Partnerships for polar science education and outreach in Greenland (JSEP) and Antarctica (JASE)

PI Institute/Department Email
Virginia, Ross
Dartmouth College, Institute of Arctic Studies
Funding Agency
Program Manager Funding Agency Email
Rom, Elizabeth
NSF, Office of Polar Programs
Education and Outreach
Science Summary

Earth's Polar Regions are undergoing rapid changes that have relevance to the entire world. Scientists are working to understand the causes and consequences of this change and have a critical role in communicating their findings with diverse stakeholders. The pace of polar change demands continuous investment in training and educating the next generation of polar professionals who are prepared to be leaders in academia, government, industry, and policy. The Joint Science Education Project (JSEP) and the Joint Antarctic School Expedition (JASE) are two NSF-sponsored polar-focused programs that provide significant opportunities for polar science outreach and for training the next generation of STEM professionals. JSEP, a project of the Joint Committee, was initiated in 2007 to educate students and teachers from Greenland, Denmark, and the U.S. The group spends three weeks in Greenland to study the causes and consequences of rapid environmental change. JASE, a project in collaboration with the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH), takes U.S. students to Antarctica to work alongside Chilean students and examine Antarctica's rapidly changing ecosystems. This project from Dartmouth College will continue leading the U.S. contributions to JSEP and JASE for the next four years, starting in April 2018. In addition to coordinating each field-based program for U.S. high school students, Dartmouth plans additional components to broaden the impact of these programs, including: sending a team of graduate student and faculty researchers with polar field experience to lead scientific components of JSEP and JASE; working with Greenlandic and Chilean educators to disseminate JSEP and JASE polar science outcomes to local audiences during the field-based expeditions; adapting JSEP and JASE polar science field activities for use in U.S. and international classrooms; providing training in cross-cultural science communication for diverse audiences to Dartmouth graduate students and the campus community; and assessing skill- and content-based outcomes for high school and graduate student participants in JSEP and JASE. As an outcome of a NSF IGERT grant to develop the Polar Environmental Change program and previous NSF funding for JSEP, Dartmouth has significant experience with science, outreach, and logistics of working in Kangerlussuaq and Summit, Greenland, and at INACH facilities on King George Island, Antarctica. A Dartmouth partnership with JSEP and JASE is a natural and synergistic collaborative opportunity to provide significant international polar science education and outreach to students from the U.S., Greenland, Denmark, and Chile, with broad impacts for international communities of stakeholders, future leaders, and polar scientists. This work will result in new models for place-based, inquiry-based, and cross-cultural STEM education that places students at multiple levels in mutually beneficial partnerships. Additionally, work with JSEP and JASE will emphasize indigenous perspectives on polar environmental change and evaluating its role in shaping the perspectives of participants. These models for interdisciplinary education and the extensive assessments conducted for all participants give this work significant intellectual merit in the fields of polar science and STEM education. Broader impacts include: building international networks of students, educators, stakeholders, future leaders, and polar scientists; increasing national capacity for science education, including cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspectives on polar environmental change; and generating polar science educational tools and modules that are freely accessible to students and teachers in multiple languages. Benefits to the high school students, graduate students, and faculty at Dartmouth include: increased exposure to cutting-edge and field-based Arctic and Antarctic science; improved science communication skills; cross-cultural and international experience; greater facility in framing and communicating scholarship to meet the needs of Arctic communities; increased capacity for recognizing, assimilating, and communicating traditional knowledge; and skills for implementing programs to broaden impacts of their future scholarship. The graduate students will receive training in managing interdisciplinary research and outreach teams, and experience doing so in the field in Greenland, thereby contributing to their preparation as future leaders in polar science and policy.

Logistics Summary

This grant continues support begun under NSF grant 1506155 for the Joint Science Education Project (JSEP) program in Greenland. The Joint Committee, a high-level forum involving the Greenlandic, Danish and U.S. governments, initiated JSEP in 2007 to educate an international community of high school students and teachers from each of the three nations about the causes and consequences of rapid environmental change. The goals of JSEP include inspiring the next generation of polar scientists, building strong networks of students and teachers among the three countries, and providing an opportunity to practice language and communication skills by taking students from the three nations to Greenland to observe polar science in action. From 2018 to 2022, Dartmouth JSEP team participants will visit Greenland each summer to engage in the Kangerlussuaq Science Field School and lead Science and Education week at Summit Station. The PI and postdoctoral fellow will also travel to Nuuk to advance partnerships with Greenlandic institutions. The 2018 JSEP effort features the Kanger-based field school where participants generally learn to identify glacial landscape features, use a GPS to create maps of moraines, shrub vegetation, thaw features etc., and making sketches in their field notebooks. Field-based time-lapse photography is used to record change with an emphasis on phenology. For the ice sheet camp field school, the participants are introduced to the science of ice cores; inquiry-based research projects on snow albedo and thermal energy.

CPS will provide transportation via Air National Guard and commercial travel for US participants to Kangerlussuaq, lodging and trucks in Kangerlussuaq, an Air National Guard SAAM mission between Kangerlussuaq and EGRIP, camping gear and safety equipment. All other support will be organized and paid through the grant.

Season Field Site Date In Date Out #People
Greenland - Summit
Greenland - Summit
Greenland - Summit
Greenland - Summit
Greenland - Summit