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Trek with world-class scientists

Rankin student explores high Arctic with Students on Ice program

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Aug 21/02) - Brian Tattuinee of Rankin Inlet is taking part in a rare adventure.

The 21-year-old was selected to participate in the Students on Ice expedition from Aug. 15 to 29.

Tattuinee worked as a data-entry clerk with the Department of Education in Rankin during the summer and will be attending the University of Winnipeg beginning next month.

He applied for a spot on the expedition at the Kivalliq Inuit Association office in his home community when he found out about the trip.

Tattuinee says he was happy, excited and grateful when he found out he was selected for the trip.

"I decided I wanted to apply for the expedition for the experience of going all the way up to Greenland on an ice-breaker," says Tattuinee.

"I've never been on a ship that big before."

The expedition embodies the diversity of the circumpolar range of the North.

The team of scientists and students from around the world will leave Resolute aboard the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov. Their trek will follow in the wake of 19th century explorers, taking them from the rugged tundra of Devon Island, past Grise Fiord and on to the icy reaches of Ellesmere Island National Park.

The trip has the added bonus of taking Tattuinee to a number of sites within his own territory that he's never seen before.

"The farthest North I've ever been is Pond Inlet, so that's going to be great to see these places for the first time."

Tattuinee says he's looking forward to the educational aspect of the expedition, especially the topic of global warming.

The team's world-class scientists and polar experts will address the climate change and other issues through lectures, workshops and hands-on activities during the expedition.

"I was telling event co-ordinator Angela Holmes about how the ice goes away faster now in Rankin and polar bears come around more than they ever have.

"She wants me to mention it to the scientists on the expedition and get their reaction.

"I hope to come away from the trip with a better understanding of what we can expect to happen during the next few decades because of the climate change."