Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: Outreach and Education of Arctic K-12 Students Using the Winter Snow Cover (Award# 1001186)

PI: Sturm, Matthew ( )
Phone: (907) 353.5183 
Institute/Department: U of Alaska, Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute 
IPY Project?
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 funds a snowmobile traverse in March 2010 from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The project team will visit about 10 schools along the way. They also will collect snow samples and other data. The team will focus on the students and teachers they visit during the traverse, to share knowledge and passion for science through understanding snow, a prevalent feature in the Arctic, and to teach essential concepts of physics and chemistry using snow. In addition, the investigators will develop the indoor and outdoor activities into a workbook for classrooms. The team will update a Web site throughout the traverse and will include educational materials relevant for use by schools not visited by the traverse and as a resource following the traverse. The researchers will also revisit sites from a 1924 survey by the U.S. Geological Survey and sites studied over the previous 10 years by the research team to reconstruct old photographs, collect samples and make observations. Snow samples will be analyzed for soot and mercury by collaborating researchers. A National Park Service biologist will join the team on the traverse to further develop an activity using animal tracks in the snow as a way of estimating animal populations. The lead investigator has published two books to facilitate snow education: “Apun: The Arctic Snow” is a book for young students; “A Teachers Guide to Apun” is a guide to snow for older students or educators. The materials take a system science approach to snow in the environment and include a multicultural perspective that includes Inupiaq vocabulary for the phenomenon described in the books. The PI will incorporate Yupik and Athabaskan languages in future iterations of “Apun” and the activity book that will be published following the traverse. Teacher mentoring and dissemination of products from the project will continue through school visits and at conferences with support from this award. The team will conduct a survey of teachers involved in the project to inform the development of the activity book.

Logistics Summary:
The PI and his team seek to engage students and teachers in remote parts of Alaska during the school year to share their passion for science and to teach essential concepts of physics and chemistry using snow. In March 2010, a team of 3-4 will set out from Fairbanks, Alaska, on a month-long snowmobile traverse to the Arctic Coast. The researchers will visit 11 communities in Alaska en route, pausing in each for a day or two, and will work with the kids and teachers in the K-12 schools to show them how science can be learned using the local snow cover. The field team will depart from Fairbanks and travel down the frozen Tanana River to Nenana, Manley Hot Springs, and Tanana. From there they will follow the traditional trail between Tanana to Allakaket. From Allakaket they will work up the Alatna River. Following in the footsteps of the 1924 USGS Expedition, from the Alatna River they will veer northeast up Unakserak Creek and cross the divide at Survey Pass. If conditions and weather allow, from there they will make an excursion east to Anaktuvuk Pass. From there researchers will intersect their 2000 North Slope trail, which they will follow west to Ivotuk, then north to the Colville River, then northwest to Atqasuk and Barrow. From Barrow they will follow the Arctic Coast east to Nuiqsut and Prudhoe Bay, where the traverse will end. At Prudhoe, the team will trailer their sleds and snowmobiles and drive back home to Fairbanks.

CPS will coordinate fuel resupply at Ivotuk for the traverse leg from Anaktuvuk to Atqasuk; provide fixed-wing support for fuel resupply, snowmobiles, sleds and two satellite telephones (currently on-loan to CRREL); make a truck and trailer available and pay for user days in Prudhoe. The PI will arrange and pay for all other logistics, including all Barrow/Atqasuk costs, commercial air tickets, and en route consumables (food and fuel) from the grant.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2010Alaska - Alatna River03 / 20 / 2010 04 / 20 / 20103
2010Alaska - Allakaket03 / 20 / 2010 04 / 20 / 20103
2010Alaska - Anaktuvuk Pass03 / 20 / 2010 04 / 20 / 20103
2010Alaska - Atqasuk03 / 20 / 2010 04 / 20 / 20103
2010Alaska - Colville River03 / 20 / 2010 04 / 20 / 20103
2010Alaska - Fairbanks03 / 20 / 2010 04 / 20 / 20103
2010Alaska - Ivotuk03 / 20 / 2010 04 / 20 / 20103
2010Alaska - Manley Hot Springs03 / 20 / 2010 04 / 20 / 20103
2010Alaska - Nenana03 / 20 / 2010 04 / 20 / 20103
2010Alaska - Nuiqsut03 / 20 / 2010 04 / 20 / 20103
2010Alaska - Prudhoe Bay03 / 20 / 2010 04 / 20 / 20103
2010Alaska - Survey Pass03 / 20 / 2010 04 / 20 / 20103
2010Alaska - Tanana03 / 20 / 2010 04 / 20 / 20103
2010Alaska - Unakserak River03 / 20 / 2010 04 / 20 / 20103
2010Alaska - Utqiaġvik (Barrow)03 / 20 / 2010 04 / 20 / 20103

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Parameters used to generate this report:, Grant# = "1001186", IPY = "ALL" 
     Number of projects returned based on your query parameters = 1