Everyone anxiously stood still, holding their breath. Excitement exuded from everyone on board as we all waited to see what we journeyed so far for. Then we heard it: the whooshing sound of a whale exhaling. Our heads snapped to where the sound came from and there he was. A magnificent Humpback whale rubbing against the rocks. Everyone smiled and let out sounds of excitement. There was a rush of cameras to capture this rare and beautiful moment. This was the first encounter my camp group had with one of the animals we came to Canada to study.
My summer camp was through a program called Broadreach. High school students from all over the world came together to study marine mammals for three weeks. I went into the trip expecting to learn as much I could about whales. However, I quickly learned that this trip was more than just learning scientific facts. The trip was also about discovering myself and finding my place in world.
My goal is to always make a positive impact on those around me and to be an advocate for protecting nature. This trip made me realize what is necessary to do that. I learned the importance of being patient with myself, and that it is okay for life plans to change. I learned how to connect to people, especially those who come from different cultures and backgrounds. I met people from all over the United States, Canada, Germany, and even Fiji. And although we all came from drastically different places, we all shared a love for nature. By studying the history of local Native American tribes, I learned how connected whales and the rest of nature are to Native American culture and their way of life. By discussing real world issues such as how fish farms interrupt ecosystems and negatively impact whale populations, I learned how each piece of nature is intertwined.
The whales that brought me on this trip did not just teach me about themselves, but about how to take part in something bigger than myself.
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