10/11/2013 8:41:59 PM

Welcome Back to the Moon

By Kt Miller

The warm summer air is still lingering in Churchill. Rays of sunshine and little to no breeze welcomed us yesterday as we settled in.

We snuck away just before dinner to watch the sunset. Colorful bands of light cast a glow on the last orange leaves as we ventured down to the flats. This area nicknamed the 'flats' is the southern bank of the Churchill River, just outside town. Although I had been to the flats before, I had never been there during low tide. Despite the fact that the flats border a river, the tide is dramatic, as this part of the river is mere meters from its outlet into Hudson Bay. Because both the bay and the river are shallow, the tide creates vast expanses of tidal pools, sprinkled with boulders and fossils.

As the sun set, a soft gradient of color filled the sky, accentuated by the lone crescent moon. Beneath, the expansive horizon stretched to the west, the barren land, pools, and boulders entertaining what I imagine the surface of the moon might look like. A moment of nostalgia arose inside me as I remembered arriving in Churchill last fall for the very first time. My initial thought as I gazed at the crater-like lakes speckled among the nothingness was, this REALLY looks like the moon.

Now here I am, one year later, gawking again at the barren, empty, beauty of this incredible place, thinking again of the moon.

During the next week the PBI crew will be setting up and preparing for our season in Churchill. This is the part we have all been both anticipating and dreading at the same time. It is one of the most difficult parts of the season. Each day is filled from dawn to dusk. Not only do we maintain all of the planning work for our outreach initiatives, but we also have a large, physically demanding agenda of buggy preparation, camera installation, technological troubleshooting, furniture moving, and errand running. There's never shortage of things to be done.

But in the end the short nights are worth it and the long days are filled with incredible interactions and experiences. And when the sunsets paint the sky or the northern lights dance among the stars I remember why I am here. The Arctic is important. Not only does its beauty inspire me immensely as a creative being, but it plays an essential role as a massive ecosystem responsible for regulating the temperature of the globe and subsequently the health of the planet. It's time for us, as a global culture, to tune in and take action.

We can't wait to share this incredible place with you. Join us this fall as we watch the annual polar bear migration and learn how you can do your part to protect this amazing species, ecosystem, and world that we are so fortunate to call home.

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