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.

Expedition Timeline

Use the interactive timeline below to explore with the new cohort of educators and researchers!

2019 Expedition Timeline

Latest Journals

22 August 2019 Final Day on the USCGC Healy

By: Piper Bartlett-Browne
All researchers and Coast Guard crew aboard the USCGC Healy Expedtion 1901.
Today was bittersweet as we packed up the labs downstairs, freshwater washed our mustang suits, and did our final loads of laundry. We have continuously steamed toward Nome since 1am this morning without stopping. Although my time on the Healy is coming to a close, I have had an amazing experience…

21 August 2019 Morale Nights, Final Sampling, and Helo Operations

By: Piper Bartlett-Browne
Piper Bartlett-Browne taking bottom water samples from the CTD.
Today was our final day of sampling until we head back south to Nome. We are in Ledyards Bay collecting CTD and water data, bongo net tows, and van Veen grab contents. The rest of our time has been packing up the lab and looking for marine mammals on the bridge. The lab looks so empty now and it is…

19 August 2019 Sediment Traps - Collecting Sinking Particles

By: Piper Bartlett-Browne
Jonaotaro Onodera (JAMSTEC) collecting samples from the sediment trap bottles.
The small research team from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) have been recovering and deploying moorings in several places along our route north of the Bering Strait. One type of mooring that they have been recovering are sediment traps. Jonaotaro Onodera is the…

PolarTREC Updates

Now Archived! PolarConnect Event with educator Kate Steeper

Kate at Atigun Gorge

On Thursday 15 August, educator Kate Steeper and researcher Dr. Syndonia Bret-Harte presented live from Toolik Field Station in Alaska on the sampling and research that have been carried out on a research project looking at shrubs, snow, and nitrogen in arctic Alaska. You can learn more about Kate's expedition here. An archive of the event can be found here.

To the Arctic! New Expeditions Underway

Polar Animals Activity

Teachers Monica Nunez, Kate Steeper, and Piper Bartlett-Browne are all in the Arctic or headed there this month! Monica is working with University of Texas El Paso researcher Craig Tweedie on the North Slope. Kate Steeper is headed to Toolik Field Station to work with Donie Bret-Harte from University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Piper Bartlett-Browne will be headed out to the Chukchi Sea with researcher Lee Cooper from University of Maryland. You can join them on their expeditions by reading their journals, joining live from the field events, and asking your questions.

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.