3rd Act Magazine – Spring 2019

Page 16




Albatross swoop and cruise next to the pitching and lurching boat, unfazed by the stormy seas. Their graceful aerobatics accentuate the rough ride of their observers: students from Tacoma’s Pacific Lutheran University who are being tossed about on deck. The students are on an environmental literature expedition led by writer, photographer, and PLU professor emeritus Dr. Charles Bergman. They’re on their way to Antarctica, crossing Drake Passage—one of the roughest bodies of water in the world—in their refitted scientific research vessel. Chuck Bergman has led over 35 environmental literature expeditions, with his wife Susan Mann accompanying him on many. It’s important to him that students and others experience the natural world and understand that they have the power to help protect it. Over 20 years their “study-away” classes have traveled to Uganda, where they assisted Dr. Jane Goodall in the release of 17 African Grey Parrots to the wild; explored the reaches of Africa, South America, and Antarctica; engaged in a quest to observe all 18 species of


3rd Act magazine | spring 2019

Susan Mann and Chuck Bergman

penguins in their natural habitats; and left a lasting impact on over 800 students. At 71, he continues to lead these trips with even greater urgency: “We wonder what the world will be like for our grandson, who is two years old. In 50 years, will there be penguins, polar bears, or coral reefs?” he wonders. Susan adds: “If we don’t address what’s happening with the natural world now, we won’t have a planet to inhabit.” Try explaining that to your grandkids! If Bergman and Mann’s kind of adventure offers a more active commitment than you envision for yourself, you are not alone. But if you’ve wondered what you can do to become more environmentally active, Bergman offers a simple


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