Zoo News

Nov 16, 2012

My Trip to the Polar Bear Capitol of the World – Part 2

by Caitlyn Bruce, Keeper at the Buffalo Zoo

(Read Part 1 Here)

Even though I work with polar bears every day at the Buffalo Zoo, there was a huge difference for me between that and seeing wild bears in their natural environment.  The thing that had the greatest impact on me though, was seeing the Aurora Borealis the first night we were in Churchill.  We were in the middle of a class discussion around 8:30pm when we were interrupted with “the northern lights are outside!” 
We were lucky enough to be staying at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, a LEED gold certified building constructed to house researchers conducting studies in the Churchill area.  One of the many benefits of staying there was the second story outdoor observation deck.  Being in the heart of polar bear country, you certainly don’t want to go outside on the ground at night, but having a second story deck made viewing the Auroraoutside possible. I will never forget standing outside in the freezing cold, gazing straight up and watching the sky swirl and shimmer, changing colors from green to red and back again. It is truly something you have to see first hand to appreciate. 
Leadership Camp was a once in a life time experience that taught me so much.  The knowledge and skills I gained will definitely help me in my new role as a “community change agent” as we ALL work towards a future that includes the existence of polar bears.  After all, I want to live in a world where it will be possible for my future children and grandchildren to have the same experience I had, seeing the magnificent wild polar bear roaming the arctic tundra.  

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