Each day of an Earthwatch teen expedition offers a balance of hands-on research and the chance to explore your surroundings and to get to know the scientists and your teammates. Your team is led not only by professional researchers but also by at least one Earthwatch facilitator, who will always be around to help you get the most out of your experience.
You’ll become very familiar with the flora, fauna, and landscape of this singular place. Every day you’ll begin hiking early, stopping along the way to (depending on the season):
- Look for signs of climate change. You'll use sophisticated equipment to collect data on features of the permafrost and soil. This work helps reveal global-warming-related changes in these aspects of the Arctic.
- Record plant observations. As you hike you'll look for vascular plants, lichens, and mosses and monitor plant phenology (the timing of seasonal events such as flowering, first leaves, etc.). You'll also core evergreen trees to count their rings, and count their needles. This information gives researchers insight into how global warming is changing life for Arctic plants.
- Survey mammals, birds, fish, and frogs. You'll also see how climate change is impacting Arctic animals by recording when and where you see them, and how many you observe.
- Investigate in the lab. On most afternoons you’ll return to the comfort of the Churchill Northern Studies Centre to enter data and process water or plant samples in the state-of-the-art lab.
After a friendly dinner, you might attend a talk on climate change, the natural history of polar bears or whales, or ecotourism in Churchill. Or you can enjoy the time relaxing, reading, or chatting with team members.
On one day during the expedition, your team will take a break from being research scientists and enjoy some of Churchill’s recreational activities, which might include whale watching, touring historic sites like Fort Prince of Wales, river kayaking, or browsing through the Eskimo Museum. You’ll have time to ask questions, enjoy the scenery, and keep an eye out for the wildlife and plants—including Churchill’s famed polar bears—that you can’t see anywhere else.