Watson River below the bridge
A view of the Watson River

This morning a few students woke up early to go for a run to see Lake Ferguson, while others decided to sleep as much as possible. The entire group got ready for the day and ate breakfast at 7:00 am. After breakfast, we gathered for an introduction to the Kangerlussuaq Field School. We started off by learning each other’s names through a game. Then Kasper outlined what we will be doing over the next weeks. He introduced us to our groups containing 3-4 students each: Tuttu (Reindeer), Ukaleq (Arctic hare), Umimmak (Muskox), Nanoq (Polar bear), Puisi (Seal). To get comfortable with a GPS system, the groups split up, found special locations around Kangerlussuaq, and recorded the coordinates of the locations. Then each group, in a scavenger hunt, tried to find the locations of the other groups.

Niviarsiaq (purple flowers) near the Watson River
Niviarsiaq (purple flowers) near the Watson River
Afterwards we took a lunch break and tried out new foods. Some Greenlanders tried peanut butter and jelly for the first time, while some Americans had Rugbrød, which is a dense rye bread. After lunch, researched our individual group animals and gave short presentations on them. The presentations included fun facts and pictures. Next, the groups got assignments on what questions or topics they would like to pursue during their time at the field school. Topics ranged from the albedo effect to climate change to learning about the creation of methods used by scientists. We were also given a list of which scientists we will be meeting with here. Each group decided which scientist would be most helpful in answering our questions for our assignment.

Each day of the week, a specific group will create a video clip discussing a topic, place, or scientist that we visit. To help us prepare for the video making, we watched some of the old videos that students made in previous years. We also learned about some equipment including video microscopes and river measurement tools.

Next we received eight Petri dishes that we would use to find out if there is any mold or bacteria in and around the building. Students placed half of the dishes outside and the other half inside in places where they thought these organisms might grow. They documented the areas, waited an hour, collected the petri dishes, and stowed them. In a few days we will meet with scientist Aviaja Lyberth Hauptmann from the Danish Technical University to analyze the dishes.

The students of JSEP come from many different and exotic parts of the world – a lot come from Greenland, but we also have participants from Hawaii, Denmark and Chile. To get to know each other, we prepared and shared small presentations about ourselves and our countries and brought tokens that represented our homes. The tokens ranged from maple sugar candy from Vermont to Danish cinnamon snails to Hawaiian leis.

Hope gives a shell lei .
Hope gave a shell lei to each JSEP participant after sharing about her Hawaiian home.

Words of the Day


Reindeer (Caribou)/Rensdyr/Tuttu/Caribú (Reno)

Harp Seal/Grønlands sœlen/Puisi/Foca Arpa

Muskox/Moskusokse/Umimmak/Buey almizclero

Arctic hare/Snehare/Ukaleq/Liebre ártica

Polar bear/Isbjørn/Nanoq/Oso polar

67° 0' 32" N , 50° 41' 20" W
Weather Summary
Windy and partly cloudy (clearer in the afternoon). Mild temperature
14 degrees Celsius
Wind Speed
5.8 mps
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Bill Ford (not verified)

Hugh et. al.,
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the posts about your various learning experiences. Sounds like a great time and fantastic experience. I look forward to reading the final Tuttu post and seeing the photos.