Dang-Dang Gruben


Dang-Dang Gruben

Expedition student from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada

The Arctic is such an interesting and exciting place. The expedition allowed me to explore many new and incredible areas.


Meet the student


Dang-Dang Gruben is a student from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada. Dang-Dang had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when he participated on a Students on Ice expedition, where he travelled on an expedition vessel to Nunavut and Greenland. This experience was an excellent way for Dang-Dang to explore other geographical locations, meet people from around the world, see different types of wildlife and witness the changing environment firsthand.

In Inuvik, Dang-Dang has been raised and taught the traditional ways of living off the land by harvesting animals, hunting caribou, geese and other migratory animals. When he grows up he would like to be a Renewable Resource Officer and have the opportunity to work with many different people, the land and the animals.


My trip

During our time in Iqaluit, I met a lot of new and interesting people. On our second day in town we met a woman who raises and trains Canadian Inuit dogs used for dog-sledding.

A flowering Dwarf Fireweed plant.

Dwarf Fireweed

All plants have evolved to thrive in specific environments.  Not all plants require nutrient-rich soil to grow, and some actually grow better in places that contain low organic content. Image: A Dwarf Fireweed plant

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The muskox is an Arctic mammal belonging to the Bovid Family. Though it has some resemblance to the bison, the muskox is actually more closely related to sheep and goats. The scientific name, Ovibos moschatus, means “musky sheep-cow”. Image: A muskox.

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A taxidermied muskox mount.

My adventure

During the expedition I was able to explore the land and talk to the scientists and other students about the plants and animals that live in the areas we visited. I also enjoyed learning and talking about the history of these places. I even jumped into some very cold water for the 'Arctic swim!'

A taxidermied Red-throated Loon mount.

Red-throated Loon

The Red-throated Loon (scientifically named Gavia stellata) is the smallest of the three species of loons that breed in the Canadian Arctic. Like all other loons, they have difficulty walking on land as their legs are located far back on their body. The placement of the legs allows for excellent propulsion while diving and swimming underwater or paddling on the surface. The Red-throated Loon is the only loon that can take off from land. All other loon species require a running-on-water take off. Image: A Red-throated Loon.

View Red-throated Loon


Staurosira venter

Diatoms are microscopic single-celled organisms. They can be found in areas that contain water such as oceans, lakes, streams, ice, soil and even in tree bark. Image: A microscopic look at Staurosira venter.

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A close up of  the diatom Staurosira venter.

My experience

I was so excited to explore Greenland and one of its communities. In this video, you can hear a poem written by Greenlandic artist, Laakaluk, about the people we met and the great things we experienced.


Interested in the expedition? Watch this video.


Dang-Dang Gruben’s blog posts


Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut – Tuesday, August 7

This morning I woke up cold. I was not able to use the washing machine and dryer so instead I turned the fan in my room to high to try to dry my clothes. When I woke up the room was freezing! After warming up I went outside to see a glacier before I sat […]

Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland – Thursday, August 9

When I woke up this morning I was very happy to be out of the open sea because I knew that I was not going to feel sick from the waves anymore. When I went outside I was happy to see the village of Qeqertarsuaq, which, I was told, means “big island”. When we went […]