Thursday, August 16, 2012

Final day

The sixth day of the trip began in the same manner that the others had; with nine young minds clammering to plunge themselves into the scientific world. We took off into the wetlands for three hours before lunch, performing the tasks that are rapidly becoming routine. I was in the fish squadron, and our traps yielded many specimens that would later be analyzed in the lab, another aspect of the trip that is steadily becoming common knowledge for the nine participants. Overall, the day went very well, and I look forward to finishing the trip in an emphatic fashion.
But, before I end this little passage, I would like to take this chance to say something I believe to be important. As this trip comes to a close, I am beginning to reflect on what it has meant for me, and for the eight good friends I’ve gained on this journey. When you think about it, you should realize how incredibly special this trip has been. We have all had an incredible opportunity to journey to an unknown environment, with a different climate, different people, and most importantly, new experiences. All nine participants landed in Manitoba knowing that Environmental science was something they were interested in. At that point, many of us may have believed that we could end up in this field. I know I did. But, no matter how set you may be on your future career, no matter how convinced you are that something is your passion, there always seems to be a little bit of doubt, gnawing there at the back of your mind. There was for me, made worse by my undetermined age of seventeen, when you’re not quite boy, not quite a man. That doubt had been plaguing me for months, and when I showed up here at the CNSC, I was determined to find out if that doubt had a basis in truth, or if it was merely a figment of my imagination. Do to this goal, I plunged myself into the tasks that were given to us by our coordinators, and accrued actual experience doing the types of things that I believed I want to do in the future. I got to speak to real live biologists, live the way many environmental scientists do, and get an overall understanding, or “better feeling” for the field itself. This experience was exactly what I needed and I can now say quite confidently that I was right. I DO want to go into environmental science; I do want to be involved with the environment, and the greatest part about that is that it’s not because I can get rich in the field, or become famous, it’s because I know I can do something I love and make a difference, that is not something a lot of people get to say.

I want to thank the CNSC, Earthwatch, and all the people who made this trip possible. It has been a great experience and it has had and will continue to have a very tangible impact on my life.

Emily on the second last day

Aug 2,2012  by Emily
It has been several days to stay here in the secret and wonderful north arctic. The fantastic and beautiful natural scene has left a deep impression on me. I will remember the fantastic polar light, the lovely polar bear, the huge whale and the beautiful seaside sunset forever. However, what made me more unforgettable are the friends I made during this journey, professor Ben Cash is a serious and responsible professor who is full of academic temperament. I learned a lot from him about the natural science. Lee Ann is courteous and accessible and has a wide range of knowledge. I must express my thanks to Paige Harms and Ben Jack who were willing to teach me English with great patience. Also I must say thanks to Willow, Annie and Jack who always helps to translate for me with their good English. Of course, I am very happy to work and play with all the little friends(Philip, John, Evan, Christian, Nolan, Poon, Willow, Annie and Jack) from difficult countries. They are full of vigor, friendship, responsibility and passion. They showed big humor and virtue when they always told me that their Chinese is worse than my English. Thanks to all. It is a big pleasure for me to know all of you. If I have another chance, I will choose to come here again to participate in this program. It is so great. The meaningful ecological experiments help us to know the real nature and love our common home, the earth much more. Finally I want to give my sincere blessing to all of you.

We'll miss you Phil!

Wednesday 1st August 2012
    Today was the day before the last day we stayed in Churchill. As usual, we got up at 7:00 and have breakfast in the canteen at 7:30 then met in the classroom at 8:15. I’ve known that Phil, our assistant of the research, will leave us tomorrow that means today was the last day he stay with us.
     I still remember the first day we met at the hotel, Dr.Ben and Phil came and pick me up. He was a bright young man with a black hat on he head. I swear if he was in china, the girls in my school will be crazy of him! But appearance is not the most important part of his glamour. Hard-working is one of his personal charm. I still remember the day we went out to the beach, he didn’t came with us. It has already been 10:00 when we came back to the camp. But what surprise me is that I found Phil still working alone in the research laboratory. Paige said to Dr.Ben : “ Look at him, his is still working hard!”
    I didn’t work with Phil for many times, but he taught me a lot of things that I can’t learn from the school or from books. He taught me how to catch frogs, how to divide the growing season of frogs. He has told me that he love frogs since he was young he catch frogs, play with frogs. Frogs is his childhood.
All I want to say is: “thank you Phil! We will miss you!”

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A lovely day off in town

JUL 30 2012 Annie
奔波在湿地与沼泽间数天后,我们终于赢来了今天的Day Off。脱下了又湿又重的防水服,摘下如同随身携带面具似的防蚊装,在欢声笑语中在连绵的歌声中地球守望者小分队前往了Churchill小镇!
路过著名的Churchill小镇牌,我感叹:这不就是我在谷歌搜的时候看到的牌匾嘛!我们停下Big Ben为我们完成了数张合影,有的大家每个人都显得很端庄优雅,有的看起来就像是十足的傻帽儿。很诙谐,很独特,也很有意义!稍作停留我们就开进小镇,小镇和我认识的中国乡村不同,没有所谓中国乡村的简陋或是农家特色,更和我们都熟知的现代都市有着天壤之别。丘吉尔小镇有着自己独特的魅力。低矮的房屋,个性的排列,独具一格的房屋建筑特色显得分自由洒脱。奶黄色的房体,淡蓝色的屋顶,还有可爱的小木屋咖啡厅。主干道虽然没有多长,但是两旁的小铺让人感觉生活在丘吉尔就是一件充盈而幸福的事,不需要物质上的过分装点,只要走在这条主干道上,到小木屋看一份报纸喝杯咖啡,生活就又是美好的一页。没有高耸入云的大厦,给人莫明的亲切感一些都是如此安逸。小镇上的每个人每个店主都彼此认识,每每走进一家小商店,和店主亲切的问好让你感觉这里就是你家楼下的小商铺一般亲切。微笑让这里拥有了更美妙的色彩。我们访问了当地的爱斯基摩博物馆,美丽的Paige为我们做了细致的讲解。看到了这里的原始居民和我们亚洲人长得很像,他们在地球的第二次气候变暖后从亚洲迁移。我还在这里买了一对漂亮的北极熊耳钉。太好看了,虽然我还没有一个耳钉,但是我相信此次回国我一定会打一个的!
剩下的自由时间我们在小镇仅有的几家小店盘旋,我买了两个手链一个丘吉尔的标还有一个爱斯基摩的特色小钱包,我太喜欢了。大家有的看了书,有的和我一样买了纪念品,还有的买了零食 ^.^
下午三点四十分我们集合前往海湾乘坐了小船。这也是我很像泄愤的地方,嘿嘿,真的好冷啊!我们在船上的时光就是被冻着的,我和心怡瑟瑟发抖,手脚冰凉。不过在船上我们看到了可爱的White Belugas。他们独特的身体骨结构为满足了他们的回声定位,使他们能够更好地在这片海域适应生存,更迅速地寻找到猎物,避开捕食者。但是船上的风凛凛的吹,参杂着只有四摄氏度飞溅的水滴,我们大家都蜷成一团。就在这时我们的船长给我们示意,我们的船周围都是Belugas他们在我们的船边翻滚着,还有的吐着泡泡可爱极了!大家疯狂照相。其实看完了Belugas我们又路过了一个小岛,岛上有只慵懒的北极熊!他看到我们后就躲到了岩石后面,还是不是为了吸引我们走来走去,再藏到岩石后,实在是可爱极了。
总算啊总算啊,我们回到了陆地上,看到了我们的小车所有人都欢呼雀跃。我们立刻驱车感到了我们要吃饭的小餐厅, The Lazy Bear Cafe,大家一共分成了四桌。迅速点餐迅速吃完,哇,真的我吃的好撑还点了一大杯热茶暖胃,好舒服啊!
Love you, lovely Churchill Town!

The Cremation of Sam McGee - arctic poetry

Robert Service (1874-1958)
The Cremation of Sam McGee

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam ‘round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he’d sooner live in hell.”

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! Through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;
It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”

Well he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
“It’s the cursed cold, and it’s got right hold, till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet ‘tain’t being dead – it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”

A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! He looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: “You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it’s up to you, to cremate those last remains.”

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows – Oh God! How I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.
Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May.”
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared – such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.
I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked”; then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and said: “Please close that door.
It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear, you’ll let in the cold and storm –
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

The Big Earthwatch quiz!

7.28.2012 - by Nolan

Today was yet another day at Earthwatch! We woke up to the sound of our alarms, and the sun already risen (as of many hours before). Breakfast was bacon and eggs and lots of coffee, and then we were off into the field. Today, instead of heading towards the bay as we had done in previous days, we headed south, towards Twin Lakes, to retrieve our data. The fish team found nothing (or almost nothing) and Phil forgot his equipment and could not collect any frog blood samples. Unfortunately for him, we caught two big ones that he almost certainly could have used in his project. We also saw a number of chorus frogs! They are big and green, and certainly don’t look like they belong in the Arctic. Lunch was leftovers (again), and the afternoon labwork was long, if not overly difficult. The frog team had a lot to do, and was out in the field until 6:15. The weather was nice, but the bugs were not, and we were all happy to come back inside and escape the clouds of black flies that had swarmed and attacked anyone who set foot outside the center. Dinner was cheesy potatoes and ravioli (and of course, leftovers). After dinner we all sat down and took the Big Earthwatch Quiz (created by, and, in his best gameshow host voice, run by Big Ben). Questions ranged from arctic biome trivia to fun facts about scientists and facilitators, as well as geography, Canadian history, and general awesomeness. Jack, Nolan and Emily won with 56 out of 70 possible points earned. Pretty cool. The sunset was gorgeous (and not until almost 10:50!) The days are very long in the arctic...

Sunday, July 29, 2012