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Imagine a flat, isolated, and magical place shared only with the arctic foxes, the caribou and an occasional polar bear. A land ruled by lichen bogs and sedge bullrush fens. The nights are filled with the dancing glow of northern lights as one drifts off to sleep with the eerie sounds of the sandhill cranes in the distance.
Kelvin students are a few of the only students in the world who have the opportunity to take a helicopter to the middle of the tundra and stay in a small research station in Wapusk National Park. Every August, a group of students live out on the tundra and study the relationship between vegetation and the permafrost active layer thickness. Many hours are spent hiking to different research sites around the park. This past summer, we had the great privilege of watching five arctic fox pups tumbling, jumping and playing together at a nearby den. One morning we woke up to see a polar bear dozing right outside the fence.
One cannot help but feel a connection to this beautiful land. While in Churchill, we learn about the history and culture of the North and listen to a Sayisi Dene woman speak about her experience of forced relocation, residential schools and her road to healing. A big part of the program is our partnership with the local Churchill kids who are part of the Junior Canadian Rangers. We have even had the opportunity to stay overnight at the historic Fort Prince of Wales, hike along the Hudson Bay collecting fossils, and ride on a zodiac with beluga whales swimming beside us.
This program is in partnership with the Univeristy of Manitoba and NSERC Promoscience. Dr. Roth and Dr Brooks accompany us in the summer and Dr. Waterman in the fall.
A short video of the trip can be found here