We have had an excellent Field School this year. The students and teachers worked hard, yet had a lot of fun while learning. Britta collected the following "favorites" from each student to share with our readers. (Tomorrow will begin the U.S.-led Science Education Week.)
Ronin-- My favorite part of this amazing trip is the fact that every day is a day we are out in the field taking samples and studying the wildlife around us, rather than being in a classroom studying out of a mass produced book. Also, being an Alaskan Native, I think it is really cool that this Greenlandic language, which is similar to an Alaskan Native language, is not disappearing, but is the first language people learn, opposed to English.
Michael-- My favorite part of the trip is finding different kinds of rocks, like garnets. I won an award by finding the best and most beautiful garnet from Point 660. I also found a greenish stone that is so rare no one could identify. The stone is most similar to an amphibolite or possibly kryptonite. Also, I found the best, most intact fossil of a fish near the Watson River. I really enjoyed winning both competitions!
Grace-- Out of my experiences so far in Greenland, the most special experience was going to Point 660. Point 660 is a location on the ice sheet 660 meters above sea level. It was fascinating to be on top of an ice sheet in Greenland. It was also interesting to experience an environment that I have never been to before.
Makka-- I really enjoyed going to Point 660 on the ice sheet because it was the first time I was on the inland ice. I’ve been on ice in the ocean and lakes before, but the ice in the middle of Greenland is different. It was exciting to conduct an experiment on the ice. It’s hard to pick just one experience because the whole trip has been amazing. I’ve lived here my whole life and I have never seen the ice sheet, so that was very spectacular to me.
Sam-- My favorite part was the hike we took to the waterfall. I was finally out experiencing Greenland’s natural environment and forming friendships with the other JSEP participants. Here are a few things I have observed about Greenland: 1) There are a lot of mosquitoes. 2) The landscape is very barren, but there is a surprising amount of biodiversity. 3) The rivers are much different than home, they are far more forceful and very grey because they are filled with sediment from the glacier.
Chloe-- Going to Point 660 was a really moving experience for me. It was the first time I had been on the ice sheet or a large glacier for that matter. All of the things that we had been learning over the course of the week began to make sense to me. For example, I learned how glaciers melt, I learned how old glaciers are and how awesome in size they are, and I learned about albedo, which is the reflectivity of the ice. I also really enjoyed the hike I did on July 4th where I began to feel like I was in a different place altogether and began to appreciate the differences in the landscape and vegetation.
Thomas-- It was amazing to get the chance to speak English with the American students and teachers since I don’t get the chance to speak English very much at home. Going to Point 660 was pretty awesome and it was amazing to get the chance to walk on the Greenlandic Ice Sheet. Knowing that I will be going to Summit Station, which involves a 2 hour flight over the ice, it helps me to understand the massive size of the ice sheet. At Point 660, the ice sheet seemed gigantic, but knowing that a flight to the center takes two hours, helps me to understand its immense size even more. It has been amazing to do scientific research in this really unique landscape. In Denmark, there aren’t mountains and rivers like those in Greenland. Greenland is beautiful and inspiring.
Sandra-- The best experience of the trip was when I went to Point 660 and I ate some of the ice. I wanted to see if it tasted fresh and better than the water from my city. I also enjoyed investigating the plants in Greenland and meeting all of the students on the trip. It was nice to meet the other Greenlanders as well as the Danish and American students.
Nuka-- Going to Point 660 was really exciting, and I’m really proud that we went there. This whole trip has been a once in a lifetime opportunity. We know it is very expensive to go up to the ice. It has been great to meet people from around the world and work with them. During the program we had an American Night, a Greenland Night, and a Denmark Night where we shared food, games, and stories. I really enjoyed experiencing different foods and cultures.
John Peter-- I really enjoyed the American Night and the Greenlandic Night. The games were fun and the food was good. I also enjoyed seeing the sled dogs.
Lana-- I enjoyed going to Point 660 because I wanted to see how the ice has melted. I didn’t know how Kangerlussuaq was shaped the way it is before the program. Now I know that it was shaped by a glacier that melted long ago. I enjoyed collecting plants and identifying them. I knew the plants from living in Greenland, but I never knew their names and now I do. We also learned about sea tomatoes in Greenland, but I had never seen or heard of these before. A woman, Aviaja, came to visit us and talk to us about Ikaite Columns. She is Greenlandic and could communicate with us very well. Her visit made me more interested in biology.
Naasunnguaq-- I really enjoyed Point 660 because it is very beautiful. It’s a part of the ice sheet at an elevation of 660 meters. The ice is beautiful because it’s so white and vast. It made me feel free. I enjoyed the teamwork when we did our research like measuring ablation, which is the melting of the ice. I also enjoyed the American, Danish, and Greenlandic Evenings. It was fun to share our cultures and food.
Josefine-- The trip to Point 660 was my favorite part of the program. On the way to Point 660 the second time, we saw a musk ox near the road. When you are on a high spot near the ice sheet, you can look out over the ice and it looks like it’s a frozen ocean. The ice had a very beautiful sparkle. The ice is so big and mighty, you can’t imagine how big it is. I was also very shocked by how much the ice melted in one week. We measured ablation of the ice by using bamboo sticks 1 meter down into the ice by using a drill to get down into the ice. My team measured the ablation on the dark ice, the white ice, and the ice where water was running across it. After one week, the ice that was in the dark areas had melted 51 cm in 7 days. It was pretty amazing that so much ice melted in such a short time. I had never imagined that so much could melt in such a short time. On the 4th of July, some of the American students and I went on a hike to find an Eskimo ruin it was great to go out exploring and experience some of the natural environment of Greenland. We saw a blue fox and an arctic hare on our hike.
Marie-Louise-- One of the best parts of the experience was when Aviaja visited us and explained her work in biotechnology. I really liked how she connected with us as students. Some of the other scientists were older and it was nice to have a young, Greenlandic, female scientist speak to the group. It’s amazing to see such a young woman take on a Ph.D. It was really inspiring. Another great experience was when we walked on the ice sheet. I know that not a lot of people get to walk on the ice sheet so it’s a really special experience. The ice sheet represents such pure nature that is not affected by people. The ice and the huge moraines represent how extreme nature can be, which is quite an eye opener because you can see how much power so much ice has.
Samantha-- At first I was worried about being in a research group with no other Americans. My group was composed of 1 Dane and 2 Greenlanders. I was concerned that would be a language barrier, but I was surprised to find that it was fun to try and communicate and to have to figure out a way to work together. I was surprised how much I made friends with people from other cultures, and I enjoyed the Greenland and Denmark nights where we shared our food, games, and cultures. I never realized how different our cultures would be, but we could still connect through the games. I was surprised how similar our games were. They had a few different twists, but for the most part, they were nearly the same.
Frederick-- My favorite part of the trip so far was the presentation by the Greenlandic Ph.D. student Aviaja Lyberth Hauptmann. Before I came here, I was really in doubt about which path of study to take. One of the reasons I came here was to get outside and experience real field work. I have never seen a Greenlander who was trying to get a Ph.D., so seeing Aviaja really inspired me to try to do the same. By seeing someone else who was like me out there doing it really recharged me. I was struggling to determine whether to major in physics, math, biology, and so on. But now I have a goal, I really want to focus on biochemistry because it’s really exciting. I enjoyed her presentation