Final Thoughts

When I returned home, people asked "how was it?", "tell us all about it".  But, where do you begin?  How do you describe "Churchill, A Northern Experience"?   During my absence from school, there were all kinds of newspaper articles talking about my adventure, a television station did a feature on this project, and other places created Internet links to this project as well. But where do you begin to describe to people that have never been to Churchill what took place?  I look forward to sharing my experiences.  I am already speaking to several groups and classes about what I have learned and what I saw.  As I think back on my Churchill experience, I have a lot of memories.  The bears were awesome.  The beauty and power of such magnificent creatures is to be admired and not taken for granted.  The photographs that were taken and the large amount of film (both digital and 35mm and video) was worth every frame--clear or blurred!  The information that I learned is so amazing, sometimes overwhelming, so different than what I am used to hearing about everyday at home.  The food was wonderful.  I think I ate more in Churchill and on the tundra than I have ever eaten before!  The construction of buildings and facilities is quite unique.  The usefulness and accessibility of the facilities such as Parks Canada, the Town Complex, the Eskimo Museum, and the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, for the visitor and for residents is great.  The trust among the people is refreshing.  The people of Churchill are amazing.  They embrace the tourists, the photographers, those with some purpose or mission to be there, and make them welcome.  Welcome in a store, a business, a school, a restaurant, a special facility, or even a home.  Each visitor seems to be treated as though they were the most important person there.  The tour operators do a wonderful job of educating the visitors on the area, and show how important and historical the community is.  The other people-the tourists- that can be met in Churchill are also so interesting.  Many have interesting and unusual jobs that are just as intriguing as coming to look at polar bears.  To leave such a place is difficult.  Even though I spent only a few days in Churchill, it seems as though a part of me will always be there.  The time was short, but the people, the contacts, the doors that were opened, the friends that were made will last a lifetime.  To the National Geographic's "Polar Bear Alert" program that I saw when it first aired years ago, I say thank you for letting me know of this place.   To my school system, my colleagues, my students, my family and friends, I say thank you for letting me share this with you.  To all the people and organizations that supported this technological project, including the Milken Family Foundation, the Indiana Department of Education, Central Indiana Educational Services Center, the Carmel Clay Schools, and especially to my specialized building personnel, I say thank you.  To Churchill, thank you, as well!   I cannot wait to return!

As an aside, I wanted to include photographs of a couple of things I received here at home:

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The drawing of the "Polar Bear's Conversation" was created by a spouse of a teacher that I work with, wonderful!  The National Geographic Collection of the Polar Journey has incredible detail.  This was presented to me by one of my students.  This product is by MicroMachines and Nat'l Geographic.  The little pieces are just like what can be found (and what I saw) in Churchill!