Wendy Johnston talks about polar bears running the northernmost restaurant

Video Shot in: 2009

In this video, Wendy Johnston recounts a memorable incident involving polar bears in Barrow (Utqiaġvik), Alaska. She recalls an October, four or five years prior, when polar bears congregated on the campus, preventing people from entering or leaving for half a day. Describing an instance where a young polar bear roamed the parking lot near dining patrons, she highlights the community’s response, including a creative solution by a heavy equipment class instructor using a backhoe to scare the bear away. Johnston also discusses the risks and misconceptions about polar bears, emphasizing that they are wild animals, not the cuddly creatures often imagined. She shares stories of polar bears lounging on the tundra, affecting local life, and recounts a tense moment when a professor’s husband, attempting to photograph a bear, was cautioned about the animal’s speed and potential danger. Johnston’s narrative captures the unique challenges and experiences of living in close proximity to wildlife in the Arctic, showcasing the community’s adaptability and respect for nature.