The last week in May our group travelled to Tromsø, the largest city of Northern Norway.
The main reason why we decided to travel there was the visit of the experience centre Polaria which is one of the tourist highlights in the whole region. We have chosen this centre because of changes Polaria is going through these days. Our organization is planning some changes in the future as well, so we really appreaciated this opportunity to discuss our plans with people who are one step forward. This we found really inspiring.
It was also interesting for us to see how the centre works and how its employees deal with tourists. Year by year the popularity of the city is increasing. That’s because of the northern lights which are easy to be seen there. Anne Grete Johansen, CEO at Polaria, confirmed number of people visiting the centre is increasing. Anne also introduced her vision of future changes and the conception of the whole center to us. The main idea is to inform visitors through experience about life in Arctic waters and environmental issues connected to the Arctic water.
We, as an environmental organization focusing on education, were also interested how Polaria works with children and whether there are some programmes focusing on education. We were impressed by the programme called Marine Lab. In the centre there is a special aquarium with sea animals such as starfish or sea anemone which children can touch and through direct experience and lesson given by one of the Polaria lecturers they learn more about the Arctic nature.
During our stay in Tromsø we met people from another institutions as well. With Line Bjørkli we discussed environmental issues of Norway and Tromsø and successful cooperation of local companies with students of the University of Tromsø. Line had also experiences with Norweigan education system, so we discussed differences of the Czech and Norweigan teaching methods.
Helge Markusson guided us through the Fram Center and showed us the way how scientific research and facts can be presented. Every year Fram publishes its own magazine called Fram Forum intended for the general public, not for scientists only. That means the content has to be intelligible, so that everyone can understand. That effort to step out of the world of scientific terms, numbers and complicated calculations to show the science is not just the isolated world for small group of boffins, we really appreciated.
We also met Chris Hudson from Visit Tromsø. He introduced us to their communication strategy and work with public. We discussed mainly their presentation on Instagram and gained some tips how to effectively use created content to engage public.
Our free time we spent by exploring the city. We climbed Foya the first day. During the rest of the week we visited Polar Museum where we learnt something about the tradition of seal hunting and the polar expeditions of Roald Amundsen or Fridtjof Nansen. Tromso planetarium showed us the beauty of the northern lights, but just on screen. We were lucky to experience midnight sun, another interesting phenomenom beyond the polar circle when the Sun doesn’t sleep.
We would like to thank everybody who shared with us their experience, ideas and help us during our stay – mainly to Anne Grete, who prepared us rich and interesting program.
Our visit were funded from Erasmus+ , key action 104.