After the wind-down of the field season and the students' presentations of their science talks in Longyearbyen, this phase of our REU has ended. So we felt it appropriate to let everyone who has been following the "Fellowship of the Fjord" (as the students ended-up calling us) know just how pleased and excited we are about the expedition as a whole, and especially the outcomes we see reflected in the experiences and science results the student's have shown so far.
This group has worked as a team, having fun with each other, enjoying the hands-on learning process, wallowing in the experiences of arctic environments, and enjoying the international flavor of the research station that is Ny Ålesund. We have certainly met our goals so far!
And there is still more to come as the students return to their home universities' to start analyzing their hard-earned samples and data, and get on to writing their theses to tell us a story about their findings. Certainly Kongsfjord is a great outdoor laboratory where one can learn about the Arctic, glaciers and the physical processes enhanced by global warming.
What is mainly left at this stage is to publically offer our thanks to a variety of people and organizations who have helped this field program along and made it a success. Firstly, we need to say "tusen takk" to Norsk Polar Institutt (especially Max, Wojtek and Steiner) and a wide range of the Kings Bay staff at Ny Ålesund for their support and willingness to help out in any way they could.
We thank Mark for integrating so well into the group and working with the students to help them along the way. Perhaps most important though is this blog and other outreach efforts to let people know about what such a great experience this is for the participating students…and hopefully you bloggers (especially Mark's middle school students!) have learned a little on the way as well! So thank you for keeping tuned and following along.
We should also not forget the families –both the students' and ours-– for allowing us to come up here and be away from them for the heart of the summer. Hopefully Mark's blog and the webinars have helped in keeping us in the family.
Lastly, but by no means least(!), none of this could happen without financing, and so we wish to thank the US National Science Foundation for the foresight in providing that support both for us and the students, and for Mark through PolarTREC, and by contributing to the Marine Lab facility in Ny Ålesund, which helps immensely in our stay. We also thank the PolarTREC staff for including a teacher with us again this time – we think it adds so much value to the program.
The last word falls to the future where we look forward to working with the students and their home advisers for a successful completion of their theses, to strong presentations at the Arctic Workshop, and then on to the next step in their careers…our best to all…