Other pages in this section

2019 Arctic Expedition: Day 2

(student and staff blogs below)

Today we embarked on an adventure to Camp Fortune in Gatineau Park, just outside of Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. This was the first time all students participated in programming together! The day was an exciting mix of zip lining, orienteering and meeting the different education teams that will be on board the MS Ocean Endeavour during this summer’s expedition. Students had the opportunity to spend the day outdoors enjoying the sun while learning about SOI’s diverse, exciting and ever-growing education program.

In the morning the students split into two groups, with one group beginning their day with Educa-teering. Pods separated with maps in hand to locate the different education teams scattered across the park. By working together with their group they mapped out a route to each team.

Sitting on the side of the lake in a circle, the students met the Science team. They will be joined on expedition by expert botanists, ornithologists, glaciologists and other scientists from varying fields. Working with these educators, students will engage in hands-on learning to better understand the natural world around them in Greenland and the Canadian Arctic from both an Inuit knowledge and western science perspective.

The students met the Health and Wellness team who, on board, will support their physical and mental health needs. With two physicians and five counsellors (two of whom are Elders), we are well equipped to handle anything that could arise on the journey.

The Isuma team shared some of their artistic talents. With many creative students on board the team we were excited to share the opportunities for students to harness their art, storytelling and musical abilities during the expedition.

The History, Culture and Society team was made up of a diverse group of experts including historians, social scientists and educators. They asked students what they were looking forward to learning about the Arctic through the lens of history, culture and society. Hopefully these insightful conversations positively impact what students learn on the ship.

The Media and Communications team invited students to partake in an activity where they worked together to take a unique picture using their own cameras or phones. This took place at the peak of a hill at Camp Fortune and despite students witnessing the same view, their photos were incredibly unique.

Here are some of their photos:

Meanwhile, across the camp location, the second group of students were getting dressed in harnesses and helmets. While zip-lining was a new activity for many, our students embraced the challenge and supported one another throughout the course. They passed through obstacles like wobbly bridges, rope ladders or even just dodging the bugs. You could easily tell if a student had just completed the course due to the smile on their face and the confidence they emulated.

Following lunch the two groups swapped activities. By the end of the day students were already feeling incredibly comfortable with one another. The evening was filled with packing and loading luggage to get ready for an early morning wakeup for the airport tomorrow!

Blogs from the Day:

Anna Kelly, student
Oxford, United Kingdom

With a 20 minute break before heading off to Camp Fortune for some team building, I just wanted to share some brief reflections from a brilliant day in Ottawa yesterday. I have met some incredible people from all kinds of different backgrounds. Over 50% of the students are indigenous to the Arctic and I was speaking to a Canadian Inuit yesterday who was amazed to hear that I had never tried polar bear! I am so excited to keep meeting new people and learning more about their different cultures. Ottawa is a beautiful city with lots of green space and a wide canal leading to the massive Ottawa River (this marks the boundary between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec). The expedition was launched at the Canadian Museum of Nature which was built for Queen Victoria in the early 20th century and resembles a huge castle. One of the highlights of exploring this was the ocean gallery, where there was a virtually complete skeleton of a real blue whale! Apparently it took an entire train to transport, which had to be burned afterwards because it was so covered in oil. The whale was then placed underground for 8 years so microorganisms could clean the skeleton. It made me feel incredibly small by comparison! There were some incredible speakers at the launch event itself, including 2 elders (Verna McGregor and David Serkoak) who gave us an insight into First Nations and Inuit culture. As we came in we were given tobacco to hold in our left hand (closer to the heart). It will be burned later on in a sacred fire, which is supposed to connect our hopes and fears for the expedition to the environment around us and our ancestors that exist within it. It has been fascinating to be introduced to an entirely new way of viewing our surroundings so early on. I am really looking forwards to developing this over the next 2 weeks. We were also introduced to Geoff Green (expedition founder and leader) who gave us a quick ice forecast for the planned route. Currently, we could be encountering some serious pack ice in Lancaster Sound which means we may have to be flexible but as we were told yesterday “flexibility is the key!”. I am really excited for the next few days and will definitely keep you posted on everything I learn. Hope everything is well back home!


Eygló Fanndal, student
Kópavogur, Iceland

Hæ hæ,
Í kvöld eru allir á fullu að pakka niður fyrir flugið á morgun til Grænlands. Við þurfum að vakna klukkan 5:45 og fara beint á flugvöllinn. Þau taka töskurnar okkar núna í kvöld þannig það er búið að setja töskurnar okkar í vélina þegar við komum á morgun. Við þurfum ekki að fara í gegnum öryggisleit eða neitt þannig því þetta er leiguflug þannig við keyrum beint upp að flugvélinni í rútunum okkar. Gærdagurinn var mjög skemmtilegur og stútfullur af hlutum að gera. Við byrjuðum á leikjum til að brjóta ísinn og kynnast hvort öðru, síðan fórum við í The Canadian Museum of Nature og fengum kynningu um safnið sem er ekkert smá flott. Eftir það fórum við í sal inni í safninu og hlustuðum á nokkra fyrirlestra frá stofnanda SOI og frá öðru fólki sem hefur farið í ferðina líka. Við borðuðum kvöldmat á safninu, ég borðaði úti með nokkrum krökkum í hópnum mínum sem við köllum pod.Podinn minn heitir Aput sem þýðir Snjór. Eftir mat fórum við aftur upp í salinn og fórum í nokkra leiki til að bæta liðsandann í hópunum okkar. Síðan fórum við heim um 10 og allir fóru beint að sofa eftir langan dag. í dag eyddum við öllum deginum á stað sem heitir Camp Fortune og við fórum í klifurgarð með Ziplínum og vorum að labba um skóginn og kynnast starfsfólkinu og vísindamönnunum og þannig. Herbergisfélaginn minn hérna í Ottawa heitir Renee og hún er ekkert smá næs. Það eru allir að reyna að finna út hver herbergisfélaginn manns sé á skipinu en það er ekki að ganga vel og ég held að enginn sé búinn að finna út úr því en það kemur allt í ljós á morgun þegar við förum á skipið. Eftir hvern dag er maður alveg uppgefinn og ég er alltaf að deyja úr þreytu því það er svo mikil dagskrá fyrir hvern dag, en þá er ég allaveganna ekki í vandræðum með svefn. Ég er svo spennt fyrir morgundeginum og að sjá skipið og Grænland og bara allt saman. Ég reyni að skrifa eitthvað meira þegar við erum komin á skipið.


George Woodhouse, Musician
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

Hello world! Greetings from Camp Fortune in Ottawa.  I’m a staff/musician on the ship and experiencing SOI for the first time, just like most of the students.  Speaking of the students, they are blowing my mind… so open and curious and it’s beautiful to see friendships forming between people who usually live thousands of kilometers apart.   Yesterday we ate a fancy dinner at the Museum of Nature (Lasagna YUMM)!  As I’m typing this, ice cream sandwiches are literally being tossed between students.  We need energy for our afternoon of zip lining through tree tops.  Team bonding is important, and it is fun to watch.  Lane from Inuvik is one student in my pod… he has a sharp wit, I love his jokes!  He says he doesn’t do stand up comedy cause he’s more of an “in-the-moment” guy.  Kassidy is in my pod as well, and she’s from Shubenacadie First Nation.  I didn’t expect to get so excited to have that Nova Scotia connection with someone, even though we didn’t know each other before, it’s nice to share that.  Orvell is in my pod too, and he’s from Memphis, Tennessee.  He was making my mouth water before lunch today, talkin about how good the BBQ is in Memphis.  I have to end this blog now because I think the ice cream sandwiches are almost gone.  It’s such an honour to be here with everyone, and tomorrow… GREENLAND!  Peace and love from the SOI crew.


Linda McDonald
Kaska Language Teacher
Watson Lake, Yukon Territory, Canada

Oh my gosh!! We are in the midst of the orientation, launch, meeting each other and so many first expedition and I am in awe about the amazing trip before us.  My pod  is Uppik, my co-leader is  George  Woodhouse.  We have a great  bunch  of students with us.  We are at Camp Fortune all day and evening.  This morning  we had presentations from the wellness  team,  the scientists, artists, writers, musicians, as well as historians, social scientists and others. This expedition is very  much wholistic in what is  being presented. Our experience will  definitely be more than the  sum of it’s parts! I am super excited about it  all!  Thank you to my  son,  Zuneza Cove who is a student alumni  from  2010. He is the reason I am here!  We  are  off learning about ropes and ziplining this  afternoon.  Tomorrow morning, Greenland!!


EOksana Dryden, student
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Thus far, the expedition has far exceeded my expectations. Not only have the staff provided friendly faces and open conversation, they’ve managed to make me feel part of the Students on Ice family. Yesterday, I took advantage of the spare hour I had to meet other people on the trip. Shortly thereafter, we visited the Canadian Museum of Nature. Although I have already visited the museum several times before, the experience was not lost on me. The colourful paintings and magnificent creatures (and fossils) sparked a childhood desire to stare wide-eyed at carefully displayed pieces of a world much more vast and old than I. Cut to the present moment, my muscles are definitely feeling the burn of a full day. To my delight, the majority of my day was spent at Camp Fortune. I am very proud to state that I overcame my intense fear of heights. The outcome of this small adventure resulted in an opportunity I do not regret taking as well as a newfound confidence in myself. It’s safe to assume that my optimism and perseverance certainly contributed to this major accomplishment. Moral of the first two days: don’t be afraid to open yourself to new experiences.

Tukirqi Pilurtuut,
Inuktitut Curriculum Developer
Kuujjuaraapik, Québec, Canada

I am sitting here with Charlotte and we are beat! Zip-lining was awesome, I didn’t make it to the finish line yet it feels like I did hooray for me. Try it if you ever get a chance and beat my record. 

The sunscreen I bought which is 45 UVA/UVB didn’t work,so I recommend you’d get a stronger protection before going on a ship to better enjoy the awesome activities SOI provides.

TPilurtuut 🙂


Students on Ice is proudly supported by bv02.

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