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Greenwich Teens Strive to Raise Arctic Awareness

The Youth@Bruce crew launched its yearly fundraiser for an exhibit to raise awareness about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge through Jeff Jones' wilderness photography. With the support of the Bruce Museum and fundraising website Kickstarter , the group hopes to give museum patrons a glimpse into the untouched tundra and remote marine areas.

"We wanted to pick something that we were also learning about in school," said Co-President Gillis Baxter, a junior at Greenwich High School. "Our vision is to show people the scope of the refuge and how important it is for our country and the world."

The Arctic refuge, located in the North Slope region of Alaska, was established in 1960. It ranges over 19 million acres, making it the largest National Wildlife Refuge in the country. Six different ecozones exist throughout the sanctuary—from coastal lagoons and salt marshes to treeless tundra and foothills. "When you hear people talking about drilling in Alaska, this is what they are referring to, " said Baxter. "Through Jones' photography, you can see that we do not want this to happen."

Baxter said the youth group hopes to get more teens involved in volunteering at the museum. "Once we get the project funded, we want to create a sciCafe," said Baxter. "It would involve kids coming from local high schools to come to the museum and watch a video created by the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and then discuss it." Gina Gould, curator of science at the Bruce, said there is a push to get teens into museums and to encourage science education.

Youth@Bruce was formed in 2009 with the help of youth coordinator, Mary Ann Lendenmann. "We are now starting to see it truly grow," said Christian Conteras, a senior at GHS. "What I like is that every year the one exhibit the youth committee does is a major highlight at the Bruce Museum. It is a little piece of recognition for ourselves."

The "Arctic Sanctuary: Images of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge" is set to run through March. The group needs to reach $3,000 by Jan. 17 to get the program funded. As of Friday, it had reached $1,017. For more information about Youth@Bruce or to donate , email youth.bruce@yahoo.com .

Let's chat: When was the last time you went to the Bruce Museum or any museum? What are your thoughts about drilling in Alaska? Leave a comment or send me an email at acorbett@mainstreetconnect.us .

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