Archive for the 'Field Studies' Category

Teen Arctic Ambassador: Day 6

Posted at 4:28 pm October 18, 2010 by Rachel

A bear checks out the humans on the Tundra Buggy.

Rachel is the San Diego Zoo’s 2010 Teen Arctic Ambassador. She is sharing what she learns at Polar Bears International’s Teen Leadership Camp. Read the previous post, Teen Arctic Ambassadors: Day 5.

As Teen Leadership Camp 2010 starts to come to a close, I find myself reflecting on all of the great things that I will be taking with me back to San Diego. I have been so inspired by the wild polar bears, the presentations, and, of course, the other teen ambassadors. We formed a very tight-knit “family” during this past week, and it is going to be very hard for all of us to part ways.

From observing the polar bears in the wild and by brainstorming “green” project ideas with the other teens, I feel very motivated to come back to San Diego and do all that I can to make a difference. With the support of the other teen ambassadors, the facilitators, and others, I am ready to take action to preserve the polar bear for many generations to come.

I have learned so much from this experience; this past week truly has been eye-opening and life changing.

Teen Arctic Ambassadors: Day 5

Posted at 10:44 am October 18, 2010 by Rachel

The teens were within inches of this female bear!

Teens from the U.S., Canada, and Australia attended Polar Bears International’s Teen Leadership Camp. Below is a post written by the whole group. Read a previous post from the San Diego Zoo’s 2010 Teen Arctic Ambassador, Teen Arctic Ambassador: Day 4.

Today the connection was truly felt. The force of climate change was driven home by Robert Buchannan and all of the facilitators and was helped by our resident two polar bears outside the window of our Tundra Buggy. Last night ended with incredible inspiration by a fellow ambassador, Alannah Watkins, and the facilitators, Cynthia and Andrew. We were dazzled by the map of the retreating sea ice in the Arctic, which drove home the importance of taking action.

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A Sense of Wonder for Wildlife

Posted at 9:12 am October 15, 2010 by Colleen Wisinski

A young Colleen examines rocks.

October is Kids Free Days at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. During October, our Zoo Institute for Conservation Research staff are sharing their interactions and connections with nature at a young age and how these connections put them on their paths to becoming conservation biologists. Read a previous post, Go Play Outside!

I grew up in rural southeastern Wisconsin and was lucky enough to have a big backyard with a forest and a creek just down the road. I spent as much time as I could outside when I was a kid—I even had an imaginary friend that lived under the shagbark hickory in our backyard. My sister and I would spend hours playing outside; pretending our bikes were horses, we’d pack up our backpacks with “gear” to make mudpies and other goodies on our journeys. We’d “help” my dad in the garden, go for long walks to the park, or just play on the swing set to our hearts’ content.

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Teen Arctic Ambassador: Day 4

Posted at 4:14 pm October 14, 2010 by Rachel

The third bear spotted by the teens.

Rachel is the San Diego Zoo’s 2010 Teen Arctic Ambassador. She is sharing what she learns at Polar Bears International’s Teen Leadership Camp. Read her previous post, Teen Arctic Ambassador: Day 3.

I cannot even begin to describe the feelings running through me right now, but I’ll give it a shot! This morning, October 13, my fellow ambassadors and I got out on the tundra and headed for the Tundra Buggy Lodge, the place we are going to call home for the next few nights. On the way to the Lodge, we saw three different bears. The first bear was far away, but the fact that we were observing a polar bear in its natural habitat put many of us in a state of shock, wonder, and amazement.

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Teen Arctic Ambassador: Day 3

Posted at 10:19 am October 14, 2010 by Rachel

Some of the teen ambassadors in front of the Polar Bear Holding Facility.

Rachel is the San Diego Zoo’s 2010 Teen Arctic Ambassador. She is sharing what she learns at Polar Bears International’s Teen Leadership Camp. Read her previous post, Teen Arctic Ambassador: Day 2.

Today (October 12) was a very eventful day full of learning about the little town of Churchill. In the morning, we made our way to the home of a local trapping couple, Jim and Betty. I learned a lot about their lives as trappers and how much they relied on the land for their source of income, and it gave me a new perspective on the lives of local townspeople. I learned that they had immense respect for the animals they harvested. Their stories showed how close the people of Churchill are to nature and how much they respect it.

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Teen Arctic Ambassador: Day 2

Posted at 11:44 am October 13, 2010 by Rachel

The second wild polar bear Rachel saw

Rachel is the San Diego Zoo’s 2010 Teen Arctic Ambassador. She is sharing what she learns at Polar Bears International’s Teen Leadership Camp. Read her previous post, Teen Arctic Ambassador: Day 1.

Imagine yourself in one of the most isolated places on Earth, where trees struggle to grow against the harsh arctic conditions. The wind blows across the ancient permafrost layers, and the majestic apex predator, the polar bear, roams free.

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A Child’s Experience in Wolong

Posted at 9:44 am October 9, 2010 by Megan Owen

October is Kids Free Days at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. During October, staff at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research are sharing their interactions and connections with nature at a young age and how these connections put them on their paths to becoming conservation biologists. Read a previous post, Observing Nature as a Child.

In 2000, I was given the opportunity to study pandas at the Wolong breeding center. This trip to the reserve, nestled in the Qinling mountains of Sichuan Province, China, would be for several months and would be during the winter. The thought of studying the behavior of giant pandas in these snow-covered mountains had so much appeal. Of course I wanted to go! There was one catch though: I had two young children. My son would be three during our stay, and our daughter would be just eight months old. With this in mind, I thought I had to turn down the offer. How would my children cope with the (then) rugged conditions at Wolong? And how would they deal with the transition from warm and sunny San Diego to the snow and chill and rain of the Wolong winter? (more…)

More Arctic Ambassador Adventures

Posted at 3:12 pm October 7, 2010 by Hali OConnor

Hali attended Keeper Leadership Camp, sponsored by Polar Bears International, in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Read her previous post, Eye to Eye with Wild Polar Bears.

After spending what we thought was an unstoppable day on the tundra viewing a mother polar bear and her two cubs, the next day proved us wrong. This time we again saw a polar bear off in the distance of our lodge early in the morning. This bear had no interest in coming any closer, which was perfectly fine with us. Taking in the beautiful colors of the sunrise as we headed out on the Tundra Buggy for the day was enough. However, we were in for quite a surprise!

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Eye to Eye with Wild Polar Bears

Posted at 1:25 pm September 30, 2010 by Hali OConnor

Hali is attending Keeper Leadership Camp, sponsored by Polar Bears International, in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Read her previous post, Polar Bear Camp for Keepers.

Today was an amazing day out on the tundra. Before we even left our dock, a polar bear wandered into our camp area to explore the Tundra Buggies®. After sniffing about under our sleeping quarters, the bear slowly ambled over to our buggy to investigate US! Words just can’t describe the emotions I felt when I locked eyes with this beautiful animal. We saw each other, and the tears welled up. To be face to face with a wild polar bear in it’s own home was truly priceless.

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Countdown to the Arctic

Posted at 10:36 am September 28, 2010 by Rachel

Hello everybody!

The official countdown to Teen Leadership Camp, sponsored by Polar Bears International, is in two weeks! (Read post Teen Leadership Camp: Arctic Ambassadors 2010.) I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to go immerse myself in polar bear habitat. I am eager to learn about these great white bears, and I am even more excited to come back and inspire others to make changes that can help the bears in the wild. There is so much we can do to help, and I am ready to share that information with my peers when I get back from Churchill!

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