The Arctic in the Classroom: Study of Landscape Change in Remote Communities of Alaska: A K-12 Citizen Science Initiative toward Sustained Arctic Observations

Jan 2016 to Jan 2020

Alaska’s land, water, plants, wildlife, and seasons are undergoing a great upheaval, and its people, especially the communities living in remote villages are directly and severely impacted by these widespread environmental changes. These changes are not only widespread but also often so rapid that we cannot possibly have enough scientists and professionals on the ground to detect and predict these changes before their effects are obvious. Especially environmental changes occurring in and around the remote communities in Alaska are directly affecting the subsistence resources and practices, thus have the most impact on the socio-economic conditions of these communities. In order to detect, monitor, and forecast these environmental changes to better prepare the communities to respond and adapt we need to engage the community members in scientific monitoring and assessment process. We are creating a plan for implementing (or improving upon) a citizen-science based project between researchers conducting research in/near a community, a teacher based in that community, and interested community members. The project aims to engage local students in local research to increase their awareness of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education and opportunities. This is a K-12 citizen science project focused on landscape change in remote communities of Alaska involving K-12 students and teachers, and researchers from University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Montana, and USGS.