I am writing this about a third of the way into my 2 day Train journey back to Winnipeg from Churchill which has been my home for the last 6 weeks.
The Churchill Northern Studies Centre is basically a facility for researchers, groups and learning vacations to use to experience and research the Sub-Arctic. It takes on up to 6 volunteers over the year during the busy periods when groups and researchers are staying in the 84 beds available in Dormitories in this new purpose built building that was only opened in June 2011.
Volunteers are basically a helping hand and mainly focus on helping out with dishes and setting up the dining area but we also helped with Housekeeping, admin and stocking and tidying the gift shop and I also helped out with doing the volunteer scheduling which is not as easy as it may seem.
The accommodations are pretty good. We were staying in a slightly larger family room than the other standard size dorm rooms so we got to spread out a little bit more which is nice when we are staying there so long. We also got fed some pretty good cooking 3 meals a day and seeing as one of the cooks used to be a baker there was a lot of baked goods always available for the taking. Say goodbye to skinny waistlines when you come to stay here, I even started making use of the Gym whilst I was there because of the amount of yummy food.
As part of volunteering we also got to participate in some pretty cool outings. I personally got to go on 2 Tundra Buggy Tours (which I wrote about previously) and Dog Carting with Wapusk Adventures (Not enough snow for Sledding L). We also got to go into Churchill to visit the Eskimo Museum and Parks Canada Interpretive Centre as well as just explore the town (which is not that big).
|The Great White Bear|
As I was here during the Polar Bear Season you are not allowed to leave the building without a bear guard so we took any opportunity to go for a ride even if it was just to go on a Garbage Run or to go Pump Water cause it usually meant we would go on a little side trip down the coastal roads to try and find a Polar Bear which never eventuated but is always good just for the scenery.
|Churchill Grain Silos|
Overall it was a great way for me to come to Churchill and experience this beautiful place for a little bit longer than the average tourist without paying the horrendous amounts of money they pay (overall I spent only a little bit of money on Souvenirs and about $800 on Flights and the Train ride). And because I got here early enough I got to see the Tundra in its Fall Colours, first Snow, Blizzard like conditions that took out our Electricity, a lost Black Bear that should of been Hibernating, Ptarmigan in their Summer and Winter colours, Aurora Borealis and most importantly got to see some Polar Bears. It’s a really interesting place to stay and you never know, I might return to Churchill again one day. J