Arctic Update

by Inga Yandell

Progress for Polar BearsTop Ten Accomplishments of 2011 for Polar Bears International

1. Tundra Connections® broadcasts reached the widest audience yet thanks to new connections with Edmodo and the New Media Consortium, with 2,227 teachers and classrooms, informal educators, and individuals from around the world tuning in and incorporating lesson plans—all with a call to action!

2. Continued research on polar bear maternity dens in northern Alaska, helping to lay the groundwork for guidelines that will help protect denning families from industrial disturbances.

3. Polar Bear Forest® grew to 68 acres—and nearly 7,000 trees—thanks in large part to fundraising efforts by the American Association of Zoo Keepers, who have embraced the effort as a way of helping the public make the connection between planting trees and lowering CO2.

4. Helped rescue Qannik, an orphaned polar bear cub in Alaska, through a remarkable team effort involving the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Alaska Zoo, Louisville Zoo, and UPS—a success story that helps pave the way to save future cubs in need.

5. The energetic teens in PBI’s Project Polar Bear Contest collectively reduced greenhouse gases by more than 200 million pounds—and counting. What’s more, past and present contestants continue to inspire real change in their communities, making a low carbon footprint part of daily life.

6. PBI’s chief scientist, Dr. Steven C. Amstrup, continued his impassioned outreach on behalf of the bears, speaking at the International Bear Association Conference, the Polar Bear Range States Meeting, and in various public forums. He also gave countless media interviews—helping to keep polar bear conservation and the need to reduce greenhouse gases top of mind.

7. Re-launched Polar Bear Cam, made possible by a grant from Pearls of the Planet, a project of explore.org, a direct charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation, and a partnership with Frontiers North Adventures reached at least four million people around the world, opening their eyes to the warm weather in the Arctic and delayed freeze-up—and motivating them to Take Action!

8. Volunteers and Advisory Council members donated an astonishing number of hours this year—nearly 130,000 hours! Combined with in-kind contributions from sponsors, this enabled PBI to maintain a low overhead, freeing up the majority of our funding for polar bear projects.

9. Leadership Camps for zookeepers, zoo communicators, and green teens continue to have a ripple effect, with 26 new graduates this year joining past participants. They’re already effecting carbon reductions in their communities through creative programs like Bundle Up for Polar Bears and No Idle Zones.

10. Arctic Ambassador Center network has grown to include over 40 zoos and aquariums working on the frontlines to inspire action on climate change. Through their extraordinary community outreach and innovative programs, we’re whacking a hole in the greenhouse and helping the public make the shift to a low-carbon lifestyle. And reducing greenhouse gases is, in the end, what it’s all about for polar bears, who rely on the sea ice and a cold arctic climate for their survival.

Your support of PBI’s work on behalf of polar bears made all this possible. Polar Bears International couldn’t have done any of this without you—and for that they’re deeply grateful!

To help ensure our momentum continues in 2012, please DONATE, as generously as possible, if you haven’t already. Thanks to the generosity of four anonymous donors, every donation will be matched, dollar for dollar, through the end of the year.

Field Notes From Florianwhats new for wildlife photographer Florian Schulz?

After spending 18 entire months in the Arctic over the past years, and countless hours in the preparation of the book, “To The Arctic” has finally been published by Braided River. The book showcases some of Florian’s best photos and is a companion to the upcoming IMAX film released in theatres later this year!

Checkout the website ‘Welcome to the Arctic’ for updates and multimedia presentations.

Florian’s arctic work also features in several publications including: Germany’s prestigious large format GEO Magazine with a wonderful selection of arctic images. Also, National Geographic ran a story entitled ‘On Thin Ice’ illustrating the effects of climate change on Polar Bears with dramatic images by Florian.

Accolades for Arctic Images

With the image “Monarchs of the Arctic” Florian won the mammal category of the 2011 European Nature Photographer of the Year competition. The image was also chosen for the cover of the competition book. This image is also available for purchase online as a limited edition print.

Florian’s image of a polar bear cub, studying his own reflection on the water surface, won the wildlife category for Natures Best Photography Awards. This image took place when shooting for the book To The Arctic, outside on the pack ice of the Barent sea in Northeast, Svalbard.

A Cub of their Own

In March last year Florian traveled with wife and partner Emil to Greenland and Svalbard on a two month long expedition hoping to capture fascinating landscape images of the region as well as the elusive Polar Bear. Never would they have expected to bring back their own little polar bear: Nanuk!

In Emil’s belly Nanuk was part of several other expeditions. Once again the duo traveled along British Columbia’s coast with their trimaran “Trust Me” to keep on photographing for their Freedom to Roam project, and to gather material to fight against the oil tankers that threaten the pristine BC Coast.

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Inga Yandell
Explorer and photo-journalist, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide educational resources and a platform for science exploration.
Inga Yandell

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