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Expedition Well Wishes...

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your upcoming 2011 Arctic Expedition. The journey that you are about to embark on is an important one.   Environmental changes in the Arctic are a key indicator of climate change., and we are only beginning to understand their effect on the physical environment and  their social and economic impacts on Northern communities.  We must continue to work to better understand these changes so that we can recognize the opportunities arising from them in order help Northerners build a healthy and sustainable society.

Not only are changes in the Arctic important to the region, they are also important for the rest of the world. In my role as President of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) I will continue to promote work that the Organization has begun, and look to further develop our understanding of climate change and its effects on the Arctic and the world.

Your Expedition will help to promote awareness of the Arctic region and its changing climate and I hope that you will find this an enriching experience, one that you will never forget. I wish you all the best on your journey.

David Grimes

Assistant Deputy Minister, Meteorological Service of Canada

President, World Meteorological Organization

August 8, 2011

Welcome Home Event a the Canadian Museum of Nature!

The Canadian Museum of Nature

We had a terrific morning at the Canadian Museum of Nature's Welcome Home Event!

Many of our students of course had connecting flights the night before or during the morning, but we had approximately 50 students present - all dressed from head-to-toe in their best (i.e. cleanest!) SOI swag!

Approximately 200 people turned out for the event to welcome the students home, including many dignitaries - including Nunavut's newest senator, Mr. Dennis Patterson. Many of our partners were also in attendance, including Mr. Alan Latournelle (CEO of Parks Canada), WWF-Canada, First Air, IPY-Canada, , Oceans North Canada, International Polar Foundation, Leacross Foundation, CPAWS, Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the Inuit Relations Secretariat, Inuit Tapariit Kanatami, Polar Continental Shelf Program, Nunasi Corporation, and UNEP Grid-Arendal.

Elizabeth McCrea, Director, Communications and Marketing, emceed the event, and we had several guest speakers, including Margaret Beckel, the museum's new CEO, and one our expedition team members, Dr. Julian Starr - Research Scientist and Systematics at CMN - and a veteran SOI educator.

Geoff Green spoke about the transformative experience on board the ship, and introduced a great video overview by Pascale Otis of the expedition.

After the formalities, students mingled with guests and were interviewed by media.

All in all, it was a wonderful morning!

During the expedition, the constraints of time and satellite signal meant that at times, the ship team were unable to send us as many daily updates as they would have liked. Now that our team has returned our communications team will begin transferring many new photos and videos on to the site.

Post-Expedition Journal Entries - August 2011

Katharine Nuotio-Trimm

Grand Falls-Windsor, NL

The whole thing still seems like a dream, being back around technology, being home. I still sometimes believe that I’m in the Arctic, sitting down by the ocean in Narnotalik and listening to the girls throat sing, or fooling around near the fire in the Torngats. I have learned so much, about the nature, the wilderness and the people of the arctic. Seeing the glaciers falling apart and melting, I realized “Wow, this is happening.” It’s not just something that I’ve read about now at school, or seen in a movie. The Arctic is deteriorating, and after spending two weeks surrounded by its wilderness, I would hate to imagine a world without it. There are so many things and people I am going to miss; I can’t even start to list them off. As Geoff always told us, we have to decide whether we want to be a passenger on this planet or the crew. I have now definitely decided that I want to do something about climate change, and I want to be the crew, and play my part in the sustainability of the environment.

Cassandra Elphinstone
Nanaimo, BC

Since I left the Canadian Museum of Nature, it feels like I have been continuously traveling and working. Even so the trip has begun to sink in and I am struck by how amazing it all was. Perhaps most importantly, this trip has sent me home inspired. Thank you Leacross-Bern for this wonderful opportunity! I have begun the organization process for the network of environmental clubs and organizations around the world. It’s been decided that the organization will be called GAIA, standing for Green Association for International Activism. A networking website called and a Facebook page are now being designed. Soon, I will hopefully be able to email everyone who was on the SOI trip with more information. Looking back on the trip I have realized that it was not so much the stunning places we went but the astounding people I met that made this trip such a unique experience. The northern culture I learned about and saw on this trip is unforgettable. I am honoured that I got the opportunity to meet such a large group of incredible educators, explorers, scientists and dedicated students. Many of the participants have accomplished remarkable goals. Seeing what they have done with their lives has helped me truly realize many of my goals are achievable. Hopefully we will all be able to continue inspiring each other in the future!

Chase Murdoch

Newmarket, ON

Wow, I still can’t believe that I have been to the Arctic, and yet it is something that I will never forget. There are a few things in particular that I will remember forever, such as the blue whales swimming with the ship, or when we were approaching Greenland through the fog, which suddenly lifted, and we could finally see the rugged mountains of Greenland. There are also things that I am going to miss: The animals we spotted;  the five-course meals at lunch and dinner; the hikes through the wilderness; the amazing scenery; the friends that I made and people I met; the learning experience; and maybe even Geoff’s early morning wakeup calls, “Goooood morning students on ice.” Like anything else, there are things however, that I won’t miss! Namely varying degrees of seasickness and the ships rattling that kept me awake at night. But that’s all I won’t miss.  This was a great experience, and I would love to do it again.

Nausheen Rajan

Ocoee, FL

It has been surreal being home. It feels odd not to be surrounded by real nature, and it is certainly missed. I wish I could go back, and feel the warm Arctic sun on my skin….but all great things must come to an end. One of Gandhi’s most profound quote is “Be the Change you want to see in the World” and I hope through this experience I will make Gandhi proud, and follow up on the critical changes that need to be made within our society to find a new appreciation for the Arctic and its majestic beauty. It has been an unforgettable experience, and I have learned so much from this trip. I want my voice to be heard, and just hope people are willing to listen. The most important asset of the Arctic is in my opinion the deep cultural roots of the Inuit people, which need to be preserved and acted upon quickly. The Arctic is beautiful in many ways, and I hope that in generations to come it remains like this, so my grandkids and their grandkids could see the prosperity of the Arctic rather than the detoriation. I miss the Clipper Adventure dearly, and am always thinking about our beautiful blue planet. My appreciation for nature and its surroundings has only heightened, and my love, deepened. Protect the poles, protect the planet…. Because this planet is your home and you are the one responsible for it. 

Michael Gardner
Torbay, NL

I am home, after this amazing experience. It’s strange going from this place where you are totally immersed in the environment to your home. Some are returning to the city, others to farm towns, me I’m somewhere in between, a future suburb of St John’s a town with a growing population, the biggest problem for any environmentalist, “progress”. That word that has trees shivering in their roots, the thoughts of bulldozers, chain saws and houses upon houses in all directions. For me I think my biggest goal is going to be to change the definition of that word. To show people that “progress” isn’t just about building or growing it can be about innovation, and sustainability. The message I want to bring home to people is that it’s not just about Newfoundland, it’s about the world, but what we do in Newfoundland will have a big impact. I look forward to sharing my experiences from the students on ice expedition within my community. I hope to take what I have learned and use it to show people a part of the world that they may never have known and teach them about how what we do will determine the fate of this place that isn’t so far away.. ..

Impressions from SOI Arctic Youth Expedition 2011

128 people that I love and will miss

Amazing presentations

I love this trip!

Great service

I’ll miss my friends

Amazing experience, gonna miss you all!

Such a diverse group coming together for the same cause

3 course meals, yum!


So many friends



I love SOI!

SOI 2011 was the best one

People I shall miss

Fun times

I will miss my new friends and the ship

Friendship and peace

I don’t want this to end

The Arctic is ineffable

All good things must come to an end; I don’t want this to end

SOI is fly no place on Earth

Flexibility is the key!

Looking outside, just getting out of bed to see these incredibly high and beautiful mountains with no words to describe how amazing they were; it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced.

There are hardships ahead, but there are good people in the world

What once was a pretty dream has turned into a global responsibility

People and nature

Simply indescribable and unforgettable

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. (Henry David Thoreau)

I love the Arctic

I love seals

I wish this could last longer

I love the Polar Regions

Bird, whale, plant, Derrick

Trailblazers: Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Nature is wise. – Watch. Listen. Plan. Act.

Johnny Awesome! He wrestled a polar bear!

My friends in the Arctic need some support

Once in a lifetime experience

I failed my way to success (Thomas Edison)

Meeting unforgettable people

Be the change you want to see in the world

Simply ineffable

New for me: new friends, new perspectives about the Arctic

I will miss my SOI family

The future is in our hands

Horizons are expanded as you move onward, so keep moving forward

This experience has greatly changed me for the better

This trip has changed my life! Once in a lifetime experience! Work to be done.

Inuit culture rocks!

This is the best opportunity I’ve gotten!

Best time of my life (so far!)

The end of this trip is really just the beginning of something much bigger

I will miss you guys

I’m going to miss everyone

Nunavut is not the only future; I am the future of the Arctic

It’s good how we got to see the changes first hand so we will try to make changes in our daily lives because we are the future leaders!

We are the leaders of TODAY!

The cold, cold, cold, cold ocean. I’ve never felt so alive. Just letting the salt water hold me up. Looking at the clouds and hearing the thrum of the Zodiacs vibrate through the depths – every single nerve screaming and tingling and connected to the world.

A new beginning/chapter in our lives

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing (Helen Keller)

Mosquitoes everywhere! My whole hat was covered in them in Labrador!

I don’t want to leave!

I can’t find a word to describe how I feel!

I love that melting ice sounds like Rice Krispies!

Don’t waste any time, act fast, and take it all in each and every breath you take

Eat your elephant!

Best opportunity ever!

Act sooner so there will be less hard decisions in the future

Eric’s course on glaciers in Greenland was great

Youth are making a difference right now

If you go to the Arctic… bring a bug jacket

So beautiful, so inspiring!

Dost thou love life?
Then do not squander time,
for that is the stuff life is made of.
(Benjamin Franklin)

Don’t let your dreams be dreams.

Go for it!

Ice. Ice. Baby.

Protect the poles. Protect the planet.

Eric and Ian are hilarious

This is real life, guys.

I don’t care what Ian says, puffins are awesome!

I wasn’t seasick, mwahahahaha

Anything and everything on this ship rocked!

When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile

A memory of yesterday is no stronger then a vision of TOMORROW

Let’s go out and make a world we’ll be proud of

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that why it’s called the present

True friendships NEVER end

Think globally, act locally!

You are all Johnnies, you are all awesome!

A year goes by and I can’t talk about it, ‘cause when I close my eyes and drift away I think of the Arctic and everything is okay.

Best trip ever!

Blue whales!

SOI is my new family, Yay!

I love Mike!

They can because they think they can (Virgil)

I love you guys, I’m going to miss this

Greenland is awesome

Too awesome to leave behind, I love SOI!

I mished you sho I shvam!

Always follow your passion, even if it goes wrong, keep your spirit up and be open to let the world in for those ideas that will help you and your passion to make the change that the world needs.

Always let your voice be heard… through any form of Art

Seikailu alkakon! (The adventure begins)

Happiness does not consist in pastimes and amusements but in virtuous activities (Aristotle)

Nothing is impossible!

I love you!

Follow your bliss!

Trip of a lifetime (66 year old)

Une planète. Un peuple.

This journey wasn’t about the things we did, but it was about the way the people, the places and the journey changed us and made us feel, it always goes back to those feelings.

Lance un câble aux étoiles.

Auks are coolers than penguins!!!

Bergie bits rock!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does (Margaret Mead)

Don’t want it to end!

Greenland forever! SOI rocks!

So many cultures

Take risks. Don’t be rash. We can do this if we work together.

…a common hope

I don’t want to go home!

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds (Albert Einstein)

Learn from the world and experience it!

Love is like a bar of soap, once you think you’ve got it, it slips away

I wish that the trip would be longer

I never would’ve believed how amazing this experience was going to be

I love life!

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