We are posting from the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, where the sun is bright and views spectacular. Yesterday, students launched kayaks from the shores of the Churchill River, in addition to exploring the township of Churchill and nearby. Below, Nat Geo student explorers, Anna G., Vaughn R., Jess D., fill us in with their own narrative and background research:

As belugas blow bubbles from below, our group of intrepid student explorers hoist the National Geographic Society flag.

As belugas blow bubbles from below, our group of intrepid student explorers hoist the National Geographic Society flag.

Anna G and Jess A. paddle upriver in pursuit of belugas.

Anna G and Jess A. paddle upriver in pursuit of belugas.

Ethan P. and Zach T. find their rhythm while navigating the Churchill River.

Ethan P. and Zach T. find their rhythm while navigating the Churchill River.

In the summer, around 3,000 beluga whales migrate to the Churchill estuary. They enjoy the warmer waters to give birth and to feed on kipling. Belugas also shed off old skin by rubbing themselves on the rocks in the river while they are there. We kayaked in the Churchill River with some of these whales. The belugas were very social and they surfaced many times around us. We learned that belugas start off dark grey when born and gradually become whiter as they age. Everyone had a great time paddling with these amazing animals and a ringed seal even stopped by to say hello!

In the afternoon, we walked through “the Flats” and observed the local culture while snapping a few great shots. In town, we learned about the history at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, a Manitoba Provincial Heritage Site. Inside, there is a stained-glass window dedicated to Sir John Franklin, an explorer who mysteriously disappeared in 1847.

Around Churchill, high-latitude street art is abundant.

Around Churchill, high-latitude street art is abundant.

With snow melted, and summer in full swing, mosquitos (seen in photo) hover around winter relics, including this Lay-z-boy sled.

With snow melted, and summer in full swing, mosquitos (seen in photo) hover around winter relics, including this Lay-z-boy sled.

Caribou sheds customize this truck’s front grill.

Caribou sheds customize this truck’s front grill.

Following our walk through the township, we also stopped by Goose Creek and got an amazing view of several local birds. Back at the center, we ate an amazing dinner and learned about polar bears before getting back to work on our On-Assignment projects.

Our Nat Geo polar bear expert and internationally renowned photographer, Matthias Breiter, provides instruction to students from ashore.

Our Nat Geo polar bear expert and internationally renowned photographer, Matthias Breiter, provides instruction to students from ashore.

With cameras in-hand, students brave the bugs while scouting for wildlife.

With cameras in-hand, students brave the bugs while scouting for wildlife.

Check out more photos from Churchill, the Polar Plunge, and Canada Day!