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International Polar Year 2009 Arctic Expedition –Students on Ice

18-06-2009-
Two Monegasque secondary school students are to form part of a group of youngsters embarking upon an educational expedition “Students on Ice” leaving from Ottawa on 29th July to travel along the Arctic circle. The teenagers, between the ages of 14 and 19 and of every nationality, under the supervision of over 30 scientists and educators, will forge lasting memories of a unique landscape during their 2-week trip.
    As part of the educational programme conducted in the Principality concerning the environment and sustainable development, and more specifically for International Polar Year, the Department of National Education, Youth and Sports is delighted that once again two students are taking part in this unique experience this year thanks to two patrons, Mr Etienne Franzi – President of the Compagnie Monégasque de Banque et Mr André de Montigny, the project initiator.

    In order to choose the two finalists, a competition featuring 2 categories (an open letter and a photographic diptych) was set up for year 12 students. H.S.H. Prince Albert II looked at the best work and chose the two winning students: Miss Florence Albert and Mr Cédric Siccardi, both in year 12 and studying sciences were chosen.

    As this experience is also aimed at developing such values as sharing and awareness, a blog is being put online (www.studentsonice.com). On their return, Florence and Cédric will present their environmental “log book” with their friends back on land.

    Contacts: denjs@gouv.mc
    Students on Ice: Chris Ralph - chris@studentsonice.com

    Expedition itinerary 29th July – 13th August 2009


    Our 16-day Arctic expedition will begin in Ottawa with two days of pre-expedition work-shops and a ‘kick-off’ media event where our 75 youth participants will be the guests of honour! The next morning we will board our First Air charter and fly direct to Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, where we will board our specially designed ice-class ship and set sail for the Arctic!

    29th July - Ottawa, Ontario : Our team of students, chaperones, scientists and expedition staff will assemble in Canada’s capital for two days of pre-expedition excitement!

    30th July - Ottawa, Ontario : While in Ottawa, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Canadian Museum of Nature’s Natural Heritage Building and many interesting workshops await us. We will also be the guests of honour at an IPY Expedition kick-off event!

    31st July - Kuujjuaq, Nunavik : This morning, we board our First Air charter flight for Kuujjuaq, Nunavik! We will spend some time exploring the community before boarding our expedition vessel – the “Polar Ambassador”, checking into our cabins, casting off the lines, and setting sail north into Ungava Bay!

    1st August - Hantzch Island : Hantzch Island is named after the German ornithologist and explorer Bernard Hantzch who worked in the Baffin Island area in the early 1900's. The island, near the mouth of Frobisher Bay is renowned for it's spectacular cliffs that jut out of the water and provide a protected nesting area for thousands of Thick-billed Murres and Black-Legged Kittiwakes. We will take a closer look at this island in Zodiacs and learn more about these fascinating "Penguins of the north".

    2nd August - Kekerten Island and Pangnirtung : Kekerten Island is a reminder of European whaling days of long ago. At one time, many commercial whaling stations dotted this area. Today, we will visit the remains of one such station. In the afternoon we plan to visit the Inuit Hamlet of Pangnirtung. Situated on a coastal plain along the shores of the stunning Pangnirtung Fjord, this community was once a Hudson Bay Company trading post. Today, we will visit community leaders and village Inuit elders to listen to their observations of the impact of climate change on their community and way of life, as well as visit the local artists' cooperative.

    3rd August - Auyuittuq National Park: Following a breathtaking journey up the Pangnirtung Fjord, we find ourselves entering one of Canada’s most spectacular parks. With its glaciers, soaring mountains, and one of the most diverse selections of Arctic mammals and migratory birds, this will be a day of breathtaking grandeur. Lace up your hiking boots for a spectacular all-day trek to the Arctic Circle!

    4th August - Sunneshine Fjord : Sunneshine Fjord is located on the Arctic circle and is home to a Distance Early Warning (DEW) radar station left over from the Cold War era. We will anchor here and hold hands-on workshops on shore and if there is time, we may also hike into a valley to an awe-inspiring view of the fjord.

    5th August - Kivitoo: We will spend the next day or so, sailing north along the rugged eastern-coast of Baffin Island past Cape Dyer and Kivitoo, just north of the community of Qikiqtarjuaq. Depending on ice and weather conditions, we hope to sail into some pack ice and experience real ice navigation! Naturally, it will be all hands-on-deck for whales, bears and seals throughout the day. We will also sail above the Arctic Circle!

    6th August - Isabella Bay and Clyde River: Isabella Bay is a very special bay that attracts large numbers of the "gentle giants" of the Arctic: the Bowhead Whale. The shallow shelf at the entrance of the bay is believed to protect the bay from predatory Orcas which may explain its popularity with the Bowheads.


    This bay was recently designated a National Wildlife Area by the Canadian Government after over 20 years of pressure from local Inuit and more recently, a petition campaign initiated by SOI alumni. From Isabella Bay we will continue our way north to Clyde River or "Kanngiqtugaapik" (nice little inlet) in Inuktitut which is a small mainly Inuit community tucked away in a sheltered bay.

    7th August - Sam Ford Fjord : Upon leaving Clyde River, we will sail north into the majestic Sam Ford Fjord. Immense, towering cliff walls carved thousands of years ago by ancient glaciers make Sam Ford Fjord one of the most impressive sights in the world. We will make a landing here and hike up to the one of the remnants of the glaciers that shaped the dramatic surrounding landscape.

    8th August - Ipiutalik Point : Heading south down the craggy coast of Baffin Island, we will stop at Ipiutalik Point near the mouth of Home Bay. Ipiutalik, which means "tied - to keep from drifting away" in Inuktitut because of a narrow isthmus that connects the point to Baffin Island has been used by Inuit for generations as a walrus hunting camp and more recently as a whaling station. We will make a landing here and learn from the rich tapestry of history visible at this incredible location.

    9th -10th August - Sea Days : As we continue heading south along the coast of Baffin Island we will start to wrap up presentations and workshops to help make sense of the experiences of the trip. We will discuss ways to apply the lessons learned on the expedition for when participants return home. There will also be plenty of opportunities to watch out for Icebergs and wildlife on deck!

    11th August - Monumental Island : We will visit the remote and rocky island off the west coast of Baffin Island – home to hundreds of Walrus and usually a good place to view Polar Bears!

    12th August - Iqaluit, Nunavut : Upon arriving to the capital of Canada’s newest territory, we will have the opportunity to explore the town, and be treated to a special reception by local officials. This afternoon we board our return charter flight back to Ottawa.

    13th August - Ottawa, Ontario : Throughout this day, the team will bid fond farewells and begin their respective journeys home.



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