Introducing Anika Hickey, Frontiers North’s 2012 Arctic Ambassador

We’re very proud to announce our 2012 Frontiers North Arctic Ambassador Contest winner. 15-year-old Anika Hickey’s essay about why she wanted to attend the 2012 Polar Bears International (PBI) Teen Leadership Camp was an inspiring read that just goes to prove that the children of the next generation are not only the future, but they will also go a long way to ensure our planet has a future.

Anika has been given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join PBI in Churchill, MB for a week in early October where she – along with top students from around the globe – will take part in lectures and presentations from leading arctic scientists concerning climate change, the plight of the polar bears in the arctic and learning to be a leader in the fight for environmental conservation. During her time in Churchill, Anika will be encouraged to blog regularly about her experience and to bring her learning back to her community to act as a leader for environmental change.

Frontiers North Adventures has been a major sponsor of the Polar Bears International Leadership Camps since they were launched in the fall of 2004.  Each year Frontiers North supports the Camps by providing PBI use of the Tundra Buggy Lodge. “We have the best access in the world to wild polar bears,” said John Gunter, Frontiers North’s General Manager. “We’re happy to share this with PBI for their Leadership Camps and provide the opportunity for attendees to be surrounded by the very eco-system they are learning about.”

Here is Anika’s essay submission. It’s not hard to see why she is a natural choice to be our Arctic Ambassador.

I am applying to attend PBI’s Leadership Camp in Churchill, Manitoba because it is my dream to be a Marine Biologist. As an Aboriginal person I am going to learn how to put the values of my people into sustainable solutions for conserving the environment. I am deeply committed to this cause and would use this opportunity to learn about the work that is being done to save the polar bears from extinction and preserve their habitat. I believe that striking a balance between modern science and the respect based, holistic approach of my people will provide the blueprint to making the changes necessary to protect our wildlife and our planet.

I am a fifteen year-old student at Garden City Collegiate who consistently earns a place on the honour roll every year. It is my goal to win the Governor’s General Award. I strive for excellence in all that I do. I am also very active in my community and volunteer for any opportunities that arise such as: Christmas Cheer Board, Mentoring students at HC Avery through supporting the physical education program (this cause is important to me as I believe in a holistic approach and believe a healthy mind also needs a healthy body, I am also concerned about diabetes in my community and am a positive role model) The Santa Clause Parade, The Terry Fox Run as well as other activities when requested by my school. I am also trying to lead my community by defying stereotypes, as I am a very strong math student, which I tutor, and try to encourage other girls to break barriers and be successful in.

Three things that I would like to learn about the Arctic are: I would like to learn more about Beluga whales – their migration patterns, food sources, life in general- and I would love to see their habitat, and learn everything about them. The second thing I would like to learn about the Arctic is about the Aboriginal and Inuit people that live there. I would like to learn about their feelings toward creating a sustainable environment and what changes they feel we should make as well as learn about their sustainable practices, for example, how they traditionally have used every part of each seal they have killed to sustain themselves, to be respectful of this gift from the Creator. Thirdly I would like to learn everything I can about life in and by the ocean. I would like to learn everything I can about the animals that you routinely see by the ocean, and co-exist with, and learn how the people that live there try to conserve their home as well as identifying ways that we can change and leave less of a footprint on the environment.

I want to be an instrument of change. I want to educate myself and help to lead our community to a better place, of shared understanding, where we live our lives in respectful manner towards our planet. I believe that this education is key to making the changes that we need to save the polar bears.

In my home we have started switching all of our light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs to reduce our green house gas emissions. This will help our environment. We also recycle, buy bigger containers to reduce waste and we never use cleaners that are not all natural and environmentally friendly. As a teenager I also walk, take the bus or ride my bike to reduce my carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. I also do small things that make a big difference like recycling, avoiding anything made out of plastic, using compostable and reusable trash bags, keeping my showers much too short, always washing my clothes on cold, turning the water off while I brush my teeth, turning the lights off when I leave a room or have the T.V on, and opening a window instead of turning the air conditioning on, or putting a sweater on before turning the heat up. Small changes can make a BIG difference! My friends tease me about my campaign to rid the world of harmful chemicals and some have come around and even bought me organic products for my birthday!

I will continue to strive for excellence and lead by example. I will spend the rest of my life committed to this cause  – learning all I can in my journey and supporting others in theirs. After all, the answer lies in our ability to work together to affect change.

-Anika Hickey, 15

We’d like to congratulate Anika and look forward to hearing from her during her time in Churchill.

Find out more about PBI’s Teen Leadership Camp here:

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