Learning is never done
Last night we were fortunate to meet the crew of National Ecological Observation Network (NEON) at the airport. NEON is an NSF funded project, for the next 30 years will collect data throughout the US in their respective domain. The NEON Observatory is designed to collect from over 80 sites, including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and El Paso. In Barrow, there is also a research site where data can be collected to assist not only scientists, but the community to help make decisions that range from Emergency Management to scientific research. NEON encourages the community to come up with their own questions involving climate or vegetation, all the data collected is readily available on the NEON website. Guided by Dr. Craig Tweedie, the International Tundra Experiment site (ITEX) is home to a variety of experiments, ranging from carbon flux and plant monitoring to small mammal monitoring. Situated near the Barrow Environmental Observatory, which is very near to NOAA and USGS facilities, the open tundra is home to many small mammals and snowy owls. On our trip, although we didn't see them there, evidence of them were clearly visible in holes or burrows, but also in the scat of the foxes, lemmings, and geese. Mosquitos were biting, but the winds kept them at bay. Picturesque views of the open tundra and the cool breeze coming off the ocean are abundant! Closing out the day, I got to taste smoked moose soup and boiled whale during a Soup and Science Event that allows scientists to share their research with the local community and other researchers. Another awesome day!