A 17-year-old girl from Northeast Ohio will head to the arctic tundra next week to study polar bears in their natural habitat. Maribeth Flowers is one of 17 teens taking part in Polar Bear International's week long Leadership Camp in Manitoba, Canada.
During the fall polar bear migration, students at the camp work with scientists in the field, collecting data and reporting back to their classmates via daily Web journals. The week long program is designed to educate students about the issues facing polar bears and humans in the region. After the camp, each student is asked to create an action plan to help educate other students.
Maribeth was chosen to go to camp by the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, where she has been a volunteer for the past three years. She spoke to the Cleveland Plain Dealer about her passion for polar bears:
"The polar bear, is the 'apex predator' of the frozen North. But with climate change has come the loss of more than a million square miles of polar ice. As a result, bears are dying off in record numbers -- drowning has become a leading cause of death, and starvation is an increasing possibility. A decline in bears could have a domino effect on nature, and the last domino to topple could be man."