Svalbard

Posts from Rebecca Zalatan

Back to reality

By Rebecca // Thursday 27 Sep // 20:41:36 // View

Well I’ve spent a few days resting and taking it easy after an exhausted series of flights home. Although I am happy to be back, I miss the tranquility of the Arctic.  After spending hours doing laundry and sorting my stuff back into place, I finally sat down to reflect on my experience.

I miss the energy and dynamics of everyone who was on board. We all played a significant part in the making of this expedition and without each and every one of us, the experience would have been different. I’m glad that I got to be there to share it with all of you.

The journey isn’t over. We still have a lot of work to do to spread the news about climate change to our friends, colleagues, parents, teachers and anyone who wishes to listen. You don’t have to be a climate change activist to inspire people, you just have to tell them your story as you see it, in your own words. The most inspiring and interesting stories are ones that come from the heart.

So go out and tell the world about Cape Farewell. Even if you have to resort to telling the funny or silly stories about our journey. At the very least, you’ll become a good story teller. 

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Warm September weather!

By Rebecca // Wednesday 19 Sep // 17:18:19 // View

Well..it is unusually hot here in Ny Alesund. I would say it is about 7degrees celcius!! The researchers here say that normally, they have had a snow storm by September 10th. This odd weather makes our journey even more significant. We are here to study the science and experience the art of climate change and here we are on September 19th and it is SO WARM!!!

Dan collected a HUGE chunk of ice from the fjord and towed it back to the ship using a boat with a large crane. He plans to get the students to carve the ice into an ice lens. This will be quite a project for the students.

 More to come

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Portrait of Rebecca

By Rebecca // Wednesday 19 Sep // 13:02:08 // View

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What has the climate done to the plants on Svalbard?

By Rebecca // Wednesday 19 Sep // 09:50:16 // View

So I’ve now seen my first reindeer up close and personal!!! We were hiking on one of the mountain slopes when we came across a reindeer. It was grazing on vegetation…not really bothered by our presence. These animals are not migratory and not really social animals, therefore you will hardly ever see them in groups. So far, we’ve seen two reindeer and they were both alone.

We found out yesterday that dwarf birch is now being found on Svalbard. A species, which normally grows at or near the treeline in the Arctic. Its presence on Svalbard would generally indicate that the climate has warmed enough to have a change in plant species composition in this part of the Arctic. I cannot imagine what this area will be like 15 years from now. Will we see trees? If so, how will this affect the herbivory patterns of the reindeer?

We spent the day looking at zooplankton under the microscope to see whether there are any changes in the zooplankton communities in a site far from a glacier (more saline) vs a site closest to a glacier (less saline due to an input of fresh water in the ocean). We are still on the hunt for results!

Read more as the das pass…we only have one more full day in Ny Alesund before we sail back to Longyearbyen.

So far, it has been an adventure of a lifetime…

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Finally in Longyearbyen

By Rebecca // Thursday 13 Sep // 18:50:50 // View

After several flights…a quick sleep in Stockholm…and too many sandwiches, we finally arrived in Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard. It is absolutely gorgeous here…the weather is cool and the town is surrounded by HUGE mountains covered in snow. It was snowing when we arrived!!! What a feeling. To be this close to the North Pole. We cannot wait to begin our voyage tomorrow and start our art and science projects to experience this wonderful, yet fragile environment.

 the voyagers are feeling good..and the crew is raring to go: next stop…Ny Alesund!!!

 keep checking the blog for more updates!

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Canadian crew meet the Minister for Environment

By Cape Farewell // Friday 7 Sep // 15:01:57 // View

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Doriana, Shona and Amélie set off on their Cape Farewell journey by meeting the Canadian Minister for Environment, The Honourable John Baird with Rebecca Zalatan and Martin Rose from the British Council, Canada.

The 3 Students were also wished bon voyage by all their felllow students at a special launch for the team.

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Profile: Rebecca Zalatan

By Rebecca // Friday 17 Aug // 11:21:31 // View

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Rebecca Zalatan (Project Manager, British Council Canada)
Rebecca is a biogeographer with experience studying caribou in the Canadian Arctic. This 2007 voyage is just the beginning of Rebecca’s plans for Cape Farewell in Canada. In addition to accompanying Colin and Suba on their visits to the three Canadian schools, Rebecca is planning for another youth and climate change project in 2008 which will see a continuation of the British Council Canada’s involvement with Cape Farewell taken to another level. Watch this space!

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