Arctic Sea Ice Science Expedition

    The National Science Foundation has declared 2007 the International Polar YearThe International Polar Year (IPY) is a two year (2007-2009) program of international research and education focused on the Arctic and Antarctic. Click here for more information about IPY.. As part of this research effort Dr. Cathleen Gieger (University of Delaware) and her colleagues, Jacqueline Richter-Menge (Cold Regions Research and Engineering facility in Hanover N.H.) and Jennifer Hutchings(University of Alaska--Fairbanks), have received National Science Foundation funding for the scientific research program (SEDNAIn addition to being the acronym for this research project (Sea-ice Experiment—Dynamic Nature of the Arctic), SEDNA is also the name of the Inuit Goddess of the Sea. There are several variations of the mythological story of SEDNA, click here to read one.: Sea Ice Experiment: Dynamic Nature of the Arctic). Part of their research involves field studies at an ice camp located in the arctic. I have been invited to join their expedition as an educational outreach science teacher. Twenty years ago as an oceanography graduate student at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks I was involved in arctic research. I have used this experience in teaching physical science, biology, and environmental science. During the twenty years that have passed there have been a lot of changes in the arctic. The arctic is of particular importance in the debate over global climate change because of the "polar amplification effect” where the effects of small changes in temperature are magnified in the arctic. Participation in this field expedition and interaction with expert scientists in the field will allow me to learn the latest techniques and understand the current research on global climate change.This field experience will directly benefit the students of the Hartford School District in several ways. Some of the scientists have agreed to come and give talks to classes throughout the district about their research and adventures doing science. The scientists provide excellent role models for girls interested in science. Before going into the field I will be available to help district teachers plan units on the arctic, and meet with classes sharing my experiences, photos and slides from my graduate student days. I will be in contact with district students from the ice camp through email, a website and by satellite phone. In this way district students can interact with me and ask questions and I can let the students know what I am learning and experiencing.

    I will leave for training in Fairbanks, Alaska, on March 21, head to the camp on the multiyear ice northeast of Prudhoe Bay, and then return to the Upper Valley in mid April. In order to provide a quality educational experience for my classes while I am gone the district is looking for a retired biology teacher to continue with the current biology program. Funding to cover the cost of my travel, food, lodging equipment and clothing will be provided through the Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating (PolarTREC) program, along with the cost of the substitute teacher. PolarTREC is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).