By: Emily Sampson

As winter slowly creeps upon us, and the wonderful days of holiday camp are approaching, we thought it was most fitting to shed some light on one of the coldest places on earth – the Arctic.  Our first week of holiday camp will be all about the Arctic, but why is the Arctic such a fascinating and cool (literally and figuratively) place to learn about? Here are just a few of the many reasons we at the Sanibel Sea School love the Arctic.

The Sea Creatures

The Arctic is teeming with unique sea life, as these creatures must adapt to living in such cold and changing environments.  Polar bears rely on the sea ice for hunting, as their food sources of whales and seals are found in breathing holes scattered among the icy landscape. Seals, such as the ringed seal, create these breathing holes by scraping the ice with their clawed flippers, and will continue to do so all winter long in order to have access to air and the icy land for breeding.  Walruses will also create these breathing holes using their large tusks, in addition to using these enlarged canines to haul their heavy bodies out of the water and onto ice, or onto land during the summertime when little ice is available. It is fascinating to see how these marine creatures, among many others, learn to survive within such a harsh habitat!

The People

Could you imagine living in the Arctic?! While some people here in Florida grab their sweaters at the slightest chill, there are people in the world that live in temperatures reaching 32 degrees centigrade below zero!  Among these people are the Inuit, a group of indigenous people living in the Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada and Greenland.  The Inuit have learned to adapt to the harsh living conditions of the Arctic, where they live half the year in darkness during winter and the other half in daylight.  During the dark winter months, singing and storytelling become an important part of the Inuit culture and lifestyle.  They reside mostly along the coasts, where they rely on marine mammals for food and clothing.  

The Science

There is still SO much we don’t know about the Arctic.  This makes the region a popular destination for scientists who are yearning to unveil new discoveries.  As the climate is changing, the Arctic is an important place to study how climate and weather interact with the environment and how warmer temperatures will ultimately influence the wildlife and landscape of the Arctic, as well as the rest of the world.  The excitement of the unknown and our eagerness for answers continues to draw us deeper into the Arctic, and we hope this desire for exploration never dies.