2020 PolarTREC Expeditions Postponed

COVID-19 has had far reaching impacts. In response to this uncertainty and for the safety of the teams and the communities of which they would visit, the deployment of all the 2020 PolarTREC educators to both the Arctic and Antarctica has been postponed until 2021. Consequently, we will not be recruiting any new educators in 2021.We hope that you will continue to visit the website and join the Polar Education List to learn about new resources, lesson plans (including virtual lessons) and the latest news on our program.

2019 Expeditions

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Photo by Ale Martinez.\n\nThe goal of this expedition is to understand arctic terrestrial change by monitoring vegetation communities in northern Alaska associated with the International Tundra Experiment Arctic Observatory Network (ITEX-AON). The team will study environmental variability and increased temperature on tundra plant phenology, growth, species composition and ecosystem function. The ITEX network works collaboratively to study changes in tundra plant and ecosystem responses to experimental warming. The network monitoring sites are located across many major ecosystems of the Arctic. This project will provide urgently needed data critical to understanding the impact of multi-scale vegetation change on ecosystem function, namely land-atmosphere carbon and water fluxes and energy balance."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"71.2906","lon":"-156.7886"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2019-06\/AleandJeremy.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2019-07-13T12:00:00Z\">13 July 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2019-08-17T12:00:00Z\">17 August 2019<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/utep-arctic-change-and-education\" hreflang=\"und\">UTEP Arctic Change and Education<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">13 July 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">17 August 2019<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Utqiagvik, Alaska <br \/>\n\nPeriphyton being collected at Cake Eater Lake. Utqia\u0121vik, Alaska. Photo by Ruth Rodriguez.\n\nThe research team will maintain 6+ federally funded projects working across the Barrow Peninsula (NSF, NASA, NOAA, DHS). Collectively, these projects are helping to advance our knowledge of terrestrial, aquatic, coastal and marine ecosystem structure and function and how these systems are responding to arctic change. They will use observational, experimental, retrospective (i.e. resampling of historic sites), low- and high- tech approaches for our research. A typical day in the field is highly seasonally and weather dependent. On good weather days, the team will try to get out on the boat to work on their coastal sites, on most days they will visit their terrestrial and aquatic sites, and on bad weather days they will catch up on equipment maintenance and data, cleaning, etc. in the lab."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"71.2906","lon":"-156.7886"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2019-10\/barcresearchstation2_0.jpeg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2019-07-25T12:00:00Z\">25 July 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2019-08-17T12:00:00Z\">17 August 2019<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/shrubs-snow-and-nitrogen-in-the-arctic-2019\" hreflang=\"und\">Shrubs Snow and Nitrogen in the Arctic 2019<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">25 July 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">17 August 2019<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Toolik Field Station, Alaska <br \/>\n\nPetri dishes filled with moss and liverwort samples. Toolik Field Station, Alaska. Photo by Svea Anderson.\n\nEcosystems develop and change through interactions between living things and their physical environment. A shift in vegetation is one of the most important changes an ecosystem can experience, because it can alter exchanges of energy (originating from sunlight), water, and elements such as carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) between air, plants, and soil. In the Arctic, a widespread shift from tundra to deciduous shrub-dominated vegetation appears to be occurring.\nThis project will assess contributions of different shrub feedbacks to carbon and nitrogen cycling, and improve predictions of the consequences of shrub expansion in the Arctic for regional and global climate."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"64.8598","lon":"-147.8371"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2019-10\/P7290039.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2019-07-29T12:00:00Z\">29 July 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2019-08-24T12:00:00Z\">24 August 2019<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/northern-chukchi-integrated-study\" hreflang=\"und\">Northern Chukchi Integrated Study<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">29 July 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">24 August 2019<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Ship-based, northern Bering and Chukchi Seas <br \/>\n\nA CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth) instrument comes up from the depths of the Chukchi Sea. Aboard the USCGC Healy.\n\n This is an observational research program evaluating changes in the Pacific Arctic ecosystem in response to sea ice declines and other climate related processes. The approach is to undertake repeat sampling of specific locations that are biologically diverse or rich in production to detect change, and also to use the capabilities aboard the USCGC Healy to undertake process oriented experiments that address specific issues such as ocean acidification, changes in biological productivity and other areas of sampling that can be addressed by shipboard sampling and experimentation."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"58","lon":"-178"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2019-10\/KrillandCopepods1.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2019-06-02T12:00:00Z\">2 June 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2019-06-29T12:00:00Z\">29 June 2019<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/carbon-in-the-arctic\" hreflang=\"und\">Carbon in the Arctic<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">2 June 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">29 June 2019<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Toolik Field Station, Alaska <br \/>\n\nA C-OPS instrument (Compact-Optical Profiling System) is used by Dr. Rose Cory&#39;s lab to measure wavelengths of sunlight. Photo by Regina Brinker.\n\nUnderstanding how microbes and sunlight interact is particularly important in the Arctic where thawing permafrost soils will release large amounts of carbon from land to water. Advancing our understanding of loss of this carbon to the atmosphere is critical to understanding the global carbon cycle. This project takes advantage of recent advances in microbial genomics and carbon chemistry to improve understanding of carbon cycling in Arctic freshwaters. The research team will be looking to answer three questions: 1) How is microbial metabolism controlled by dissolved organic carbon (DOC) chemistry? 2) How does DOC exposure to sunlight change how microbes convert DOC to carbon dioxide (CO2) 3) How does the longer-term adaptation of microbial communities affect the rate of DOC conversion to carbon dioxide?"},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"64.8598","lon":"-147.8371"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2019-10\/Walker_P6150498.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2019-06-14T12:00:00Z\">14 June 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2019-07-14T12:00:00Z\">14 July 2019<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/fire-and-carbon-in-siberian-forests\" hreflang=\"und\">Fire and Carbon in Siberian Forests<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">14 June 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">14 July 2019<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Cherskii and Yakutsk, Russia <br \/>\n\nThe green needles of larch trees turn brownish-orange and fall to the ground. Cherskiy, Russia.\n\n Climate change is impacting Arctic regions at twice the rate as the rest of the globe and as a result, ecosystems in these regions are seeing an increase in frequency, intensity and severity of fires in many boreal forests. The primary objective of this research is to delineate the causes of varying post-fire tree regrowth within larch forests of eastern Siberia and determine consequences for climate feedbacks through changes in Carbon storage and albedo (light radiation). The team will be using a combination of field-based measurements, dendrochronological analysis, remotely-sensed data, and statistical modelling. The research will increase the understanding of how larch forests in the Arctic of Siberia respond to a changing fire regime and particularly identify the mechanisms of response."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"68.74","lon":"161.4"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2019-10\/070612_splitting_pfcore.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2019-09-18T12:00:00Z\">18 September 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2019-10-24T12:00:00Z\">24 October 2019<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/mosaic\" hreflang=\"und\">MOSAiC<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">18 September 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">24 October 2019<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Ship-based, Arctic Ocean <br \/>\n\nPhoto Courtesy of Mosaic\n\nThe Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) will be the first year-round expedition into the central Arctic exploring the Arctic climate system. The project has been designed by an international consortium of leading polar research institutions, under the umbrella of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), led by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) and the University of Colorado, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES).\nMOSAiC will contribute to a quantum leap in our understanding of the coupled Arctic climate system and its representation in global climate models. The focus of MOSAiC lies on direct in-situ observations of the climate processes that couple the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, bio-geochemistry and ecosystem. MOSAiC observations will be specifically designed to characterize the important processes within the atmosphere-ice-ocean system that impact the sea-ice mass and energy budgets. These include heat, moisture, and momentum fluxes in the atmosphere and ocean, water vapor, clouds and aerosols, biogeochemical cycles in the ocean and ice, and many others. The MOSAiC project has it's own website here."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"69.649208","lon":"18.955324"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2019-09\/mosaic.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2020-01-26T12:00:00Z\">26 January 2020<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2020-03-26T12:00:00Z\">26 March 2020<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/thwaites-offshore-research\" hreflang=\"und\">Thwaites Offshore Research<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">26 January 2020<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">26 March 2020<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Ship-based, Amundsen Sea <br \/>\n\nA sloped blue iceberg. Aboard the icebreaker Oden between the Amundsen and Ross seas. Photo by Lollie Garay.\n\nSatellite observations show that Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica, has been thinning rapidly and its flow speed has been increasing. At the same time, its grounding line, the point at which the glacier starts to float over the sea, has retreated. Oceanographic studies show that the main driver of these changes is incursion of warm water in the deep ocean beneath the floating ice\nshelf that extends seaward from the glacier. An important factor affecting the flow of warm water towards the glacier and the stability of the ice shelf is the topography of the seafloor in the area, which is poorly known. The seafloor offshore from Thwaites Glacier and the records of glacial and ocean change contained in the sediments on it are the focus of the THOR project."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"-75.499998","lon":"-106.749997"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2019-10\/Garay_4_14_08transfers463_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2019-10-14T12:00:00Z\">14 October 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2019-11-25T12:00:00Z\">25 November 2019<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/antarctic-fish-development-under-future-ocean-conditions\" hreflang=\"und\">Antarctic Fish Development Under Future Ocean Conditions<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">14 October 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">25 November 2019<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> McMurdo Field Station, Antarctica <br \/>\n\nAdult Emerald Rockcod (Trematomus bernacchii) surrounded by seastars (Odontaster validus) at Cape Evans, McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Photo Credit: Rob Robbins, ASC SCUBA Diver\n\nIn the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica there is an extraordinary diversity of marine life. Much of our understanding of the biology of these animals comes from studies of the adaptations of these animals to sub-zero ocean conditions. Research to date on Antarctic fishes has focused on adult life stages with much less research on early life stages that likely prioritize growth and development and not physiological mechanisms of stress tolerance. This project addresses the mechanisms that early life stages (embryos, larvae and juveniles) of Antarctic fishes use to respond to changes in ocean conditions. Specifically, the project will examine energetic trade-offs between key developmental processes in the context of environmental change."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"-77.8499966","lon":"166.66664"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2019-10\/2_bernie_and_stars.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2019-10-07T12:00:00Z\">7 October 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2019-11-19T12:00:00Z\">19 November 2019<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/weddell-seals-growing-up-on-ice\" hreflang=\"und\">Weddell Seals: Growing Up on Ice<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">7 October 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">19 November 2019<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> McMurdo Station <br \/>\n\nA Weddell seal and pup out on the sea ice near McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Photo by Alex Eilers.\n\nWeddell seals are one of the best studied seals and a classic example of adaptation to the extreme Antarctic environment. A large body size and thick blubber layer help them to stay warm both on and under the ice. Their streamlined shape, body oxygen stores, and collapsible lungs allow them to reach dive depths of 600 meters (almost 2,000 feet!) and remain under water for over an hour. However, they do not begin life with these advantages. Weddell seal pups are born on the sea ice with a small body size and almost no blubber.\nThe question is: What does it take for a Weddell seal to survive and successfully make the transition between two extreme environments \u2013 above and below the Antarctic sea ice \u2013 in only a matter of weeks? To answer this, Cal Poly scientists and a marine mammal veterinarian will venture to Antarctica to study the development of thermoregulation and diving in Weddell seals."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"-77.8419","lon":"166.6863"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2019-05\/eilers_cimg1467_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2019-11-24T12:00:00Z\">24 November 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2019-12-29T12:00:00Z\">29 December 2019<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/icecube-and-the-askaryan-radio-array-2019\" hreflang=\"und\">IceCube and The Askaryan Radio Array 2019<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">24 November 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">29 December 2019<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> South Pole Station, Antarctica <br \/>\n\nGroup photo of all neutrino hunters currently at the ceremonial South Pole. Photo by Rishabh Khandelwal.\n\n IceCube is located at the South Pole and records the interactions of a nearly massless sub-atomic messenger particle called the neutrino. IceCube searches for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources: events like exploding stars, gamma ray bursts, and cataclysmic phenomena involving black holes and neutron stars. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is a powerful tool to search for dark matter, and could reveal the new physical processes associated with the enigmatic origin of the highest energy particles in nature. In addition, IceCube studies the neutrinos themselves using the 100,000 neutrinos detected per year produced by cosmic rays in the atmosphere. Their energies far exceed those from accelerator beams. IceCube encompasses a cubic kilometer of instrumented ice, and is the largest detector by volume ever built.\nThe fully built ARA project, also located at the South Pole, will have an effective volume 100 times bigger than IceCube. The trade off is that it is only capable of observing radio waves from extremely high energy neutrinos, a million times more energetic than the neutrinos produced by cosmic rays in the atmosphere. This neutrinos are extremely rare, which is why such a large detector is needed to increase the chance of seeing one."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"-90","lon":"-139.2667"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2019-05\/miller_icecubelab_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2019-10-14T12:00:00Z\">14 October 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2019-11-25T12:00:00Z\">25 November 2019<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/thermal-sensitivity-of-embryos-and-larvae-of-antarctic-marine-ectotherms\" hreflang=\"und\">Thermal Sensitivity of Embryos and Larvae of Antarctic Marine Ectotherms<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">14 October 2019<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">25 November 2019<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> McMurdo Field Station, Antarctica <br \/>\n\nScientific scuba divers use bright lights and cover lots of terrain in search for pycnogonids to collect. Turtle Rock, Antarctica. Photo by Timothy R. Dwyer.\n\nCold-blooded animals in the Antarctic ocean have survived in near-constant, extreme cold conditions for millions of years and are very sensitive to even small changes in water temperature. However, the consequences of this extreme thermal sensitivity for the energetics, development, and survival of developing embryos is not well understood. This award will investigate the effect of temperature on the metabolism, growth rate, developmental rate, and developmental energetics of embryos and larvae of Antarctic marine ectotherms. The project will also measure annual variation in temperature and oxygen at different sites in McMurdo Sound, and compare embryonic and larval metabolism in winter and summer to determine the extent to which these life stages can acclimate to seasonal shifts. This research will provide insight into the ability of polar marine animals and ecosystems to withstand warming polar ocean conditions."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"-77.8499966","lon":"166.66664"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2019-10\/Dwyer_DSC01316_800px.jpg"}}]}}

PolarTREC Updates

Inspiring Girls Expeditions Application Period is Now Open!

Inspiring Girls Expedition photo

The Inspiring Girls* Expedition program seeks 16 and 17-year-old girls for tuition-free mini-research expeditions to study at the elbows of glaciologists, oceanographers, artists, and other professionals. Girls on Ice is the original expedition where girls study glaciers, volcanoes, and the alpine environment. We also now have Girls in Icy Fjords, Girls on Rock, Girls on Water, Girls in the Forest.

Applications must be started by January 22, 2021. Please visit the website for details on eligibility and selection criteria. Inspiring Girl expeditions are tuition-free, wilderness science expeditions that offer a powerful opportunity for young women from all social and economic backgrounds to build their creativity, curiosity, courage, and confidence; students' grades are not considered in their selection process.

Please share this with teachers or teenagers you know!

Funded by NSF, NASA, Alaska CASC, and donations from generous people like you!

*Inspiring Girls maintains an inclusive, gender-expansive acceptance policy. See our website for more information.

Join MOSAiC for their virtual Reach the World MOSAiC Program Finale

The Polarstern. Photo courtesy Lianna Nixon, 2020 (CIRES and AWI).

Teachers and students are invited for one last hurrah with Reach the World and MOSAiC.

The MOSAiC (Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate) Expedition of 2019-2020 was one of the most extensive Arctic research expeditions ever conducted, involving hundreds of people from 20 nations. In October 2019, the research icebreaker Polarstern was intentionally frozen into the Arctic sea ice and drifted almost continuously across the Arctic for the next year, allowing scientists to study all aspects of the Arctic climate system for a full seasonal cycle. Throughout that time, we connected teachers and students around the country with 16 different MOSAiC scientists and team members through the Reach the World MOSAiC virtual exchange program.

Join them on January 21st for a virtual Reach the World MOSAiC program finale!

When: Thursday, January 21st at 1:00 pm ET
Where: A private Zoom room (Reach the World will send registrants a link - see below)
What: This 30-minute MOSAiC program finale will include:

  • Exclusive sneak peek at the forthcoming MOSAiC expedition documentary
  • Interactive presentation from wildlife conservation storyteller and MOSAiC filmmaker/photographer Lianna Nixon about "Documenting the MOSAiC Expedition"
  • Surprise appearances from your favorite MOSAiC expedition team members
  • Final questions, answers, reflections, and good-byes

How to Participate
Register for the celebration by emailing chris [at] reachtheworld.org. If you and your students like, you can also record a brief "thank you" message at this link for MOSAiC team members that will be played during the live event!

The MOSAiC education & outreach team looks forward to celebrating with you!

For information about PolarTREC educator Katie Gavenus' experiences on the MOSAiC expedition, visit https://www.polartrec.com/expeditions/mosaic

Arctic Research Speed Networking Event Events

ARCUS speed networking information graphic.

Arctic Research Speed Networking Event Events
Virtual Speed Networking Event

Join IARPC Collaborations, the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS), and UCIrvine for a virtual Arctic research speed networking event on Friday, 5 February at 9am AKT / 1pm ET. Over the course of 1.5 hours, researchers will be split into a series of small groups to rapidly get to know one another and brainstorm future collaborations. Groups will be organized across disciplines, with a particular emphasis on grouping social scientists and natural scientists together.

The Arctic Research Virtual Speed Networking event is the first activity in a series designed to provide participants with the opportunity to:

  • Network with potential project partners
  • Workshop interdisciplinary research ideas
  • Meet with Arctic research funders

Fall 2020 Issue of Witness the Arctic Now Available

Witness the Arctic

This issue includes updates from NSF’s Arctic Sciences Section; news of DOE’s reestablished Arctic Energy Office; an update on IARPC collaboration team activities; summary of a National Academies workshop report on global health and security risks associated with climate change; a report from the Polar Technology Community; information on a new service from the Arctic Data Center; an article about understanding two kinds of public knowledge of the polar regions; an article from a citizen science project investigating the dynamics of seasonal winter berry loss; news of the Toolik Field Station operations during COVID-19; updates from the Sea Ice Prediction Network–Phase 2 project; a summary of ARCUS member research updates; comments from the ARCUS Executive Director and the Board President; and a highlight of ARCUS member institution Cold Climate Housing Research Center and National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Antarctica Day 2020!

Antarctica Day

The international polar community will celebrate Antarctica Day on the 1st of December to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty. There are many ways to celebrate this year to learn more about this amazing continent and the research being performed there, and the scientists who conduct it.

For more information regarding these events, please contact the event organizers directly through the links provided.

International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration

The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration is holding an Antarctic Week Festival from 30 November to 4 December. Students and the public will have a unique opportunity to listen to those working on the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration and ask questions. Each day, there will be a talk about what it's like to live and work in Antarctica. The talks are 30 minutes long, followed by 30 minutes of questions and answers. These webinars are hosted by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and will be recorded and posted on the website.

The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) has invited everyone to join them in celebrating Antarctica Day. Learn more about each of their events and register for their online videos on the APECS website.


  • For those who want to learn more about Antarctica but are teaching virtually, check out the YouTube series called, Tiny Ice: Bits from Antarctica that highlight the travel, science, and life at the South Pole, created by Jocelyn Argueta. The videos have been created in both English and Spanish.

  • You can also view PolarConnect Archives of live Antarctica Day events with PolarTREC educators who were in Antarctica on December 1st in previous years.

  • For more resources specifically on Antarctica, please visit the PolarTREC Resources section and type Antarctica in the search box.

Latest Journals

8 February 2021 Yes, There is Hope. Here's Why.

By: Jennifer Heidrich
Salt Marsh, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Weather Weather: Sunny Temp: 33 F Wind Speed: 5 MPH Wind Chill: 27 F Location Location: Oxford, Maine, United States of America Coordinates: 44.1317, 70.4932 Yes, There is Hope. Here's Why. The very first class of a brand-new elective I am teaching met today via Zoom. I can't stand Zoom. It's…

9 January 2021 Start In The Backyard

By: Erin Towns
Tumbledown Mountain
Start In The Backyard Top of Tumbledown Mountain, Weld, Maine. Photo by Erin Towns. Simple Questions, Complex Answers ”Hey Ms. Towns, can ice sheets and glaciers really fully melt and disappear?” ”Why should we care? We live in Maine.” ”I mean, is it really going to happen up there in the…

30 December 2020 Bring Antarctic to your living room! (And other places!)

By: Elaine Krebs
Photograph of IceCube Observatory with multicolored sensors beneath the ice
When we can't go to Antarctica, we bring Antarctic to us! In order to keep Antarctica COVID-free, the PolarTREC teachers have postponed our journeys until 2021-2022. (And so have most of our research teams!) But that doesn't mean we are far from polar research! In fact, the IceCube team launched an…

18 December 2020 Are You A Good Snowstorm... Or A Bad Snowstorm?

By: Jennifer Heidrich
Kluane Lake in Yukon, Canada.
I haven't been to the arctic yet, though some days it feels like I live there. We had a snowstorm yesterday. It dropped 8" of the fluffy stuff on the ground, causing my school to cancel classes for the day. I can't say I was upset by it, because when you live on a farm and you get nearly a foot of…

15 December 2020 CODA-19 (not COVID-19)

By: Jonathan Pazol
Sampling Sites
It’s a sign of the times that while starting to type CODA (Coastal Ocean Dynamics in the Arctic), my computer keeps suggesting COVID-19. Yet, despite everyone’s current focus on the pandemic, there were CODA projects in 2019 and 2020, and while there will not be a CODA cruise in 2021, the data…

10 December 2020 Polar Ice: Going with the Floe

By: Kathy Ho
Sea ice
Polar Ice: Going with the Floe Most of my friends think it's weird that I love the Arctic and Antarctica because it's no big secret that I hate being cold. I hate it so much that I bought my car just for the seat heater - and I've been known to use it in the summer. I hate it so much, I wear knee-…

What is PolarTREC?

STEM at the Poles! Research Experiences for Formal and Informal Educators in the Polar Regions is the newest iteration of PolarTREC. The educators (formal and informal) come from the United States and spend 3-6 weeks participating in hands-on field research experiences in the Arctic or Antarctica, working side by side with scientists. STEM at the Poles is professional development for educators across all Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines connecting them to the polar regions and the research community; developing Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) resources; and changing how they teach STEM in both informal and formal learning environments. PolarTREC is funded through awards from the National Science Foundation and administered by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS).

Image: The 2019 PolarTREC Cohort and project management team pose for a photo outside the Syun-Ichi Akasofu Building on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus during orientation week.

Find people, expeditions, and resources

PolarTREC has hosted 193 expeditions and houses over 2,000 resources for educational use.

Locate Team Members

Check out our member directory to locate a team member from a current or previous PolarTREC expedition.

Follow Expeditions

All current and past expeditiions are listed in reverse chronological order for viewing.

Find Resources

Lesson plans, activities, articles, web links and more can be found in our resources section.