|SALT LAKE CITY (Oct. 7) – Participating in a Communicator Leadership Camp sponsored by the conservation group Polar Bears International has Utah’s Hogle Zoo’s Education Curator Chris Schmitz filled with hope.
"I expect to return with the first-hand knowledge to inform and inspire Zoo staff, visitors and my community to want to change their habits to help slow the affect of climate change on polar bears," Schmitz said. "I hope to become part of a network of people who will provide support and creative ideas on how to motivate people to become better stewards of the planet."
Along with 17 other participants, Schmitz arrived for the Communicator Leadership Camp, taking place in Churchill, Manitoba, on Monday October 4, 2010. The trip is important to Hogle Zoo as she plans to bring back information to use preparatory to returning Polar Bears to the Zoo family in 2012 as the main attraction of Rocky Shores.
Polar Bears International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of the polar bear and its habitat through research, stewardship, and education.
Churchill’s polar bears, part of the Western Hudson Bay population, draw visitors from around the world during their fall migration. Every summer, these bears are driven ashore when the ice on the bay melts, taking away their seal-hunting grounds. They spend the next few months resting and fasting. As cold weather returns, they begin to gather on the shore near Churchill to wait for the ice to form.
The "Polar Bear Capital of the World," Hudson Bay will be a place where the group can hopefully observe polar bears, but more importantly learn what they can do to influence their communities to bolster the future survival of polar bears.
"…when it is this quiet you can feel the wilderness." You can follow Schmitz and their journey online through the Communicator Leadership Camp’s blog here.
"When I return, I want to effectively share knowledge that we as humans are linked to the survival of all life forms, including our own. I hope to motivate those I come in contact with to make personal changes to their lifestyles that will help slow the rate of climate change," Schmitz said.
|Utah’s Hogle Zoo is one of only 223 accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information visit www.aza.org.