10/22/2012 5:15:12 PM

The Amazing Tundra

After reading Julie of the Wolves when I was younger I added a few things to my bucket list. Visit the tundra. See a polar bear. See a ptarmigan. Well, check, check and check. And our week hasn't even started yet.

I'm in Churchill, Manitoba with Polar Bears International (PBI) to support the Tundra Connections webcasts they are providing for students and educators from all around the world. During the first week you can join us (for free) to learn about the amazing creatures that inhabit the tundra, the challenges they face, and how you can make a difference.

From Top of the World: A bird's eye view of a complex region of ice, land, animals, and cultures.

All About Arctic Animals: An overview of who's who in the Arctic and some of the facts and stories behind these amazing creatures.

Arctic Adaptations: Explore the special physical and behavioral adaptations that help arctic species survive in such an extreme environment.

Click here for the full schedule and to register.

The virtual field experiences PBI makes possible through Tundra Connections are so impactful for a variety of reasons. To me, one of the most significant things about these webcasts is the panel of experts that lead them and how they show students the real meaning of STEM education. Each of the experts for this week brings a unique background to the conversations, and they truly have unique jobs that most children (and adults) probably don't know even exist.

  • Alysa McCall is an MSc in Ecology student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. She is doing research that focuses on the Western Hudson Bay population of polar bears and has incredible stories about working in the field. Tonight she shared with us a video from her research endeavors that showed how scientists tranquilize polar bears from a helicopter.
  • Brandon Laforest is a PhD student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto. In chatting with him today he explained to me how his interest in animals combined with his interest in the outdoors and that is what led him to pursue his career. He is clearly pursuing his passion. Something that all of our panelists have in common.
  • Bill Winhall is assistant curator of mammals at SeaWorld San Diego. Need I go on? How many of your students would love that job? Bill has over three decades of marine mammal experience and has stories about working with animals, like one of his favorites, the walrus, that will inspire your students to take extra science and math classes without hesitation. Some of his favorites experiences include hand-raising a baby walrus and a baby beluga whale.

So join us for the start to an amazing series of webcasts that will bring your students to the tundra alongside our experts to learn, question, and be inspired.

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