Monday, July 23, 2012

NGEE Arctic project gains visibility in Barrow

Our team has been setting up field sites and conducting research for almost 9 months in the North Slope village of Barrow. We have met with the local community to talk about our research and given two Saturday Schoolyard presentations, thanks to Nok Ackers with the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium. We have given field tours to students from the high school and met with third graders from the Fred Ipalook Elementary School, thanks to an invitation from their teacher Ms. Wallace. These are all important educational and outreach opportunities for our project, especially in the close-knit community like Barrow. Many of us enjoy the interactions we have had with the local Inupiat people and others, we look forward to more of this in the coming months.
In the spirit of community outreach, several members of the NGEE Arctic team who (for now) will remain nameless, found a creative way to heighten the visibility of our project while driving around town this week.

Such grassroots publicity might explain why I started to be greeted by name at the AC grocery store and NAPA Auto Parts upon exiting the van. It might also explain why one sweet woman asked "What's an NGEE?".
But in all seriousness, we are enjoying visibility in the larger community; especially as more and more people begin to appreciate the unique role that the Arctic plays in climate and climate change. Just this week, we were approached by two individuals who wanted to learn more about our research. Sara Reardon, a reporter with New Scientist, learned about our project through BASC and asked about meeting with members of our team in Barrow during early August. A similar request came from Gary Braasch (Braasch Environmental), who hosts several highly visible websites on climate and climate change. He will also be in Barrow and asked about talking to us regarding our goal of integrating process knowledge of terrestrial ecosystems into Earth System Models. Our team will do what we can to honor these requests.
In closing, we had a great field research trip to Barrow and my thanks to Alistair, Victoria, Anna, Jonathan, John, Yuxin, and Ken for all their hard work during the past 7 to 10 days. Cheers...