Have you ever experienced what it’s like to arrive in a new place and instantly start planning your next visit there? I had this feeling when I arrived in Churchill.

My name is Beth Hampson, and I’m from Winnipeg, MB. I’ve completed my first year of Environmental Science at the University of Manitoba. I’m currently working at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre as a Bilingual Programming Assistant. I started in the summer and I’m still here! The story about how I got my summer job, which turned into a fall and winter job at the CNSC, starts about 3 years ago…

During high school, I had an amazing teacher who wanted to show her students a part of Manitoba that most people never get to experience; Churchill. I decided to come to Churchill for the opportunity to see polar bears, but soon found out, Churchill is so much more than just polar bears.

Next thing I knew, I was on a 2-day train ride to Churchill, Manitoba, unsure of what we’d experience, but excited nonetheless. I remember staring out the window from the train car and seeing spruce trees as far as the eye could see, and then looking back 1 minute later and seeing a treeless landscape. I remember arriving at the Churchill train station, stepping out of the train and smelling the scent of fresh Churchill air. I remember going on an estuary tour with beluga whales and being so overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the belugas that I cried. I remember looking out my bedroom window at the CNSC and seeing a grizzly bear standing directly below (although at the time, I thought it was a dirty polar bear). I remember walking around Cape Merry and deciding to pursue a career in environmental science because I wanted to learn more about the orange lichen I saw (which I now know is called elegant sunburst).  I remember going on many nature hikes and science lectures with CNSC staff and thinking “One day, I am going to work here.” 3 years later, that thought came true. I saw the job posting for this summer position at the CNSC and decided to apply. Next thing I knew, I was booked on a flight to Churchill to spend my summer, and more, in the place where my love for the environment first started.

Isn’t it crazy how one trip can turn into so much more, with connections and friendships that last a lifetime!