The ICGL shiver as they observe the extremely cold climate in Churchill, Manitoba. Photo: Trish Anderson
The ICGL scholars shiver as they observe the extremely cold climate in Churchill, Manitoba. Photo: Trish Anderson

This year, the Isdell Center for Global Leadership focuses on incorporating Pace’s third annual global theme, climate, into the studies of all students as well as informing Pace faculty, staff, and families of issues regarding climate. Building awareness of our world’s climate conditions for the Pace community is a priority for this year’s ICGL scholars, sophomore Jenny Luetters, junior Melanie Crawford, and seniors Ross Cefalu and Max Irvine. “I really liked the topic for this year,” said Jenny, “The trips sounded really cool, I think it’s a great learning experience, and I really care about our environment.”

The four scholars were selected through a tough and competitive application process to research the current climate situations around the world. “I wanted to be an ICGL scholar this year because I believe climate change is a serious issue that needs to be discussed and I want to learn how to reduce it,” said Melanie. The ICGL scholars work to teach those around them about climate’s significance in our society. “We spend the year studying climate and immersing ourselves within the climate study community,” said Max. “We hope to relay the information we learn to the student body throughout the year.”

“When a lot of people think of climate, they first think about science in terms of weather, temperature change, ice disappearing, and glaciers melting,” said ICGL supervisor and history teacher Caitlyn Morris, “but in terms of humanities, climate has actually helped shape the rise and fall of civilizations throughout history and influenced the success of many different civilizations.” 

Compared to last year’s theme of food, climate “is a broader issue and I think it has the ability to attract a lot more people to think about it in different avenues,” said Ms. Morris, “and while food is important in our everyday life, climate change poses a problem that we are dealing with today.” 

The scholars recently returned from a trip to Churchill, Manitoba with science teacher Kevin Ballard, ICGL Director Trish Anderson, and Ms. Morris. They wrote about everything they did each day on their travel blog (which can be found here: and their reactions are recorded below. They even got to see polar bears up close and take tons of pictures. ”Words cannot quite describe how amazing it was to see such a voracious beast so close,” said Ross. Each day of their trip was filled with new activities including seeing lots of wildlife, going dogsledding and learning about various plants.

“The eight of us piled in the van without a guide to go dog sledding,” said Melanie. “We met about 35 huskies and some pups. The head dog sledder told us about dog sledding and his story. Then we got to experience it in groups of two for a little over a mile.” The scholars even learned to shoot a gun. “I’d better mention that on our way back to the research center, our guide taught us to shoot a rifle,” said Max, “He took us out in front of the bus and let us pop off a few rounds into a wooden barricade.” The evenings consisted of a lecture to cover what was learned that day and how it relates to climate change. “We truly got down into some of the ‘science-y’ aspects of why the climate is changing,” said Max.

The trip to Churchill, while teaching the scholars tons of information on climate change, was filled with fun and bonding as a group. “On our way back to the bus, we had a big snowball fight with the scarce patches of snow on the ground,” said Melanie. However, what the scholars truly took away from the trip was how beautiful our world is and how we have to protect it. “One could not overstate the beauty of the nature we had witnessed,” said Ross, “but one could also question the ethics of disturbing this nature for the sake of our own viewing pleasure.”

The scholars have already learned a great deal and are hoping to help the rest of the Pace community learn about the significance of climate change in our society as well. “I’m hoping that I can help inform our peers in a fun and educational way,” said Jenny, “I want to show them what’s so good about our environment and why we should continue to protect it.”