For Immediate Release
Teachers Embark on
Polar Research Experiences
experiences will improve and enliven science education by connecting teachers,
researchers, students, and the public around the globe.
Toolik Field Station, Alaska, Arctic Circle: Svea Anderson, a 6th grade teacher at Agua Caliente Elementary School always wanted to bring real world scientific experiences to her students, and she will be living her lifelong dream by joining Dr. Syndonia Bret-Harte in the Arctic for four weeks conducting research on the tundra’s ecology. The project description includes that the ecosystems develop and change through interactions between living things and their physical environment. A shift in vegetation is one of the most important changes an ecosystem can experience, because it can alter exchanges of energy (originating from sunlight), water, and elements such as carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) between air, plants, and soil. In the Arctic, a widespread shift from tundra to deciduous shrub-dominated vegetation appears to be occurring. This project will assess contributions of different shrub feedbacks to carbon and nitrogen cycling, and improve predictions of the consequences of shrub expansion in the Arctic for regional and global climate.
Beginning in July, Svea
Anderson will participate as a research team member in an authentic scientific
expedition in the Arctic, joining other K-12 teachers who will be working in
research locations from the Arctic Ocean to Antarctica, as part of a program
that allows teachers to experience first-hand what it is like to conduct
scientific research in some of the most remote locations on earth.
Svea Anderson is one of the
teachers selected through a nationwide search to participate in PolarTREC, an
educational research experience in which K-12 teachers participate in polar
research, working closely with scientists as a pathway to improving science
education. Through PolarTREC, selected teachers will have the rare opportunity
to spend two to six weeks working with a research team in the Arctic or
Antarctic. While on field expeditions, teachers and researchers will share
their experiences with scientists, educators, communities, and students of all
ages through the use of Internet tools such as online teacher and researcher
journals, message boards, photo albums, podcasts, PolarConnect real-time presentations from the field, and online
learning resources. After the field experience, teachers and researchers will
continue to share their experiences with the public and create instructional
activities to transfer scientific data, methodologies, and technology to
The first expedition departs in spring 2018 with a teacher deploying shipboard to Antarctica. By mid-June multiple teachers will be heading to Alaska. Additional expeditions will take place throughout the Arctic field season in the summer of 2018. The Antarctic field season will be in full swing by November and continue through the winter of 2018-19. This year's expeditions will range from the Arctic Circle to the South Pole and study a large scope of topics from marine biology to landscape ecology.
PolarTREC is managed by the Arctic Research Consortium of
the U.S. (ARCUS) and funded by the National Science Foundation and additional
partnerships. For more information and to participate, see the PolarTREC
website at: http://www.polartrec.com or
contact the ARCUS Project Managers, Janet Warburton and Judy Fahnestock at [email protected] or call 907-474-1600.
Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) is based in Fairbanks,
Alaska and was formed in 1988 to provide leadership in advancing knowledge and
understanding of the Arctic. ARCUS is a member consortium of educational and
scientific institutions. Further information is available at: http://www.arcus.org.