Head to the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, a research facility at the edge of the tundra that has hosted National Geographic-funded scientists and conservationists. Learn about the behavior of polar bears, arctic foxes, and other wildlife from the resident researchers, and get a firsthand look at how rising temperatures have affected the surrounding ecosystems.
Venture out onto the tundra on foot and in our all-terrain vehicle in search of polar bears, which arrive each summer with their cubs to roam the wilds surrounding Churchill, waiting for the Hudson Bay to freeze over so they can hunt seals and other marine life on the pack ice. Under guidance from naturalist guides observe bears from a safe range, and photograph their white coats against the magenta fireweed that blankets the tundra each summer. Return to the Churchill Northern Studies Centre for a presentation by members of one of the remaining Indigenous fur trapping families in Churchill to hear about the practice of trapping and how the industry has changed in recent decades.
Encounter and photograph other wildlife who inhabit the far north, including caribou, red foxes, and a host of migratory birds. Kayak in waterways that teem with beluga whales, which migrate here in the thousands during the summer months to feed and give birth to their young. These marine mammals are known as the “canaries of the sea” for the singing noises they make. Watch them play at the water’s surface, and listen to their clicks and whistles as we learn how scientists are working to decipher their communications. With the help of our host biologists, investigate the ecological health of an estuary that serves as a temporary habitat for calving belugas. Present your On Assignment project and celebrate your time together in northern Manitoba before catching a flight from Churchill to Winnipeg.