|Title:||14,000 Miles Between Us: Linking Polar Regions and Climate Change Science with Classrooms and Communities Around the World|
|Periodical:||American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2011, abstract #ED34B-03|
Understanding environmental change in the polar regions is a key research topic for thousands of scientists around the world. Despite the wealth of research and knowledge the scientific community has about these highly sensitive regions, this knowledge is rarely shared directly in classrooms or with the public. In order to increase awareness and engagement in polar science, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide Ice Core Project focused heavily on outreach and education during the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 field campaigns. With the support of two National Science Foundation-funded outreach projects, including PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) and the Exploratorium's "Ice Stories", thousands of elementary- to college-aged students were direct participants in this Antarctic ice core science. WAIS Divide research was communicated using online journals, short video clips, live webinars from the field, and scientist visits to classrooms. Using the platform of ice core science, and linking the similarities between everyday life at home and in the field, allowed for the effective communication of the excitement and importance of polar science research. Examples of this educational content, classroom ideas, and creative field techniques will help demonstrate the utility of using exciting field science to increase engagement in science and research. Ultimately, by creatively using a model similar to that of the PolarTREC and Ice Stories programs, polar scientists can easily incorporate meaningful education and outreach into their field programs.