Tammy Hill, a zookeeper with the Memphis Zoo, will travel to the tundra near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada in early October for a week-long Keeper Leadership Camp sponsored by Polar Bears International (PBI), the world’s leading polar bear conservation group.
The Memphis Zoo, which is part of PBI’s network of Arctic Ambassador Center zoos, selected Tammy Hill based on her past outreach and community involvement. She will join 14 other zoo professionals from across the U.S. and Canada.“Zookeepers have the ability to reach a wide audience with a conservation message,” said Robert Buchanan, PBI president and CEO.
“Participants will spend a week in Churchill, the Polar Bear Capital of the World, during the fall polar bear migration, where they’ll learn about polar bears, climate change and how each of us can help.The experience will include several nights at the Tundra BuggyÒ Lodge, with polar bears just outside. Despite the remote location, participants will stay connected with the rest of the world through blog posts on the PBI website. Memphis Zoo fans can directly follow “Tammy’s Tracks” by visiting memphiszoo.org
Participants learn how to create carbon-reduction programs in their communities and to inspire public involvement.“This is an amazing opportunity,” says Hill. “Not only will I get to observe one of the world’s most magnificent animals in its natural habitat, I will also learn different ways to impact our community with ideas and plans to reduce our carbon emissions.”The Memphis Zoo was invited to send a representative to the camp because of its role as a PBI Arctic Ambassador Center (AAC).
These centers focus on animal well-being and enrichment and play a leadership role in carbon reduction and stewardship efforts. Past AAC graduates have inspired real change in their communities by taking part in roll-up-your-sleeves projects like the Acres for the Atmosphere initiative—a bi-national tree-planting effort created by Leadership Camp participants—as well as action-oriented outreach programs through their zoos. “If we’re serious about conserving polar bears and their ecosystem we need to act quickly,” says Buchanan. “Our Arctic Ambassador Center zoos and Leadership Camps play an important role in inspiring people to make simple lifestyle changes that become part of a larger stewardship ethic.”
In addition to PBI, camp sponsors include Frontiers North’s Tundra Buggy® Adventure, Canada Goose, Calm Air and Four Points by Sheraton Winnipeg.