Tundra Connections FAQ

What is Tundra Connections®?

Every fall, Polar Bears International® conducts live, free broadcasts—webcasts and live chats—from the tundra during the fall gathering of polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba. Each week focuses on a different theme, tapping into the expertise of our guest panelists. Viewers are able to see wild polar bears, meet experts, and ask questions and receive answers in real time. We also schedule special webcasts or live chats from various locations at other times of the year.

Who can participate?

Our webcasts are open to anyone! We invite you to look through our Fall Schedule, find the webcasts that interest you, register, and then WATCH HERE at the appropriate time. Questions? Contact connections@pbears.org.

What does it cost?

The broadcasts are completely free, although donations are always welcome to help support the program.

What is the schedule?

See our Fall Schedule for webcasts and live chats. Our live chats are shorter and less formal than our webcasts and don't require registration.

What are the themes and topics?

They vary each year, but include such topics as polar bears, Arctic wildlife, climate change, and how we each can help. 

What is the targeted audience?

Most webcasts are aimed at a general audience, although we also plan special broadcasts for target age groups such as grades 2-4, businesses, or university students. We strive to accommodate your institution's schedule and targeted audience, though, so there is room for flexibility.

Who are the panelists?

Every year, leading scientists and educators with expertise on topics including polar bears, the Arctic, sea ice, climate change, and Arctic communities take part. Our Fall Schedule will give you an idea of the range of experts.

What is the difference between a webcast and a Google Hangout on Air?

  • A webcast is streamed live over the Internet to distribute a single content source to many simultaneous listeners/viewers. When you join a webcast, you can see the panelists but they can't see you. Audience members participate by submitting questions to the panelists through email or our live chat window.
  • A Google Hangout on Air is similar to a webcast. You can see the panelists, but they can’t see you. Audience members participate by submitting questions to the panelists through email or our live chat window. If you have a Google+ account and are familiar with Google Hangouts, this is an easy way to join us. If you aren’t familiar with Google+, please join us by watching the broadcast on our HERE

What is the difference between the live chats and the regular Tundra Connections webcasts?

The live chats are shorter, more informal, and have fewer panelists involved. We stream them live in close partnership with explore.org.

What type of equipment do I need?

  • Computer with Safari, Firefox, or Internet Explorer browser
  • Internet connection with a fairly robust bandwidth speed (a minimum download speed of  1.5-2 Mbps); you can test your bandwidth speed at www.speedtest.net.
  • If viewing with a large group or classroom, we recommend having external speakers so your audience can hear; it also helps to have a projector for a larger view of the broadcast.
  • Email address: to receive your confirmation and to submit questions if desired.
  • If joining via Google+, you’ll need to have a Google+ account and register on our event page.  

How long are the webcasts?

Most of our Tundra Connections webcasts are 30-50 minutes long. Our live chats are shorter, typically 15-20 minutes long, and don't require registration.

How do I join in?

Check the schedule for the dates and times, REGISTER, and then watch HERE at the appropriate time. Questions? Contact connections@pbears.org.

Can I submit questions for the panelists to answer?

Yes! Our expert panelists will answer your questions during the webcast and our online chat moderators will answer questions along the way. You can either email your questions two hours prior to the broadcast to questions@pbears.org or you can submit them during the webcast in the live chat window.

How do I prepare?

  • Please visit our TUNDRA CONNECTIONS page ahead of time to make sure you can see the video that is streaming. If not, you’ll need to check your Internet connection and contact your IT specialist at your school. Make sure you create a Login for the chat window so you can submit your chat questions during the webcast. If you’re joining via our Google+ page, make sure you tune in at the appropriate time to the event page and are familiar with how to submit your chat questions.  
  • Background information is important prior to participation in a PBI Tundra Connections event. Spend a little time at our Polar Bears section. It also helps to view archived webcasts to get a sense of what they're like.
  • If participating with students, we recommend that they know something about how webcasts or Google+ Hangouts work and that they think of thoughtful questions to ask prior to the event.

What if I miss the broadcasts?

Are lesson plans available for teachers?