Having flown in during the dead of night, sitting in the aisle seat, unaware of any landscape I was visiting, I awoke on Sunday morning full of anticipation of what my views would be… and they did not disappoint. Opening up the window shades to my first floor hotel room, I noticed the high snow banks, the evergreen trees, and the shocking blue sky. I say it was shocking because I, in my ignorance to daylight in Alaska, thought we would only be graced with four hours of light. Instead, the sunbeams snuck in the window and warmed my face while the outside temperature was still in the single digits.

I quickly dressed and went to the lobby in search of other PolarTREC folk and coffee. My day began with a smile from a new friend, and then another, and then another, until the entire lobby was one big hum of activity, of greetings, and proper name pronunciations.

Crawling into the red van, we were whisked away to the University of Alaska, to a magnificent room with a panoramic view of the southern mountain range and a quick glimpse of Denali, its impressive peak rising over the closest mountain like a mama looking over her child’s shoulder.

The day was filled with more greetings and laughter and questions of what and where we were going. In the safe space, it was OK to step out of the zone of comfort, to learn new technology, and to open up for failure. It was the beginning of the next chapter, the next adventure….

I look forward to what tomorrow has in store.

University of Alaska


Svea Anderson

I have heard that the mosquitoes at Toolik are pretty impressive in size and not only that, but they fly in ginormous swarms. I will wear mosquito netting from head to toe when out in the field this summer. I'll be sure to post some photos!

Svea Anderson

I hope NOT to get stung by a mosquito, but if I do, I am sure it will leave a huge welt- but I really don't know.... I guess it will be like a science experiment. My hypothesis is that the bite will be larger than an average mosquito bite, but smaller than a cantaloupe. As a true researcher, I will have to collect evidence in the name of science! :)

Svea Anderson

Lucky for my fellow PolarTREC explorers, there are no mosquitoes in Antarctica. It is just us lucky few headed North who will meet them! :)

Svea Anderson

That is a great question- thank you for asking. I can't pinpoint what I am most excited for. I am looking forward to being in the field, conducting research and experiencing 24 hours of sunlight. There is also the wonder of walking on permafrost, seeing amazing wildlife like grizzly bears and musk ox, and just being out of my element- I am used to the desert!! I can't wait to experience a different biome! So I guess the simple answer is- I am excited for it all. It is going to be one incredible adventure.

Bryce Your fav

I hope you have a fun trip and keep in touch.

Bryce Your fav

Please keep in touch so I can tell our class mates what you are doing.


how cold is it up there??

Bryce Your fav

Hope you have a good time and we will be thinking about you through your whole trip.

Svea Anderson

Hi Bryce My Fav- Thank you for your comments. I will be blogging every day, so please be sure to check and then share with your classmates (or encourage them to check out the website too!!)
Keep posting questions!

Shemar Robinson

What is like going to Alaska and how do you feel going to work on shrubs ?

Shemar Robinson

What is like going to Alaska and how do you feel going to work on shrubs ?


I would just like to say, how you wrote this journal entry is very interesting and somewhat inspiring. You stated how the place you were visiting was an open place and excepting of failure. That is awesome! It makes me want to visit a place like that in my future.


Is the research your doing as exciting as you predicted?

Svea Anderson

Hi Fin,
I'll be in the field exactly one week from today...getting excited! My expedition was delayed so I am sitting in Denali right now, enjoying the sun that decided to make an appearance, and listening to crows talk. It is lovely. Today I went to the dog sled presentation at Denali National Park and totally thought of all my favorite kiddos and how we Skyped with the park to learn about the science of sled dogs. I saw it in person! Super fun!

Keep checking back ... I will have some updated journals posted this week! :)


Awesome. I’m getting a last minute science trip to Hawaii to see the volcano. Hope all is well and see you in the school year


hi Svea, you are going to be great! you really explained it really well. you are going to have such great stories for your students just like my teacher does! Enjoy your stay and always stay warm.

Nell Herrmann

Hi Svea. You are off to a great start! Your descriptions here are wonderful and I'm glad you're feeling comfortable. You're going to have an amazing experience and you'll return to your classroom with so many things to share with your 6th graders!

Judy Fahnestock

Beautiful journal Svea! I can tell already that you have the gift of storytelling. I look forward to following your expedition and reading your journals!

Svea Anderson

HI Grace,
Thanks for your question! I will be in the Arctic in July. The weather should be nice- I think we should have days with highs in the 50s. Not balmy, but not freezing. I have been told that it has snowed there during the summer, which would be fun too!

While I am at the field station, I will be looking at the deciduous shrubs and how the ecology of the landscape is changing.

Thank you for your questions!

Svea Anderson

Hi Shemar!
Thanks for your questions! I had never been to Alaska before I went in March, so it was VERY exciting. I am excited to go back this summer to experience what it is like during the summer without so much snow! I am thrilled to be working with the tundra ecology. I will be looking at the deciduous shrubs and how the tundra ecology is changing with the changing climate. I live in Arizona in the Sonoran Desert so I am excited to see the similarities between the two environments.

Thank you again for your questions!

Svea Anderson

Thank you Clare for your kind words. You have made my day!
One reason I applied to PolarTREC was that I hope that I can inspire girls to be fearless and take chances. You can do anything you put your mind to! Please continue to follow my adventure. I am sure I will let everyone know about the mistakes I make in the field (because mistakes make your brain grow- it is a proven fact!) Mistakes are how we learn. I have been teaching for 20 years and am still learning from students like you everyday. :)

Thank you again for your kind words. :)

Svea Anderson

Hi Katelyn,
Thank you for your sweet comments! It sounds like you have an amazing teacher! Teachers who have the ability to share experiences and stories are gems. I hope to have a collection of stories for my students after my expedition. Hopefully none of the stories involved Grizzly bears and giant bird-sized mosquitoes! :) - Stay tuned...they just might!

Grace Robison

What are you looking for while you are there? What is the weather like?


is it hard to pluck?

Marina LaFoley

Wow your Expedition is amazing. What do you do most often there and what do you like the most there?

Melissa Lau

I'm so excited to follow your expedition! I know I'm going to learn a lot through you.


How big are the mosquitoes and what do you have to wear to keep yourself protected


If you happen to get sung by a mosqutio the size of a humming bird what would happen?


if you get stung by the big mosqutos in Antarctica will it hurt more than the normal sized ones?


What are you most excited for?