Jenn Connolly photo/SJHS

Student Polar Perspective Forum

by Jenn Connolly - Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On October 28th, 2008 a group of Saint John High students demonstrated their concern for the global community by attending an International Polar Youth seminar at the New Brunswick Museum. The seminar, which focused on how the climate change is affecting the Arctic and its inhabitants, brought together over 70 students from all over the province.

After an entertaining icebreaker the students were broken up into smaller groups - each group dealing with a potential problem facing the Arctic such as health concerns, the changing culture and conservation. After an hour of discussing the causes, potential solutions and results of each problem, each group gave a quick presentation on what they concluded.

However, one question that was asked earlier in the day still stuck with the students: "What does the Arctic mean to me?" During the day the students had a conversation with a couple from Nunavut discussing how climate change in affecting theme. Many students came up with questions that they had for the Nunavut family. Questions such as "What do you do in your spare time?" to more insightful questions such as "Do you think that Nunavut is sometimes excluded from the rest of Canada?" were asked. This conversation was held via Skype (an interactive program in which both parties can view each other over the internet) allowing a small insight into the lives at home for this Nunavut family. The couple shared their points of view and their interests.

A great deal was learned through this conference, ultimately changing everyone's answer to the question "What does the Arctic mean to me?" As the day wound down, students separated one last time to discuss the answer to "What does the Arctic mean to me?" The students all agreed that their perspective of what the Arctic was had greatly changed throughout the course of the day. Finally, a group picture was taken in the museum's "Hall of Whales" to commemorate the eventful day.

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