Friday, July 30, 2010

Today is Polar Bear Day!

July 29, 2010.

Everyday in the arctic is an adventure. Today began with a 7 am breakfast as usual and then we all proceeded with our normal morning schedule, leaving for Polar Bear Alley (the site of testing for the day) at around 8:40 am. After collecting samples and data from the first 3 ponds, we were suddenly interupted by a thought to be distant polar bear off the shore.

Discussion about the white dot led to confirmation that it was indeed moving and that it had a black nose; it was definatly a polar bear! The bear was far enough away for us to have time to pack up our supplies at the 3rd pond site, but the last few data points were not taken. We had time to stand outside the van and take a look at the polar bear through binoculars and take some pictures with our cameras. While some people tried to take pictures through the binoculars, the bear was too far away to get a good clear picture of it.

After driving back to the research center and eating a delicious lunch (of the selection,grilled cheese sandwiches which are my favorite) we set back out the collect data from 4 more ponds in Polar Bear Alley. The bear was not spotted again and the rest of the data was collected without any interference.

Most of us are getting the hang of walking in the ponds and luckly no one was sucked down to their hips. Although, I had a nice little fall that filled my waders with water and a few people had some stumbles.

I am looking forward to the lecture on polar bears tonight after dinner as I know my fellow earthwatchers are too. I'm glad we had a glimpse of a polar bear before the talk and I hope that we have the chance to see another one at a closer (and safe) distance. We are also hoping to see the aurora borealis later tonight if it isn't too cloudy!

Dinner calls!


"The Fen" Wetland adventure

28 July 2010

Another day, another adventure on the wetland habitats of Churchill, Manitoba. We ventured to The Fen, a beautiful and vast place that seemed to stretch on forever in all directions. There was flat land with rich vegetation everywhere. The first pond set the tone for the rest of the day. The water was clear and shallow, so it appeared to be an ideal place for anyone looking for a cool place to wet their feet. But, the powers of this pond were underestimated. One of our fellow teammates, Daniel, became a victim of the pond bottom; sinking in up to his waist only to be pulled out later. This situation was not unusual though. Many more of the teammates had trouble keeping their feet above the ground for most of the day. We went to 5 other ponds that day to collect samples. The rest of the ponds weren't as troublesome to walk through, but they offered their own share of wildlife and plant life. There were an abundance of wood frogs and beetles in the wetlands.

Here's also a video from our first day along the coast in the fog.

We arrived back at the CNSC and started our lab work as usual. Harish and Dan set off to the next wetland site to plant fish traps, while the rest of us processed the data we had received from The Fen. After having a delicious dinner, we finished the day off with a Climate Change discussion and lecture in the classroom.

- Amy

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day One activities

July 27, 2010

After waking up and enjoying breakfast we all met in the classroom for a check on the weather and the day's plan. We were told that we were to be divided into three groups; the physical team that takes physical measurements of the wetland, the fish/ frog team that sets and collects fish and tadpoles, and the water quality team that collects water samples and process them. After learning all of these things we took a short break to let some remaining fog clear and then went out to the wetlands by the coast to collect traps and take measurements. Right when we got to the first wetland the fog returned but not for long. The conditions were just right with a cool breeze to keep the bugs away.

After visiting 5 wetlands we headed back just in time for the lunch that kept us satiated during the first bout of lab work. After lunch we met in the classroom again to get the run down of the lab procedures. We were all given instructions on how to complete the tasks of each group except the fish group, Abby and Amy, who left with Ben to set traps up for tommorrow. We were then set off to do our jobs. Harish and Dan processed water samples that were collected at each wetland and Zack and Max counted fish spines and weighed fish. Once we were all done with the lab work we decided to watch "Shaun of the dead," make strange drawings, and eat cookies.


Monday, July 26, 2010

And so we begin for another year of great wetland adventures

July 26, 2010.

Yesterday we had six teens arrive from around the world to assist with our Earthwatch Institute funded research project called Tundra Wetland Ecology. This project is part of the Climate Change at Arctic's Edge research project where EW teams investigate various aspects of the subarctic treeline environment to determine the impacts of climate change in all seasons of the year.

We are happy to say that everyone arrived last night safe and sound (although one piece of luggage is lagging behind and might be arriving here today.

The first wader walk of the team brought on a few damp clothes but some great fun and smiles along the way. The rest of the day has involved training for the myriad of tasks to perform each day in the field.

As we speak, the fish/tadpole traps are being constructed of recycled material for the first catches of the season.

Welcome everyone! Keep in touch for more of the wetland adventures.

- by LeeAnn