Penticton student journeys to Midway

While many high school students are looking forward to spring break as a chance to kick back or perhaps even travel with their family to Europe, Mexico or some other exotic locale, Penticton Secondary student Emily Chartrand is making plans to go a bit farther afield, at least in terms of distance from civilization.

Pen High student Emily Chartrand has been chosen to accompany a group of artists to Midway Island over spring break

Pen High student Emily Chartrand has been chosen to accompany a group of artists to Midway Island over spring break

While many high school students are looking forward to spring break as a chance to kick back or perhaps even travel with their family to Europe, Mexico or some other exotic locale, Emily Chartrand is making plans to go a bit farther afield, at least in terms of distance from civilization.

On March 20, the 17-year-old Penticton Secondary student will be joining world-renowned artist and activist Chris Jordan, Naramata filmmaker Jan Vozenilek and other artists as they journey to the Midway Islands to document the devastating effects of plastic pollution on the oceans.

It was during a presentation at Pen High by Jordan — one she helped arrange — that Chartrand found out she would be going on the journey. Along with Vozenilek, Jordan announced that Chartrand had been chosen to be one of the students accompanying them on the March trip.

“I was so excited, I cried a little,” said Chartrand, who admits her family is nervous about the long trip, but said they are still very supportive of the her involvement in the project.

“My mom is trying not to show it so much,” said Chartrand, who, along with her sister and parents, has a long history of social involvement.

The Midway Atoll is at the northwest reach of the Hawaiian archipelago, about a third of the way between Honolulu and Tokyo, Japan; a U.S. territory set aside as a national wildlife refuge. While it’s home to a wide variety of bird species, there are only about 60 people living there, researchers and caretakers.

“The island is only accessible with a permit so I am extremely lucky to be going there,” said Chartrand. The artists are creating a documentary around the Midway albatrosses, which scoop up the brightly coloured bottle caps and other floating trash from the ocean thinking it is food and are dying by the thousands as a result.

“I think it’s going to be really hard to see … we really need to change. I think this is going to reignite the flame inside myself,” said Chartrand, though with her history of activism, it doesn’t seem like her flame is burning low.

Jordan’s photographs and Vozenilek’s films of albatrosses carcasses stuffed with plastic shocked the world into disbelief, including Chartrand, who saw a presentation from Vozenilek in January 2010. That gave her a new goal, and brought an end to a long-term company she started at age eight along with her older sister Chantal.

Over the course of nine years, the Chartrands packaged some 10,000 bags of green jelly beans as Ogopogo poop, using the profits to support charitable work in Mexico. But after seeing Vozenelik’s work, their consciences could not let them continue using the plastic packaging and they ended their company.

Chartrand, however, became an anti-plastic advocate at the school, organizing events and seminars, even arranging for 1000 metal water bottles to be donated to students at the school to replace plastic ones.

She will be helping Jordan and the other artists with their work as well as blogging her journey at emilysmidwayjourney.blogspot.com. This is one of several trips made by the group, who plan to release the resulting documentary, Midway, in 2012. Ongoing updates on the project are available at www.midwayjourney.com.

 

 

Just Posted

Geordie Fife exits the dunk tank during 2017’s Discovery House Father’s Day festivities at Skaha Lake Park. The fundraiser helps raise awareness of the work done at the house and break down the stigma associated with addiction. (Western News File)
Discovery House Father’s Day fundraiser goes digital

The addiction recovery program will be rolling out videos ahead of the fundraiser

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
Five-storey building proposed for Penticton’s Front Street

It will be the second time the proposal will head to council

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from St. Eugene’s residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness shared images of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Most Read