Polar Perspectives IPY Speaker Series & Youth Forums Update

POLAR PERSPECTIVES is now well underway, taking place at 15 venues across the country, in each of Canada’s provinces and territories! This pan-Canada IPY event is supported by the Government of Canada’s International Polar Year Program, the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation, the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada, Students on Ice, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Canadian Geographic Magazine, the National Inuit Youth Council and the Canadian IPY Youth Steering Committee.

The Speaker Series consists of an evening lecture program delivered to a general audience by prominent scientists, writers, artists, filmmakers, adventurers and leaders. It is intended to give the audience the latest knowledge on the IPY, Arctic issues and their impact on both the northern and southern Canadian population. Topics range from environmental and cultural issues in the north to recent polar research discoveries. A two-speaker format draws on local, national and international speakers at each venue. Each evening program includes special presentations, contests, and IPY-related booths and displays.

The Youth Forums are full-day educational programs providing secondary school students with a unique opportunity to learn about Arctic ecosystems, northern issues, IPY, climate change, Antarctica, and much more. Video-conferencing throughout the Canadian Arctic is enabling northern youth to share their thoughts, stories and perspectives with other northern and southern youth regarding Health, Culture, Climate Change, Conservation, Sovereignty and other topics. Participating students are tasked to answer such questions as “What does the Arctic mean to you?”, and are being challenged to make “IPY Commitments”.

The free public lectures have been well attended with over 800 attendees and a variety of IPY speakers, including Dr. Louis Fortier, Director of ArcticNet; Dr. Elizabeth Peacock, Polar Bear Researcher for the Government of Nunavut; Geoff Green, Founder & Executive Director of Students on Ice; Karsten Heuer, Author of Being Caribou; as well as many other representatives from Canadian Museums, Universities and IPY projects.

The Youth Forums have been a resounding success! Over 400 students have participated in the 9 events so far, and we still have 7 more to go! Participating students have learned a great deal about the polar regions, the IPY, and have been motivated and inspired to become more engaged and to explore further opportunities.

Polar Perspectives has been receiving excellent media coverage across the country (CBC, CTV, various newspapers).


November 20, 2008, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
“Archaeology and Education on Ice!”
Tom Andrews – NWT Territorial Archaeologist
“Beyond the Map: A Geographer Reflects on 30 Years of Lessons from the Land”
Dr. James Raffan – Executive Director, Canadian Canoe Museum

November 24, 2008, Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British Columbia
“Climate change, its ecological impacts in BC’s cold regions and what we can do”
Dr. Richard Hebda – Royal BC Museum
“Plumbing the Polar Oceans: Their Job in the Global Climate System”
Dr. Eddy Carmack – Department of Fisheries and Oceans

November 26, 2008, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, Halifax, Nova Scotia
“Carving the islands of the Canadian Archipelago”
Dr. John Gosse – Dalhousie University
“Adventures in Arctic Palaeobiology”
Dr. Natalia Rybczynski – Canadian Museum of Nature

November 30, 2008, Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
“International Polar Year”
Ian Church – Chair of the Canadian IPY National Committee
“North Towards Meaning”
Karsten Heuer – Author of Being Caribou

Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, AB – Date TBD 2009

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON – Date TBD 2009


We’ve had great success!
Over 400 students have attended so far at 9 events:

Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, ON
Eptek Art and Culture Centre, Summerside, PEI
Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, AB
New Brunswick Museum, Saint John, NB
The Rooms, St. John’s, NL
Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg, MB
Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Regina, SK
Inuksuk High School, Iqaluit, NU


Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, Yellowknife, NWT – November 21
Royal BC Museum, Victoria, BC – November 24
Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, Halifax, NS – November 26
Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre, Whitehorse, YT – December 1
Biodôme, Montréal, QC – December 3
Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, AB – Date TBD 2009
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON – Date TBD 2009

We encourage you to spread the word about the remaining Polar Perspectives Speaker Events and Youth Forums in your region.

For more information, please contact Sam Darling at sam@studentsonice.com or 1-866-336-6423


Students on Ice is proudly supported by bv02.

This website was made possible by a generous contribution from the Leacross Foundation.