October 31, 2012
Snow keeps blowing and the south wind keeps coming. Things could get a little crazy once the south wind blows enough warm air out over the cold waters of Hudson Bay, usually turns into a crazy north gust after a few days. I better find another way into the cabin – hope the lake ice is thick enough…
We did our first Polar Bear Alert patrol patrol this morning. Around 7am, we follow their patrol vehicle around town, getting some footage and waiting for something the happen. Today, the new officer tried to wave us by after a few minutes but we politely declined. He even told us that they had no polar bear calls this morning… but I can’t remember the last time Polar Bear Alert called and then waited for a film crew to show up before chasing a bear. So, we kept following.
Other than that, its been a day at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre filming researcher Jane Waterman of the University of Manitoba. She is working on a whisker pattern study of polar bears. Basically, it is a non-invasive means of identifying bears and their usage patterns of Churchill – who stays in Buggyland for a week, a day, etc, who ends up in town, who interacts with other bears… that kind of stuff.
The technology identifies bears through, obviously, their whisker patterns. It was first used on lions and, after some skepticism, seems to work quite well with bears. Tourists and such can contribute their photos to the study at www.polarbearlibrary.org. Kind of a neat project, I must say.
Aside from that, its waiting on the couch… but its a couch in a fancy new LEED Certified building. When I permanently moved to Churchill in 2002, I came to work at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre as Program Coordinator. At that time, the Centre was in an old military facility, the former administration building of the Churchill Rocket Research Range. It was a dilapitated old asbestos filled building with cold seeping through the walls and bars on the windows. It was even painted varying shades of icy blue (hence my pink and yellow living room at Camp Nanuq…).
Still, there were some fun times and some bizarre times and I guess time marches on. Then again, the somewhat frigid vibe is exactly the same as it used to be and I still couldn’t find anyone at the front desk so I guess that’s something to hold on to and cherish.
On to Halloween night in town now…!