Update

The Polaris Project participants hosted weekly webinars in preparation for their expedition. A public presentation given by Andy Bunn on climate change is now available in the PolarConnect Archives.

What Are They Doing?

Sampling river water
Sampling river water
The Polaris Project is an innovative international collaboration among students, teachers, and scientists. Funded by the National Science Foundation since 2008, the Polaris Project trains future leaders in arctic research and informs the public about the Arctic and global climate change. During the annual month-long field expedition to the Siberian Arctic, undergraduate students conduct cutting-edge investigations that advance scientific understanding of the changing Arctic. During the Polaris Project field course, students and faculty work together to study the Arctic as a system. Instead of focusing on a single question in a single ecosystem type, the group considers a range of questions across multiple components of the Arctic System including forests, tundra, lakes, rivers, estuaries, and the coastal Arctic Ocean. The unifying scientific theme is the transport and transformations of carbon and nutrients as they move with water from terrestrial uplands to the Arctic Ocean. They emphasize the linkages among the different ecosystems, and how processes occurring in one component influence the others.

Where Are They?

Kolyma River winding through northern Russia
Kolyma River winding through northern Russia
The research team traveled from the United States to Moscow, then on to the research station at Cherskiy, north of the Arctic Circle. Once at Cherskiy, the research team lived and worked primarily on a barge on the Kolyma River, one of the most remote rivers in the world. The barge provided a unique dormitory but also served as a mobile lab, allowing the team to tow the barge to various locations on the river for different studies.

Expedition Map

Dates
-
Location
Cherskiy, Siberia
Project Funded Title
The Polaris Project
Mark Paricio - Teacher
Teacher
Smoky Hill High School

Mark Paricio is a national board certified science teacher at Smoky Hill High School in Aurora, Colorado, where his guiding principle is that "Science, like life, is NOT a spectator sport." Having worked as a chemical and environmental engineer in the nuclear industry prior to teaching, Mark stresses using a multidisciplinary approach to learning about and solving scientific problems. To this end, Mark has worked to create opportunities for his students to work with professional engineers to design sustainable buildings and communities, as well as to investigate alternative transportation issues. Mark teaches his students to view their world as part of the whole – and that understanding this system is critical if they hope to contribute significantly in their future. Mark is excited to bring the experience of his PolarTREC research expedition back to the classroom to inspire students to go out and pursue science in their lives and to make a difference. Mark is a past Colorado Physical Science Teacher of the Year. When not teaching, Mark is busy traveling with his family or enjoying hiking, skiing, or cycling in the Colorado Mountains.

Max Holmes - Researcher
Researcher
Woods Hole Research Center

Dr. Holmes is an earth system scientist with broad interests in the responses and feedbacks of coupled land-ocean systems to environmental and global change. Most of his current research focuses on large rivers and their watersheds and addresses how climate change and other disturbances are impacting the cycles of water and chemicals in the environment. Dr. Holmes has several ongoing projects in the Arctic (field sites in Russia, Canada, and Alaska) and has more recently begun working in Africa, Asia, and South America (Amazon, Congo, Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Yangtze watersheds). He has also studied desert streams in the southwestern United States, stream/riparian ecosystems in France, and estuaries in Massachusetts. He is strongly committed to integrating education and outreach into his research projects, particularly by exposing K-12 and undergraduate students to the excitement of scientific research.

Latest Journals

After the past month in Siberia, my thoughts focus on the remarkable vision of the Polaris Project, on the extreme difficulty of doing Arctic research in Siberia, and on the remarkable people I met throughout this expedition. Polaris Project Successes The Polaris Project (ThePolarisProject.org),…
On our last full day (so the schedule would have us believe) at the Northeast Science Station, I am reminded of our first full day here. It’s the weather. It snowed on us then and it snowed on us again today. Actually, yesterday reminded me again of Colorado, a beautiful summer morning followed…
Over the last two days, many of us accompanied the researchers out to collect any nonpermanent sampling equipment, place long-term equipment to gather data over the next year until the Polaris Project returns, and take any final samples. Learning to take Trees Cores Last evening and this morning…
To me as a teacher, one of the most rewarding aspects of the Polaris Program is watching mentoring relationships develop between students and researchers from the same university. Taking education out of the confines of the university and into the field, raises the level of thinking and problem…
I had a chance to talk with Seth for a couple of hours on one of the first days at the station as we waited for a sampling team at Shuch’ye Lake. Immediately, I was impressed by Seth’s intellect and drive. Not only is he majoring in both chemistry and biology at St. Olaf College, he is also a…
Today, I accompanied Brandi Jo Petronio and Peter Ganzlin to the forests just beyond the experimental burn plots, where they are jointly conducting their research project. Their research centers on determining the effects of leaf litter on the growth of moss. Peter Ganzlin and Bradi Jo Petronio…

Siberian Arctic Systems Study Resources

Overview

How can the ocean be colder than 0 degrees C, the temperature at which water freezes? As it turns out, the concentration of the particles (in this case, the ions from the salt) in ocean water lowers the temperature at which the saltwater will freeze.

Lesson
Arctic
About 1 period
High school and Up
Download, Share, and Remix

This is a one hour webinar is part of the Polaris Project 2012, conducted by Max Holmes and John Schade. In this session Andy Bunn, professor at Western Washington University, presents a lecture on the history and science of climate change.

Event
Arctic
About 1 period

This is a one hour webinar specifically for the participants of the Polaris Project 2012, conducted by Max Holmes and John Schade. In this session, a variety of team members present their scientific work.

Event
Arctic
Less than 1 period

This presentation is part of the Polaris Project Webinar Series preparing participants for the field season 2012.

Event
Arctic
Less than 1 period

This presentation is part of the Polaris Project Webinar Series preparing participants for the field season 2012. This is one of two lectures to view for Session Two. You need to also watch the Sobczak Presentation Archive.

Event
Arctic
Less than 1 period