Week 14 Qujannamiik! (Thank you!)

Khan and Mille
Khan and Mille
Date Posted: 6.1.2009
Location: 70º46'N 68º59'W
Clyde River, Nunavut, Canada
Weather Conditions: Cloudy, 26°F (-3°C)
“I learned there is a place in the world where the sun doesn't set in the summertime” is 1st grader Lydia’s answer when asked what she learned with GoNorth! Yes, that is absolutely right Lydia! Actually, around the clock for most of this week the sun has been beating from a clear blue sky and by now it’s a full-out melt-down in the community
of Clyde River. Coming across the ice, we arrived here on Monday
afternoon with the Polar Huskies roaring! Cruising more than 45 miles
in less than 9 hours, we knew just how fast we were moving at lunch
break! There were definitely lots of hugs and kisses, especially to the
Polar Husky veterans. Mille explains, “With what we saw the last ten
days running on the ice, I knew this may be it for this year’s adventure
learning expedition...”


  Watch Mille digging to make wind
  protecting walls for the dogs

  Watch our camp during the high

Qannik wakes up from her first night in high winds on the trail

We had been hunkered down for about 36 hours before setting out that morning. A ground blizzard swept through slamming the tent walls, but also hardening the snow surface, which set us up for the perfect run. It took us about two hours to dig out the tent and sleds, but once we did, we were flying down down down onto the Arctic Ocean ! The Polar Huskies were at full-out speed passing by the fingers of spectacular fiords that strech all the way into the Barnes Icecap before entering the “nice little inlet” or Kangiqtugaapik, the traditional Inuit name for the community, as it sits brilliantly nestled in the bay off the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Fortunately, Shari Gearheard, our own GoNorth! Cool Scientist, saw us down on the ice and hurried out on her snowmobile to guide us to ‘park the sleds’ a bit out on the sea ice instead of on the river ice right in front of town. Shari wanted us where the ice breaks up last!

    Crossing a lead of open water
Sea ice is a bit of a passion for Shari, who has lived here in Clyde River with her husband Jake and their 19 sled dogs for about five years now. She was thrilled to hear that first grader Natalia answered she “liked to learn about pack ice” when asked what she liked best about GoNorth! “I think its amazing that first graders even know what pack ice is!” exclaims Shari. “I could not believe our luck,” says Mille: I had all these questions about the sea ice, leads and cracks as I was trying to make the decision on whether or not we should continue from here to Pond Inlet. Then, the day after we arrived Shari and the group of hunters working on the Igliniit project, making observations as they travel on the land and sea ice, came together at her house!” They have basically been meeting every week for the last two years, but this time it was because Martyn and Elizabeth from BBC’s famous Planet Earth production just arrived to film them for a new production called “Frozen Planet” to start airing in 2011.

  Watch us crossing a lead between 5 and 6 feet wide (170 -200 cm)
  Watch David talk about dogs and cracks in the ice during the
  meeting – Gary is translating, Elizabeth and Martyn from BBC
  are asking the questions!

It’s spring melt in Clyde River!  
When Shari introduced us to the group of hunters she brought up our consideration on whether or not we could continue on to the community of Pond Inlet from here. “No, its too late It is too dangerous, leads are getting wider too fast now,” said David one of the hunters with a stern look. The rest of the group nodded in agreement. “I guess that is really when I made the decision that this is it,” ponders Mille. So, by the time students and teachers around the world in more than 4000 schools in 30-some countries wrap up GoNorth! at the end of this week, the Polar Huskies might be onboard the plane heading back home to Minnesota in the US! What an adventure it has been!

  Listen to the rapids of water along the streets
  in Clyde River

Explore main street in Clyde River. We are staying with Shari and Jake in the light-blue two-story house!
  Watch what it involves for Shari and Jake to feed their sled dogs seal!

“Our classroom has been on an adventure since March!  We have been exploring the Artic, working on ways we can help save the planet, reading about polar bears, and of course learning all about Nunavut...” writes Ms. Cureton from Newport Elementary in Illinois. “That’s what GoNorth is really all about” says Aaron. It is about the adventure in the classroom, about expanding learning and exploring for every student far beyond the classroom walls! As John Joseph from Mooloolah State School in Queensland, Australia writes, “[It’s been] a breath of fresh air for this teacher. After 33 years in the classroom in Australia [GoNorth!] has opened the world to my class. They are learning to understand other cultures, think about serious issues like climate change, see the importance of teamwork and notice how their classroom is no longer the four walls we see around us. A special thanks to your entire team (and the dogs).”

    Her Excellency the Right Honourable
  Michaëlle Jean arrives in the
  community hall with her husband
              and daughter
    Watch how the world famous Clyde
  River hip hop dancers “The Sea
  Slugs” mix traditional drum dancing,
              games and breakdancing

Right: It's not only the Polar Huskies that have come to visit Clyde River this week. Thursday there was a royal visit as the Governor General of Canada came here to tour the unique wellness center "Ilisaqaivik" and watch the local but world-traveling hip hop dancers “the Sea Slugs” perform

Yes, with just a little more than 600 miles under their paws on the trail now, the Polar Huskies are just getting in gear now! Tracker, the stuffed Polar Husky, on the other hand has racked up a lot more miles this year than we had imagined she would on her Classroom Expedition! By the time Tracker makes it back to Education Basecamp this week from her final destination visiting with students in Crystal, MN, she will have traveled 20, 432 miles around the globe – even a layover in China! “One of my favorite things about being part of Team GoNorth! is that I know we actually have team members around the world. It’s a real ‘pick-me-upper’ when I am able to read the Send-A-Note greetings from all over the planet. Even from places as far away as South Africa and well, my home country of Denmark,” says Mikkel with a broad smile.


Left: The first hip hop dancing workshop was actually brought to Clyde River and Nunavut by Jake who we are staying with!

Mille adds, “My favorite spot on the site are the zones for sure! The creativity and thought that goes into what students post just blows me away, like the short animated powerpoint - ‘A Prickly Situation’ in the Climate Zone. Posted by Jackie from Lourdes Hill College in Australia, it is actually one of the winning entries in the Zone competition!

  Watch the incredible adventures in Ms. Jones classroom!

  Watch 9 thing some young Students Explorers in New York, USA suggest you do for the environment

This interest in the natural world is exactly what we hope to inspire with GoNorth!," says Aaron. Mille goes on, "Environmental stewardship are some big words. But, if the team being on the trail pushing the sled forward and yipping our way over sea ice, across tundra and through the mountain passes under towering glaciers here in Nunavut spurs students to care about how we manage earth's resources, that is most magnificent to me. It makes it feel like we not just crossed the tundra, but we together are a small part in moving mountains!"

"My students enjoyed working in the Zones, not only making posts, but viewing others posts as well. It is really powerful – they get the opportunity to collaborate and connect with their classmates and other classrooms around the world!” says Chris, “Really, in every way GoNorth! has had such an impact on me. It is not only changed the way I use technology in the classroom with my 10th grade students, my time on the expedition with this team and the Polar Huskies was simply the trip of my lifetime.”

    Mrs. Mottinger's students baking
  atmospheric pizzas in solar ovens!
Mrs. Marsowicz, a first year GoNorth! teacher writes, "my class told me 5th grade has been their best year yet because of all we've done with the GoNorth! program!  I'm so glad I found you! “Its that dedication to explore with the students that keeps us all going as a team” says Tiffany. She would know, she is the one who heads up Education Basecamp - the backbone of GoNorth!. This year, we are introducing the Polar Husky Teacher of the Year award for exactly that spirit and the drive to work across subject areas making the adventure learning experience expand far beyond the classroom walls. The first award of its kind belongs to Mrs. Mottinger who teaches with GoNorth! and the Curriculum and Activity Guide at Neill Elementary in Crystal Minnesota. Mrs. Mottinger’s 1st graders manage to go full out using GoNorth! in all its aspects and every possible hands-on way - from baking atmospheric pizzas in solar ovens constructed by the students; to observing local pollution with Pingo; to learning sentence construction with Beacon on his blog. As her student Dain puts it, “I like the Beacon Blog because Beacon makes funny sentences... I would like to learn how Beacon does the blog on the computer and sends it to us.”


  Watch our arrival in Clyde River
  Watch how to say GoNorth!
  -Uangniq Atii!- in Inuktitut
  with Shari!

Left: Digging snowpits and recording the findings like the team on the trail

Yes, the Polar Huskies are simply amazing ☺! And so are you! The Polar Huskies are the superstars as well as all of you out there exploring with adventure learning! You are explorers to be admired! A huge thank you to all of you who make GoNorth! a success.  A "qujannamiik!" as they say in Inuktitut here in Nunavut! We hope you have enjoyed being part of the team on our journey here to Clyde River, as much as we have enjoyed sharing the adventure on the trail to the magical moments you have all created in classrooms worldwide and online at PolarHusky.com. We are proud to be part of your team, and we can't wait to go exploring with you again next year on the GoNorth! Greenland 2010 adventure learning expedition!

    Polar Huskies, Mille and Mikkel in
  Clyde River

Before we close up this adventure learning expedition and start thinking ahead to the next, we have to yell a most heartfelt qujannamiik! First, to the local people here in Nunavut for their hospitality and help, that we truly enjoyed. Then, we need to express our tremendous gratitude for the incredible support that has been extended towards us this year from our partners and other fantastic people with organizations that just chose to step up to our challenges and help out - not least the staff with Canadian North and Borek Air. “Last, the kindness and perseverance of those that believe in GoNorth! and our mission has a significance this year like no year before” says Mille – Qujannamiik!

Make sure to join our last chat with Team GoNorth! live from Clyde River on Tuesday, June 2nd at 1 PM CT for some 'team chatting'! Mille will also be chatting with the NBC morning show KARE 11 Sunrise on Tuesday morning at 6:40 AM or so – we will link to it here once its gets online of course!