At the Floe Edge!

STUDENTS ON ICE | 12 chemin Fosbery | Chelsea, Quebec | J9B 2G6 | Canada | 1-866-336-6423 | expedition@studentsonice.com

Stephen R. Branfman
First Air
Earth Rangers
Canadian Geographic
The Royal Canadian Geographic Society

Floe-edge is the name given to the area in the spring where the frozen Arctic Ocean meets the open Arctic Ocean.



Polar BearWelcome to this special website for our Students on Ice Arctic "Floe Edge" Expedition 2006. We invite you to share this remarkable journey and experience between June 15-25 as we travel to the edge of the frozen Arctic Ocean. Our expedition team for this education and research initiative consists of 16 students from Canada, the US, China and Saudi Arabia, together with a team of scientists, experts and Inuit guides. During the expedition we will be exploring the floe edge region and focusing on Arctic flora, fauna, history, science, culture, important environmental issues, and much more. Each day will be filled with adventure and discovery!

Students on Ice is proud to have so many wonderful
partners supporting this expedition. We are also proud to be endorsed by the Arctic Council's Future of Children and Youth Initiative , and to have recently been endorsed as official youth expeditions for the International Polar Year 2007-2009.

A key objective of this Students on Ice expedition is to address the issue of Climate Change, to look at the impacts it is having on the Arctic and the planet, and to commit to steps and actions that we can all take to become agents of change and to make a positive and significant difference. There is a growing argument and mounting evidence that we can no longer afford to view global warming as a political issue - rather, it is the biggest moral challenge facing our global civilization. Carbon dioxide and other gases warm the surface of the planet naturally by trapping solar heat in the atmosphere. This is a good thing because it keeps our planet habitable. However, by burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil and clearing forests we have dramatically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere and temperatures are rising. The vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is real, it’s already happening and that it is the result of our human activities and not a natural occurrence. The evidence is overwhelming and undeniable. We’re already seeing changes. Glaciers are melting, plants and animals are being forced from their habitat, and the number of severe storms and droughts are increasing.

Climate change is endangering the Arctic and the whole planet. The Arctic and the people of the north are on the frontlines of this change. The Inuit are at the receiving end of the pollution and the negative impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

  • "These issues are not just about the environment or wildlife; these issues are about children, families, and communities. This is about people—the cultural survival of an entire people—, which, of course, are connected to the survival of the planet as a whole. What happens in the Arctic is important to all of us. The Arctic is indeed the health barometer—the early warning—for the rest of the world."
    Sheila Watt-Cloutier,
    Chair, Inuit Circumpolar Conference and recipient of the UN's Champion of the Earth Award.

Everything is interconnected and what we do to our planet we do to ourselves. By making Climate Change a personal issue, we hope these 16 young leaders will return as inspired and motivated environmental ambassadors. Last year's SOI Arctic Expedition helped to produce the Declaration on Climate Change from Youth of the Arctic. You can also see proof of the impact these expedition have on youth by reading the powerful story "The connection between me and a receding glacier" written by a student on last year's SOI Arctic expedition. The solutions are out there and we need to take action. Again we invite all of you to share our Arctic journey and learn vicariously about what is proving to be the biggest challenge our civilization has ever confronted.

Under constant daylight and given clear skies, under the midnight sun, we will be camped on the frozen Arctic Ocean, amidst magnificent mountain views, glaciers, ancient
Thule sites, with remarkable opportunities to see a terrific variety of Arctic wildlife as it returns to the North.

Departing from
Ottawa, our team of students and scientists from around the world will fly north across the Arctic Circle to the tiny community of Pond Inlet on the north coast of Baffin Island in Canada.

The expedition explores the land to the east of the Inuit community of Pond Inlet towards Baffin Bay. Guided by experienced Students on Ice staff and Inuit guides, the ice conditions and
weather will determine the exact route we are to follow. Watch the daily journal entries for an updated satellite image map of the Pond Inlet Floe Edge, as it becomes available through the course of the expedition.

KomatiksThe Komatiks (sleds) that are used to transport everything needed for our trip, are an incredible piece of equipment that has changed little over hundreds of years.

As with past SOI expeditions, we will use the
Arctic Climate Impact Assessment as a central education document to understand the science and impacts of climate change. However we will also be learning about the Inuit perspective and their traditional knowledge to better understand the changes taking place.

Together with our team of scientists and Inuit team members, we´ll explore the link between Inuit Traditional Knowledge and Sustainable Living. A tailored education program of hands-on activities, lectures and workshops will take place each day.

From our comfortable established base camp on the ice we will venture out each day to explore, experience, study and photograph the surrounding area.
Recent years have seen dramatic political and climatic changes in the Arctic. For instance, the Territory of Nunavut has been established and it appears the polar sea-ice is thinning due to an increase in the average annual temperature.
Satellite radar floe edge image map of Pond Inlet © Noetix
Our education team, consisting of world-class scientists and polar experts, will address these issues and many others through an education program consisting of lectures, workshops and hands-on activities during the expedition. A pre-expedition preparatory program will help get all students ready in advance.

The Arctic cannot be seen in isolation. The northern regions are part of a circumpolar world that shares physical and environmental characteristics, as well as challenges and opportunities. Understanding global climate change and its effects on the Arctic regions must be made a priority, since climate change has the greatest effects on regions in the high latitudes.

This trip has been described as one of the classic Arctic adventures. The awesome power of the North can only be understood by seeing and experiencing it first hand. Living on the sea ice and exploring the floe-edge presents each participating youth with a life-changing and inspiring opportunity to experience one of the great wilderness areas left on Earth. The Students on Ice Arctic expedition is an incredible opportunity for participating students to expand their knowledge about the circumpolar world, and to gain a new global perspective of our planet, its wonders, and its present and future challenges.


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