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SOI Arctic 2015 day 1: Students arrive in Ottawa!

Expedition leader update!

After many months of planning and hard work, our expedition has finally started!

It was a beautiful sunny day here in Canada’s Capital!  Many students arrived throughout the day, while students who arrived early spent the afternoon rafting on the Ottawa River and visiting the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) headquarters.

Later in the afternoon students and staff arrived at the Canadian Museum of Nature to take guided tours of the exhibits, followed by an official welcome from the Museum’s President & CEO Ms. Meg Beckel, and our first Expedition Briefing. We also enjoyed a wonderful panel discussion about the alumni experience with four of our awesome SOI alumni!

Then it was time for dinner at the museum while a slideshow of Greenland photos from some of our extraordinary team members, Pat and Rosemarie Keough, played in the background. Over dessert we heard from more of our incredible partners and educators, including David Scott, President of Polar Knowledge Canada, Tammy Scott from the Canada Council for the Arts, and one of our team members Mary Simon.

The positive energy was filling the room and our day concluded with each student and educator having the opportunity to introduce themselves. With students coming from Arctic Bay, Nunavut to Kigali, Rwanda, we have a truly international team, and excitement for our touchdown in Greenland is building!

Keep checking the website for more photos and expedition updates!

In the expedition spirit,

Geoff Green


Students tour the Canadian Museum of Nature. Photo (c) Martin Lipman.

A private tour of the museum. Photo (c) Martin Lipman

A private tour of the museum. Photo (c) Martin Lipman.


Photo (c) Martin Lipman.


Photo (c) Martin Lipman.


Photo (c) Martin Lipman.


Photo (c) Martin Lipman


Becky Mearns and Genevieve Killulark presenting. Photo (c) Martin Lipman


Eric McNair-Landry shows off one of the ‘qajaqs’ (kayaks). Photo (c) Martin Lipman.


Alumni: Olivia Rempel, Mitchell White, Patrick Crawford, and Brian Tattuinee talk about the alumni experience. Photo (c) Martin Lipman.




Domonic Iqalikjuak and Lora Oyukuluk  enjoy the presentation. Photo (c) Martin Lipman.


Tammy gives a speech about SOI's partnership with Canada Council for the Arts. Photo (c) Martin Lipman.

Tammy Smith gives a speech about SOI’s partnership with Canada Council for the Arts. Photo (c) Martin Lipman.

Mary speaks about her involvement with Students on Ice. Photo (c) Martin Lipman.

Mary Simon speaks about her involvement with Students on Ice. Photo (c) Martin Lipman.

Introductory circle at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Photo (c) Martin Lipman.

Introductory circle at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Photo (c) Martin Lipman.


Agneta Krogsgaard introduces herself. Photo (c) Martin Lipman.


Raslan Abdul Rahman introduces himself. Photo (c) Martin Lipman.


Brian Ituluk enjoys the introductions. Photo (c) Martin Lipman.


Udlu Hanson introduces herself to the group. Photo (c) Martin Lipman.


Photo (c) Martin Lipman.


Photo (c) Martin Lipman.


Brandon Caliwag
Mililani, Hawai’i, USA

Aloha, my name is Brandon, I’m the first person from Hawaii to participate in this expedition and this is my first day. I’m very stoked/excited to be here after nine or so hours of travelling. This all wouldn’t have been possible without the help of everyone who generously donated to my GoFundMe campaign. I’m sincerely grateful for all of you!

A special shoutout to Jenna, Miki, Shirley and my family:

Thank you Jenna for getting me involved with Students on Ice and I thank you and your family for supporting me financially on this journey. Good luck down in Bali!

Thank you Ms. T (sorry it’s odd calling you Miki, haha) for meeting with me on multiple occasions and guiding me through the process of getting here.

Thank you to my family, sorry about the late notice for this trip but thank you for being there for me. Since I’m doing thank yous, I might as well do as many people as I can.

Thank you to my best friend(KP) for being you. You help me to be a better person and you make the world a better place. And to my other best friend, Billy, thanks braddah.

I wish I had the list of donors with me, but to each and everyone of you (including the anonymous donors), you guys are the best. It’s an incredible honor to have all of your support. Thank you thank you thank you thank you sooo so much. Mahalo nui loa.

Mahalo Gigi Brisson for sponsoring my travel to Ottawa and back, I deeply appreciate your donation. My last thank you goes out to a certain anonymous donor. No words of the English language can express my gratitude. You’re the reason why everyone should work harder to make the world a better place because of the opportunities you provide. Thank you again.

Sorry everyone, my thank you’s aren’t the best. I’m not quite sure how long this blog has to be or if there’s a word limit, but I’ll be done soon.

All of this travelling has for sure taken a toll on me, but once I arrived in Ottawa I was greeted kindly by SOI staff and two other SOI students, I know your names but I fear spelling them wrong. The friendliness of the staff and students have made my arrival 1000% more enjoyable, it reminded me of the aloha spirit back home. I’d love to keep going about how great everything is here but my head is starting to hurt from travelling. Off then!

Message to my mom: I’m safe!



Some shots from earlier in the day via our Instagram feed!

The #Montreal team is growing!! Next stop, #Ottawa!! #SOIArctic2015

A photo posted by Students On Ice (@studentsonice) on


  Students getting a guided tour of the #CanadianMuseumofNature #SOIArctic2015   A photo posted by Students On Ice (@studentsonice) on

#NightattheMuseum #CanadianMuseumofNature #SOIArctic2015

A photo posted by Students On Ice (@studentsonice) on

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