A polar bear rests on shoreline rocks.

A polar bear rests on shoreline rocks near Churchill, Manitoba while waiting for Hudson Bay to freeze. Polar bears gather each fall in Churchill and so do we--with outreach that connects people with the bears, inspiring them to get involved with polar bear conservation.

© Kt Miller/Polar Bears International

9/17/2019 4:19:16 PM

Getting Ready for Bear Season

By Kt Miller, Media and Outreach Manager

It’s that time of year, when the first kiss of fall touches down on the tundra. There’s a chill in the air, and the larch trees have started to turn orange. A few lingering beluga whales show their white backs above the surface of lapping waves on Hudson Bay. There’s something comforting and nostalgic about the changing of seasons.

In the Arctic, fall is a time of transition, when wild animals either prepare for the freeze or head south. For all of us at Polar Bears International, fall has a buzz: a sense of urgency and excitement as we prepare for the upcoming polar bear season in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada—the polar bear capital of the world. Our field team prepares for a lot of hard work, but it’s also time to reconnect with the bears—to feel the why of what we do, and to rediscover our own hope and inspiration.

This year’s polar bear season is going to be big for our team, perhaps our biggest yet. Not only do we have an amazing schedule of Tundra Connections webcasts and live chats, but we’re also working with an array of media to tell stories and spread awareness about polar bears and the threats they face in a warming Arctic. This is especially important following another summer of massive sea ice loss in the Arctic and amidst overwhelming global momentum pressuring world leaders to address the climate crisis.

But perhaps the reason this year might be our biggest bear season yet is because we will be opening the Polar Bears International House Interpretive Center—a public space for Churchill visitors to come learn about polar bears and research, not only near Churchill, but around the circumpolar Arctic. We’ve added a second full-time staff member based in Churchill to run the center and we couldn’t be more excited to have a permanent home and a place to connect. If someone cares enough to travel all the way to the Subarctic to see a polar bear, we want to connect with them and make sure that they understand that what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic. Everything is connected, and we can all participate in climate change solutions that will benefit all life on Earth—people and polar bears included.

I’m excited to renew my inspiration, spend time with the bears, and do my part, however small, to spread awareness. By connecting people both in in town, on the tundra, and through our live outreach and media from afar, I hope to help you fall in love with polar bears and the Arctic. Because if there is one thing I have learned from experience, it's that people work to protect what they love. I fell in love with the North during my first visit to Churchill eight years ago, and I’m still mesmerized by the subtle beauty of the bears and the frozen landscape today.  

Nature has so much to teach and to share if we just take time and allow ourselves to be immersed in it.

So please, join us this fall in whatever way you can. Look a polar bear in the eye from the window of a Tundra Buggy or the comfort of your couch and participate in my favorite fall pastime—watching Hudson Bay freeze over the course of the season.

See you on the tundra!

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