Biologist-adventurers Kathy and Jim Bricker will share a narrative and video of their tundra camping adventure at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, at the Carnegie building, 451 E. Mitchell St., in Petoskey. Their program is titled "Caribou Summer: Secrets of the Tundra."
The Brickers, long-time naturalists and hikers, spent seven weeks camping on Canada's Arctic Circle. They visited Nunavut, Canada's newest territory, created for the native Inuit people. Camping alone in millions of square miles of wilderness, the Bickers' discovered Arctic wildflowers, birds, musk ox, wolves and grizzly bears. The highlight of the trip and film are their experiences with the barren ground caribou herd during its migration.
The Brickers brought extensive wilderness experience to this summer-long adventure on the Arctic tundra in 2009. Building on five earlier canoe trips to the Arctic Circle region, they opted to spend this vacation camping alone on 18-mile long Kathawachaga Lake. Surrounded by thousands of square miles of uninhabited tundra, their daily hikes afforded quality time with the area's landscape, plants and wildlife. They experienced three seasons in the span of eight weeks. Tracking the clues from a pile of ptarmigan feathers led them to a fox den with kits. During a hike along the Burnside River, they were dive-bombed by jaegers aerial acrobats defending their single chick. World-class fishing for grayling and char supplemented their diet of dried food. Close encounters with wolves, grizzly bears and wolverine completed this wildlife adventure.
The Brickers have taken more than 20 canoe trips, including hundreds of miles on three Arctic rivers: the Thelon, the Burnside and the Horton in the Northwest Territories before the creation of the new territory in that region.
Over the years, they have backpacked alone and with their nephews in the Great Smoky Mountain, Olympic, Mount Rainier and Cascades national parks. They have hiked much of the Appalachian Trail, as well as many trails in Michigan and Ontario.
Kathy attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio and University of Michigan, while Jim's degrees are from Michigan State University and University of Michigan. Jim was science advisor at the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, water quality researcher at the UofM Biological Station in Pellston and a science teacher. Kathy also conducted lake water quality research and then worked for many conservation organizations, including Recycle North, Little Traverse Conservancy, the Ocean Conservancy and population control and immigration reform groups. In 2005, they retired back north to Cheboygan, after working in Washington, D.C., for 21 years. They have served as officers in many nonprofit conservation groups, including most recently the Burt Lake Preservation Association, Earth Week and the Straits Area Audubon Society.
Their program, sponsored by the Petoskey District Library and Friends of the Library, is open to the public and admission is free. For more information, call the library at (231) 758-3100.
Tundra camping adventure theme of program at Carnegie
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