Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: What’s Climate Change to You? / North of 60: Students Doing Science in a Global Network (Award# 0806428)

PI: Doering, Aaron H (
Phone: (612) 625.1073 
Institute/Department: U of Minnesota, Curriculum and Instruction 
IPY Project? NO
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ARE
Program Manager: Mr. Peter West (
Discipline(s): | Education and Outreach |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
This grant (WCCY) will involve K-12 students in exploration of climate change issues, beginning with a simple, personal question: What is climate change to you? The overarching objectives of WCCY are to 1) inspire students to examine how climate change affects their own lives and the lives of those around them; 2) to involve students in doing the science of snow and climate; and 3) to connect students with each other and the wider world through science and study of climate change. WCCY builds on an exploratory network established by the PI with an earlier awarded NSF SGER (0723521). The vehicle for WCCY is GoNorth! and North of 60. Developed at the University of Minnesota in collaboration with NOMADS Online Classroom Expeditions, GoNorth! ( ) is a free adventure learning project for the K-12 Classroom anchored in social and natural science curriculum. Used by more than three million learners, participation includes teachers in 4500+ schools - across the 50 US states and worldwide on five continents. Educators and scientists will dog sled to circumpolar Arctic locations, visiting communities and conducting experiments en route. A 500+ page Curriculum & Activity Guide is developed each year reflecting the expedition’s current Arctic locale, its indigenous culture and the field research. The online learning environment delivers comprehensive resources about the region of travel, collaborative opportunities, live field updates and field research findings synched real-time to the curriculum. Field research relevant to understanding patterns of climate change include documenting environmental observations; and collecting snow cover measurements and crystal samples in a cryosphere research effort by NASA. These will in turn provide WCCY scientists with longitudinal climate-related data and observations. Students will 1) document local environmental observations within online Community Climate Diaries and in the format of photo-stories, and 2) collect snow depth and SWE measurements, snow crystal observations and temperature data sets. The students will be trained during field expeditions to their locales and thereafter supported by regional science advisors and returning team members. Web casts will take place each year building the WCCY community. By 2011 forty schools in Alaska, Russia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, Canada, and the US will be part of the WCCY network. WCCY students and teachers will have the opportunity to do science and inquiry, while working with scientists on the most significant issue of our times – climate change.

Logistics Summary:
This grant funds“adventure learning” activities, some of which involve expeditions for local outreach and training, largely aboard dog sled traverses through arctic Canada, Greenland and Fennoscandia. The project aims to engage K-12 students in the natural sciences via interactive web-based activities, science observations, and live events from the field broadcast via the Internet. Previous expeditions covered remote regions of northeast Alaska and Chukotka in Russia. The years covered by this grant, 2009-2011 (and then 2012-2013 as a result of an NSF-approved extension), will bring the team to Canada, Greenland, and Scandinavia. In 2012, the PI launches a 'North of 60' interactive website, which will be populated with stories told to local students by elders in native communities around the Arctic. To support North of 60 development, the PI will conduct field work in Arctic Canada and Alaska in 2013. In 2009, the team will dogsled to Baffin Island, Nunavut, in eastern Canada. After driving from the kennel in Minnesota to Ottawa in late February, the field team (a total of four people and 24 Polar Husky dogs) will then fly via fixed wing planes to the trailhead, near the community of Pangnirtung, in early March. The 10-week journey will end in June in the community of Pangnirtung, in the high Arctic. There, the team will be taken out and returned via fixed-wing planes to Ottawa, for onward travel to the basecamp via truck. The team will visit communities along the way, presenting their “What’s Climate Change to You?” program at local schools. When able, they will overnight in these communities; otherwise, they will camp along the trail. Fuel and food depots will be established on the route to resupply the traverse. In addition to local outreach, the team will take samples and make observations for a variety of science experiments, including an investigation of traditional ecological knowledge, and Cold Regions Research and Engineering (Sturm-led Snow-Net). They will participate in live chats and update the GoNorth! Web site with weekly trail updates. In 2010, the team will take WCCY to Greenland. Researchers received permission from Greenlandic Homerule to travel with the Polar Husky sled dogs in Greenland from Thule Air Base to NEEM. The field team will begin in late March and will also conduct WCCY in nearby villages before and during the Polar Husky traverse. To deliver WCCY working with students and youth in communities, a team member will travel via Air Greenland fixed-wing plane and with local dog teams to two local villages north of Thule airbase. In addition to WCCY outreach, the team will take samples and make observations for a variety of science experiments. They will participate in live chats and update the GoNorth! Web site with weekly trail updates. (Science experiments and Web-enabled efforts will continue throughout the Greenland trip.) When the WCCY outreach work is completed in the northern communities, one team member will return to Thule, fly via Air Greenland to Kangerlussuaq, stopping en route to conduct WCCY outreach in Uummannaq and Ilulissat before flying to Scotia via ANG. The dog-sled traverse to NEEM will commence in mid-April from Thule. Two team members and 24 dogs will arrive in Thule via Kenn Borek Bassler. Three others will meet the team in Thule via AMC to help organize gear, for one week. To access the ice sheet safely, the GoNorth! team of four will follow the Greenland Traverse project through the transition zone. Once safely up on the ice sheet, the GoNorth! team will continue on, arriving at NEEM around mid-May and flying on to Kangerlussuaq and then to Scotia via the ANG. The PI returns to the field in 2013 to disseminate the newly designed North of Sixty° ( learning environment throughout the circumpolar Arctic. The PI will travel to Nunavut, Canada, and the Alaskan Arctic, spending about 2 weeks in each location to provide professional development to participating school teachers to integrate the learning environment as well as collect personal interviews on traditional ecological knowledge.

CPS will provide communications equipment and/or some field/safety gear for three years of work. In Greenland only, CPS also will provide ANG and AMC coordination, commercial air charters, freight costs, Kangerlussuaq user days, lodging in Greenland communities and Thule, and fuel. GoNorth! will manage all other requirements— including special permits to introduce the Polar Huskies to Greenland—and pay other costs via the grant.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2009Canada - Clyde River, Baffin Island05 / 25 / 2009 06 / 13 / 20092
2009Canada - Iqaluit, Baffin Island04 / 09 / 2009 06 / 13 / 20094
2009Canada - Pangnirtung, Baffin Island04 / 09 / 2009 04 / 25 / 20094
2009Canada - Qikiqtarjuaq05 / 02 / 2009 05 / 09 / 20094
2010Greenland - Ilulissat05 / 05 / 2010 05 / 17 / 20101
2010Greenland - Kangerlussuaq05 / 17 / 2010 05 / 23 / 20105
2010Greenland - NEEM05 / 12 / 2010 05 / 23 / 20104
2010Greenland - Qaanaaq03 / 26 / 2010 04 / 14 / 20101
2010Greenland - Siorapaluk04 / 14 / 2010 04 / 21 / 20101
2010Greenland - Thule03 / 25 / 2010 04 / 23 / 20106
2010Greenland - Uummannaq04 / 21 / 2010 05 / 05 / 20101
2013Alaska - Kotzebue02 / 02 / 2013 02 / 14 / 20133
2013Canada - Pangnirtung, Baffin Island04 / 08 / 2013 04 / 27 / 20134
2013Canada - Qikiqtarjuaq04 / 08 / 2013 04 / 27 / 20134

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