once in a lifetime experience in the waters of the eastern Arctic.

Bradley Thom of Fort Providence examines a water sample for the presence of algae while on board an ice class vessel in the eastern Arctic as part of the Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition. (Photo courtesy of Students on Ice-Lee Narraway)

Bradley Thom, 14, won a scholarship to spend 14 days with 75 other students on an ice class vessel as it sailed in Hudson Strait along the eastern coast of Baffin Island. Students on Ice organized the Arctic youth expedition.

The Gatineau, Quebec-based organization sends students, educators and scientists from around the world to both the Arctic and Antarctic to foster a new understanding and respect for the planet. Thom was encouraged to apply for the opportunity by his school's principal Lois Philipp.

"I thought it would be an awesome experience and once in a lifetime," he said.

Participating in the program from Aug. 4 to 20 confirmed Thom's goal of becoming a marine biologist.

On board the ship, students participated in presentations and workshops on a variety of topics led by a team of 34 scientists, historians, artists, explorers and polar experts. Thom always chose the science workshops and was particularly interested in those led by Paul Hamilton, a researcher at the Canadian Museum of Nature who specializes in the study of algae and water quality.

Thom said he learned the planet is coming out of an ice age and is getting warmer as a result but that human activity is amplifying the warming trend threefold.

"The water is really the life of the planet and if that changes it's going to effect everything else," he said.

During the workshops and trips to the land Thom had the chance to test the pH levels of glaciers by collecting samples in glacier-fed rivers. He also tested for minerals in the water.

"I like science," he said.

Thom also has stories to tell about hiking on an island filled with Arctic mur nesting sites.

"It was awesome, I've never seen so many birds in my life," he said.

Another side trip allowed Thom and the other students to see hundreds of walruses resting on an island. Some were pink from sunburn, Thom said.

Thom also enjoyed meeting the international students on the expedition who came from countries including Monaco, Norway, France Hong Kong and the U.S. He also had the chance to meet a Canadian celebrity.

Peter Mansbridge was on board the ship for a week with his son who was one of the participants. Mansbridge shared information about the media and how to engage people and share your message. On the ship Mansbridge was like any normal person but when the ship stopped at Cape Dorset he was a celebrity again, said Thom.

Thom said he will encourage other students from Fort Providence to apply for future expeditions. Students on Ice's goal is to bring students together to connect with nature by immersing them in an education program outside of the classroom setting, said Reina Lahtinen, the organization's operations manager.

Bringing students to the polar regions fuels their interests and helps change their behaviours to be more environmentally aware. Participants are expected to go home and engage other students with their new knowledge, Lahtinen said.

"It's to encourage them to get out there and get involved," she said.

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Jacob Swan and Khloe Heard, student participants on the Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition 2010 (Photo: Tristan Paine.)

Window to the Arctic's past

By Khloe Heard, Student, Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition 2010

Special to The Calgary Herald

September 2, 2010

From August 4th to August 20th 2010, I was one of the few lucky people on a Russian Ship travelling to the Arctic.

We started the expedition in Kujjuayk which is the very northern tip of Quebec.

It was one of the most exciting moments of my life. I was very excited for the whole journey to start, I did not really know what to expect. But my expectations were blown away!

The students were all very friendly and excited and just easy to get along with. The staff on the trip were the most friendly and interesting people. They loved answering our questions and they asked us questions as well. It was nice to talk to people who are specialized in so many different areas and to be able to experience everyone's knowledge.

Throughout the expedition we took Zodiac tours to different islands and towns. One such tour was a tour of Diana Island. I think it was one of the most memorable stops for me because of what I learned.

What got me really excited about this excursion was the conversation I had with Paul Hamilton, a Phycologist who works at the Canadian Museum of Nature, about the sediment at the bottom of the rivers and ponds in the Arctic. I learned that you could take core samples from the bottom of lakes similarly to core samples you take from trees or ice.

These samples are made up of layers, each layer represents one year at the bottom of the lake. Scientists can take samples with up to 10 000 layers a.k.a. 10 000 years of information about the climate, biodiversity and overall health of the ecosystems.

These samples are around three and a half meters thick! They start by drilling through the ice (which is up to a few meters thick) then they insert a Livingston Corer into the ground and then push a series of tubes down the corer, these tubes are all part of a collar system. Then they extract the tubes from the ground and store the samples. These samples can show us if it was a good water year, a good mating year and how much the temperature has changed throughout the year.

I think that I found this one of the most exciting things I have learned on the trip because I had no idea that you could tell so much from the sediment on the floor of water bodies.

This expedition has taught me so much. I have seen extraordinary sights and met some fantastic people. I am so happy that I have been presented with the opportunity to not only experience the Arctic, but to share my experiences with everyone on the ship as well as people in my community and city. I experienced the awe-inspiring scenery, a diverse community of people and I learned more than I ever expected I would.

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Jacob Swan, student participant on the Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition 2010 (Photo: Tristan Paine.)

The place 'that never melts'

By Jacob Swan, Student, Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition 2010

Special to The Calgary Herald

September 2, 2010

My most memorable moment of the Arctic expedition was the day we hiked to the Arctic Circle in Auyuittuq National Park. Auyuittuq National Park is situated at the end of the Pangnirtung Fjord on the east coast of Baffin Island. The day is August fifteenth.

After a 5:30 wake up call and meagre breakfast of toast and fruit, we loaded into the Zodiacs and headed toward our shore landing. After a team stretch at the wardens hut, we set off towards the Arctic Circle at half past seven. After wading through muddy riverbeds, and trekking across open tundra, we reached our first set of stream crossings. While the chilly water was only ankle deep on the outward leg; on the return journey later in the afternoon the water had risen to waist deep. This was due to the melting of the glaciers high above us on the mountaintops. A place that never melts was on the verge of melting.

That first glacial stream was only the first of many river crossings to be had that day. Of the 25 km we hiked that day, 20 of them I hiked with cold, wet, clammy feet. I'm not complaining though, because the hike was fantastic. After the tundra, we climbed up a rocky outcrop and continued our hike through the unexpected environments that would follow.

While glaciers stood majestically on the mountains circling the pass, the environment down near the Weasel river was much more extreme. I knew the arctic received little precipitation in the form of rain, but I did not expect to be hiking through desert. Instead of tundra, it was sand dunes stretching from the riverbed to the cliff face. As we reached the final bend, we could see in the distance an Inukshuk marking the Arctic Circle.

As we hiked the final leg, excitement overcame the exhaustion. After a packed lunch and team building exercises, we became members of the Arctic Swim Team by swimming in the glacier fed river. It was freezing!

After drying off in the cool breeze, we began the long haul back to our Russian expedition ship, the M/V Lyubov Orlova. Along the way, I reflected on the memories I had collected from the expedition so far, but also thought of how much I was beginning to miss the comforts of home after spending 14 days on the Arctic Ocean. As we began to near our final destination, I took in the sights and sounds of the pass.

The most amazing sight of the day had to be the waterfalls plummeting off the glaciers down to the valley below. Because it was low tide, we had to make our way across the tidal pools to get to the Zodiacs and I was nearing exhaustion. My legs were beginning to feel like lead, but I marched on through the pain and finally we made it after nine hours of hiking. After a hearty meal to lift our spirits, all the students and staff stumbled off to their cabins to get a good nights sleep.

As I lay in bed, reality set in and I began to realize that as the land that never melts continues to contradict itself, that I may be one of the last people to witness the beautiful glaciers that overlook this valley, as well as one of the last to see the Arctic in such a pristine state. As we begin to realize the full consequences of global warming, this visit to the arctic has ignited a passion within me to protect the poles and protect our planet.

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Calgary teens get 'warm' welcome in Arctic
Students On Ice

By Jennifer McDougall, The Calgary Herald

September 2, 2010

Glaciers, mountains, waterfalls. Caribou, polar bears, sea birds.

It is these images Calgary teens Khloe Heard and Jacob Swan are describing to friends and family following their return from a two week expedition to the Arctic.

Khloe says her trip expectations were blown away. Not only were the hands-on lessons amazing, the people she met from around the world were "really friendly and fun to hang around with."

Geoff Green, Expedition Leader and Executive Director of Students on Ice says having extraordinary staff and students ranging in age from 11 -81 is only one of the many reasons this trip was amazing. "They really jelled as a team quite quickly."

Fabulous weather only added to the experience. "We had ten days in a row of blue sky and calm seas -- mostly T-shirt and shorts weather. On one hand, we could enjoy the lovely weather, but on the flip side, it was definite evidence that the Arctic is warming." The group saw no sea ice at all, which was a first for Green, who has been travelling to the Arctic for 17 years.

Green says his trips used to be more about witnessing the beauty of the north but now they are shaped by an increasingly complex combination of issues.

Sovereignty matters, future economic development and environmental concerns were at the heart of many discussions and presentations.

With news anchor Peter Mansbridge on the team this year, Green says the group had their very own National every night where they could discuss the issues.

"Suddenly, the arctic is a hotbed of activity and these students need to know about what's going on up there."

Jacob was affected by the presentations and what he saw first-hand. "One day, we saw nine polar bears on a 1km stretch of island and another day we saw about 40 bowhead whales from the ship."

The expedition provided incredible variety for the students. One day they hiked 25km to the Arctic Circle while on another, they sampled seal meat and Arctic char in a northern community.

Students swam in the Arctic Ocean and, at one point, the on-board pool was filled with sea water to allow for a pool party.

Jacob says it was interesting to speak with Inuit students.

He learned how people in their communities have to adapt to changes in the environment. For example, their reliance on shipped food increases as the ability to hunt from flow ice diminishes.

With artists, musicians, and photographers in addition to scientists on board, students had a rare opportunity to explore nature from a new perspective.

Working with specialists on board was inspiring, says Jacob, as they were eager to share their passion and knowledge.

With so much teaching being done on the ship, "the experience definitely solidified my decision to become a teacher," says Khloe.

The expedition is bound to motivate young people, says Green.

"It manifests itself in different ways. A lot of kids have a clear idea and (the expedition) helps them with their career plans, in other cases it inspires them on the environment front and how they can make a difference as a community member in their relationship with planet Earth."

By watching alumni build their own futures, he has witnessed the profound impact the trip can have and how it becomes one of the things that may define a student's future.

At the very least, Green believes that teens who receive this remarkable opportunity at such a formative time in their life develop a much deeper connection to the natural world and a deeper understanding of the Earth.

Whether students are witnessing the Northern Lights or standing metres away from 1000 walruses, they are filled with awe and wonder, he says.

"You feel something that you don't feel at home. You watch the kids in the silence and you just know they are being affected by the power of that place."

For more information, go to

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Arctic adventure is only tip of the iceberg for teen

By Rob Brown, The Winnipeg Free Press

Uliana Kovaltchouk poses at national historic site, Kekerton Island, the location of the massacre of thousands of bowhead whales. (Photo: Supplied by Uliana Kovaltchouk)

Special to The Winnipeg Free Press

A Sisler High School graduate spent her 18th birthday discovering Canada’s great white north.

Garden City resident Uliana Kovaltchouk spent 16 days in August exploring Nunavik and Nunavut, including portions of Baffin Island.

Kovaltchouk joined 70 other students as well as a team of scientists, explorers, authors and educators as part of the 10th annual Students on Ice expedition from Aug. 4 to 20.

She didn’t have much time to prepare for her sojourn after not learning about the arctic adventure until early June.

"I submitted an essay about my passion for the environment. After about two weeks I was interviewed over the phone by an expedition leader and a journalist," she said.

It wasn’t too long later she was told to pack her bags. Kovaltchouk said she wasn’t really sure what to expect, which made packing problematic.

"I did a lot of reading about the region’s flora, fauna and wildlife and talked to alumni who had been on the trip previously," she said.

Kovaltchouk and her fellow travellers began their journey in Ottawa, where they spent time getting to know each other and learning how to work together.

They also had an opportunity to speak with veteran CBC journalist Peter Mansbridge.

"He has so many amazing stories. During his talk he noted we were the next generation and that we could end up prime minister, or leaders of World Wildlife Fund or Greenpeace," she said.

The group then flew to Kuujjuaq, located along Quebec’s northern shore, where it boarded the ship the Polar Ambassador.

"We were told not to get lost behind our cameras and to very much live in the moment," Kovaltchouk said.

Students took part daily in shore landings, hikes, community visits, Zodiac cruises and exploration. Presentations, workshops, seminars and research activities were also incorporated into the 16-day adventure.

Another highlight for Kovaltchouk was celebrating her 18th birthday aboard the Polar Ambassador.

"My birthday was on Aug. 12. We had already by this point become a close-knit family and everyone was extremely happy for me," she said. "That evening we all went outside and were given a brilliant show of northern lights and shooting stars. I don’t think I could have asked for a better way to enter adulthood."

Kovaltchouk said one of the best parts of the trips was the hands-on experience she and her fellow students gained.

"We did lots of field work, such as testing oxygen and pH levels of the water. We conducted research projects (and) learned about the cultures," she said.

"It was a constant learning experience and there were small moments of personal learning and experiences throughout the trip."

Kovaltchouk said that in addition to collecting scientific and cultural knowledge, she gained a different perspective on the world around her.

"One of the most profound changes for me was I never viewed the environment as a living being," she said. "During the last night on the ship we saw some great northern lights and this really personalized the environment for me."

Kovaltchouk still has plenty of learning ahead of her. She plans to study environmental science at the University of Manitoba.

"The environment is important because it is not a remote area but my front yard, the park down the street, even the street itself," she said.

"It is not a place ‘out there.’ It is all around us and we all live in it every single day."

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Local teen on top of the world

By Dan Schell, Barry's Bay This Week

September 1, 2010

It was a cold, wet, smelly but amazing experience for young Alyssa Borutski.

The Madawaska Valley High School graduate just arrived home on August 20 from an Arctic expedition of a lifetime with students her age from across the globe.

"It was definitely the trip of a lifetime, that's for sure," she says.

Borutski was just one of close to 80 students who took part in the Students On Ice Arctic Youth Expedition, and organization that has sent hundreds of young people from all over the world to the Arctic Circle to experience the wildlife and culture of Canada's great white North.

This year's expedition held significant clout being the International Year of Youth and Biodiversity, with a global focus on the Polar Regions of the globe; as a result, the trip has been touted as one of the most comprehensive youth expeditions ever undertaken in the Arctic.

Her adventure began on August 4 where she met with other participants that were taking part in this unique adventure.

After they were given their training and background on the environment they were about to enter, Borutski was flown to Northern Quebec where they boarded Zodiac boats to the Polar Ambassador, the large vessel that they would call home for the next 17 days.

Joining her on the trip along with the students was CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge who was invited to join the number of the experts that took part in the trip.

"It was great, he was such a down to earth guy," she says.

Though it was amazing to meet all the new students and guides and talk about the experience that was ahead of them, she says that not all was smooth over the first day. Hitting waves up to 16 feet in size, it was very common to see some uneasy faces across the ship.

"Our Russian ship was nicknamed the Roll Over because it was so common to see people get sick on the ship with the waves," says Borutski. "It took a while to get the sea legs, but once you got them after the first day it was a lot easier."

Sickness was a worthwhile and small hurdle to overcome with the adventures that awaited the team of youth who traveled to several parts of the most Northern part of this nation to study wildlife and the biology of the area.

Seeing what the team called the Arctic Five: whales, polar bears, caribou, walruses and muskox; Borutski says it was incredible to witness first hand the beauty of a rarely seen part of Canada and the animals that resided there.

One thing was clear to her; the animals felt very comfortable and made a very smelly home in the Arctic.

"One of the islands that we visited was just full of hundreds of walruses which was a sight to see, though the smell of all of them together was not the greatest," says Borutski.

Wildlife and the environment were not the only focuses of the trip. The team also had the chance to experience Inuit culture first hand with their visit to Pangnirtung, or as it is known by many who have been there "The Pang."

It was here that she had the pleasure of being greeted by a community who showed hospitality in their traditional way.

Partaking in a community meal comprised of the successful hunt of one of the local youth, the team was able to learn of the way of life of the North that she says was an eye-opening encounter.

"It is amazing how excited they were to see new people in the community, it does not happen a lot when you live that far North and only planes and ships can get you there and get you out," she says. "It was hard to understand, but they were an amazing community."

"The youth had such a genuine respect for the elders of their community which was touching to see."

The highlight of the trip for Borutski was the amazing opportunity she had to take part in a 25-kilometer hike through extreme conditions to the Arctic Circle.

With large rocks to climb over and glacier cold rivers to wade through, the what appeared to be a short hike was more arduous than what it appeared to be on paper but was worth being soaked from head to toe.

"When we finally got to the destination, I was so happy I just jumped into the river and went for a swim," she says. "It was a memory I will always keep close."

Having the chance to travel to the Arctic Circle and see the different wildlife and environment that surrounded the area as a gratifying experience that will not only provide great memories but also help in her future career.

Her next adventure will be jumping on a plane to Halifax, Nova Scotia where she will be attending Dalhousie University in the Biomedical program.

"Studying some of the wilderness health stuff with experts on this trip really made me feel comfortable in what I am going to study," she says. "I can't wait."

One thing is for sure for Borutski, Halifax is not going to be her last travel.

She says that after her once in a lifetime travel to the Arctic Circle, she has the travel bug and will be going on more adventures to see the world.

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CBC Radio Canada

August 25, 2010

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Quand l'Arctique devient salle de cours

le Journal de Montréal

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Get to know your Arctic

By Elizabeth Payne, The Ottawa Citizen

August 15, 2010

Governor General Michaëlle Jean became both a folk-hero and a lightning rod for controversy when, on a trip to the Arctic last year, she gutted a freshly slaughtered seal, and ate its heart. Her action was aimed at supporting seal hunters, but it served another purpose. It drew attention to Canada's vast, beautiful Arctic. Like other governors general, Jean was calling Canadians north.

Her predecessor, Adrienne Clarkson, also spent time in the far north as governor general -- so much so that her budget was slashed by MPs after she took 59 prominent Canadians on a tour of Arctic nations that was supposed to cost $1 million, but ballooned to five times that amount. Clarkson's response to a question about Jean and the seal heart had a dismissive, been-there-done-that tone. "I've eaten raw food here since 1971. It's nothing new to me."

But the north is forever new and remote to most Canadians, who -- despite pleas from governors general and others -- are about as likely to travel there as they are to spend March break aboard the space shuttle. Cost is the biggest barrier.

This year, I am lucky enough to get to visit communities near the top and the bottom of the world, as part of a research project on remote birth. But the relative cost of flights to Australia and Nunavik, the northern tip of Quebec, has given me a new insight into the difficulty of getting more Canadians to see and appreciate Canada's Far North at a time when it is needed most.

In late June, I flew to three communities in Australia, beginning with Sydney, which is almost 16,000 kilometres from Ottawa. Next month, I will travel to three communities in Nunavik, beginning with Salluit at the northern most tip of Nunavik, a community built on a fjord that has been described to me as the most beautiful place on Earth.

Nunavik is just a fraction of the distance from Ottawa that Sydney is -- about 1,500 kilometres -- but it will cost more to fly there than it did to travel to Australia, half-way around the world.

A story in the Globe and Mail last year touted a nascent adventure travel and scuba diving business in Puvirnituq on the shores of Hudson Bay in Nunavik. The wildlife experience it offers is like few others in the world, but when you can fly to the Great Barrier Reef for less money than you can get to Arctic Quebec, the business will be a tough sell.

This is a time of rapid change in Canada's Far North. Melting ice means more development and exploration is feasible every year in places where it was once impossible. The federal government is also looking north to defend Canada's sovereignty in parts of the Arctic that are suddenly rich in accessible resource wealth.

And we are also increasingly aware of the fragility and richness of wildlife in the north, not to mention threats to a way of life for Inuit who still hunt on the land and in the sea. But to most southern Canadians, it remains the remote top of the map, a place where their known world ends.

That is a shame -- now more than ever. In order to appreciate and want to protect a place, you have to know it. That was the message tour operators at Australia's Great Barrier Reef hammered home when I visited there. The World Heritage reef is an international treasure that is under increasing threat from climate change, among other things. They believe that the more people know about the reef, the more likely they are to appreciate its significance and to make sure it is protected. The same is true of the Arctic. The better southern Canadians get to know it, the more likely they are to make sure it is protected from the wrong kind of development.

Which doesn't mean that tours of southern Canadians should be unloading at Rankin Inlet or Grise Fiord.

But helping southern Canadians get to know the north is something the federal government, agencies and non-profit organizations should consider as an investment in the future of Canada.

Students on Ice, which is currently in the midst of a 16-day journey into the far north with 78 high-school students from around the world -- including three from Ottawa -- as well as scientists, historians, artists, elders, educators and others, is an excellent model for how this can be done. The program is partly funded by the federal government, but has other supporters including the Prince of Monaco. The educational trip will take students through Hudson Strait and Baffin Island as well as to Auyuittuq National Park. They will see melting glaciers and ice-free waterways.

"Ultimately, our goal is for students to experience a transformative connection with nature -- a connection that changes the way they understand and act in this world," the organization's website says.

Official visits by governors general have played an important role in raising awareness about Canada's often overlooked northern half. But students will ultimately be more effective ambassadors for the north.

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Kim Aubut Demers a trouvé une excellente façon de se rafraîchir cet été. Elle participe présentement à une expédition de 16 jours en Arctique avec l’organisation Students On Ice.

By Pascale Lablanc, Courrier Ahuntsic

August 12, 2010

La jeune Ahuntsicoise fait partie d’un groupe de 79 étudiants composé principalement de Canadiens, mais qui inclut aussi des Français et des Américains. Ils sont accompagnés d’une trentaine de scientifiques, d’éducateurs, d’historiens, d’artistes, d’explorateurs, d’écrivains et de spécialistes des régions polaires. «Ils seront un peu comme des professeurs à l’école. Ce sont des gens qui ont voyagé beaucoup. En plus d’être nos guides, ils vont nous apprendre plusieurs choses», expliquait Kim avant son départ.
Diplômée du collège Mont-Saint-Louis, elle poursuit ses études en sciences de la nature au Cégep de Saint-Laurent. Captivée par les sciences, particulièrement la biologie, c’est son intérêt pour ce domaine qui lui a permis d’obtenir une bourse pour participer à ce périple. «J’en ai entendu parler par l’entremise de la biologiste Pascale Otis, qui participe au voyage. J’ai envoyé ma candidature et j’ai reçu une bourse partielle. C’est une chance pour moi de découvrir les gens et la nature de ce secteur», mentionnait l’étudiante de 18 ans.
À bord du brise-glace Students On Ice Polar Ambassador, les participants suivent un itinéraire tracé au sud et à l’est de l’Île de Baffin. À partir du bateau, ils empruntent un Zodiac afin de fouler les terres arctiques. Jusqu’au 20 août, ils exploreront cette région glaciale, participeront à des activités de recherches et à des randonnées d’interprétation. De plus, ils visiteront des communautés inuites pour entre autres discuter de l’impact des changements climatiques sur le mode de vie de ce peuple. «Il s’agit d’une expérience de terrain incroyable. Nous allons pouvoir échanger avec les jeunes là-bas. Je vois ça très positivement», indiquait-elle avec enthousiasme.

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Teens eager to explore Arctic


By Jennifer McDougall, The Calgary Herald

August 12, 2010  

Jacob Swan,  16, and Khloe Heard, 18, both of Calgary, are taking part in an  Arctic expedition this month with the award-winning organization  Students on Ice.

Jacob Swan, 16, and Khloe Heard, 18, both of Calgary, are taking part in an Arctic expedition this month with the award-winning organization Students on Ice. (Photograph by: Dean Bicknell, Calgary Herald, For Neighbours)

Last week, two Calgary teens left their homes to join seventy-six other students aboard an ice breaker ship.

Along with chaperones, scientists, researchers, historians, artists, elders, explorers, authors, educators, innovators and polar experts, these young people make up the 10th annual summer Students on Ice Expedition team.

The group gathered in Ottawa before flying to Kuujjuaq, on Quebec's northern shore where they will board the ship.

From there they will explore the communities of Nunavik (the northern third of Quebec) before crossing the Hudson Strait to discover eastern Baffin Island in the territory of Nunavut. The return trip includes a journey up the Pangnirtung Fjord and into Auyuittuq National Park.

With an eye on a future career in zoology, sixteen year old participant Jacob Swan says, "I love the idea of working with animals everyday and helping to protect them."

He has a particular interest in observing northern wildlife in their natural habitat while on the expedition. Jacob and his companions will encounter whales, seals, polar bears, walrus, and seabirds and learn about the effects of climate change on Arctic ecosystems. Jacob says, "Going to the Arctic, into a barren environment will be the polar opposite from the way I live every day. Seeing a new way of life will impact how I live my life."

Temperatures are expected to be between -10 and +10 degrees Celsius. Parkas may not be needed in the summer months but wind gear is a must, says Maggie Crump, Media Coordinator with SOI.

Students are encouraged to consider how to increase awareness about climate change and environmental degradation within their local communities upon their return. Several scholarships are awarded to students who show interest in sustainability and those who have already lead environmental initiatives in their communities or schools. More than 80% of participating students fundraise or receive scholarships to cover the $10,000 per person cost, says Crump.

Jacob's cousin Khloe Heard, 18, will also be aboard the ice breaker.

Having graduated from St. Francis High School this spring, she is looking forward to meeting people from across the country "interested in the same things as I am."

While Khloe has travelled to several European countries, this trip will be unlike anything she has done before. She has prepared herself by accessing the extensive Students on Ice website which documents past adventures (

Khloe grew up visiting galleries as her mother is an artist, so one aspect of the trip she is eager to embrace is discovering the art of Inuit communities. This is only one example of how the trip goes beyond the physical and natural world to teach about the history and traditions of distant societies.

Khloe says the unique educational format on the ship will provide "a really good introduction to my studies next year."

Khloe will begin university by focusing on biosciences then moving into education.

"This experience will help ground me in different types of education (as opposed to) sitting in a classroom. Meeting people from other cultures may prepare me to teach internationally or up north."

The SOI approach to learning weaves together exciting shore landings, interpretive hikes, community visits, Zodiac cruises, and ship-based exploration.

During Christmas, SOI travels to the Antarctic. Since 2000, SOI has welcomed more than 1,500 participants from over forty countries on these unique expeditions.

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Grâce à une bourse de Youth Science Canada

De Sainte-Victoire, Estelle Simon voyage au coeur de l’Arctique

Patrick Turgeon
Les 2 Rives - 10 août 2010

Après la Sainte-Oursoise Évelyne Arpin au mois d’août 2009, voilà qu’une deuxième jeune femme de la région visitera l’Arctique au cours des 14 prochains jours. Estelle Simon, âgée de 17 ans de Sainte-Victoire-de-Sorel, s’est envolée vers Kuujjuaq, en milieu de semaine dernière, afin de participer au programme Students One Ice. Une expérience qu’elle souhaite inoubliable dans ce monde à découvrir de l’Île de Baffin vers l’Arctique. Elle reviendra sur la terre ferme le 20 août.

À bord d’un brise-glace, Mme Simon, qui entreprendra à son retour des études au Cégep de Sorel-Tracy en Sciences de la Nature, y passera deux semaines et demie en compagnie de 82 autres jeunes de partout dans le monde et d’une trentaine de membres d’équipage, des scientifiques, des médecins et des experts en matière de conditions climatiques, d’environnement, de biologie, de flore et médias. Ils seront 120 à partager sur un monde peu visité. «Il s’agit pour moi d’une chance inouïe de prendre part à des échanges avec des scientifiques de renommée et d’approfondir mes connaissances face aux changements climatiques pour mieux trouver des solutions aux problèmes que l’Arctique et ses occupants rencontrent», a-t-elle confié lors d’un entretien la veille de son départ.

Mme Simon y participe car elle a entendu l’appel lancé par un éducateur scientifique lors de l’Expo Sciences pancanadienne, à Peterborough, au printemps. Il précisait aux jeunes : engagez-vous et venez sur notre bateau. Mme Simon a choisi de tenter l’essai et de s’inscrire pour l’obtention d’une bourse de 10 000$. Elle a finalement été choisie. «Depuis plusieurs années, je participe à des Expo-Sciences et me démarque assez bien à travers le pays. J’ai eu la chance de faire plusieurs voyages par le biais de ces concours. Ce printemps, j’ai soumis ma candidature à une bourse de Youth Science Canada qui me permettait de participer à l’expédition avec Students On Ice. Après avoir rempli 0de nombreux formulaires et documents, deux autres Canadiens et moi-même avons été sélectionnés.»

Protéger les pôles et la planète

Intitulé «Protégez les pôles, protégez la planète», Students One Ice est une organisation qui offre des expéditions éducatives uniques en leur genre en Antarctique et en Arctique. Le mandat des organisateurs est d'offrir à des étudiants, éducateurs et scientifiques des quatre coins du monde, l'occasion de vivre des expériences éducatives inspirantes aux deux extrémités de la terre, tout en l’aidant à développer une compréhension et un respect plus grand pour la planète. «J’aurai les oreilles grandes ouvertes pendant toute la durée du voyage. Je vais me laisser guider par les différents apprentissages reçus et les découvertes que je ferai. Je veux en profiter au maximum, car ce n’est pas chaque jour qu’on peut vivre pareille expérience», admet-elle. À bord du navire ou dans des zodiacs conçus pour les expéditions nordiques en zone peu profonde, la jeune scientifique, visitera des communautés Inuits, discutera avec ces gens qui vivent isolés et avec bien peu de ressources, verra de près des Icebergs, des fleurs du Nord, des animaux sauvages dont des ours polaires et des morses, admirera des paysages magnifiques et franchira le cercle polaire. «Le but de cette expédition, c’est d’analyser les effets des changements climatiques et la fonte des glaciers sur le territoire arctique. Je m’attends à tout et à rien à la fois. Je m’attends à tout apprendre car il s’agit pour moi d’un monde inconnu. Je m’attends aussi à rien car je ne m’y suis jamais rendue», a-t-elle renchéri, soutenant aussi qu’elle aura sûrement du temps pour réfléchir sur son quotidien.

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Manotick student heads north

By Daniel Nugent-Bowman, Your Ottawa Region

August 10, 2010

CBC-TV anchor Peter Mansbridge speaks to some of the people who will travel to Canada’s North on a 17-day expedition at the Canadian Museum of Nature on Aug. 5. (Photo: Daniel Nugent-Bowman)

She’s been all over the world, but Carly Roome knows she’s never quite been to anywhere like the Arctic.

The Manotick native is among a group of 79 students from around the world who departed for Canada’s North on Aug. 5 as part of a 17-day expedition run by Students on Ice.

It aims to teach youth about issues affecting the Arctic – namely the environment and culture preservation.

Prior to leaving, Carly – who has been to Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, India, as well as Central and South America – simply couldn’t wait to get there.

“I’m just excited to learn from the researchers and historians and educators,” the Grade 12 student at Glebe Collegiate said before flying to Kuujjuaq in northern Quebec.

“I think it’s going to be a cool experience.”

Carly received a partial scholarship to participate in the trip, cutting the $10,000 price tag in half.

As someone who is interested in taking pictures and learning about the earth’s ecosystems, the Arctic seemed like the perfect place for Carly to venture.

Having travelled across Canada as well, Carly said she was anxious to get a better understanding of the issues concerning an important part of her nation.

“This is cool because it’s in my own country,” she said. “I can learn about the northern communities and how my own community is affecting the great North.”

Since the Arctic accounts for one third of Canada’s land mass and half of its shoreline, the education process is important.

“The big reason is to provide and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these students and to expand their knowledge about the circumpolar world,” Students on Ice communication adviser Chris Ralph said, adding that the connections the students will make are invaluable.

“We couldn’t go to the Arctic five or six years ago because there was so much ice. Now sometimes we have trouble finding any ice when we’re up in Baffin Island.”

Those troubling words were echoed by the organization’s founder at a farewell gathering for the adventurers at the Canadian Museum of Nature on Aug. 5.

Starting with Antarctic excursions in the wintertime, this is the 10th year the organization will take students to the North. Over 1,500 students from 42 different countries have visited the North through the organization, something Green hopes would continue.

“We have to make the right decision for the Arctic’s future and, by extension, the Earth’s future,” he said.

Green introduced the students to everyone on hand after they were treated to an Inuit drum performance.

At the end of the meeting, CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge – who joined the students on their northern adventure – spoke to the students about the importance of the Arctic.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami – a Canadian organization that represents Inuit – named Mansbridge its first Journalist of the Year last December and he has always had a soft spot for the North.

Mansbridge cajoled the crowd with stories about his time in Churchill, Man., where he got his break with the CBC when a staff member heard him announce departures at the airport.

He encouraged the students to start taking an active role in preserving the North.

“So much of our country is the North, and so few of us in the south know anything about it,” he said. “The challenges in front of you are substantial but it’ll all through organizations like this one.”

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Students Set Sail for Two-Week Arctic Expedition

A Students on Ice group gathered on a ship's open deck.

Arctic Expedition Blog

The Canadian Museum of Nature

August 4 to 20


Follow the Students on Ice expedition team (including one of our researchers) during their two-week voyage into the High Arctic. Track their location, read daily journal entries and see up-to-the minute videos on the Expedition Blog.

Ottawa, August 5, 2010—For the 10th year in a row, high-school students from Canada and abroad convene Ottawa before departing on a two-week Arctic expedition, led by the award-winning educational organization Students on Ice.

The launch event takes place August 5 at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, which has been a partner with Students on Ice since the first trip to the Arctic in 2001.

On August 6, the participants will board the expedition vessel M/V Lyubov Orlova at Kuujjuaq in northern Quebec to undertake a journey along the northern reaches of Nunavik and southeastern Baffin Island. They return to Ottawa on August 19.

"These youth will explore a part of the planet that very few get to experience—a place widely recognized as an early-warning system for climate change", said Geoff Green, founder of Students on Ice. "We know by experience that many of the students come back with new perspectives, and are inspired to serve as ambassadors about environmental issues that affect not only the Arctic, but also the rest of the world."

The participants include more than 25 northern aboriginal youth, as well as students from Monaco, Norway, France, Hong Kong, the United States and eight provinces and three territories of Canada. An international team of 34 scientists, historians, artists, explorers, educators and polar experts rounds out the expedition.

"Once again, the Canadian Museum of Nature is pleased to contribute our scientific expertise to the Students on Ice expedition," says Maureen Dougan, Interim President and CEO for the Canadian Museum of Nature. "By sharing our knowledge, we help inspire youth about the importance of understanding biodiversity and the environmental issues facing the Arctic."

Joining the educators this year will be Paul Hamilton, a Canadian Museum of Nature researcher who specializes in the study of algae and water quality. He has more than 20 years of experience conducting taxonomic and ecological studies across Canada, the United States, Mexico and Indonesia. Hamilton will serve as a mentor and will give presentations and workshops, including sessions on Arctic plants and how scientists reconstruct past climates using fossilized remains of algae known as diatoms.

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Teen stoked for rare Arctic outing

By Yolande Cole, The Province

August 9, 2010  

Herds of caribou, fiords and the rocky walls of the Hudson Strait are a long way from Ezra Manson's Vancouver home.

But the 16-year-old high school student is keen to learn everything he can while boating through the Arctic during the next two weeks.

"I'm super excited," he said. "I have created a huge list of mental questions to ask all the people who are going to be there."

Manson is one of 79 international students taking part in the Students on Ice expedition, which began in Ottawa Aug. 4 and ends Aug. 20.

The students are travelling around the northern reaches of Nunavik and eastern Baffin Island in Nunavut, along with a team of 35 scientists, historians and polar experts.

Manson said what he's most looking forward to is learning about climate change from experts and Inuit elders.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing how the Inuit people's daily life has changed due to climate change," he said.

"The elders that will be coming with us will definitely have some first-hand knowledge of how the Arctic's changed throughout their lifetime."

The Arctic journey is not entirely out of the ordinary for Manson, who already has some travel experience under his belt.

The student said he became interested in studying climate change after going to boarding school in India in Grade 9, where he became involved with environmental volunteering. He then joined Trek, an outdoor-education program at Prince of Wales Secondary School.

The teen hopes to pursue university studies in sociology or environmental work. Also on his list of things to do: biking around Europe, volunteering with Nelson-based Willing Workers on Organic Farms, and tree planting.

When he returns to Vancouver, he's hoping to be able to share his new knowledge with his friends and classmates.

"What I'm really excited about is I know this will definitely inspire me to try to motivate people to be better with the environment," he said. "I'll see how the climate is affecting this region in particular and it will be some first-hand information for me instead of just reading a bunch of facts about how many polar bears have died this year."

Manson is blogging about his Arctic journey on the website

"I think that humans are supposed to live more in tune with the environment, so even if global warming is going to turn the world into an ice age, I think that, at least by people changing their way of life, that we'll at least prolong it and I think people's quality of life will be much better for living more in tune with the world's ecosystems."

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Students on Ice visits Diana Island

The Students on Ice expedition visited Diana Island in Ungava Bay Aug. 7. Here, biologist David Grey shows students a dead muskox, likely killed by wolves. More than 80 high school students from around Canada boarded the Lyubov Orlova Aug. 6 for an educational tour of Nunavik and South Baffin. (PHOTO BY LEE NARRAWAY FOR STUDENTS ON ICE)

Students get a first-hand look at Arctic climate change
Voyage includes access to experts

By Sarah Rogers, Nunatsiaq News

August 9, 2010

A group of 80 high school students boarded the Lyubov Orlova Aug. 6 under a drizzly Kuujjuaq sky to see Canada’s Arctic and the impacts of climate change.

Students from Nunavut, Nunavik, across Canada and the world left Nunavik last Friday on a 16-day educational voyage.

Joined by a team of 30 polar scientists, educators and artists, the group planned to sail around the northern tip of Nunavik, to Baffin Island and as far north as Kingnait Fiord.

The trip is completely “interactive and hands-on,” said Chris Ralph of Students on Ice, the organization coordinating the expedition.

Students, aged 14 to 19, can chat with veteran journalists who have covered climate change issues or help researchers doing bottle drops to study ocean currents, Ralph said.

The expedition’s staff and guests include a number of authors, Arctic biologist and filmmaker David Gray and CBC news host Peter Mansbridge.

Rather than working as a journalist during the expedition, Mansbridge is there as an educator to show students how they can engage the media in their projects.

Ideally, young people aboard will be impacted by what they see and decide to serve as ambassadors of the Arctic and planet as a whole, says Geoff Green, the Canadian founder of Students on Ice.

“These youth will explore a part of the planet that very few get to experience — a place widely recognized as an early-warning system for climate change,” Green says.

“We know by experience that many of the students come back with new perspectives, and are inspired to serve as ambassadors about environmental issues that affect not only the Arctic, but also the rest of the world.”

The trip has been funded by a number of corporations, governments and philanthropists, including the prince of Monaco and Makivik Corp.

The expedition ship is equipped with up-to-date technology, allowing participants to share their experiences online through the expedition.

Videos, photos, and daily blogs, written by the students will be posted at

The Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition 2010 group arrives back in Ottawa August 20.

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Ingrid Skjoldvær and Eirik Stein-Andersen heading north

Experience the Canadian Arctic through the Eyes of Two Norwegian High School Students

August 5, 2010

The Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. 78 eagerly excited teenagers in blue T-shirts and name tags were present at the media launch of the 2010 Students on Ice Arctic Expedition. Among them were the two winners of the Norwegian Embassy Scholarship, Ingrid Skjoldvær and Eirik Stein-Andersen. Follow the 14-day expedition through the waters surrounding Baffin Island and the Hudson Bay entrance on the students' blogs. Learn about the environmental issues facing this particularly vulnerable region. The student blogs are already filled with reflections on their experiences – a perfect opportunity for you to learn more about the Canadian Arctic and how it is perceived through the eyes of two Norwegian High School students.

(Photos by: Randi Kårstad)

Photo: Randi Kårstad

Photo: Randi Kårstad

Photo: Randi KårstadPhoto: Randi Kårstad

On August 4 the SOI Arctic Expedition started in Ottawa, Ontario. Among the 79 exciting youth participants were two Norwegian High School Students, Eirik Stein-Andersen and Ingrid Skjoldvær. They won the Student on Ice Scholarship and are therefore spending the following fifteen days on board an ice-class expedition vessel sailing in the Canadian Arctic.

Their itinerary is packed with exciting destinations and various activities from the beginning to the very end. They started in Ottawa on August 4 and headed to Kuujjuaq in Nunavik the following day. In Kuujjuaq they boarded the ship “The Polar Ambassador” which is currently their home while sailing in the Canadian Arctic. If weather, ice and other conditions allows it they will be starting off by sailing in the Hudson Strait, make a stop at the Walrus Island and Coats Island in Hudson Bay before they make several stops in the Davis Strait. The students will be surrounded by the natural beauty of the region. Animals such as whales and polar bears, animals that are commonly seen on Animal Planet, are a normal sight in this area.

The participants are not only staying on board the ship, but are doing other activities such as shore landings, zodiac cruising, interpretive hikes, group discussions, research activities and community visits. In between these activities Eirik and Ingrid are keeping their blogs updated with their latest reflections on their experiences, pictures and videos.

Students on Ice is a Canadian organization that organizes ship-based educational adventures. Their mandate is to educate and inspire the next generation of polar scientists, researchers and environmental leaders. According to Students on Ice, the Polar Regions are “the world’s greatest classrooms [because] they are the cornerstones of the global ecosystem and a tremendous platform for education.”

The beautiful scenery is one part of the experience, but the exposure to the impacts of climate change is by far the most important component of the expedition. In the very Northern parts of the world, such as the Canadian Arctic, these changes are particularly visible. Hopefully, Ingrid and Eirik will gain experience and knowledge about these issues and learn how we better can protect our environment.

For more information:

Ingrid Skjoldvær’s blog “Fra Svolvær til Arktis” (in Norwegian)
Eirik Stein-Andersen’s blog ”Artic-Eirik” (in English)

The Norwegian Embassy

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ITK Year of the Inuit Ambassador

Joseph Qiqut Huyer Upton & ITK Communications Officer Melissa Irwin at the 2010 Students on Ice expedition launch

Joseph Qiqut Huyer Upton & Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Communications Officer Melissa Irwin at the Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition 2010 expedition launch, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Joseph Qiqut Huyer Upton is Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami's Year of the Inuit Ambassador aboard the Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition 2010. Joseph is an Inuk from Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, currently living in Kingsport, Nova Scotia.

Each year hundreds of students from across Canada apply for positions on the annual Students on Ice expeditions. Joseph was chosen as the ITK Year of the Inuit Ambassador as he has an outgoing and adventurous personality that is suited to this type of group learning expedition, and because he has proven that he is able to create opportunities and then work with them.

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Grey County Teens on Arctic Trip

By Robyn Garvey, Bayshore Broadcasting

August 6, 2010   

While we enjoy the heat, a Hanover teen and Williamsford teen are going to enjoy the fresh Arctic air.

17 year old Megan Schlorff is calling it a once in a lifetime opportunity.

She is spending the next few weeks traveling the Arctic with an international team of scientists, polar experts and educators.

Also going is Nathanael Cormier of Williamsford.

Schlorff is one of select group of students chosen from across the nation and the world for this expedition.

The goal is to promote environmental education and leadership.

A big emphasis will be placed on climate change and how the poles are affected.

This includes everything from habitat to rising sea waters.

The "Students on Ice" will be traveling by ship and making many stops along the way including: Nunavik, Diana Island, Walrus Island, Cape Dorset ,the North shore Hudson Strait and Butterfly Bay.

Schlorff is particularly looking forward to visiting the arctic circle, seeing some ice bergs and of course she’s hoping to spot a few polar bears a long the way as well.

Schlorff's departs for the Arctic today and returns to Ottawa on August 20th.

The Students on Ice program provides youth from across Canada and around the world with ship-based educational adventures.

Their mandate is to educate and inspire the next generation of polar scientists, researchers and environmental leaders.

Schlorff was sponsored through Youth Science Canada for the trip.

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An ice journey ahead for Arctic-bound Ottawa teens
Students to explore climate, culture of Canada’s North

Ottawa teens Patrick van Walraven, left, Carly Roome, Hannah Jacobs and Camil Chadirji-Martinez are joining a group of Canadian and international youth on an arctic expedition to study global warming and arctic culture. 

Ottawa teens Patrick van Walraven, left, Carly Roome, Hannah Jacobs and Camil Chadirji-Martinez are joining a group of Canadian and international youth on an arctic expedition to study global warming and Arctic culture. (Photograph by: Bruno Schlumberger, The Ottawa Citizen)

By Danna Zabrovsky, The Ottawa Citizen

August 5, 2010  

Four Ottawa teens are among 79 students who will travel to Canada’s North this morning on an expedition to learn about global warming and Arctic culture.

Carly Roome, Kamil Chadirji-Martinez, Patrick van Walraven and Hannah Jacobs were chosen to participate in the Arctic Youth Expedition, run by Students on Ice.

Students on Ice organizes two expeditions each year: one to the Arctic in the northern summer and one to the Antarctic when it’s summer there.

This month, the 79 students between the ages of 14 and 19, including 60 from Canada, and others from the United States, France, Hong Kong and Norway, will be led on the Arctic adventure by 35 historians, artists, elders, explorers, authors, educators, innovators and polar experts.

More than 25 northern aboriginal youths are participating.

The expedition began Wednesday in Ottawa, where students gathered for an orientation. They will fly today to Kuujjuaq, Nunavut, where they will board a ship to embark on their journey.

Jacobs, 19, joined in the Antarctic expedition last December after a teacher at the Richard Pfaff Secondary Alternate Program recommended her.

She fundraised to cover her costs, which included $10,900 for the Antarctic expedition and $6,900 to participate in the Arctic expedition.

She said the fundraising effort was well worth it.

Upon landing in Antarctica, Jacobs said, she was in awe of what she saw: 500,000 pairs of penguins on the shore.

“The noise, the smell, everything is overwhelming, but it’s amazing,” she said. “People think of it as an ice and rock wasteland. If you don’t look closely, it would look like that.”

While she was in Antarctica, Jacobs decided she had to go to the Arctic.

“I want to learn … what signs we need to be looking for from the polar regions to find out what’s going to happen with the rest of the world,” Jacobs said.

She joined the other students Thursday afternoon for an official send-off at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

The students were treated to an Inuit drum performance and were welcomed by Geoff Green, founder of Students on Ice.

The reason for the expedition, he said, is that today’s youth will one day have an obligation to lead the world in the fight against climate change.

“It’s about that thing right there,” he said, pointing to a massive globe mounted on a wooden base.

Students who live in the Arctic will see their world in a new light, according to Arctic biologist, historian and filmmaker David Gray, who will participate in the expedition for the sixth time.

They will be exploring a place that is geographically familiar to them, he said, but new experiences and new people will offer them a new perspective.

Students will get to study algae, spend time in a snow pit and learn about native culture by visiting communities on Canada’s northern shore.

Melissa Irwin of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Canada’s Inuit association, hoped the teens would realize the importance of the Arctic on a global scale.

She described the Arctic as “the centre of this climate-change crisis” and ensured the teens walked away with an important message about Arctic culture.

“The Inuit are not bystanders of this complex crisis,” she said.

She challenged the youths to embrace their power to make a difference.

CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge, who will accompany the students on this journey, told them not to forget that Canada was an Arctic nation.

“So much of our country is the North, and so few of us who live in the South know anything about it,” he said.

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Students carve path through Arctic waters

Students on Ice. A previous trip to Baffin Island.

Students on Ice. A previous trip to Baffin Island. Lee Narraway / Students on Ice

16-day journey by ship will glide through the Hudson Strait and Baffin Island and open students’ eyes to the realities of climate change




By Sarah Boesveld, Globe and Mail

August 6, 2010

On Saturday morning, 78 high-school students will stand on the banks of Diana Island gawking at muskox. Days later, they’ll follow bowhead whales and witness the shrinking glaciers of the Great White North.

These teens are on a summer vacation of a lifetime, carving a path through the Arctic waters with Students on Ice, a charitable organization devoted to exposing youth to Canada’s largest coastline.

It’s the 10th annual Arctic trip for Students on Ice, funded in part by the Federal Government and benefactors including the Prince of Monaco. The educational 16-day journey by ship will glide through the Hudson Strait and Baffin Island and open students’ eyes to the realities of climate change and its rippling effect on biodiversity and quality of life in the North, said Geoff Green, who founded the program in 2000.

Mississauga student Fatin Chowdhury said he wants to see a part of the country that so many Canadians are unfamiliar with.

“We are not doing what we need to do as a responsible country to protect our land up north,” said the 17-year-old high-school graduate who won a video-entry contest to go on the trip, adding that economic and environmental issues ought to be discussed in the same discussions.

The trip will take the students through Auyuittuq National Park. In Inuktitut, auyuittuq means “the place that never melts,” but two years ago the park was closed because of a fear of flash floods due to the melting glaciers.

“The students will see with their own two eyes, glaciers disappearing. That’s what it’s really all about,” Mr. Green said. “When they look into the eye of a polar bear that’s on a rocky island because there’s no sea ice or they see glaciers that are disappearing, then those issues, like climate change becomes very real to them.”

The 14 to 18-year-olds from Canada, China, France, Norway and the United States will board the Orlova Friday evening and set out on their adventure on Ungava Bay, Nunavut.

Students will also learn about Arctic sovereignty from experts such as author Michael Byers and Peter Harrison, an expert on the future of Arctic sovereignty.

CBC chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge will be a “rookie staff member” and tell students about the role the media has in preserving the Arctic.

Mr. Green, who has been to the Arctic about 120 times before, fears the intrepid young travellers won’t even encounter ice.

No matter what they see on their trip, just being in a part of the nation so few Canadians get to see or even learn about will light a fire in the students, he said.

“These kids come back motivated, inspired, with obviously a lot of new knowledge,” he said. “They come back literally thinking they can change the world.”

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Local teens taking part in Arctic adventure

By Mary Golem, The Sun Times

August 6, 2010

Two local students are off to the Arctic this week with a team of 30 scientists, historians, artists, explorers, authors, educators and polar experts.

Nathanael Cormier of Williamsford and Megan Schlorff of Hanover are two of the 75 students, ages 14-18, from around the world who were selected to participate in the Students on Ice Youth Expedition 2010.

Their voyage begins when the expedition vessel The Lyubov Orlova, an icebreaker, sets sail from Kuujuaq, Quebec.

During the 17-day journey, the group will explore southern and eastern Baffin Island, Nunavut and Nunavik. They will work alongside a group including polar guide Matty McNair, CBC news anchor Peter Mansbridge, Arctic biologist and historian David Gray and award-winning adventure photographer Lee Narraway.

Participants are expected to encounter wildlife including whales, seals, polar bears, walrus and seabirds. Their journey also includes shore landings, interpretive hikes, community visits, Zodiac cruises and ship-based exploration.

"Students on Ice provides students with unique educational experiences that will challenge the way they perceive the world," according to the organization's website.

Since 2000, close to 1,500 high school, college and university students from more than 30 countries have visited the polar regions through the program.

To be selected, students have to demonstrate a strong academic standing, a passion for learning, an interest in the environment and leadership qualities.

Schlorff, a 17-year-old Grade 12 honours student at Sacred Heart High School in Walkerton, "has always had a passion for science and has completed eight science fair projects," according to her profile on the Students for Ice website.

She has attended five national science fairs and represented Canada at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Paris, and at the International Sustainable World Project Olympiad in Houston where she won a silver medal.

Interested in pursuing a career in medicine, focusing on holistic and environmental health, Schlorff, who is interested in a medical career focussed on holistic and environmental health, is interested in learning how the Arctic is being affected by global warming. She is also looking forward to visiting northern communities and learning about the effects that the environment has on health.

Cormier recently completed grade 12 at Chesley District High School and will attend Sault College in Sault Ste. Marie in September for its field naturalist course. He plans to take an outdoor survivalist course after that.

For many years he has been involved in the CDHS concert band and the school's Be the Change social justice committee. He also recently began a course at Grey Roots. learning blacksmithing techniques.

"I have long held an interest in the study of the far Canadian North through the reading of books by Jack London and the great European North through the books by Snorri Sturluson and the Icelandinga Sogur. I believe this experience will be beneficial to my continuing educational plans," Cormier stated.

Cormier says he is most looking forward to hiking to the Arctic Circle.

Each day during the voyage, student participants will upload journals, photos and videos via satellite to the program's website

The expedition journals will record the students' thoughts, ideas, feelings and questions throughout the trip and will allow family and friends to follow their journey.

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August 5, 2010

Youth on Arctic Expedition With WWF Expert

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- Eighty university and high school students from six countries converge in Ottawa today for the launch of the 2010 Students on Ice ship-based circumpolar adventure aimed to inspire the next generation of polar scientists, researchers and environmentalists. WWF-Canada continues its long association with the award-winning program with the participation this year of Zoe Caron, climate change policy and advocacy specialist.

"Being within metres of a polar bear, seeing a proposed oil drilling site, or spending time in northern communities - these are all transformative experiences," said Caron.

The students travel with scientists, educators and researchers to see first-hand the effects of climate change on Arctic habitats through wildlife encounters and visits to remote communities and archaeological sites. Workshops, discussions and lectures are designed to educate and encourage the students to be effective agents of change when they return home.

"It is vitally important for us to understand the significance of the Arctic to people and wildlife so that we can better tackle climate change," added Caron.

The group, comprised of students from all three Canadian territories, eight Canadian provinces and five other countries, flies from Ottawa to Kuujjuaq in Nunavik to board the Polar Ambassador which, over the course of two weeks, makes numerous stops at Arctic sites including Pagnirtung, Diana Island, Digges and Walrus Islands, Cape Dorset and North shore Hudson Strait. It also drops anchor at one of Canada's most spectacular parks, Auyuittuq National Park, and the breathtaking Kingnait Fjord.

Expedition photos and Ms. Caron's blog updates can be viewed on the expedition's special website: in addition to WWF-Canada's site:

This news release and associated material can be found on

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Canadian and international students head North on a once in a lifetime Arctic expedition


By CNW Telbec

August 5, 2010

OTTAWA -- While most students are basking in the last month of summer vacation, a group of remarkable youth will be engaged in biodiversity, sovereignty and climate change discussions and research in one of the greatest classrooms on earth: the Arctic.

On Friday, August 6, eighty Canadian and international high school students will fly from Ottawa to Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, to begin their amazing educational odyssey in the Canadian North. The 16-day ship-based journey - organized by Students on Ice - will explore the southern and eastern coasts of Baffin Island, Nunavut, and the northern reaches of Nunavik.

A team of 30 international polar scientists, educators, elders and artists - including Peter Mansbridge, CBC's Chief Correspondent, authors Michael Byers and Alanna Mitchell - will engage with students in a wide variety of lectures, workshops and hands-on activities.

"These youth will explore a part of the planet that very few get to experience - a place widely recognized as an early-warning system for climate change", says Geoff Green, Canadian founder of Students on Ice. "We know by experience that many of the students come back with new perspectives, and are inspired to serve as ambassadors about environmental issues that affect not only the Arctic, but also the rest of the world."

The expedition ship is equipped with the latest technology, thus enabling interviews with the participants throughout the expedition period. Videos, photos, and daily blogs, written by the students will be posted at:

The journey represents a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity for the students who have been selected to participate in the expedition because of their commitment to environmental issues. Most of the students have been fully funded by governments, corporations, foundations and philanthropists, such as the Norwegian and Canadian governments, Brita, Youth Science Canada, the Prince of Monaco, and the Makivik Corporation.

A special Arctic Expedition Launch Event will be held in Ottawa at the Canadian Museum of Nature from 11:30 am to 1 pm on Thursday, August 5th. Speakers include, Peter Mansbridge, CBC Chief Correspondent, and Mary Simon, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

About Students on Ice and the Expedition.

Students on Ice is an award-winning organization offering unique educational expeditions to the Antarctic and Arctic. In providing students, educators and scientists from around the world with inspiring educational opportunities at the ends of the earth, we help them foster a new understanding of and respect for the planet.

The Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition 2010 is the most comprehensive Arctic expedition for youth ever undertaken. It will serve as a powerful and unique international platform to create change, inspire, educate, give cause for hope, and raise awareness around the world about the impacts of climate change and other environmental issues facing the Arctic.


Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition 2010

- Expedition dates: August 4-20, 2010.

- Students range from 14-18 years of age.

- Participants originate from 8 provinces and 3 territories: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut

- 30 international polar scientists, educators, artists and leaders will accompany the students, including Peter Mansbridge, CBC Chief Correspondent, and authors Michael Byers and Alanna Mitchell.

- Students will participate in lectures, workshops, and 'hands-on' research activities.

- Topics studied include the International Polar Year, the International Year of Youth, 2010: Year of the Inuit, and the International Year of Biodiversity, marine biology, earth sciences, environmental issues, sustainable development, Inuit culture, and Arctic sovereignty.

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Icy trip delves into dangers of warming

By The Standard

August 5, 2010

While we're toiling in the heat of Hong Kong, Vera Lo will be wearing a heavy coat and learning about a whole new world.

The 18-year-old student from Sai Kung is among the chosen for a Canadian Arctic trip organized by the Canadian group Students on Ice Arctic Expedition.

The program, which started yesterday and runs for 17 days, offers young people from around the world a new perspective of the planet and its challenges, particularly global warming.

Although it is a ship-based expedition, students will visit Inuit communities and archeological sites.

The participants, led by experts, will also have opportunities to encounter Arctic wildlife, including whales, walruses, polar bears and seabirds.

One word can sum up the whole adventure: cool.

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Setting sail

By Kivalliq News

August 4, 2010

KIVALLIQ, NUNAVUT -- Three Kivalliq youths will set sail in the Eastern Arctic this week.

Samson Adjuk, 17, of Whale Cove, William Noah, 16, of Baker Lake, and Art Sateana, 14, of Rankin Inlet will join the Students on Ice Arctic Expedition today, Aug. 4, in Iqaluit.

Noah is being funded by Kivalliq Partners in Development, while Sateana and Adjuk are being funded by the Government of Nunavut's Department of Environment.

Students on Ice is a Canadian nonprofit organization which leads educational expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic for youth.

The nonprofit group has been leading educational expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic since 2001.

Its mandate is to provide students, educators and scientists from around the world with inspiring educational opportunities at the end of the Earth to help them foster a new understanding and respect for the planet.

The program incorporates lectures, workshops, naturalist seminars, and small group discussion.

Its participants will also encounter Arctic wildlife, including whales, walrus, polar bears, muskoxen and seabirds.

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Island Student Participates in Arctic Expedition

August 4, 2010

The Government of Prince Edward Island
Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development

The provincial government is providing support for a Prince Edward Island student to take part in a unique educational expedition to the Arctic, said Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development Minister Neil LeClair.

Hardy Strom, a 16 year old Grade 11 student from Union Corner, is taking part in the Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition from August 4 to 20. He will join 78 students from around the world on a ship-based program which provides an opportunity to be immersed in hands-on research and activities and lectures taught by polar experts, educators and researchers. The expedition will take them to the Hudson Strait and Baffin Island, Nunavut.

“This program provides an opportunity for people to learn more about the Arctic and its relationship with the global eco-system,” said Mr. LeClair. “It will help create greater understanding and respect for the impact that climate change and other global trends have on our own environment and the resources which it sustains.”

Students on Ice is an award-winning organization which offers educational expeditions to the Antarctic and the Arctic. Its mandate is to provide students, educators and researchers with educational opportunities to help foster a new understanding and respect for the environment. Participants will encounter Arctic wildlife, explore Arctic tundra, visit northern communities and carry out research on board an Arctic icebreaker.

“It is most encouraging to see young people take an active interest in issues affecting the future of oceans,” said Evangeline - Miscouche MLA Sonny Gallant, who presented a cheque on behalf of the provincial government to Hardy.

“I strongly believe that this will be an invaluable learning experience,” said Hardy. He received a $4,000 Arctic scholarship to help finance his participation in the expedition in addition to the support from the provincial government.

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School at sea

Jeanne Gagnon, Northern News Services

August 2, 2010

NUNAVUT - Julie Hanson-Akavak of Iqaluit, Reesie Innuaraq of Pond Inlet and Samson Adjuk of Whale Cove are three of the more than 25 Northern aboriginal youths who will explore eastern Baffin Island and Nunavik by ship from Aug. 4 to 20.

NNSL photo/graphic

Julie Hanson-Akavak sits at the breakwater in Iqaluit. She and about 25 other aboriginal youths will join others from across the world to participate in the Students on Ice Arctic Expedition 2010. - Jeanne Gagnon/NNSL photo

They, along with approximately 55 other 14 to 19-year-old youths from across Canada and the world, are participating in the Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition through the Canadian organization Students on Ice Expeditions. It has offered educational expeditions to both the Arctic and Antarctic for the past 10 years. Students will visit communities, view wildlife and learn about the effects of climate change on Arctic ecosystems.

Hanson-Akavak has already visited Cape Dorset and Kimmirut where she has family. This won't be her first time on the water. She has been on numerous boating trips with her parents.

"I am hoping to gain self-confidence and just to give people the message that the North is in danger and it's not too late to stop it from happening," she said.

The Inuksuk High School student will enter Grade 11 in the fall.

"We have a beautiful land and it is changing very fast every day and this expedition is to show us how much it's changing. We can prevent this from happening," she said. "I think it's going to be an experience of a lifetime because I'll get to see what other students my age won't get to see as much."

Nineteen-year-old Innuaraq will enter Grade 12 at Nasivvik High School this fall. She said she is excited to see more of Baffin Island and to learn more about science.

"I decided to participate because it might be good for me and I wanted to try something new," she said. "I'm hoping to learn new things."

As for Adjuk, he said he decided to participate "because I really wanted to go on the ship (and) see some animals."

Geoff Green, founder and executive director of Students on Ice Expeditions, said some Northern students from past expeditions had never seen a bowhead whale or polar bears before, while others had. But when Northern youths witness the reaction of others towards the North, Green added, many of them realize their home is special.

"It actually gives them, in some ways, a greater appreciation for where they're from. Sometimes, you don't always appreciate what's in your own backyard," he said.

Green said he hopes students learn about the culture, history, flora, and fauna of the North, and the larger environmental issues the Arctic is facing during the trip. He added students will also get a taste of the contemporary social, political and economic issues relevant today.

"We also want to give them an experience that will really connect them with the natural world," he said. "By taking them all out to see polar bears and whales and see icebergs and go hiking, we want to give them a greater understanding and respect for Mother Nature and why it's important for us to be taking better care of planet Earth than we are today."

With all of that, Green said he hopes to inspire and motivate the youths.

"We want them to go back and share what they've learned and use it as an experience for their future," he said.

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Environmentalist. Moe Qureshi, 17, will travel to the Arctic in August to learn about Inuit culture and fight climate change. (Photo submitted)






Young activists heading north

By Mohena Singh,

July 20, 2010

Two Mississauga teens who wanted to learn more about climate change are on their way to the Arctic.

Fatin Chowdhury and Moe Qureshi were winners of the annual Brita Eco-Challenge, a competition that asked environmentally active youths to submit either an essay or a short video about themselves and how they are taking a leadership role in the community to help protect the environment.

Both teens say they are excited and eager to explore the Arctic, learn about Inuit culture and fight climate change. The expedition takes place from Aug. 4-20.

Qureshi, a 17-year-old senior at Streetsville Secondary School, won his trip by writing about his role as an environmental activist in the community.

Chowdhury, a Glenforest Secondary School graduate who plans to study environmental engineering at the University of Waterloo, was selected for the expedition after he submitted a four-minute video about his environmental concerns at his high school.

"I'm a global citizen and raising awareness for our environment is very important," said Chowdhury, 17, who adds that he's eager to see the icebergs and polar bears.

Qureshi says he's excited aboutt the prospect of seeing nature's beauty in the north.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the inspiring landscapes of the Arctic and learning about climate-change's effects firsthand," he said. "I'm grateful for ... this once-in-a-lifetime journey."

Chowdhury, who organizes local events where young people work to protect the environment, says he's "looking forward to gaining more knowledge about myself and the environment to bring back to my community and really make a difference."

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Andrew Wong’s environmental efforts culminate with invitation to join Students on Ice expedition

By Kim Arnott, The Burlington Post

July 30, 2010

The trip may be called Students on Ice, but Andrew Wong doesn’t feel chilled.

In fact, the Burlington student thinks he might be suffering from Arctic fever as he counts down the days until Wednesday (Aug. 4).

That’s when he departs for a 17-day ship-based journey that will take him and 78 other students to Baffin Island and the northern reaches of Nunavik.

The students, ranging in age from 14 to 19, were chosen from countries around the world. They will visit northern communities, participate in research activities and explore the Arctic region through hikes, Zodiak outings and shore landings.

“I’m so excited,” says Wong, who just completed Grade 12 at Nelson High School.

“This is an amazing opportunity for me to learn. It’s going to be so life-changing and I hope it inspires me to do more for the natural environment.”

He has his Arctic gear packed, and not even the cold or the prospect of seasickness can dampen his enthusiasm for the journey.

“I think that’s just going to enhance the experience — make it more intense and exciting,” Wong said.

Earlier this year, the Burlington student was selected as the national winner of the 2010 Toyota Earth Day Scholarship Award in recognition of his commitment to environmental community service.

A member of the BurlingtonGreen Environmental Youth Advisory Committee, Wong also established the Greenhouse Horticultural Society at Nelson, which revitalized the school’s dilapidated greenhouse and transformed it into a hub for educational enrichment.

He also volunteers with the Royal Botanical Gardens Bay Area Restoration Council and writes an environmental blog (

Those achievements helped him be chosen for this year’s Students on Ice expedition, which aims to educate young people about Arctic environmental, cultural and political issues.

The trip will also include 35 adults, including scientists, researchers, artists and authors, along with CBC journalist Peter Mansbridge and fellow Burlington resident Jacqueline Phillips, a local elementary school teacher.

Studying biomedical science at Western

Since receiving word at the end of May that he was selected to participate in the expedition, Wong has been researching and reading up on the Arctic with growing excitement.

Headed to the University of Western Ontario in September to study in the biomedical science program, Wong says he is particularly eager to learn more about the impact of climate change on the north, as well as such issues as Arctic sovereignty and global water resources.

Throughout the trip, Wong and the other students will be posting their thoughts and experiences to online journals on the Students on Ice website —

Wong hopes a new camera and his hobby of painting will help him illustrate his experiences.

He is keen to share his thoughts with other Halton students, and plans to interview and film some of the researchers taking part in the trip for inclusion into a documentary being made for the 2nd Annual Burlington Youth Environmental Conference in October.

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Calgary's Khloe Heard Wheattey, 18, will be studying with Students on Ice


Cousins prep for icy trek

By Katie Turner, Metro Calgary

July 30, 2010

Two Calgary cousins are preparing to set sail on an expedition to Canada’s Arctic.

Khloe Heard Wheattey, 18 and Jacob Swan, 16, are the only two Calgarians amongst a group of 79 students participating in Students on Ice 2010 youth expedition.

Preparing to go to university in the fall to study sciences, Wheattey said she thought the program would be a great introduction.

“It will be nice to see what’s actually happening with all the climate changes,” she said. “I know not many people get to go out to the arctic.”

Program founder Geoff Green said the expedition gives students a whole new outlook on the world.

“(They gain) a really deep connection to the natural world,” he said.

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(From left) Glenn Blackwood, executive director; Geoff Green, executive director, Students on Ice; Meagan LeMessurier, ME T student; Mary Pippy, chair, MET program; and Carey Bonnell, head, School of Fisheries.  (From left) Glenn Blackwood, executive director; Geoff Green, executive director, Students on Ice; Meagan LeMessurier, MET student; Mary Pippy, chair, MET program; and Carey Bonnell, head, School of Fisheries. (Photo: The Fisheries and Marine Institute)


MI takes part in Students on Ice

By Darcy MacRae

July 15, 2010

The Fisheries and Marine Institute will send one student on a summer trip to the Arctic as part of a project designed to motivate, inspire and expand young people’s vision of the North and the planet.

MI’s Meagan LeMessurier, a second-year marine environmental student, will travel to the Arctic as part of Students on Ice. The program provides youth from across Canada and the world with ship-based educational adventures to the Arctic and Antarctica with a mandate to educate and inspire a new generation of polar scientists, researchers and environmental leaders.

Since the year 2000, close to 1,500 high school, college and university students from more than 30 countries have visited the polar regions with this program.

“Students on Ice will offer Meagan a chance to explore southern and eastern Baffin Island, Nunavut and Nunavik while working alongside 30 world-renowned scientists, historians, explorers and polar experts. It is a great opportunity for her to utilize what she has already learned at MI while also learning more about an important region of the planet,” said Glenn Blackwood, executive director, Marine Institute.

The match between Students on Ice and the Marine Institute is a natural one, since the program is committed to promoting polar education, science, conservation and general knowledge about the Arctic -- much like the Marine Institute does through its programs, research and projects currently taking place in the North.

“Having lived and worked in the North for more than five years, I am convinced the experiences provided by Students on Ice will to help the participants expand their knowledge of the circumpolar world and gain new global perspective of the planet and its wonders,” said Carey Bonnell, head of MI’s School of Fisheries, who spent five years with the Government of Nunavut.

“The people of the North are very friendly and welcoming, so I expect Megan and her fellow students will be treated to as much hospitality as they will learning experiences during their journey.”

MI and Students on Ice share a similar approach to education, combining traditional methods of instruction with practical experience and in-the-field training. Students on Ice weaves together elements of experiential, expeditionary and problem-based learning, starting with a hands-on approach that leads to active participation and critical thinking.

“I expect to gain valuable experience from Students on Ice that will help me when I return to MI in the fall and after graduation,” said Ms. LeMessurier.

“During the expedition, I will be exposed to workshops that will be shore-, Zodiac- and ship-based in setting, as well as lectures and participatory presentations dealing with marine biology, oceanography and glaciology. I hope to gain a lot of knowledge and experience that will provide me with a great overview of the diversity of the Arctic and the impacts of climate change.”

In order to be selected for Students on Ice, students had to demonstrate a strong academic standing, a passion for learning, an interest in the environment and leadership qualities. Close to 80 students from across the world will take part in this year’s journey to the Arctic, travelling aboard the Lyubov Orlova, a boat constructed in 1976 and converted into a polar expedition vessel in 2002.

The Students on Ice voyage begins Aug. 4 when the Lyubov Orlova sets sail from Kuujuaq, Quebec. The 17-day journey includes shore landings, interpretive hikes, community visits, Zodiac cruises and ship-based exploration. While on the expedition, participants will encounter wildlife, including whales, seals, polar bears, walrus and seabirds.

“This will be an opportunity for some exceptional students to explore a part of the planet that very few ever get to experience. A place that is widely recognized as the planet’s early warning system for climate change,” said Geoff Green, Students on Ice's executive director and founder of the award-winning organization.

“Installing environmental ethics and making the issues real and personal is a big part of what we hope will inspire and motivate these young leaders.”

Each day during the voyage, student participants will upload journals, photos and videos via satellite to the program’s website,

The expedition journals will record the students’ thoughts, ideas, feelings and questions throughout the trip and will allow family and friends to follow the progress of Students on Ice on a regular basis.

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Arctic_IMGP0337.jpg Carson Hardy is headed to the Arctic in August to learn more about the environmental issues facing wildlife and ecoystems there.

Arctic adventure awaits for Nanaimo student

By Jenn Marshall, Nanaimo News Bulletin

July 14, 2010

Carson Hardy has sailed the Alaska Panhandle, hiked the Grand Canyon and helped his father chase a grizzly bear away from a logging camp on B.C.’s coast.

Now the 17-year-old Dover Bay Secondary School graduate is heading to the Arctic next month to participate in the Students on Ice Youth Expedition 2010.

Hardy is one of 75 students aged 14-18 from across the world selected to participate in the ship-based journey with 30 world-renowned scientists, historians, artists, explorers, educators, leaders and innovators.

The trip educates students about environmental issues facing the Arctic and they will participate in shore landings, interpretive hikes, community visits, Zodiac cruises, workshops and research activities as the ship travels along southern and eastern Baffin Island, Nunavut and the northern reaches of Nunavik.

“I enjoy wildlife – I’ve been around it all my life,” said Hardy, who begins the environmental technology diploma program at Camosun College in Victoria in September.

“I’m hoping that by going, I’ll find out if I want to do this for the rest of my life.”

He learned of his acceptance to the program – with a $4,000 scholarship – about a month ago and has been frantically fundraising to make up the remaining $6,000 cost of the trip.

Hardy’s interest in wildlife and biology began at an early age poking around in ponds.

He began catching tadpoles and raising them into frogs around age seven. His room is dominated by two tanks with five different species of frogs, including a threatened species of poison dart frog, which he has been successfully breeding. Hardy also grows all the food they eat – jars of fruit flies multiply themselves on the shelves above his tanks.

Tagging along on work trips with his father, who works for the Ministry of Forests and Range calculating the annual allowable harvest in different logging areas, gave him extensive mountaineering experience and interactions with wildlife, such as his exciting run-in with the grizzly bear.

He also crewed on a sailboat navigating the Alaska Panhandle with his grandpa and father and hiked the Grand Canyon and West Coast Trail.

Hardy found out about the Arctic trip when he was in Ottawa for Encounters With Canada, a Canadian youth forum, two years ago.

Hardy has raised about $5,000 so far, leaving him with only $1,000 to go. His parents are covering his plane ticket to Ottawa.

Niki Trudeau, the program’s participant coordinator, said the students were chosen based on their interest in and awareness of the environment.

As an environmental technologist, Hardy wants to ensure B.C.’s resources are harvested sustainably, balancing the province’s economic needs with conservation.

“I wouldn’t call myself an environmentalist – I’m not a save-the-trees kind of person, but I do care,” he said. “My life won’t be trying to save the world, it will be trying to keep the world going.”

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Arctica Cunningham has earned a scholarship through Youth Science Canada to participate in the upcoming Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition 2010 to the Eastern Canadian Arctic. Cunningham poses next to her award winning Science Fair project. (Photo: Submitted by Arctica Cunningham)

Arctic trip for Arctica

By Kari Bolen, Smithers Interior News

July 7, 2010

This August, 14-year-old Arctica Cunningham will be one of seven lucky Canadian youth heading to the Arctic for an amazing adventure.

Her home for two weeks will be an ice-breaker expedition vessel, sailing around and exploring Baffin Island, and Nunavut.

Early in June, Arctica applied to the “Students on Ice” program, competing for one of seven fully funded spots on a polar excursion offered to Canadian youth aged 14 to 18 who are interested in science and want to take an active role in environmental stewardship. 

To complete the application, Arctica wrote a number of essays regarding her education and career goals, her most significant concerns about the Arctic, why she would like to participate in an Arctic excursion and why she should be considered as a candidate for the program.

To her astonishment, Arctica received a phone call informing her that she had been selected as one of the seven lucky recipients.

“I think it’s a really unique and amazing opportunity and I just can’t believe I get to go and see it first hand,” she said.

Arctica may have been surprised, but it didn’t come as such a great surprise to those who know her. She’s had a passion for saving the environment since she was very young; encouraging people to recycle and compost, turn off light switches and water taps and use their reusable bags.

She has competed in the Regional Science Fair for the past six years, earning multiple awards. The past two years she participated in the Canada Wide National Science Fair, where she earned scholarships and a bronze medal in 2009, and a silver medal in 2010 for her environmental innovations.

“I read a lot about the environment and how things are going downhill and how it’s affecting the Arctic. I really want to go and see firsthand and figure out what I can do to help and see how we can make a difference,” Arctica said.

Her trip of a lifetime will begin when she is flown from Smithers to Ottawa for a two-day flurry of workshops and media events.

Then, along with 75 international students and 30 world-renowned scientists, historians, artists, innovators, educators and polar experts, she will travel by charter airline to Nunavik where the group will board the “Lybova Orlova” and head out to sea for the next 14 days.

They’ll frequently leave the ship to explore in Zodiacs, travelling through the pack ice to gain close proximity to all kinds of wildlife.

They’ll visit Inuit communities, participate in an all day hike to the Arctic Circle, go swimming in glacier waters and learn about Arctic vegetation.

All the while, these young scientists will observe the changes occurring in the Arctic and be taught how to analyze the relationship of the Arctic to the global ecosystem. 

Arctica’s parents, both dogsledders at the time she was born, gave Arctica her unique name hoping she would share their love of the pristine northern lands and natural lifestyles. Little did they know she would be embarking on an adventure they have only dreamed of doing.

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The Winners of Norway's Students on Ice
Scholarship are…

By Staff, The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa

July 7, 2010

The Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa has established a Student on Ice Scholarship in cooperation with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The winners of this year’s Scholarship are Ingrid Skjoldvær and Eirik Stein-Andersen. The two will spend two weeks of their summer vacation on board a ship sailing in the Canadian Arctic to learn about environmental issues in this particularly vulnerable region.

Photo: Eirik Stein-AndersenPhoto: Ingrid Skjoldvær
  Photo on the left courtesy of Eirik Stein-Andersen;
  Photo on the right courtesy of Ingrid Skjoldvær

This year's summer holidays will be quite extraordinary for the two Norwegian High School students Eirik Stein-Andersen and Ingrid Skjoldvær. In August they will take part in the Students on Ice Arctic Expedition, spending two weeks on board a ship travelling through the Canadian Arctic. Students on Ice is a Canadian organization that organizes ship-based educational adventures. Their mandate is to educate and inspire the next generation of polar scientists, researchers and environmental leaders. In August 70 students and 40 educators from around the world will participate on such an adventure.

In August, Eirik and Ingrid’s classroom will be moved from Norway to the very northern parts of Québec (Nunavik), Baffin Island and the Davis Strait. According to Students on Ice, the Polar Regions are “the world’s greatest classrooms [because] they are the cornerstones of the global ecosystem and a tremendous platform for education.” The students will be surrounded by the natural beauty of the region. Animals such as the whales and polar bears, animals that are commonly seen on Animal Planet, are a normal sight in this area.

Photo: The Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa

 Photo: Courtesy of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa

The beauty of the country is one side of the experience, but the fact that they will be exposed to the impacts of climate change is as important. In the very northern parts of the world, such as the Canadian Arctic, these changes are visible even for the human eye. Hopefully, Ingrid and Eirik will gain experiences and knowledge about these issues and learn how we better can protect our Poles, because by protecting our Poles we also protect the planet as a whole.

Ingrid and Eirik will be sharing their experiences and thoughts with us while participating in the expedition. Follow them through articles on our homepage and on their personal blogs throughout the month of August to learn more about the Canadian Arctic and the Students on Ice Expedition.

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Hardy Strom of Union   Corner has been chosen as a participant in the Students on Ice program.   He will spend two weeks exploring environmental issues while on a ship   in the Artic. AMBER NICHOLSON/JOURNAL PIONEER

Hardy Strom of Union Corner, Prince Edward Island, has been chosen as a participant in the Students on Ice  program this August. He will spend two weeks exploring environmental issues while on an ice-class ship in the Arctic. (Photo: Amber Nichols, The Journal Pioneer)

A Summer on Ice:
Summerside student takes part in educational
program aboard icebreaker

By Amber Nicholson,
The Journal Pioneer

June 6, 2010

Sixteen-year-old Hardy Strom of Union Corner is busy preparing for an opportunity of a lifetime. 

In August, Strom will spend two weeks in the Arctic sailing around on an icebreaker.

"It'll be an amazing opportunity," said the Grade 11 Three Oaks student. "I'm really excited."

Hardy applied to the Students on Ice scholarship program about a year ago and was disappointed when he was not accepted. When the opportunity came around to apply again this year, he thought, "Hey, I'll give it another shot".

He completed essay questions about leadership and the environment, rounded up several references and hoped for the best.

"I've always been really interested in the environment," he said. "I believe my generation has to do something about it."

Hardy received the call last week saying he was accepted into the program on a half-scholarship basis.

The scholarship he received is worth $4,000, less than half of the total cost of the program.

Hardy's mom, Rosa Arsenault, did not want her son to miss out on the opportunity so she agreed to take on the task of helping him fundraise the rest of the money.

"I'm turning to corporate sponsors, politicians, any one who will help me," Hardy said.

Seventy-five international students, including 18 from Canada, will partake in the two-week adventure held Aug. 4 to 20.

"It's going to be so cool just to be in a different environment than I'm used to," Hardy said.

During the expedition, students will learn about the impacts of climate change and other environmental issues facing the Arctic. Students will explore southern and eastern Baffin Island, Nunavut and northern Nunavik. A team of 30 scientists, historians, artists and educators will walk students through the eye-opening experience.

Hardy has had a week to review the itinerary for his summer trip. He is looking forward to the various activities planned for him and his peers.

"We get to go whale watching," he said excitedly. "That'd be really cool to see."

Hardy said he is also looking forward to the educational aspect of the trip.

"I'm hoping to learn a lot more about global warming and I'm looking forward to learning about the eco-system, the Artic people and the animals."

Hardy said the experience is going to be the first step towards his future as he plans to take environmental studies in university.

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Burlington’s Jacqueline Phillips will participate on the upcoming Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition 2010 (Photo: Jacqueline Phillips)

Teacher canít wait to be on top of the world

By Melanie Cummings, The Burlington Post

May 13, 2010

By the end of this year, Burlington’s Jacqueline Phillips will have travelled to the polar extremes — and in between to Oslo, Norway — racking up more than 23,600 kilometres in the air and on land.

The 39-year-old retail buyer turned elementary school teacher and tourist turned eco-adventure seeker travelled with 65 high school students from 11 countries to the bottom of the Earth, Antarctica, in January.

She heads to the top of the world — the Arctic — in August with 75 other students to explore the isolated communities in Canada’s north, and to speak with aboriginals about climate change.

Phillips will also head to Norway next month for the one-week International Polar Year Oslo Science Conference. At the international gathering, Phillips will be among 120 other school teachers eager to understand the impacts of global warming and integrate it into classroom lessons.

“If you had told me last year that I would be going to Antarctica, or the Arctic, I wouldn’t have believe you,” said the Grade 3 teacher.

But the lifelong learner couldn’t resist the invitation to chaperone students participating in the Students on Ice Youth Expeditions.

It’s the organization’s mandate to expose young people to the polar worlds to help them foster a new understanding and respect for the planet.

“It’s good to step out of your comfort zone,” said Phillips.

The Millcroft-area resident admits, though, that she has faced many doubts about her fitness for some of the excursions on which she has embarked, such as enduring a 110-kilometre trek along the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Spain, and tracking Minke whales and Bottlenose dolphins on a research ship in Scotland.

“The world is full of so many incredible places I’d like to explore…sink or swim, you really get to know yourself better.”

The quietness of life in Antarctica also made Phillips realize how desensitized urban dwellers have become to noise pollution.

“It’s incredible, beautiful and serene,” said Phillips, who encountered penguins and whales while journeying on inflatable Zodiac boats from the group’s ship-based home to land.

“On a beautiful, clear, crisp day or standing on a hillside surrounded by rugged, dark mountains and low-hanging clouds — it’s what you’d imagine Tolkien’s Mordor to be,” described Phillips, referencing the English author’s fictional land in Lord of the Rings.

However, such beauty is fragile in an era of global warming.

“All the changes we are seeing here are happening at a faster rate in the polar regions,” she said.

As a teacher and global citizen, she has made it her personal mission to rise to the challenge of driving home the message that small changes can and do make a difference in curtailing our carbon footprints.

Reducing waste, especially plastic, what she calls “the plague on the planet”,  is one of many projects she has introduced in her Grade 3 classroom in Hamilton.

Meeting scientists and such inspiring young people on the Antarctica trip — some who have saved for years to cover the $10,000 to $13,000 tuition — also gives Phillips hope that they will take this experience and use it to become environmental leaders in their parts of the world.

“Doing right by the environment can’t always be about money,” said Phillips. “The more one experiences the incredible diversity of life on this planet, and begins to come to terms with its fragility, the more one is compelled to ensure its preservation.”

While Phillips is not sure what the future will hold in terms of travel after the Arctic trip this August, she’s certain that if the opportunity to go back to Antarctica came up again she’d go back in a heartbeat. “Antarctica stirs the soul,” she said.

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