Education & Capacity Building
The Polaris Project
Understanding the environmental changes happening in the Arctic is central to understanding global climate change. Russia has the largest share of the Arctic, by far, yet few western scientists and students have the chance to work in the Siberian Arctic. The Polaris Project provides just that opportunity by training future leaders in arctic research and education, and informing the public about the impacts of climate change. In a unique collaboration among students, educators, and scientists from distinct cultures, the Polaris Project is addressing a critically important scientific challenge: understanding the transport and transformations of carbon and nutrients as they move with water from terrestrial uplands to the Arctic Ocean, with an emphasis on the linkages among the different ecosystems, and how processes occurring in one component influence the others.
Led by the Woods Hole Research Center, other participating institutions include Carleton College, Clark University, Holy Cross College, St. Olaf College, University of Nevada – Reno, Western Washington University, and Yakustk State University.
Begun in 2008, the Polaris Project offers participants a 3-week field course in the Siberian Arctic. While there, the students and scientists will be based at the Northeast Science Station, which is located approximately 80 kilometers south of the Arctic Ocean on the Kolyma River, near Cherskiy. The participants will stay on a 30-meter barge that will serve as a mobile base for field trips up and down the river.
In addition to the field course, The Polaris Project includes research experience for undergraduate students in the Siberian Arctic, several new arctic-focused undergraduate courses taught by project co-primary investigators (PIs) at their home institutions, the opportunity for those co-PIs to initiate research programs in the Siberian Arctic, and a wide range of outreach activities. All project participants, both students and faculty, will visit kindergarten through Grade 12 classrooms to convey the excitement of polar research.
Thumbnail image and video © Chris Linder.
To learn more, visit the Polaris Project’s site at thepolarisproject.org.
The Polaris Project is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.