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Travelling students on ice

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services
Thursday, August 23, 2007

INUVIK - A group of Inuvik youth recently returned from a voyage across the Arctic Ocean to learn more about climate change.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Phillip Iatridis was able to try on a seal skin jacket while he was on the Russian passenger ship the Lyubov Orlova. He was accompanied by other youth from Inuvik on a two-week trip touring the Arctic Ocean. - photos courtesy of Phillip Iatridis

Phillip Iatridis and Karis Gruben were two of the Inuvik youth chosen to participate in the two-week trip on a Russian passenger ship.

Iatridis said the trip was a good way to inform young people about climate change.

"They were promoting International Polar Year," he said.

"It was to raise awareness to youth about the changes in our environment."

Gruben said she was chosen by her science teacher back in June.

"My brother was also on the trip a few years back," said Gruben.

Gruben said to prepare for the journey she did some research by reading online blogs of past participants.

"I read up on it and it looked really interesting," she said.

Being prepared for the trip was important. Gruben said she brought a few changes of clothes and warm gear.

From Inuvik to the port in Churchill, Man. was a long flight for Gruben.

"Our plane was delayed in Edmonton so we stayed the night there," she said.

"Once we got to Ottawa, we stayed at the university."

Gruben said that they participated in group events in Ottawa and met the crew they would be travelling with.

It was in Churchill that Gruben first saw the Lyubov Orlova, a Russian passenger ship.

"We had some tours in Churchill, then got on the boat," she said.

It was the first time that Gruben had been on a ship of that magnitude.

"It was big," she said with a laugh.

The first few days had Gruben and the rest of the youth preparing for the trip ahead.

"It didn't feel like we were on a ship," she said.

"It was so big, there was a lot going on."

It was on the voyage that the group was able to stop in the surrounding communities and visit with people.

"It was my first time in Pangnirtung," said Iatridis.

"It's really nice there and everyone was so friendly."

During their trip, the youth were given presentations and lectures about climate change and how the area was changing.

"They talked with us about what is changing and how different the region was," said Gruben.

Iatridis said that some of the presentations were focused on impacts on wildlife and the region.

"We heard about sea birds, land mammals, exploration and coastal ocean currents," he said.

One of the biggest changes for Gruben was the lack of outside communication while on the ship.

"We could make phone calls, but it was expensive," she said.

Gruben said the experience was one to remember and she would recommend the trip to any other youth who wanted an interesting way to spend a few weeks during the summer.

Iatridis echoed her response and said the trip proved to be a valuable learning experience.

"I'd definitely recommend it for anyone looking for something new," he said.

The youth returned earlier this week and are now preparing to go back to school.