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2010 Field Program

Logbook day - 13 August, 2010

August 13, 2010

Hi, this is Linda Zhou from Toronto, Ontario once again. We have now finished our trip through the Northwest Passage and have had an amazing expedition since the last time I had written on August 2nd, the day that we had first boarded the CCGS Amundsen. The team got up bright and early this morning after spending our first night sleeping off the ship and finally back on land at the Kugluktuk High School. After getting off the ship, we went to the high school and met some of the students. Danielle Frenette, their teacher, and Sheena Adamson, one of our program leaders, led us through some activities and discussions about why we were there, and everyone exchanged their perspectives on climate change. We ended the afternoon giving a presentation to the school that we prepared on the ship, that described our ten days on the ship. Kugluktuk is a very remote northern community. The principal and teachers graciously offered their classrooms and other school facilities for us to use during our two day visit. This morning we trooped over next door to the Kugluktuk elementary school where we gave a presentation to a gym full of students from kindergarten to grade 6. We answered questions about the trip and explained some of the scientific research and experiments that we helped conduct while on board.

Before our planned day trip to the famous national historic landmark of Bloody Falls, an elder came in to give us the background of the site and the story behind its name. She explained how the explorer Samuel Hearne watched as his Chipewyan warriors had slaughtered a party of more than 20 Inuit they encountered at the falls, turning the falls red from all the blood, hence its name today. It was a tragic tale but her stories helped us to appreciate the landmark that much more. Before the morning was over, we were sitting in our speedboats, enjoying the stunning scenery of the 20-minute ride to Bloody Falls. Upon our destination, we were introduced to entomologist, Crystal Ernst, who had been conducting research around the area and comparing it to data taken from 50 years ago. She taught the Schools on Board participants and the Kugluktuk high school students who accompanied us on how to catch insects and sample the area using butterfly nets, kick nets in the water and how to sort through the organisms and store them in viles. She explained to us that these insects were good indicators of the water quality and the habitat in general. For the rest of the afternoon, we ate our packed lunches by the falls and spent some time chatting with the each other and getting to know the Kugluktuk students. I also managed to sneak in some time hiking and looking for cool-looking rocks with Crystal who taught me a little about it before we were due back in the speedboats once again. Back at the school, we finished our postcards and sent them out after being away from any post offices for so long. Shortly after, we began our much anticipated community feast for the night which was a real treat for most of us who had never tried caribou stew, char fish soup or bannock which are some traditional favourites. Thank you to the elders who prepared this meal for our group.

After dinner, some of us went to the community movie night at the elementary school, and others to the community dance which apparently happened every Friday night. Since it was our last night in Kugluktuk before we flew out for Yellowknife the very next day, I wanted to explore the town and Suzannah Akana, a student from the Kugluktuk High School was kind enough to give me a tour. She showed me many of the landmarks of the town including the Kugluktuk recreation centre, the Hamlet centre, and the few stores in the area as well as introducing me to some of her friends. One of the highlights of the tour was hiking up a nearby mountain where we could see the entire town from the top and watching the sunset though it was almost 24-hour daylight for them at this time of year. I even got a ride back on her quad or what is more commonly known as a "Honda" in Kugluktuk as I've been told. It was a real taste of their lifestyle as they are the perfect form of transportation for the town with a population of approximately 1300. As I went to bed that night, I thought about how different their lives were compared to mine in Toronto. I feel so blessed to have been able to broaden my horizons to life in their community and to have met so many amazing people along the way. It was truly an amazing few weeks with everyone here at Schools on Board and we have all been so fortunate to have experienced and seen so much.

Figure 1: Group activities with students at the Kugluktuk High School
Figure 2: Collecting aquatic insects with researcher Crystal Ernst
Figure 3: Group photo at Bloody Falls
Figure 4: Dinner (caribou stew, char soup and bannock) prepared by community elders
Figure 5: Sharing lunch at Bloody Falls
Figure 6: The community of Kugluktuk
Figure 7: Getting to know some of the local students
Figure 8: Cost of living in Kugluktuk!

 



Logbook day - 9 August, 2010

August 9, 2010

Buzz Buzz Buzz! Its 730am and it is time to wake up! I wonder what amazing experiences and encounters we will have onboard the CCGS Amundsen today.

Hello, my name is Katharine O'Connell and I am a high school science teacher at Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut where I have been teaching for the past 3 years. This year I have been selected to participate in the 2010 Schools on Board Program onboard the CCGS Amundsen. Our travels will take us from Iqaluit, Nunavut through the Northwest Passage to our final destination of Kugluktuk, Nunavut.

Today was a unique day onboard the Amundsen where students and teachers were able to listen to a presentation on dinoflagellates (microscopic organisms found in the ocean), visit a contaminants laboratory (persistent organic pollutants), view an ice core drilling in the Arctic sea ice, go on a tour of the engine room and view 'Arctic Passages', a NOVA video on the successes and failures of explorers of the Northwest Passage.

Chief Scientist, André Rochon from the Université du Quebec à Rimouski, spoke to the Schools on Board students about his interest in dinoflagellates in the Arctic. Dinoflagellates are microscopic protists that can live in both freshwater and saltwater. These tiny creatures can be autotrophic (produce their own food), heterotrophic (consume their food) or parasitic (feed off of a host). In his presentation André explained that different species of dinoflagellates live in specific temperatures and climatic conditions. Scientists, such as André, and his student Marc-André Cormier (MSc Student at UQAR) have used this information as well as core samples taken from the ocean floor to reconstruct the climatic conditions of the past using carbon-14 dating (measure the amount of C12:C14 in the sediment at each level).

After the presentation students and teachers had the opportunity to view these microscopic protists under a dissecting microscope in the lab with Marc-André's assistance. The level of detail, unique designs and structural adaptations in these organisms anatomy is unbelievable. I had no idea something so small and unique existed! André and Marc-André's research connecting dinoflagellates and climatic change in the past is ingenious. It unites the fields of archaeology and microscopic marine biology in a very unique way.

Later in the afternoon, Meredith Pind (University of Manitoba), Simon Pineault (MSc at Université Laval) and James Muggah (MSc at University of New Brunswick) were harnessed and lowered in a cage onto the sea ice from the CCGS Amundsen to complete an ice core drilling. The scientists took turns in retrieving the core due to the strength and durability of the ice. The ice that Meredith, Simon and James drilled into was estimated to be 2-3 meters thick according to Captain Stéphane Julien. This operation was quite interesting to watch. I believe the expertise and collaboration of the scientists and crew involved onboard made this operation a success. Once the ice core was retrieved, student Kelcie Miller-Anderson from the Schools on Board Program assisted Meredith with temperature measurements of the various layers of the core. Scientists at the University of Manitoba, who study multi-year ice in the Arctic, will use this data.

Just before dinner Steve Quirion, an electrician onboard the CCGS Amundsen, guided us on a tour of the engine room. The control room was very large and contained many levers, buttons and screens to operate the vessel. He explained that the CCGS Amundsen has a total of six engines located in three engine rooms onboard (front room, motor room and back room). While cruising through the water the icebreaker only requires the use of two engines but when breaking ice all four engines are used. This equipment along with the rest of the devices needed to operate the CCGS Amundsen is maintained by several well-trained engineers, electricians and operators onboard.

Towards the end of the tour Steve showed us the ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) onboard the icebreaker. This is a tethered submersible piece of equipment with 6 propellers that allows it to up and down, left to right. A robotic arm allows the operator to manipulate objects, and 2 cameras provide video images back to the operator inside the ship. When needed, the ROV is lowered through the moon pool (a giant hole in the bottom of the Amundsen) where it is dives into the water to record video of the ocean. I found this device to be very interesting due to its ability to navigate under the sea ice and record the diversity of life in the ocean.

No matter where you go, where you turn or who you talk science can always be found on the CCGS Amundsen. From the engineering technology of the icebreaker's engines to the range of research from studies on microscopic dinoflagellates to invertebrates of the benthos! The breadth of knowledge and research onboard is vast and growing, and as it continues it will bring us one step closer to understanding climate change in the Arctic.

Katharine O'Connell

Figure 1: Katharine O'Connell
Figure 2: Marc-André Cormier (MSc Student at UQAR) explaining his work to students.
Figure 3: Scientists lowered onto a patch of multi-year ice to retrieve an ice core.
Figure 4: Using a manual core barrel to cut an ice core.
Figure 5: Meredith (University of Manitoba), measuring the temperature of the core, every 10 centimeters, using a temperature probe.
Figure 6: Dr. André Rochon (UQAR) our chief scientist and Captain Stéphane Julien.

 



Logbook day - 8 August, 2010

August 8, 2010

Hi my name is Kayla Bruce and I am from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. I attend Maani Ulujuk Illiniarvik, which is a grade 7 to 12 school that has just under 400 students. I have lived in Rankin Inlet for the last 11 years but have also lived in Baker Lake, Nunavut and Coral Harbour, Nunavut.

Today was a really interesting day for me. This morning we deployed an Agassiz net off the Amundsen. The net is used to recover benthic organisms from the bottom of the ocean. The net uncovered many different types of rocks and a variety of invertebrates. The net was full of brittle stars, water spiders, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.

In the afternoon I had a chance to work with Virginie Roy and Anne Fontaine, graduate students, from the Université du Quebec à Rimouski (UQAR) who study benthic organisms in the Arctic. In the laboratory I sorted through the organisms that were caught by the Aggasiz net that morning. I rinsed off the organisms with a hose while they were in a mesh net. In the lab we used sieves to sort the organisms by species. Through performing this task I was able to see just how diverse the ocean is and the range of organisms that live in this habitat.

In the evening we enjoyed a fancy three-course dinner. I along with students from the Schools on Board Program dressed up in formal attire. I liked this a lot because it was nice to do something different and it made the evening special.

Just after dinner an announcement was made that there were six polar bears up ahead. Everyone went up to the front of the boat to see this amazing encounter. When we got up to the deck they were still pretty far away. As we got closer we saw that there was a mother and two cubs as well as three other polar bears. Some of them were swimming in the ocean while others stayed on the ice. It was a very exciting experience to see so many polar bears so close together. Our current polar bear sighting is now at 11. While watching the polar bears on the ice we also saw a ringed seal poke its head out of the water for a few seconds. It was pretty amazing to see this because the seal was very close to the boat.

So far the Schools on Board Program has been a trip of a lifetime and I am looking forward to the rest of our travels.

Matna, Kayla Bruce

Figure 1: Kayla (student from Rankin Inlet) ready to hose down the Agassiz Net.
Figure 2: The Agassiz net being rinsed as it comes out of the water. This net is deployed over the side of the ship and is dragged along the bottom of the ocean floor for a short time to collect the benthic organisms.
Figure 3: Opening the Agassiz net from the bottom releases a mix of rocks, sediment and benthic organisms.
Figure 4: Anne Fontaine and Virginie Roy, graduate students from the Université du Quebec à Rimouski (UQAR) who use the box core and the Agassiz net to study benthic organisms in the Arctic.
Figure 5: Students using sieves to rinse and sort organisms.
Figure 6: Some of the benthic organisms found in the Agassiz net: sea anemone; sea cucumber; brittle stars; starfish.
Figure 7: Polar bear coming out of the water.
Figure 8: Mother bear and her cubs.

 



Logbook day - 7 August, 2010

August 7, 2010

Hello, this is John Vlanich from Schools on Board. I have been aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen for six days now. Since the beginning of my trip on the Icebreaker I have seen eleven polar bears, a musk ox, and many seals. I have seen so much incredible scenery, rolling fields, snowy mountains, glaciers and multiyear ice. There have been so many cool things that I have seen, and that is only a part of the trip.

The scientific part of the trip has been great too, the first scientific activity I participated in was the deployment of the Gravity Core which is used by Claudia Rousseau and Jonathan Roger from the Université Laval. This instrument takes sediment from the bottom of the ocean using its weight and shape to dig deep into the ocean floor and take a sample. The Gravity Core looks like a giant missile with 50 lb lead weights attached to it for added weight to help it dig into the ocean floor upon impact. My job during the deployment of the Gravity Core was being the 'monkey'. I had to be harnessed to the boat and guide the Gravity Core over the edge of the boat; this piece of equipment weighs close to four hundred pounds. After that I helped to disassemble it and take out the tube with the sediment core in it. Then Claudia and I carried the sediment core back to the lab and cut it up into pieces, labelled each piece and stored it in a fridge to keep the sample clean and at the right temperature. The next day, I woke up and worked with the rosette team. This instrument can take in seawater samples from up to one thousand meters deep. The scientists who operated the rosette are Camil Hamel, Joanne Ferland, and Dominque Boisvert. Four other students and I picked nine depths to sample water from based on where the highest concentration of Chlorophyll A had been found. We then took the nine water samples to the lab and started to test them for Chlorophyll A. We used two types of filters to filter the water and trap the Chlorophyll A on the filters. The two filters we used were 5 micrometer filters and a GFF filter. When all of the water was filtered through the other two students and I from schools on board found out that the highest concentration of Chlorophyll A was at thirty two meters deep.

The trip has been great so far and I am looking forward to spending more time on board; and I expect that there are still more great times to come for all of us.

John Vlanich

Figure 1: John Vlanich, Inuvik, NWT, with large iceberg in the background.
Figure 2: John and Baruch (students from Samuel Hearne Secondary High School, Inuvik), working together to prepare the Rosette.
Figure 3: Jonathon Roger and Claudia Rousseau, two members of the science team from Université Laval.
Figure 4: John helping with the deployment of the gravity core.
Figure 5: Baruch (not shown) rinsing the sediment from the gravity corer as it comes up.
Figure 6: Removing the sediment core from the gravity corer. This was the only gravity core taken during the expedition.
Figure 7: John found a great space at the very front of the ship for completing an entry into his science journal.

 



Logbook day - 6 August, 2010

August 5, 2010

Hello, my name is Daniel O'Neil. I am a grade 12 student at L'École secondaire catholique La Citadelle in Cornwall, Ontario. This trip aboard the CCGS Amundsen is my first voyage through the Canadian Arctic; the imposing scenery, the rich cultural background, and the innovative scientific research that I have witnessed during the past week have greatly enhanced my enchanting exploration of the Northern terrain.

We all had an early start today as we assembled on the helicopter's landing pad in our neon floater suits and warm clothing. Being egged on by an overenthusiastic scientist, we were led through a series of warm-up exercises in the cool morning air.

After a hard-earned breakfast, we then migrated to the conference room. We were greeted by a group of scientists from INRS-ETE and UQAR in Quebec. The graduate students had prepared a series of interrelated lectures pertaining to the tightly linked relationships between current directions, the thermocline (temperature stratification), halocline (salinity stratification), nutrients and carbon dioxide levels. The helpful seminars also addressed many popular subjects in today's society: the increasing levels of carbon dioxide, for example, and how the oceans either act as sinks or sources for the gas exchanges.

Later in the day, more students from the University of Laval presented another lecture. Their presentation focused on the Arctic marine food web and the transfer of energy through the different levels of the food chains. It was interesting to see the links between this presentation and the previous talks from scientists studying the bioaccumulation and biomagnification of heavy metals and contaminants in Arctic organisms.

Whenever the CCGS Amundsen crosses the Arctic Circle (as we did two days ago), the crew traditionally prepares a small initiation ceremony for anyone who has crossed the circle onboard the ship for the first time. We had been given eggs that had to be carried with us at all times and were to be protected at all costs. Each egg was stamped 'Protèger' so that we couldn't replace it if it broke. As the final stages of our initiation into Neptune's circle, we were Schools on Board participants were led before Neptune, where he judged our behaviour over the past few days. After all of the fun was over, we all received very unique certificates recognizing our inclusion into Neptune's circle. [We all felt agreed that it was very nice to be included in this activity and this aspect to life at sea].

As evening came, the icebreaker arrived at its first basic station. One of the first instruments to be deployed during these stations is the CTD rosette. The rosette is a large submersible piece of equipment composed of 24 bottles and is used to collect water samples at different depths in the ocean. These samples are then taken to different laboratories and analysed by the scientists. While the opening and closing of the bottles is supervised from a cabin on the ship, the rosette's CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth) scanner is also used to take measurements pertaining to the properties of sea water at different depths.

While working with the rosette operators, Dominique Boisvert and Camil Hamel, I had the chance to participate in the preparation involved for the deployment of the equipment. I also helped lower the rosette into the ocean. While it was travelling towards the seabed, I observed the different profiles that were being generated by the CTD. I was able to notice pronounced trends in the graphs as the equipment was lowered through the different levels of the ocean.

Although the day was long and draining (both physically and mentally), I have greatly enjoyed all our activities aboard the CCGS Amundsen; it is truly an honour to be able to work alongside such a sophisticated team of scientists. I would like to take the time to thank Youth Science Canada and the Canadian IPY Programme Office, who sponsored my trip, as well as the program coordinators of Schools on Board. Without the support of many individuals dedicated to science – teachers, parents, friends, advisors – this incredibly enriching experience through the Northwest Passage would not have been possible. On behalf of all the program's students: Thank you!

Daniel O'Neil

 



A week in review from our student – teacher team from Rankin Inlet!

Kayla and Katherine's top 5 Most Memorable Moments ... so far ...
1. The diverse and unique landscape of the Arctic
2. Seeing a polar bear (nanuq) up close
3. The initiation into Neptune's Society (for those who pass the Arctic circle by ship)
4. The diversity of scientific research taking place in the Arctic
5. The comfortable atmosphere onboard the Amundsen

Uplukut! Good afternoon! I'm Kayla Bruce and I'm Katharine O'Connell and we are a student-teacher team from Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. This year we have joined the Schools on Board Program aboard the CCGS Amundsen and are making our way with students, teachers and scientists from across Canada through the Northwest Passage.

Inuit Culture and Traditions
In Iqaluit students and staff from the Schools on Board Program along with Jessica Kotierk who works with the Government of Nunavut's Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth. Jessica introduced the group to several traditional Inuit games. These included dice games as well as the arm-pull and leg-pull. Students were also taught how to make bannock that we presented to an elder we were meeting the following day. As a group we visited Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park and visited with Aalasi Joamie who wrote the book Walking with Aalasi: An Introduction to Edible and Medicinal Arctic Plants. Aalasi's passion and enthusiasm for arctic plants and their medicinal uses was evident during her guided walk and presentation within the park. Aalasi discussed the importance of using Arctic Cotton (pualunnguaq) for cleaning an infant's umbilical cord and constructing the wick of a traditional oil lamp (qulliq). Aalasi's sense of humor and connection with our group made learning about the land (nuna) both exciting and interesting.

Life on Board on the CCGS Amundsen
Upon boarding the CCGS Amundsen we were greeted by several staff members of the Canadian Coast Guard. The atmosphere onboard the ship has been very friendly and hospitable. The staff and scientists remind us our home in Rankin Inlet, where individuals are welcoming and inclusive (tunnganarniq). While onboard the Amundsen we have been included in several traditions that take place aboard the ship. Being on the Amundsen is much like the comforts of home. Our rooms are spacious and comfortable and the meals are always well prepared and delicious. The conference room where we meet each morning is the place where we hold group meetings and listen to special presentations made by individuals onboard. Most recently, we had the opportunity to listen to a presentation from the chief scientist Andre Rochon and Stephane Julien about the history of the Northwest Passage. The presentation was very interesting and gave us more insight about the explorers of the Northwest Passage.

Meeting the Scientists
On the CCGS Amundsen we have had the opportunity so far to meet several scientists from across Canada studying the climate, habitat and diversity of the Arctic. Many of the researchers have graciously taken the time out of their busy schedules to present their research and knowledge about the Arctic with the Schools on Board Program. Anna Gawor, a Masters student from the University of Toronto, and Fiona Wong, a PhD student from the University of Toronto, spoke to us about their research on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the Arctic. James Muggah, a Masters student at the University of New Brunswick, discussed the importance of single beam and multi-beam sonar scanning to develop seabed maps of the ocean floor. In the lab, James explained how his collection of data has been used to support the work of other scientists such as Jonathan Roger (MSc student at the Université Laval) onboard the Amundsen. The main objective of all scientists and researchers that we have encountered onboard thus far has been to examine the changes taking place within the Arctic ecosystem. Piliriqatigiingniq, working together for a common cause, appears to be the foundation of all the research onboard the Amundsen.

The Land (Nuna)
The landscape has been very diverse and unique throughout the Qikiqtani region. We have seen large icebergs and glaciers, mountainous landscapes and the rocky, green tundra. Yesterday we entered Dexterity Fjord where we were able to see many of the unique geological features of the land (nuna). " I (Katharine) was able to get up close to a large iceberg within the fjord. The color and shape was spectacular!" Few people on Earth have had the opportunity to visit the Dexterity Fjord. We feel privileged and honoured to have been able to visit one of the more remote places on the planet. The wildlife has been fantastic so far! We have seen five polar bears and one musk-ox. We have also seen a wide range of seal and seabird species on our travels so far. Our most unique encounter with wildlife in the Arctic so far was when a polar bear came within 30 feet of the Amundsen. "This experience has made me feel more connected to the land (nuna) and my culture. (Kayla) " As we continue to travel onboard the Amundsen we cannot wait to see what we will encounter next!

Special Thanks (Matna)
I (Kayla) would like to send out a special thank you to the Nasivvik Centre for sponsoring me to participate in the Schools on Board Program. I (Katharine) would like to send out a special thank you to the Kivalliq Science Educators Community and NSERC PromoScience for providing me with the opportunity to be part of the Schools on Board program this year. With your support we have been able to participate in one of the most unique and spectacular outdoor education programs in Canada.

Matna,
Kayla Bruce and Katharine O'Connell

Figure 1: Katharine O'Connell (teacher) and Kayla Bruce (student) from Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
Figure 2: Kayla arriving by helicopter onto the CCGS Amundsen
Figure 3: Aalasi Joami, elder from Iqaluit, describing to Karine (left) and Kayla (right) the medicinal and practical uses of Arctic plants.
Figure 4: Pujualuk, a wild mushroom that when dried and powdery, can be used like a 'band-aid' to heal open wounds and other skin ailments.
Figure 5: Katharine and Kayla at their 'muster station' during the emergency drill.
Figure 6: Kayla (Nunavut) and Karine (Manitoba) on deck during our exploration of Dexterity Fjord – a magnificent glacier in the background.
Figure 7: Kayla receives her certificate for crossing the Arctic Circle through Davis Strait onboard the CCGS Amundsen.

 



Logbook day - 5 August, 2010

August 5, 2010

The Schools on Board program has been cruising through the Arctic now for about 4 days. We have had the opportunity to meet new scientists, learn more about different scientific fields, and enjoy some seldom viewed scenery on our journey. My name is Baruch Watters and I will be explaining some of the spectacular things we experienced today. First; however I would like to tell you a little bit of background information on how I got here. I am from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, and it was through my school board that a found out about the trip. Luckily they had been offered two full paid spots on the ship by BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd , so all I did was apply and now here I am.

Today was definitely one of our best days yet; now don't get me wrong all of the days on board have been amazing, but something unique happened today. We were able to go into Dexterity Fjord , through Isbjorn Strait and the Paterson Inlet (northern coast of Baffin Island). This Fjord has only been explored by a handful of people, and now we are a part of that group. While we were making our way through they allowed us to board a small barge which they were taking out to do some sea floor mapping. This allowed us to go right up close to icebergs, (the piece of ice that break off glaciers), and the carved out mountains. I felt very privileged to be able to go on this barge because it just increased my excitement of learning about geomorphology.

This all occurred in the afternoon, but the morning was pretty cool as well. As we were eating breakfast there was a polar bear sighting. This polar bear was on a giant sheet of ice which was right next to the ship. At first the bear was quite a ways away; however, surprisingly it came within 30 feet of the ship. I thought that seeing the polar bear that close was just crazy because even though I live in the north, I still don't see this type of natural beauty every day, especially polar bears.

After this sighting we enjoyed the rest of the morning in the lounge learning about geomorphology and sea floor mapping [from Jonathan Roger and Claudia Rousseau from the Université Laval, and James Muggah from University of New Brunswick]. These two presentations really helped us in the fjord because they enabled us to have a bit more understanding about our scenery.

After an amazing day of exploration, we watched a presentation from the captain and chief scientist André Rochon about the north west passage. As we are now traveling through it, I found it quite neat to hear about how long it took people to actually conquer the route. All in all the day was packed full of activities, presentations, and scenery that has truly changed our lives.

Even still with all the interesting things we learned today, my favourite part was being out there and experiencing it for myself. So on behalf of all the students here I would like to say thank you to all of our parents, guardians, friends and sponsors, for supporting us and opening up this opportunity to us.

Baruch Watters

Figure 1: Baruch Watters
Figure 2: Baruch Watters (Inuvik) consulting with Jonathan Roger (ULaval, Quebec).
Figure 3: Polar bear sighting
Figure 4: Polar bear approaches the ship.
Figure 5: The barge leaving the Amundsen to map and explore the fjord
Figure 6: Schools on Board students: Baruch (Inuvik, NWT); Daniel (Cornwall, ON), and Kelcie (Calgary, AB)

 



Logbook day - 5 August, 2010

August 5, 2010

My name is Karine Martel, and I am from Saint-Pierre Jolys, Manitoba. I go to École communautaire Réal-Bérard, which is a small French school. Today aboard the Amundsen, we participated in several interesting activities. We started the day by listening to a lecture about physical properties of the sea, presented to us by Dominique Boisvert and Camil Hamel of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) and Joannie Ferland of the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR). We learned about the differences between fresh water and salt water, and how salinity and temperature affect density and the flow of the sea water. After lunch, we went to the top deck with one of the ship's engineers and found a place mount the pyranometers (light measuring sensor) that we built yesterday.

[For the rest of the trip students will be taking readings from our instruments as well as recording various weather observations, to create a dataset of their own. At the end of the trip they will compare their results with the ship pyranometer to determine which 'student' instrument produced the most similar results. Students will be taking readings 4 times a day – 8:00am; 12:00pm; 5:30pm; and 10:00pm].

In the afternoon we attended a second lecture on contaminants in the arctic, presented to us by Anabelle Baya (Trent University) Igor Lehnerr (University of Alberta), and Fiona Wong (University of Toronto). Anabelle measures mercury at the interface between the ocean and the atmosphere; Igor is interested in mercury in the water column; and Fiona is looking at persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in air. They talked to us about how contaminants from all around the globe make their way to the arctic, and how once they are in the arctic they stay there for a very long time and have potentially serious consequences to the people living there. Then, we got to take a tour of these scientists' labs and stations.

While we were in one of the labs, the ship hit an iceberg and came to a sudden stop. Everyone was propelled forward, but luckily no one was hurt. Then the fire alarm went off, and the captain announced that we'd be having evacuation drill, so we had to run down to our rooms, get dressed warmly, grab our life vests and head to our 'muster station'. This is the place where we must go in the event of a fire drill. Our muster station was the flight deck. After the drill, we headed to the kitchen to have supper. In the evening, we went out on the deck to observe the beautiful scenery and witness the ship's ice-breaking capabilities. We were starting to get cold, so we headed inside to play arctic games, and the winners were rewarded with candies.

So far, living on the ship has truly been an unbelievable experience, we get to see the beautiful north, the science being done on the ship, the kindness of the scientists as well as the crew, and the great time we get to spend together as a team of students.

Karine Martel

Figure 1: Karine Martel, student from École communautaire Réal-Bérard, St.Pierre-Jolys, Manitoba
Figure 2: Students, Karine, Linda, and Kelcie (left to right) and program leader Sheena Adamson watching a demonstration on the effects of salinity and temperature on currents; and the effects of wind on mixing.
Figure 3: A white rainbow or 'fogbow' caused by fog droplets appears in the sky
Figure 4: The CCGS Amundsen breaking ice!
Figure 5: An Arctic sunset viewed from the side of the ship.
Figure 6: Karine (St.Pierre-Jolys) and John (Inuvik) preparing to board the barge.
Figure 7: Annabelle Baya from Trent University, describing how she measures mercury in the atmosphere.

 



Logbook day - 3 August, 2010

August 3rd, 2010

Hello my name is Kelcie Miller-Anderson, and I'm a participant on the 2010 schools on board program. I live in Calgary, Alberta and I attend Central Memorial High School in the Performing and Visual arts program. Today was our first full day aboard the Amundsen, and already we discovered many exciting things aboard. This morning we were all excited when we got to see our first polar bear of the trip swimming right alongside the boat. Even though the sightseeing on the boat is amazing within its self, we have the opportunity to work with scientists and researchers aboard the Amundsen. Throughout the week we will spend time with many scientists on board the ship and will be able to learn about the unique research they are all doing on board.

Today was our first opportunity to learn from one of the scientist on board, and we got to spend the day with Meredith Pind from the University of Manitoba. This is Meredith's second year on the boat as a summer student and she was able to share the research she's doing with us. The research involves the carbon exchange in Coastal and Marine Ecosystems. The project focuses on the absorption and release of carbon dioxide from the ocean. It looks into the correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and carbon dioxide concentrations in the ocean. The research has been taking place on board the Amundsen since 2003, and has been continued every year since. The ship is equipped with a lot of equipment to measure the carbon dioxide levels so that it is possible to observe carbon dioxide fluxes. She also showed us the instruments on the meteorological station that are used by other scientists in her team. One of these is pyranomenter.

Pyranometers are used to measure the incoming solar radiation. In order to help us better understand the use of pyranometers, we were able to construct our own. In groups we constructed pryanometers out of inexpensive materials and mounted them on board the ship. During our next ten days on board we will take measurements throughout the day, and at the end of our trip we will be able to analyze the data that we collected, and compare this data to the sophisticated instrument on the ship.

Even though we've only been on board for a day and a half, we've already had many unique experiences and can only expect more as our trip continues. The scientists on board have a lot of share with us, and the scenery is outstanding. Although it takes some time to get used to life on board a working ship, we're all already beginning to adjust, even though at times we may get a little sea sick.

Kelcie Miller-Anderson

Figure 1 – Kelcie (centre) with two other Schools on Board participants. Katharine O'Connell, teacher from Rankin Inlet (right), and Daniel O'Neil (student from Cornwall)
Figure 2 – Kelcie Miller-Anderson (Calgary) and John Vlanich (Inuvik) up on the roof of the bridge. Ship pyranometers
Figure 3 - Icebergs off the port side of the ship
Figure 4 – Students (left to right), Linda Zhou (Toronto), Baruch Watters (Inuvik) and Jeremy Moreau (Montreal) trying to get hints for designing their own pyranometer, from the instrument on the ship.
Figure 5 – Polar bear swimming far from shore on the port side of the ship.
Figure 6 – Meredith Pind (University of Manitoba) taking students on a tour of the meteorological instruments on the ship and describing some protocols for weather observations.

 



Logbook day - 2 August, 2010

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Greetings everyone! My name is Linda Zhou and I'm from Toronto, Ontario where I attend Bishop Allen Academy. Today has been my 5th day aboard the Schools on Board program of which I have been generously sponsored by Youth Science Canada. Although I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this trip, I would have to say that today has been one of the most exciting for me thus far. Bright and early this morning, we met downstairs in the hotel with our freshly packed duffel bags ready for a day of action. We took our taxis to the Iqaluit airport where we had landed just three days prior. Being from the bustling city of Toronto, I had never been to Iqaluit, but I immediately fell in love with the friendly town and was saddened to leave so soon. On the bright side, I looked forward to finally boarding the much anticipated CCGS Amundsen vessel. At about ten o'clock, I was strapped into the front seat of the helicopter, helmet and all, ready for liftoff. Being my very first time on a helicopter, you could imagine my excitement and delight at the gorgeous view above the town and waters, but it ended all too quickly. Before I knew it, we had landed on the Amundsen and were being welcomed by dozens of friendly faces. The Amundsen is a red and white Canadian icebreaker vessel, decked out with six floors, dozens of cabins and lounges, many laboratories, a couple of zodiacs and other fancy equipment unknown to me at the moment and its very own helicopter of course. After being shown to our cabins, it was the perfect place for us to explore which we spent most of the day doing. One of my favourite memories of the day was being on the bridge, better known as the 'wheelhouse', watching the officers steer and control the ship as well as watching seals out on the many decks of the vessel. During our explorations, we had also gotten to chat with many of the scientists on board and learn about the research they were conducting. Between all our exploring, we also got a presentation about life on the ship as well as a familiarization tour. After dinner, the eight students of the Schools on Board program spent time out on the back deck and bonded over games and activities as well as having some precious time just enjoying the truly beautiful scenery. All in all, it was a beautiful first day of life on the vessel and one that was truly memorable for me.

Linda Zhou

Photo 1: Linda onboard the CCGS Amundsen enroute to Kugluktuk through the Northwest Passage.
Photo 2: Linda arriving onboard!
Photo 3: Northwest Passage here we come!
Photo 4: Schools on Board team posing in their survival suits after the Familiarization and Safety tour.
Photo 5: Smooth sailing!

 



Logbook day - 1 August, 2010

July 29 - August 1st 2010

My name is Jeremy Moreau and I'm a secondary 5 student at Collège Jean-Eudes in Montreal, Quebec. I am one of the eight students participating in the 2010 Schools On Board programme.

On Thursday, several members of the team, myself included, travelled from all across Canada towards Ottawa. Once everyone had arrived, and after brief introductions, we all had lunch before engaging in a series of creative team-building activities—one of them even required searching for books pertaining to Nunavut in a bookstore in order to answer a set of questions. After spending the night in Ottawa we flew to Iqaluit and checked in our hotel. We then went to buy groceries and quickly explored Iqaluit while waiting for the other three members who were supposed to arrive that afternoon.

Unfortunately, their flight was delayed and we had to adapt our plans to this eventuality. As such, it was decided to postpone the formal information session so that everyone could be included. The following morning, we had breakfast with Erika Chenko from the Inuit Heritage Trust as well as Jessica Kotierk discussed the importance of respecting Inuit heritage while doing research as well as the effects of the recent variations of climate on research in the Arctic. We then played several exciting traditional games and continued our visit of Iqaluit. We also had the chance to visit a museum and discuss Inuit knowledge with Coreena Nuyalia, CLEY (Culture Language Elders Youth). Coreena talked about her work with elders to collect information and knowledge for the Nunavut Coastal Resource Inventory. We then headed back to the hotel and met with the remaining members of the team who arrived from Yellowknife. Subsequently, after a well-deserved night of sleep, we left for an all-day expedition at Sylvia Grinnell Park. There, we witnessed breathtaking scenery and had the honour to speak with elder Aalasi Joamie who, through her interpreter Ulepeka, taught us a great deal about local plants and their uses. Sharina Dodsworth from the Department of Environment hosted a BBQ for us at the park pavilion and talked to us about some of the initiatives of the department, specifically in the area of environmental education.

Cheers,

Jeremy Moreau

Figure 1: Jeremy Moreau, student from Collège Jean-Eudes, sponsored by Youth Science Canada and the Canadian IPY Programme Office
Figure 2: Coreena and Jessica talking to the group about the Nunavut Coastal Resource Inventory
Figure 3: Aalasi Joamie sharing her knowledge of edible and medicinal plants
Figure 4: Linda Zhou, student from Toronto, making bannock for our visit with an elder
Figure 5: Iqaluit
Figure 6: Aalasi Joamie talking about Pualunnguat, Arctic Cotton, whose main use is as a wick of a qulliq (soap stone lamp).
Figure 7: Karine Martel (St.Pierre-Jolys, Manitoba) learning about plants from Aalasi.

 



 

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