Over the course of the past week, STA science teacher Piper Bartlett has been participating in something… extraordinary. As part of her upcoming summer Bernie Journey (August 9-September 5) in the Northern Chukchi Integrated Study, Ms. Bartlett was in Fairbanks, AK this week participating in PolarTREK Orientation. PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) is a program in which teachers from the United States (both formal and informal) spend 3-6 weeks participating in hands-on field research experiences in the polar regions. Ms. Bartlett will be spending her summer in this prestigious research program with the mission of returning to share her knowledge with STA students and colleagues.
This Orientation brought all 12 participating teachers together to discuss the program and learn the logistics of a challenging polar expedition. Participants were able to learn about different research projects and consider upcoming collaboration throughout the 2019-2020 season. Ms. Bartlett and her colleagues learned background information about the polar regions and climate change, and were also given expectations for the program, technology training, and equipment fittings. They took science field trips to the Chena Hot Springs, the permafrost tunnels, and saw the Northern Lights. The most important aspect, however, was learning outreach and communication strategies that will help them to bring their experiences back to their classrooms and communities.
The program’s purpose is to help researchers communicate more effectively with the public by giving teachers a hands-on opportunity to engage with the science that they are teaching students. This is only the first step in many towards having a successful PolarTREC expedition and the first resources for making this program a part of classroom curriculum for a long time.
This summer, Ms. Bartlett will be researching and evaluating changes in the Pacific Arctic ecosystem in response to sea ice declines and other climate related processes. She will undertake repeat sampling of specific locations that are biologically diverse or rich in production to detect change, and also use the capabilities aboard the USCGC Healy to undertake process-oriented experiments that address specific issues such as ocean acidification, changes in biological productivity and other areas of sampling that can be addressed by shipboard sampling and experimentation.
We encourage all members of our STA community to jump on board this Bernie Journey with Ms. Bartlett! She can be contacted and followed in these ways:
Website (where you can follow her expedition with journals, pics, and videos!): https://www.polartrec.com/expeditions/northern-chukchi-integrated-study