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.
The next stop on our journey around town was to the Polar Bear Holding Facility, previously called D-20. It is a “polar bear jail,” where polar bears are held for a period of time if they are found coming too close to the people in town. We learned about how polar bears are shooed away from town and how traps are set around the perimeters of the town to catch a bear that is wandering too close to the townspeople. The information we learned at the Holding Facility made us realize how much the polar bears’ lives are intertwined with the town, and Churchill sure lives up to its name: Polar Bear Capital of the World.
The rest of the day was filled with museums and a lecture about global climate change and carbon dioxide. It was really an experience when all of the ambassadors came together to talk about how we can inspire change in our communities when we return from Leadership Camp. I learned a lot today about Churchill, and the day was completed when we saw a fabulous show of the Northern Lights. I can’t wait to go out on the Tundra Buggy Lodge tomorrow morning! So far, Canada has been an amazing experience!