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Student captivates audience with Arctic expedition photo presentation

The Students on Ice team, including MI student Stephen Sheppard, at far right, back row, in Sisimuit, Greenland.

By Naomi Osborne

While swearing he will go back to the Arctic one day, marine environmental technology student at the Marine Institute (MI) and accomplished photographer Stephen Sheppard gave a visually stunning photo presentation of his experience in the recent Students on Ice: Arctic Youth Expedition 2012 to a group of 40 students, staff and media recently at the MI campus on Ridge Road.

Over the span of an hour, Mr. Sheppard recounted his 14-day ship and land-based journey from Iqaluit to Baffin Island and Greenland.

While condensing his experience into a short time frame was difficult, he was successful in stunning the audience with his Arctic images.

"I could have talked about my experience on this voyage for five hours," he said."Trying to focus on the highlights of the journey and the important aspects was difficult but I am happy with what I was able to share."

His presentation focused on the impact of climate change on the Canadian and Greenland Arctic and how people living in these regions have to adapt and be resilient to the changes occurring each year.

"The local climbers in Qerqertarsuaq (Greenland) explained that 10 years ago, the rocky spot where we were standing was under ice 365 days a year. Now the ice sheet has receded by almost two kilometres," recalled Mr. Sheppard.

His message did not go unheard. First-year students attending the event were intrigued by his presentation and are now motivated to become involved in the program.

"This is the third consecutive year that we have sponsored a student from the marine environmental program to participate in the Students on Ice expedition," said Carey Bonnell, head, School of Fisheries, Marine Institute. "Based upon the success of these expeditions we hope to be in a position to continue the program in 2013."

Now, as a Students on Ice alumni and ambassador, Mr. Sheppard is determined to return to the Canadian and Greenland Arctic and to continue making a difference by raising awareness on the effects of climate change, reducing our carbon footprints, reducing emissions and encouraging others to do the same.