Students carve path through Artic watersCanada
Globe and Mail
On Saturday morning, 78 high-school students will stand on the banks of Diana Island gawking at muskox. Days later, they’ll follow bowhead whales and witness the shrinking glaciers of the Great White North.
These teens are on a summer vacation of a lifetime, carving a path through the Arctic waters with Students on Ice, a charitable organization devoted to exposing youth to Canada’s largest coastline.
It’s the 10th annual Arctic trip for Students on Ice, funded in part by the federal government and benefactors including the Prince of Monaco. The educational 16-day journey by ship will glide through the Hudson Strait and Baffin Island and open students’ eyes to the realities of climate change and its rippling effect on biodiversity and quality of life in the North, said Geoff Green, who founded the program in 2000.
Mississauga student Fatin Chowdhury said he wants to see a part of the country that so many Canadians are unfamiliar with.
“We are not doing what we need to do as a responsible country to protect our land up north,” said the 17-year-old high-school graduate who won a video-entry contest to go on the trip, adding that economic and environmental issues ought to be discussed in the same discussions.
The trip will take the students through Auyuittuq National Park. In Inuktitut, auyuittuq means “the place that never melts,” but two years ago the park was closed because of a fear of flash floods due to the melting glaciers.
“The students will see with their own two eyes, glaciers disappearing. That’s what it’s really all about,” Mr. Green said. “When they look into the eye of a polar bear that’s on a rocky island because there’s no sea ice or they see glaciers that are disappearing, then those issues, like climate change becomes very real to them.”
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