11/20/2013 2:50:43 PM

Where the Polar Bears Roam

In a world where ice and snow are the norm, and where polar bears roam the streets, lies a spectacular gem. It's a place where few people arrive, but those that do are surely to return. It's a true wonder of the world. From Wyoming to Churchill, Manitoba, it's far from home.

Having grown up in grizzly bear country in Wyoming, I feel like I have more experience with grizzly bears than most people my age. I was always told to be cautious when hiking in the woods and to respect the wilderness in which these bears roam. I was also instructed to keep my distance from them but also to admire them and realize their important role in the environment. In all, I grew up admiring these bears.

Years later being in college and trying to gain valuable experience, an opportunity arose with Polar Bears International to study a different type of bear, the polar bear. This opportunity was to work alongside graduate student Cassandra Debets on a Citizen Science Project conducted by Dr. Steve Amstrup. It was a dream in the making.

Going out on the tundra on Tundra Buggies® allows us as researchers to show a variety of people the importance of the polar bears and their dwindling habitat, and the steps that we can take to mitigate our impact on their environment. My passion for wildlife and bears in general brought me here and the desire to share that with others has only made my involvement with the Citizen Science Project that much more special. This project met many of my passions, namely: educating the public, gaining valuable experience, meeting some of the top polar bear scientists in the world, and researching a species that's on the decline. I believe that as we continue to educate communities about polar bears and how our impact on the environment can be reversed, people throughout the world will finally take notice and want to assist with this work.

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