Terry Wang has always been fascinated by nature.
Growing up in the densely populated city of Xiamen, China, on the country’s southeast coast, Wang would often venture to the surrounding mountains on weekends, hiking, exploring and soaking in everything the environment had to offer.
The 15-year-old Semiahmoo Secondary student – who immigrated to South Surrey with his parents two years ago – now has the opportunity to experience some of the planet’s most awe-inspiring nature, as he sets off on an Arctic expedition later this month.
Wang is one of 100 students from around the globe selected to take part in an educational program called Students On Ice, a ship-based expedition that partners youth with scientists, elders, educators, artists and innovators to explore areas of western Greenland and Canada’s High Arctic.
The expedition departs from Ottawa July 27 and includes workshops, exploration, hands-on research and “lots of adventure” according to the Students on Ice website.
For Wang, travelling to the Arctic offers the chance to connect with nature in a way that he believes is not possible anywhere else.
“The Arctic is a very special place on the earth, where there is minimal human disruption with the environment,” Wang explained. “By going there, I can observe the ice, which stores lots of information about the earth from the past.”
Although Wang is thrilled to be taking part in a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity, he said that taking part in the expedition has placed a large financial burden on his family.
Not wanting their son to miss out on such an experience, his parents – his father is a technician for Telus and his mother is a tutor – managed to borrow from other family members the several thousand dollars it would cost to send Wang on the expedition.
Now Wang is hoping to drum up some community support to help recoup some of the money his parents collected, which he estimated to be about $11,000.
“It would take them six months to earn all that money back,” Wang explained, noting that his parents left their jobs and home behind in China to provide him with better educational options in Canada.
Wang said he strives to make the most out of the opportunities that are before him at school and beyond.
As an International Baccalaureate student entering Grade 11 in the fall, Wang is heavily involved in a variety of extracurricular science-related activities. He has served as an ambassador for the Science Expo Youth Empowerment program, helping to organize and host a science workshop, and has taken part in various science and engineering competitions.
He and some friends at Semiahmoo have launched a group aimed at “making the world a better place” through innovative ideas and creations.
“It’s a small, invite-only team where we discuss problems and solutions at the school to improve the learning environment, or to help the community in some way by designing new products,” he said.
Above all, Wang said he hopes to focus his inventive energy on ways he and his peers can help the planet, such as exploring renewable resources and energy supplies.
“Every human should have the responsibility to help nature, because nature has given us so much,” he said.
Anyone interested in supporting Wang’s family financially can get in touch via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org