9/29/2014 11:47:21 PM

Heading North!

By Emily Ringer

Wool socks, warm sweater, giant jacket, heavy boots: these are packing essentials for the fall season in Churchill, Manitoba. Yet it's hard to imagine myself in them when I'm more than 1,000 miles south, sporting flip flops and a sweaty brow. The time has come to venture from the towering peaks of Montana to the brilliant horizontal expanse of the boreal forest, the Arctic tundra, and Hudson Bay.

After countless hours of enthusiastic planning and efforts, the Polar Bears International team is heading north for the 2014 polar bear migration season. We will arrive in time to admire the fall colors splashed across the tundra and the last remaining geese flocking the skies before they fly south for the winter. While the reason we've traveled north is to see the landscape cloaked in snow and ice, this glimpse of seasonality is a critical and welcome reminder of the complexity and dynamic nature of the surrounding ecosystem.

A season in Churchill is stimulating on numerous levels. It is an opportunity to spend time with a remarkable community, to observe polar bears and other Arctic life in the wild, and to learn from the environment and the inspiring individuals that work to protect it. As we stand at the launch of this year's journey, we hope for committed collaboration, promising innovation, influential education, and a humble and eager willingness for change. These are the forces that propel the PBI team north, but it will take a global collective effort to preserve this exceptional region, the life it harbors, and the balancing role it plays for the rest of the world.

It's a tall order, but it seems tremendously more attainable if we measure our progress by one step at a time.

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