Product Type
San Francisco, California, USA
More than 22,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders gathered in San Francisco, California to present groundbreaking research and connect with colleagues.  PolarTREC staff and alumni teachers and researchers present posters, oral presentations, and convene sessions in education and outreach strands. In addition to presentations, PolarTREC teacher Gary Wesche, researcher Heidi Roop, and manager Sarah Bartholow co-convened a session for Polar Educators International with an excellent selection of presentations raising awareness of polar education initiatives.

Exploration Station

PolarTREC event coordinator: Sarah Bartholow.  

This event is four hours long, free, and open to the public. Participants make their way through an average of 20-30 exhibits offering a variety of easy, family friendly, hands-on activities and an opportunity to interact one-on-one with scientists, engineers, and education specialists.

PolarTREC hosted an informational booth for educators on opportunities to work with research teams as well as bringing polar science into the classroom. Other polar organizations including APECS (Association of Polar Early Career Scientists) and PEI (Polar Educators International) hosted booths with activities for students.

Challenge: Reframing, communicating, and finding relevance. Solution: Teachers on the research team.

Authors: Janet Warburton and Sarah Bartholow

Session: GC029. Cutting-Edge Challenges in Climate Change Science (Poster)**

This poster speaks to the practices within the PolarTREC program and how researchers can meet outreach expectations, impact the public, and refine their science with teachers in the field.


PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) is a program in which K-12 teachers spend 2-6 weeks participating in hands-on field research experiences in the polar regions. The goal of PolarTREC is to invigorate polar science education and understanding by bringing K-12 educators and polar researchers together.  

Program data has illuminated a crucial dynamic that increases the potential for a successful climate change science campaign. We contend that the inclusion of a teacher into the field research campaign can tackle challenges such as reframing climate change science to better address the need for a particular campaign, as well as garnering the science project the necessary support through effective, authentic, and tangible communication efforts to policymakers, funders, students, and the public.   

The program evaluation queried researchers on a.) the teachers' primary roles in the field b.) the impact teachers on the team's field research, and c.)  the teachers' role conducting outreach. Additionally, researchers identified the importance of the facilitator, the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS), as an integral component to the challenge of providing a meaningful broader impact statement to the science proposal.  

Researchers reported the value of explaining their science, in-situ, allowed them to reframe and rework the objectives of the science project to attain meaningful outcomes. More than half of the researchers specifically noted that one of the strengths of the PolarTREC project is its benefit to the scientific process.   

The researchers also viewed PolarTREC as an essential outreach activity for their research project. Other researchers said that the outreach provided by their teacher also improved the research project’s public image and articulated complex ideas to the public at large.    

Polar Educators International: Emerging Leader for Education and Outreach  

Contributing author: Sarah Bartholow  


Polar Educators International (PEI) is a global professional network for those who educate in, for, and about the polar regions. Our goal is to connect educators, scientists, and community members to share expertise around the world and to rekindle student and public engagement with global environmental change. The growing membership in over 30 countries is now recognized as a leading organization capable of fulfilling E&O goals of international science organizations and training educators to facilitate outstanding polar science and climate change education in classrooms. This session will address the importance of dedicated, high-caliber, interpersonal professional networks that are linked directly to the expert science community to better serve science goals and education in classrooms. Discover that the educators and scientists in the network are resources themselves to help you become a leader in polar and climate education; arguably our most important content at the international level.  

From Pole to Pole: Experiences Educating About the Polar Regions (ED020)

Contributing conveners: Heidi A. Roop, Sarah Bartholow, Louise Huffman, and Gary Wesche  

Session Focus

Global efforts to raise awareness and literacy about the Arctic and Antarctic continue to grow, with new events and activities stemming out of initiatives such as the 2007-2008 International Polar Year, the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists, and Polar Educators International. This session provides a platform for educators and scientists to share perspectives, experiences, and resources used in communicating the scientific, social, and political issues of the polar regions. An aim of this session is to foster new collaborations, inspire ideas, and improve the effectiveness and reach of these globally diverse educational efforts.   

Shown here is a word cloud created from the abstracts accepted to present in the session.