Today has been designated International Polar Bear Day by Polar Bears International, one of the world’s leading polar bear conservation groups. The crux of celebrating the “king of the Arctic”, the mighty polar bear, is to raise awareness of global warming and initiate change in the ways we make choices for energy usage. Global warming continues to be a “hot” issue and the reduction of Arctic sea ice is the tell -tale sign that polar bears are in danger.
We encourage you to think hard today and the coming week about the ways you use energy and options available to reduce usage of these resources! But most of all have an amazing International Polar bear Day! Enjoy these polar bear action photos to celebrate the day.
February 27 is International Polar Bear Day. Polar Bears International image.
Polar bear cooling off in Churchill, MB. Natural Habitat Adventures photo.
Polar bears sparring on the tundra. Brad Josephs photo.
Sparring bears captured up close with a telephoto lens. Brad Josephs photo.
This exciting video shows the process of releasing a polar bear from the polar bear holding facility. Bears are sedated and moved outside the facility, placed in a net and then flown by helicopter about 40 miles up the northern coast.
Once the helicopter lands the polar bears are released on the tundra. When they awake, the hope is that they will not return to Churchill prior to season end. Sometimes they do make it back and wind up back in “jail”.
During our Churchill northern lights adventure the primary focus is nightly viewing of the spectacular aurora. However Natural Habitat always seeks out the most intriguing activities in each region.
Natural Habitat guide Karen Walker brings her groups out to the Churchill Northern Studies Center to take part in a snow sampling demonstration. Snow sampling is one of numerous research projects going on at the center that travelers can participate in. The snowflake is essentially tracked from the time it lands through the pressure the crystals are subjected to over months. These crystals take on many shapes and sizes and create layers bonding to each other in some form. Researchers and scientists working at the center will also give talks about their research to groups of travelers.
Snow sampling at the Churchill Northern Studies Center. Karen Walker photo.
Researcher explaining the snow sampling process to Natural Habitat travelers. Karen Walker photo.
Another activity groups are able to experience is slightly less science based though there is certainly a science to the sport. Curling is an ancient Scottish sport that involves sliding eight 40 lb stones with handles on top the length of the ice sheet. Each team alternates throwing the stones for eight or ten ends or innings. The object is to slide the stones along ice sheets, trying to land them as close to a center bulls-eye as possible. Strategy can become quite complex depending on the score at the time. Blocking and knocking other stones are integral approaches to the sport.
Churchill Curling club participants from Natural Habitat Adventures. Karen Walker photo.
Justin Gibson’s group setting up for northern lights photography along the edge of the boreal forest.
Natural Habitat photographers enjoy the Arctic landscape options while awaiting the nightly aurora displays. Karen Walker photo.
The Churchill Northern Studies Center has been an icon of the Churchill region for long time. In 1976 the Center was founded as an non-profit independent research and education facility. Located 23 km east of the town of Churchill, the facility provides the perfect secluded setting for scientists and researchers working on many different northern projects. The center also offers a wide range of general public scientific classes as well as university credit courses.
Churchill Northern Studies Center with aurora borealis. Churchill Northern Studies Center photo.
The grand diversity of this region attracts a wide range of mammals, birds, plants and humans. Three major biomes diverge along the Hudson Bay coast and eastern perimeter of Wapusk National Park. The park acts as a natural buffer zone to protect the denning areas of female polar bears. The southeastern Hudson Bay lowlands lay claim to the largest peat – lands in North America. All this makes the location of the center a prime destination for researchers and students with diverse interests in Arctic research and education.
Earthwatch tree island meteorological station. Churchill Northern Studies Center photo.
Natural Habitat Adventures and other travel groups have been utilizing the center to expose travelers to the incredible facility for many years now. The center also has a northern lights viewing dome and observation station providing a panoramic view of the tundra all the way to the Hudson Bay.
Incredible biodiversity on the tundra in Churchill. Churchill Northern Studies Center photo.
Churchill Northern Studies Center Director Michael Goodyear on the lookout for polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba. Churchill Northern Studies Center photo.
Earthwatch research project and group at the Churchill Northern Study Center in Churchill, Manitoba. Churchill Northern Studies Center photo.
Rocket launch silo adjacent to the Churchill Northern Studies Center. Churchill Northern Studies Center photo.
Churchill is experiencing a warm spell with temperatures this week in the single fahrenheit digits. The “warmer” air is welcome after an extended streak of frigid cold the past few weeks. The region currently has light snow with the temperatures to dip below zero for the next couple of days and then back above that mark by week’s end.
This weeks photos are in honor of the warmth. Summer will be here before you know it and here are some fun Arctic northern summer shots to keep you warm! Enjoy!
August colors of the tundra. Ed Bouvier photo.
Pisew Falls near Thompson, Manitoba. Steve Selden photo.
Looking for polar bears from Fort Prince of Wales in Churchill. Steve Selden photo.
polar bear emerging from the boreal forest. Steve Selden photo.
Shorebird wading in the tidal waters of the Hudson Bay. Steve selden photo.
Tundra swans on an inland pool. Ed Bouvier photo.
Orca’s in the Hudson Bay. Dwight Allen photo.
Come experience the Arctic summer on the Hudson bay. Visit nathab.com today!