Hunkering Down at Home During COVID-19? Learn About the Arctic, Northern Lights and the Lives of Polar Bears Through Live Webcasts with Scientists, Lesson Plans Utilizing Real World Research, and More.
-- Polar Bears International, the only nonprofit organization dedicated solely to wild polar bears and their sea ice home, is offering free teaching and learning materials, live chats with scientists, webcasts showcasing the Arctic, and other resources for people to learn from home during the month of April and beyond. PBI hopes the chance to explore the top of the world and learn from polar bear experts adds value to people’s days and serves as an ongoing source of inspiration.
PBI is launching a curriculum, created by teachers and scientists, on a range of topics that support national literacy standards and learning outcomes for elementary and secondary students. The program includes access to scientists through live chats and webcasts as well as suggested videos, projects, reading materials and even a polar bear tracker for each week in April. Additionally, people can participate in the ongoing Beluga Bits Citizen Science Project, classifying screenshots from the Beluga Whale Live Cam, which broadcasts the Hudson Bay’s beluga whales live every summer via a partnership between PBI and explore.org. And every night, PBI invites people to watch the Northern Lights Live Cam, presented by PBI, explore.org, and the Churchill Northern Studies Centre -- while best Aurora Borealis viewing hours run through March, viewers can still catch glimpses of the dancing lights and increasingly may see beautiful sunsets and migratory birds such as the Gyrfalcon paying a visit to the camera.
“We want to thank everyone for practicing social distancing and staying home right now,” says Krista Wright, executive director at Polar Bears International, “We believe it’s important to unite from afar, and we want to do what we can to support our community during this time. We’re excited to debut resources that are educational and engaging and to continue building a community invested in polar bears and the Arctic.”
The curriculum for April outlines enrichment and educational activities, including special events that will be announced for Earth Day. The schedule is below and will continue to be updated here: https://polarbearsinternational.org/news/article-polar-bears-international/spring-tundra-connections/
The April program is designed for students, their families and teachers to take a virtual trip to the Arctic to learn more about polar bears and the icy wilderness they call home through weekly programs, but can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages and interests. Programs for April include:
Week of March 30th - April 3rd: Emerging from the Den! A Special Time of Year for Moms and Cubs
Recommended Curriculum: Polar Bear Tracker
On-demand Webcast (elementary): Back to Polar Bear Basics
On-demand Webcast (secondary): Researching Moms & Cubs
Live Chat: Thursday, April 2nd - 12:00 CT: Polar Bears Under the Northern Lights! In the Arctic winter nights are long and polar bears wander the sea ice under the northern lights. What are polar bears up to right now? How do they make their way around in the dark? Can they see the northern lights?
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Week of April 6th - 10th: Arctic Food Web Top to Bottom
Recommended Curriculum: Arctic Biodiversity
On-Demand Webcast (elementary): At the Top of the World with Polar Bears
On-Demand Webcast (secondary): Life in the Arctic Top to Bottom
Live Webcast - Tuesday, April 7 - 12:00 CT: Arctic Food Web Top to Bottom
The Arctic ecosystem is oh-so-cool. Find out about how things are connected from the top predator, the polar bear, all the way down to the life-supporting sea ice. Learn why keeping this region healthy matters to polar bears and people, too.
Live Chat: Thursday, April 9th - 12:00 CT: Why Sea Ice is “Cool”
Why is sea ice important to the Arctic ecosystem? It’s much more than just salty frozen water! Learn more about why the frozen ocean is “cool.”
Week of April 13th - 17th: Virtual Field Trip
Curriculum: Street View and Polar Bears
On-Demand Webcast Archive (elementary): Field Trip to the Churchill Northern Studies Center
On-Demand Webcast Archive (secondary): STEM on the Tundra - Cool Jobs!
Live Webcast - Tuesday, April 14th - 12:00 CT:: Virtual Field Trip to Churchill! The Polar Bear Capital of the World
Join us on an adventure to Churchill! How different is it from your hometown? What is it like to live with polar bears and why there are so many polar bears in Churchill? What other animals call Churchill home?
Live Chat - Thursday, April 16th - 12:00 CT: Our favorite nature moments on the Subarctic Tundra
The Subarctic tundra near Churchill is a special place. Join our team to view the vast expanse and hear about our favorite moments in this amazing ecosystem and the animals that call it home.
Week of April 20th - 24th: All About Polar Bears
Curriculum: Top of the World
On-Demand Webcast Archive (elementary): Answering Your Questions from Around the World
On-Demand Webcast Archive (secondary): Connecting Climate Change in Your Backyard
Live Webcast - Tuesday, April 21st, 1200 CT: All About Polar Bears
Fur, teeth, claws, and fat- that’s what polar bears are made of. Join Polar Bears International to learn more about our favorite big white bear, its cubs, and the sea ice they call home.
Wednesday, April 22nd, TBD: Special Earth Day Celebration
Live Chat - Thursday, April 24th, 12:00 CT: Live Chat: What do polar bears smell like? ...and more fun facts!
What does a polar bear smell like? How far away can a polar bear smell a seal? Who has better hearing: a polar bear or your family dog? Can a polar bear see the Northern Lights? Learn about how a polar bear’s amazing senses help them find food and survive the arctic winters!
About Polar Bears International
Polar Bears International’s mission is to conserve polar bears and the sea ice they depend on. Through media, science, and advocacy, we work to inspire people to care about the Arctic, the threats to its future, and the connection between this remote region and our global climate. PBI is the only nonprofit organization dedicated solely to wild polar bears and Arctic sea ice, and our staff includes scientists who study wild polar bears. The organization is a recognized leader in polar bear conservation. For more information, visit www.polarbearsinternational.org.