Expedition participants, their families and supporters all gathered for our Welcome Back Celebration at the Canadian Museum of Nature. This event showcased just a tip of the iceberg of what the participants experienced during their time in the Arctic.
Before the show began, guests were invited to learn about all the alumni opportunities available, grab final pictures together in the photo booth and view some of the art work created by students while on the ship. The room was packed full of students reuniting with their loved ones and excitedly relaying stories of their journey.
Celebrated Inuit leader and drum performer David Serkoak opened the event with a drum dance followed by Meg Beckel, President & CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN) who spoke to the wonderful partnership between the CMN and Students on Ice. The two organizations have a shared vision of connecting youth to nature and fostering an understanding and appreciation for the Arctic. Scientists Noel Alfonso and Roger Bull with the CMN spoke to their experience engaging youth in learning about the Arctic environment.
Geoff Green, President of the Students on Ice Foundation and Expedition Leader shared highlights of the journey along with a short recap of the expedition.
Students on Ice expeditions are not possible without the generous support of numerous partners around the world! One of our key partners for more than a decade is Canada Goose. They have not only provided warm outwear in the form of jackets, vests and toques for participants, but have also supported student scholarships and funding for many of SOI’s programs and initiatives. We were grateful to have Gavin Thompson, VP of Corporate Citizenship with Canada Goose at the event to welcome back students and express his support.
SOI staff participant and Senior Arctic Official with the Department of Foreign Affairs Alison Leclaire delivered inspiring remarks about her experience helping to introduce youth to the policy opportunities for international engagement on Arctic issues, and received laughter from the audience as she apologized for not delivering on her pod leader duties of getting her group to the “Hub” (main meeting room on the ship) on time!
One of the highlights of the event was hearing from five students who shared their journey highlights and what they are taking away from this experience. Josh (Qumangaapik) Monteith from Nova Scotia, Iluuna Sorensen from Greenland, Martina Fjallberg from Sweden, Jesse Byrne from Newfoundland & Labrador and Emma Denton from Northern Ireland all spoke to the impact the journey has had and will continue to have on them. Iluuna said “It wasn’t just seeing the nature, it was being with these important people that I met just two weeks ago.”
This year we were very fortunate to have two talented musicians onboard. Multi-award winning (Juno!) singer-songwriter Ian Tamblyn moved the audience with his song, “You are this Place.” He and singer-songwriter George Woodhouse helped students to translate their experiences into music through songwriting workshops onboard. At the end of the event, they treated the audience to a musical number they created with several students onboard. A musical collaboration, which represented the spirit of the journey. They were joined by some very talented students to create the band called “Student Maximus”.
While their time on the ship may be over, the connections they made will certainly last a lifetime. We are looking forward to seeing how each participant grows following this expedition and what they accomplish. The journey will be unique for each individual, but one thing we know for sure is that “there are two permanent things in this world: Physics & Love.”
Stay tuned as we continue to share photo, video and blog content from the journey on our website and social media!