PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) is a program in which formal and informal educators spend 3-6 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 educators and polar researchers together.
Students will collect soil samples and analyze them with some of the same procedures used by researchers in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Soil microfauna (e.g. nematodes) will be extracted from the samples using a Baermann funnel. Students will compare their own data to published data from researchers working in Antarctica.
PolarTREC has been an amazing experience, wow! The heart of the PolarTREC program is the field expedition, which allows the teacher to be embedded in a field research team. STEM educators are passionate about what they teach but often lack access to meaningful opportunities to participate in basic research. Programs like PolarTREC provide that missing
PolarTREC teacher Andrea Skloss’ lesson was inspired by her Chukchi Sea Ecosystem Study aboard the USCGC Healy. In order to understand why this area is a biological hot spot of productivity, scientists must study components such as the trophic levels and more.
In organisms and environments, the student knows that interdependence occurs among living systems and the environment