Today, high school students from across Canada and around the world come together in Ottawa to start two weeks of discovery and learning on an ambitious expedition exploring the eastern Canadian Arctic and western Greenland. Students on Ice’s 2014 Arctic Expedition will be led by an impressive team of 45 educators, scientists, artists, Inuit leaders, and polar experts. The youth participants will foster a greater understanding and respect for the history, culture and ecological diversity of the Arctic, and become inspired, connected and motivated as youth ambassadors.
“Connecting curious and passionate young people with leaders and experts, and exposing them firsthand to the Arctic, creates a learning experience that is transformative”, says Geoff Green, Founder and Executive Director of Students on Ice. “As our students come to understand this powerful and beautiful land, its people, environment and governance, they also become part of its future.”
Launching from Ottawa, the ship and land-based journey will explore the communities, coasts, fiords, and islands of the Torngat Mountains National Park in Labrador and the southern and western coasts of Greenland while acquiring first-hand knowledge and insight into issues like the Arctic Council and the dynamics of climate change. Thirty-four of the 87 students are northern aboriginal youth from across the Canadian Arctic and Greenland. Other participants are from China, Monaco, UK & the USA.
Highlights of the 2014 expedition include:
- Encounters with whales, polar bears and other Arctic wildlife
- Workshops and discussions on Arctic history, policy and governance
- Zodiac cruises amongst icebergs and ice floes
- Exploring the coasts, fiords and islands of the Torngat Mountains National Park
- Visits with Northern communities and cultural events
- Hands-on research with scientists
“To witness first-hand the beauty of the Arctic and better understand its important role in the global ecosystem is something that will forever change the way these students view the world and their place within it,” says Green. “SOI expeditions are just the beginning of a life-long journey, but a very important step in gaining the inspiration, education and motivation needed to become leaders towards a more sustainable future.”
The diverse educational program engages students through scientific research, history, culture and the arts and provides students with life-long mentors. Joining the Students on Ice team this year will be scientists Noel Alfonso and Paula Piilonen with the Canadian Museum of Nature, Inuk historian and artist Becky Mearns, award-winning singers and songwriters Ian Tamblyn and Kathleen Edwards, Inuk artist Jolly Atagooyuk, Visitor Experience Manager Gary Baikie with Torngat Mountains National Park, and polar experts David Fletcher, Whit Fraser, James Raffan, Bianca Perren, Dr. Don Walsh and Dr. Whitney Lackenbauer.
The 2014 Students on Ice Arctic Expedition is made possible through partnerships with First Air, the Canadian Museum of Nature, Parks Canada, Canada Goose, Makivik Corporation, Kativik Regional Government, Leacross Foundation, WWF-Canada, Canadian Heritage, the U.S. Embassy Ottawa and more than 30 other incredible supporters. Through the generosity of partner organizations, more than eighty-five percent of youth participants are supported to participate in this transformational, life-changing experience.
Note to Ottawa media – Interview and photo opportunities:
• Friday, July 11: Expedition team to tour Canadian Museum of Nature’s national collections and research labs, 1740 Pink Road, Gatineau; Group 1 tour: 9:30-11am; Group 2: 1:45-4pm
• Saturday, July 12: Departure from Ottawa Airport at 8:00am (arrive at 7:30am), First Air charter
• July 24 at 10am: Welcome Home event at the Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod Street
Students on Ice is an award-winning organization offering unique and inspiring educational expeditions to the Antarctic and the Arctic that foster an understanding and respect for the Planet. Since 2000, Students on Ice has taken more than 2,500 youth from 52 countries to the Polar Regions.
The 14th Annual Students on Ice Arctic Expedition will take place July 9-24, 2014. To learn more and follow the expedition through photos, videos and student journals visit the expedition website and follow journey updates on Facebook and Twitter.