There are so many things I am interested in learning about the Arctic and I will get a chance to increase my knowledge base by speaking to Experts, observing on nature hikes, and reading; lots and lots of reading. Part of this fellowship is to bring my experience back to my community, therefore, I would like to know what YOU want to know. Reply below with questions you have about the Arctic and I will try to find out the answers.
These are the questions that are at the forefront of my curious mind:
- What kind of adaptations do plants and animals make to survive in such a harsh environment?
- I’ve heard of a tree that is an inch tall. How is it a tree? Does it really exist? What makes a tree a tree?
- How is changing levels of sea ice affecting polar bear health and the overall ecosystem?
- How do arctic plants and animals interact to form a balanced habitat?
- How long can a polar bear go without eating?
- How cold is the water that I will be plunging into? How long does it take before I become hypothermic?
- What types of rock/rock formations will there be?
- What is an archipelago?
- Why is it so much colder in Antarctica than the Arctic Svalbard?
Here are some questions from Mrs. Brumfield’s second grade class and some preliminary answers from me:
- How big is the ship? Good question. As of right now, I know it’s big enough to get lost in. I’ll need a map!
- How many people are going with you? The ship, National Geographic Explorer, can hold just under 200 passengers, but there are many crew members as well. I will seek to find this answer for you. The passengers and crew come from around the world, but many of the passengers are from the United States and Canada.
- Will you see penguins, polar bears, seals, walruses, and whales? For most of those, I sure hope so! I will not see penguins though. Penguins live in the southern hemisphere, below the equator. For the animals I do see, I hope to take fantastic photos so you can see them too! I wonder what type of whales live in the Arctic waters. I will see many species of birds as well.
- What is the temperature? Temperature varies depending on the time of year. When I will be there, it will be like Winter in the Cascade Mountains. I will dig deeper into this to find out more for you.
- Do any plants grow there? Yes, plants grow there. The bigger question for me is HOW?! They do have adaptations to survive in the cold climate. I wonder what the plants are and how they survive.
- Are there any ice caves or glaciers? Oh! Good question. Now I am curious about that too!
- Is the water colder than the air? I think this is another depends question. It depends on what the air temperature is. If the air is below freezing, the water will be warmer. I don’t know how cold the water is though. Another excellent line of questioning.
- Do you have to wear special clothes or suits? I have to dress for the weather definitely. If it was snowing outside and you wanted to go sledding, what would you wear? That’s how I will pack my suitcase. I will be wearing many layers of clothing including a base layer (long johns), an inner layer, an outer layer, and water proof jacket, pants, and boots. Getting from the ship to the shore we will be riding in zodiacs and getting splashed by the waves. I had to rent the special water proof boots and pants to make sure I stay dry.
Thank you for your questions Mrs. Brumfield’s class. I am even more excited now! Keep those questions coming. Hey, and if you find out answers to some of these questions, include those as well.