The Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project

Welcome to The Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project! 

From October 2015 through December 2016, I sent 310 hand-painted post cards to President Barack Obama. Inspired by a September 2015 trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge I wanted to use my art and illustration as a way to advocate for something that I care deeply about - and to try my best to impact/encourage potential arctic policy actions in the final year of Obama's presidency.

Although this project was completed at the end of President Obama's second term in office, there is never a wrong time or place to take express your opinions on important issues.

If you're here to make/send your own card(s) to the White House and the new administration, please follow this STUDENT TEMPLATE link for a quick summary and download instructions.**

Scroll down for my complete letter to President Obama -- and if you dig deeply enough you can find all 310 of my daily/weekly images and posts via the social networking platform of your choice :)

** Teachers, librarians, and parents, if your kids are interested in creating their own post cards to advocate for arctic protections, the inspirations are practically endless! Scroll through my submissions for sure, but as long as there is a polar bear involved, almost anything will work. 

Yes, some of my cards are connecting climate change and the Arctic, but many others are just simply fun, or colorful, or experimental in their design and execution. There are endless opportunities here for connecting kids to real-world issues, but just as important is the chance for them to express an idea of any kind, and to take some small action through their own artistic efforts. If it's fun and interesting for the kids to create, then it will be even more enjoyable and impactful when then arrive shortly thereafter in the President's mailbox.

And FINALLY, if you think that a 15-30 minute Skype visit would help to inspire your kids to some post card production, then please get in touch via email (erik.s.brooks at or any of the social media options mentioned above. 

Thank you again for your interest and enthusiasm for Arctic issues.



Dear Mr. President, 
Six weeks ago my family and I returned home from a trip to Kaktovik, Alaska. Tom Campion, who you know is passionate about protecting the Arctic, had graciously invited us along due to some cancellations by other parties. We jumped at the chance! The Campions know my wife Sarah through their philanthropic and conservation works here in Washington State, and I am a children’s book author/illustrator with a particular fondness for polar bears.
Having spent my elementary school years in Anchorage, the trip was extra special for the inclusion of our 12 year-old daughter Keeley, and for the opportunity to view this amazing place in the company of the Campions, author Terry Tempest Williams and her husband Brooke, and GreenLatinos founder, Mark MagaƱa. Truly, what were we doing on this trip? 
As you know from your own recent travels, Alaska is complex. It is vast and wild, but somehow fragile and precious. It evokes a curious mix of awe and empathy, and it leaves a lasting impression. You know the politics far better than I, and there are many sides and interests. Still, in the simplest terms, the 1002 and the unprotected areas of Alaska’s Coastal Plain have an immeasurable value far beyond their short-term life as a commercial good. This “one last place” needs to remain intact. 
Yes, it is important for polar bear den sites and reindeer calving grounds, for a diversity of species and for many other reasons of environmental nature, but it’s also important for “us” — as the greater extensions of Keeley and Sasha and Malia — as an example to the rest of the world that we can stop — that progress and change might mean finding a better way — and that saying “no” in permanent terms to short-sighted development will in fact spur innovation in other areas and directions — both for the country and for affected Alaskans.
I’ve been illustrating books for 15 years. I draw a comic strip in my local newspaper. I teach. I coach, and I volunteer in my schools and community. I have a quiet voice and a small platform — certainly nothing like that of our Kaktovik companions — but I also know that you are smart and that you seem to listen. So I bring you this, both as a serious outreach, and as hopefully something a little different to your every day: 
THE PRESIDENTIAL POLAR BEAR POST CARD PROJECT! From now until the end of your term, I will paint and send you five polar bear postcards each week! I know that Tom is bending your ear about protecting the 1002 — about preserving for all time a Monument status for something worth saving — so I am jumping into the fray with my best children’s book illustrator swagger. If a polar bear post card five days a week keeps even a glimmer of hope alive — or provides an occasional pause for thought - then it will be well worth the effort. 
With many thanks for your service to our country, for taking the time to listen, and for your Presidential actions so far.
Sincerely yours, 
Erik Brooks
PS The actual letter looks likes this:

PPS And a few of the student submissions so far look like this:


Ben Newman said...

Thanks for the inspiration! I go to Sunnyslope and I wrote to Trump about gun control. Again, thanks for the inspiration

Mary Burns said...

Barack Obama listens. I'd be surprised if he didn't respond to your barrage of postcards. And he cared, and does still. Thank you for your fantastic mission.