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If you had told me when I started working at the Vancouver Aquarium that one day I would be a host of a YouTube show, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Fast forward two years and here I am, a host of Northern Spotlights, interviewing researchers, colleagues and special guests on their work related to Arctic issues.

Amanda with Vancouver Aquarium research associate Dr. Valeria Vergara.

Amanda with Vancouver Aquarium research associate Dr. Valeria Vergara.

When the opportunity arose to become a host I saw it as a chance to meet people in the organization I hadn’t previously spoken with, and share their stories as not many people ever get the chance to go to the Arctic — let alone get close to the animals that live there.

The most exciting part of doing this show was seeing all the pictures my guests took on their trips to the Arctic. I recently bought my first SLR camera and I’m starting to learn how to use it, so when I got the chance to interview photographer Christine Germano I was inspired by her ability to capture the beauty of the tundra.

The Arctic is unlike any place I have ever visited, and until doing Northern Spotlights, it wasn’t even on my list of places to go. Seeing my guests’ photos, and hearing stories of different animal encounters — like Eric Solomon having his camera peed on by an Arctic fox, and Kathy Heise throwing rocks at a polar bear to stay safe — has me so intrigued that I one day hope to visit these northern communities.

Working at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, it is no surprise that I love animals. Seeing these amazing creatures up close would be an experience I’m sure I’d never forget.

Travelling is my favorite hobby and I’ve been fortunate enough to see rare animals like the komodo dragons in Indonesia, Irrawaddy River dolphins in Cambodia and the endangered bridled nail-tail wallaby in Australia. Northern Spotlights has sparked an interest in me to travel to the Arctic sooner rather than later, not only to see these animals in their natural habitat, but also see how they are adapting to climate change.

Images of the Arctic tundra, like this one by photographer Christine Germano, are hard to forget.

Images of the Arctic tundra, like this one by photographer Christine Germano, are hard to forget.

We are nearing the end of the Arctic campaign and I am so happy to have been able to show our audience the beauty of this untouched world. The Arctic is a mysterious place full of untold stories. I hope to witness it for myself and perhaps one day I’ll be able to share my own stories of our beautiful North.

Blog post by Amanda Weltman, Vancouver Aquarium interpretation specialist and host of the Northern Spotlights Talk Show. Find a list of all upcoming Northern Spotlights Talk Shows and archived interviews online.

To learn more about how climate change is affecting Canada’s Arctic — and what you can do to help — visit vanaqua.org/ournorth.

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