I was too exhausted to stay awake on our flight from Baltimore to Minneapolis, but at least I was on my way to Winnipeg, and later Churchill. We dined on coffee (lots of coffee), breakfast pastries, and chopped veggies with hummus and ranch. We talked about the other teenagers and adults whom we would meet shortly. We talked about rules and expectations. The straight-faced “no sex, drugs, or rock ‘n’ roll” talk was delivered with an expert straight face and piercing eye contact. Excitement and fatigue mingled in the corners of our eyes and smiles as we waited to board the plane. Our travels, although long, seem unimportant when I look back at the entire day. Straight from the airport, we headed to the Assiniboine Park Zoo to check out their four polar bears and educational exhibit about Churchill. Seeing polar bears, even in captivity, was exciting, especially knowing that soon we might see them in their natural habitat. Their exhibit on Churchill was a thrilling preview of the week to come. It highlighted the Churchill Northern Studies Center (CNSC), where we would be staying and working shortly. Dr. Stephen Petersen, the Head of Conservation and Research at Assiniboine Park Zoo, gave us a fascinating tour of his work. A bit after the zoo had closed, we left for a potluck dinner and photo calibration session with the Kelvin High School students and teachers. I am so excited to be here, to learn, and to meet my fellow inhabitants of North America.
Eva Schneiderman, Park School of Baltimore