She is two metres long, weighs 300 lbs and is travelling to Plymouth with a warning about climate change. Nina the Polar Bear will be taking up a week-long residence at the University as part of an exhibition looking at the threat that global warming presents to our environment - and how we can take steps to reduce it.
Sadly Nina is no longer a living, breathing member of the world’s most formidable bear family, but has been beautifully preserved by Bristol Zoo to enable members of the public to get up close and view this now-endangered species.
Her guest appearance also heralds the start of a new partnership between the University and Plymouth-based polar explorer Antony Jinman, who is launching his school outreach social enterprise programme Education Through Expeditions.
Education Through Exhibitions will work globally in a bid to educate children about climate change and raise awareness of the impact that is being felt in polar regions and upon the people who live and hunt there.
Antony said: “My aim is simple. It is to inspire and educate children globally about world climate change and to do so through my interactive expeditions and related school outreach work.”
Antony will be working with the University’s Faculty of Science and Technology LabPlus programme, to create ‘science boxes’, which can be taken into schools and will contain a veritable treasure trove of samples, fossils and literature on the environment. He is also planning a series of school presentations in the hope that he can inspire youngsters to think of science and technology as key to helping to preserve the Polar Regions.
The collaboration will also see Antony team up with the University’s Petroleum and Environmental Geochemistry Group (PEGG), who are preparing to study samples of Arctic sea ice taken from his planned expedition to the North Pole in February 2010.
Antony said: “Working with the University of Plymouth will enable the expeditions to directly contribute toward science and research, enhancing the teaching and learning programme and bringing Arctic changes straight into the heart of education.”
Professor Simon Belt, Deputy Head of the University's School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, and a renowned researcher in the field, added: “This exciting opportunity will provide us with a unique set of sea ice samples collected from northern Canada right up through to the North Pole. With Antony’s assistance, we will be able to retrieve sea ice core samples not available through more conventional ship-based sampling procedures, adding greatly to the University’s contribution towards the investigation of past climate change on Earth.”
Nina the Polar Bear will be available for stroking from Tuesday 8 to Friday 11 December, between 10.00am and 4.00pm. Also on display will be Woolly Mammoth teeth, courtesy of The City Museum and Art Gallery; displays of endangered species and marine life from The National Marine Aquarium, Paignton Zoo and Living Coasts; and some Home Energy information from Plymouth City Council to help people reduce their carbon footprint.