Q: What did the week look like for the older kids?
They had a very similar week but geared to an older age group. We started with a hike at low tide to the wreck of the SS Ithaca, which is about 12 miles from Churchill. Many of the kids had never been there before, partly because you need a bear guard. A lot of them collected mussels and were so excited to take them home and cook them. Georginia talked with them about gathering food from the land.
On the second day we went on the Cape Merry hike. Half the group started with Georgina and learned about the Cree migration to Churchill, with more in-depth discussions. The other group went onto the Tundra Buggy Lodge, which was parked along the river, and built habitats out of tissue paper, popsicle sticks, and other materials. From the lodge, they could watch the beluga whales in the river.
Similar to the week before, we also had a day where they painted T-shirts and did polar bear science on Tundra Buggy One. But instead of making jam, they went out with Danielle to collect pine cones and create fire-starters.
On the last day, we went out with the belugas. It was by far one of the beluga-watching best days I’ve ever seen, with crystal clear water, no wind, and belugas everywhere. One boat must have seen over a thousand!
We ended with a bonfire on the beach, where we saw a polar bear mom and two cubs swim by—a magical ending to the week.
Q: What were some of the highlights for the kids?
When we asked the younger kids what they liked best, they said things like “gathering fireweed” or “making jam.” But a lot of them said, “everything!”
The older kids especially liked the hikes, going out on the Zodiac, and learning from Georgina. They also liked learning about jobs like driving the Beluga Boat or a Tundra Buggy or serving as a bear guard. It opened their eyes to possibilities. You could see them feeling very proud of their community.