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A step back from the adventure

It gets a bit tiresome starting every new entry with ‘what a great day’ but the truth is, most are… and it wouldn’t be appropriate to focus on any lower moments in this forum. That said, yesterday we tried a smaller group exercise, “high - low - wow - now” which gave the students and mentors the opportunity to be that bit more reflective and open about how the trip is going so far. What was your high point, low point, wow moment… and where are you at right now? For many, the lows were the lectures. Not the content, just the format. In fact, they wanted to stay awake… they want this information and knowledge… but after long hikes outside or big meals it’s hard to stay alert in a warm, dark, rocking room. I empathize. The information has been heard and we already notice that as the days progress we have more workshops, more outdoor learning, and less one- way information.

But the lectures are good, and contain some fundamental information that differentiates this from a holiday. For one, the lectures and workshops are mandatory and roll call ensures all students are present. The topics vary depending on our location and activity of the day. They started with an introduction to the Arctic, to the people, then to things we were observing like sea ice, sea mammals, plants, birds, glaciers, and the history of this area. On every landing there are groups scouting for sign of animals or people, birders, plant collectors, and glaciologists. More recently the lectures have also been focussing on climate change, and climate change workshops are offered in parallel with sessions on printmaking, oil painting, inuit games, photography, plant pressing, and bone identification among others. At least a third of the students voluntarily attended the climate change workshop, thirsty for the hard core science and observations as well as to develop ideas for action. It’s an inspiring, but challenging, session to be in.

Returning to ship

This afternoon we made a landing to Kivitoo, another former whaling location, more beautiful scenery though less overwhelming than the fjords. The flatter landscape somehow allowed for broader conversations; we didn’t have a moral obligation to look up in awe every three seconds. A couple of students singled me out and quizzed me

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