Arctic Science Ministerial Side-Event on Arctic Science, Education, and Citizen Empowerment

September 22, 2016
By Jessica Rohde

In collaboration with Arctic Portal, Arctic21, the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC)PoLAR Partnership,EDU-Arctic, and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a special side-event to the 2016 Arctic Science Ministerial meeting at the ARCUS office in Washington, D.C. on 27 September, 2016.

Scheduled to take place immediately before the opening events of the first White House Arctic Science Ministerial, this special event is intended to engage the international community of Arctic stakeholders in a constructive dialogue around one of the four key themes of the Arctic Science Ministerial: "Arctic Science as a Vehicle for STEM Education and Citizen Empowerment." It also provides a key opportunity for leaders participating in the Arctic Science Ministerial to engage with the wider Arctic stakeholder community and media on these topics before the closed meetings of the Arctic Science Ministerial begin.

The event has been organized into two sessions.

Session 1: Panel Presentations, 9-11:30am

Doors will open at 8:30am and the morning session program will take place from 9:00am to 11:30am. The morning session will feature two panel discussions by Arctic educators, researchers, and community leaders. Mark Brzezinski, Executive Director of the U.S. Government’s Arctic Executive Steering Committee will provide an opening keynote.

Max Holmes, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center, will lead the first panel discussion focusing on using Arctic science as a vehicle to encourage young people to become interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The panel will feature:

  • Greenland's Minister of Education, Culture, Research and Church Nivi Olsen
  • Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission Fran Ulmer
  • An inspiring teacher from California who has been involved with the ARCUSPolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) program John Wood

The second panel, focusing on empowering Arctic communities through research and education, will be led by veteran reporter on Arctic climate change issues Suzanne Goldenberg. The panel will feature:

  • Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council Okalik Eegeesiak
  • Chair of the Arctic Economic Council an Vice- President of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Tara Sweeney
  • Head of the Arctic and Environment Unit at the Sámi Council Gunn-Britt Retter
  • Curator of the Arctic Studies Center at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Igor Krupnik

Registration is required to attend the morning panel presentations via online streamingRegister Here

Note: In-person registration for the morning panel discussions is now closed due to space limitations.

Session 2: Hands-On Activities and Resources, 1-4pm

Following the panel discussions, afternoon visitors are invited to spend time investigating the event's informational displays and learning about hands-on Arctic STEM activities and resources. Attendees will have the chance to explore tools ranging from mobile apps to scenario explorations to card and board games that help formal and informal educators, school administrators, lifelong learners, and families bring the Arctic into their homes and classrooms. Some of the activities and resources that will be featured include:

  • Polar Explorer: Sea Level: a mobile app for diving into the causes and consequences of past, present, and future sea level changes.
  • The PufferSphere: a 360 degree multi-touch interactive system that highlights some of NASA's Earth science data.
  • Arctic SMARTIC: a role-playing exercise about the opportunities and challenges of managing resources in times of change.
  • Online interactives from WWF that explore the implications of oil and gas development in the Arctic
  • Test out your ocean science knowledge to see if you have what it takes to win the National Ocean Sciences Bowl
  • A series of Arctic jigsaw puzzles that piece together changes in Arctic sea ice, ice sheets, and glaciers
  • Extreme Cold Weather Gear: experience what it's like to work as a scientist in the harsh Arctic environment
  • Plus, an opportunity to participant in an Arctic-themed mini-game jam and create your own Arctic STEM resource

Visitors may join the afternoon session of the event at any time between 1pm and 4pm. You do not have to be a registered for the morning session to be a participate in the event's afternoon activities.

Registration is required to attend the event's afternoon session: Register Here

Event Press Release & Agenda

 Event Press Release
 Event Agenda

Event Organizers:

ARCUS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, member-focused corporation with a mission to serve as a catalyst for interdisciplinary thinking, acting, and education leading to the development of highly collaborative partnerships among the global Arctic research community. ARCUS envisions strong and productive linkages among international Arctic researchers, educators, communities, and other stakeholders that promote discovery and understanding of the Arctic and inform sound decisions related to the Arctic. Academic, research, government, indigenous, and corporate organizations are eligible for membership in ARCUS, as are individuals who share an interest in connecting and advancing Arctic research. ARCUSmembers join in a common purpose of advancing knowledge of the Arctic through science, technology, indigenous knowledge, and other forms of knowing; promoting the application of this knowledge to circumpolar Arctic problems; and addressing in concert those questions that require the collaborative skills and resources of scientists, engineers, indigenous knowledge holders, and others throughout the world.

Arctic Portal is a not-for-profit organization based in Akureyri, Iceland which acts as a comprehensive gateway to Arctic information and data. In consultation and cooperation with members of the Arctic Council member states, observer states and organizations, its Working Groups, Permanent Participant organizations and other Arctic stakeholders, Arctic Portal works to increase information-sharing and cooperation among those who live, work and have an interest in the Arctic. The Portal has initiated and maintains a network of information and data-sharing services – including web-based services that translate scientific data into user-friendly maps that educators, policymakers, and the general public can understand and use. Arctic Portal also hosts more than 50 websites of Arctic organizations and institutions of high importance, prominently participates in international Arctic research projects, and is involved in a wide variety of international consortia such as the Northern Forum, the European Polar Board, EU-PolarNet, the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON), the Arctic Data Committee (ADN), the International Permafrost Association (IPA), the China-Nordic Arctic Research Centre (CNARC), and the EDU-ARCTIC consortium. The Portal has also taken the lead in setting up the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost Database, the Arctic Maritime and Aviation Transport Initiative, and the Arctic Renewable Energy Atlas.

Woods Hole Research Center is an independent research institute where scientists investigate the causes and effects of climate change to identify and implement opportunities for conservation, restoration and economic development around the world. WHRC scientists conduct research from the Siberian permafrost to the Amazon rainforest. For three consecutive years, WHRC has been named the top climate change think tank in the world by the International Center for Climate Governance.

Arctic 21 is a network of non profit advocacy organizations, research institutions and scientists supporting the US decision to make climate change in the Arctic and its consequences a focus of the US Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Arctic 21 has two priorities in the second year of the US Chairmanship. First, Arctic 21 will continue to communicate the unraveling of the Arctic including trends in sea ice, snow cover, the Greenland Ice Sheet, Arctic glaciers and permafrost. Second, Arctic 21 is working to establish a framework for considering Arctic policy through the question, “what is the Arctic we have to have?" Arctic 21 is administered by the Woods Hole Research Center.

The PoLAR Partnership (The Polar Learning and Responding: PoLAR Climate Change Education Partnership) seeks to inform public understanding of and response to climate change through the use of innovative educational approaches that utilize fascination with the shifting polar environments and are geared towards lifelong learners. Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, the PoLAR Partnership has developed a portfolio of activities and resources that engage a wide variety of audiences and are exciting to use in homes, museums, classrooms, and communities.  Based out of the Columbia Climate Center at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, the PoLAR Partnership is an interdisciplinary collaboration that includes experts in climate science, formal and informal education, learning theory, game design, and communication.

EDU-ARCTIC is an EU-funded project focused on using Arctic research as a vehicle t ostrengthen science education curricula all across Europe. It aims to encourage students aged 13 to 20 to pursue further education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), setting them on a path to perhaps one day work in one of these sectors. The EDU-ARCTIC project uses a mix of different tools to bring a fresh approach to teaching STEM subjects, including online webinar lessons with polar scientists (during which students enter a virtual classroom that allows them to experience polar science firsthand), a “citizen science” environmental monitoring program, teacher trainings and workshops, an online “Polarpedia” portal with loads of useful information, and a chance for students to win a trip to an Arctic research station!

Consortium for Ocean Leadership is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that represents more than 100 of the leading public and private ocean research and education institutions, aquaria and industry with the mission to advance research, education and sound ocean policy. The organization also manages ocean research and education programs in areas of scientific ocean drilling, ocean observing, ocean exploration, and ocean partnerships.

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