Carla, Director of Education, on right
My role in the PBI 2015 Climate Alliance is to assist the fourteen zookeeper alliance members as they communicate details of their experience back to their institutions. While they have been diligently working on their action plans to reduce their communities' carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas and working on the scripts for the keeper chats that they are filming from the field this week, I have been editing blogs and creating memes for them. Though my job has kept me from their work sessions, my curiosity got the best of me, and I had to see what they had accomplished. These fabulous zookeepers and their facilitators have worked together to affect true change. They hope to transfer their inspiration from this adventure to their own communities through their different action plans -some of which include no-idling campaigns, switching to locally grown foods for our animal collections, creating green teams to initiate change within their zoos or promoting community based events in order to encourage their members and guests to partner with local companies and groups who are already making strides to limit carbon emissions. All will be doing their best to lessen the effects of climate change for polar bear populations. These work sessions and the friendships formed in Churchill will be ones that are not forgotten.
We soon loaded our bags and headed to the Tundra Buggy, because Wednesday would be a true turning point in our adventure - a turn to the east to the Tundra Buggy Lodge. Two polar bears decided to join us as we slowly traveled to our destination. One was a female who was so interested that she came right up to our buggy and sniffed the front just below the windshield. As quiet as we were, I heard a whispered, "Is this really happening?" I must admit that I was thinking the same thing. A bear! Right there!
The second appeared to be a juvenile male who wins the prize for the cutest moment of the trip so far. With his head resting on his big paw he was suddenly startled by a tiny snow bunting that flew by. He stayed with us for quite awhile before sauntering over to a mound of kelp for a nap.