Philadelphia Zoo’s Carnivore Curator Tammy Schmidt Travels to See Wild Polar Bears as Part of Polar Bears International’s Leadership Camp


(August 16, 2012) - Philadelphia Zoo’s Curator of Carnivores Tammy Schmidt will travel to the tundra near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, in early October for a week-long Communicators Leadership Camp sponsored by Polar Bears International (PBI), the world’s leading polar bear conservation group. Tammy, which is part of PBI’s network of Arctic Ambassador Centers, selected Schmidt based on her past outreach and community involvement. She will join eleven other educators and public relations professionals from across the U.S. and Canada.

“Participants will spend a week in Churchill, the polar bear capital of the world, during the fall polar bear migration, where they’ll learn about polar bears, climate change, and how each of us can help,” said Kathryn Foat, PBI’s vice president of conservation education and stewardship strategies. “They’ll return home to inspire others with their conservation message.”

The experience will include several nights at the Tundra Buggy® Lodge, with polar bears just outside. Despite the remote location, participants will stay connected with the rest of the world through blog posts on the PBI website.

Camp participants learn how to create carbon-reduction programs in their communities and to inspire public involvement.

"My participation with the Polar Bears International Communicator Camp in October is providing an amazing opportunity for me and my zoo to get more in depth into what is happening to Polar Bears in the wild. Polar Bears and their habitats need our help….learning what we can do to change our behaviors where our environment is concerned is crucial," Schmidt said. "My hope is that I come back armed with understandable information to share with our Philadelphia Zoo visitors and our Philadelphia neighbors about what we can do to make sure Polar Bears and their habitats are in our world for many, many years."

The Philadelphia Zoo was invited to send a representative to the camp because of its role as a PBI Arctic Ambassador Center (AAC). These centers educate the public about polar bears and climate change and play a leadership role in inspiring carbon reductions in their communities. They include more than 50 leading zoos, museums, science centers, and aquariums in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

Past Leadership Camp graduates have inspired real change in their communities by taking part in roll-up-your-sleeves projects like the Acres for the Atmosphere initiative—a bi-national tree-planting effort created by participants—as well as action-oriented outreach programs through their institutions and in their communities.

“If we’re serious about conserving polar bears and their ecosystem we need to act quickly,” said Foat. “Our Leadership Camp graduates play an important role in inspiring people to make lifestyle changes that become part of a larger stewardship ethic.”

In addition to PBI, camp sponsors include Frontiers North’s Tundra Buggy® Adventure, Canada Goose, Calm Air, and Four Points by Sheraton Winnipeg.

Polar Bears International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of the polar bear and its habitat through research, education, and stewardship. Visit their web site to learn more about their mission and the upcoming 2012 Leadership Camps at www.polarbearsinternational.org.

Frontiers North’s Tundra Buggy® Adventure (FNA) is a PBI Platinum-level corporate partner that has sponsored PBI Leadership Camps since their inception. FNA provides authentic adventures in Canada’s north and boasts the best access in the world to wild polar bears. Visit their web site at www.frontiersnorth.com.