11/22/2012 4:25:05 PM

One Picture at a Time

I have visited Churchill numerous times, it is such a special place and after each visit I leave inspired and curious about how I can help save this fragile environment and the wildlife within. After being in Churchill for about a month now, I cannot believe the experiences I have had. This year I was fortunate enough to be up for almost the entire bear season working on a new Citizen Science Project with Polar Bears International®. Our goals were to photograph the bears with a special parallel laser-camera unit in hopes of being able to non-invasively collect body measurements.

At the beginning of the season there were not many bears around, so what I was doing to practice using the camera and lasers was photographing statues of bears around town. Sometimes working on a new project can be challenging, and it took some time to get everything ready, and it was just in time. Soon bears were coming up along the coast.

Each day I would go out on a Tundra Buggy® with guests of Frontiers North Adventures and collect information on the size, age, and sex of the bears. Using the laser-camera many photographs were taken and we hope that we can use this method to help determine the size and stature of the bears. We want the guests to help collect the photographs because it can be as easy as taking a picture to help contribute to the research being done on the bears in western Hudson Bay. The body sizes of the bears and number of cubs being born each year are being affected by sea ice loss. As the climate continues to warm, we are seeing changes in the sea ice patterns; ice is forming later and breaking up sooner.

With everyone helping to reduce his or her carbon footprint, we can help save this amazing species. In Churchill, with one picture at a time, you can help researchers get the big picture as to what is happening in the polar bears' environment and how that is impacting them. It has been amazing to connect with guests from all over the world who share the same passion for the polar bear.

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