Fairbanks Middle Schoolers Enjoy Field Trip to Barrow

Published: 11 May 2012

Watershed School's bundled-up 8th grade class and their chaperones stop for a quick photo in front of the U.S. flag near the Arctic sea ice. With its consistently chilly temperatures, student visits to the ARM site in Barrow are somewhat rare, but always welcome! In April, the 8th grade class from Watershed School in Fairbanks, Alaska, made the long trek to the North Slope for a week-long field trip filled with science, history, and cultural studies. Their field trip included a visit to the ARM site in Barrow, where NSA Site Manager Mark Ivey, along with Facilities Manager and Alaska native Walter Brower, provided a tour of the site and explained how the instruments are used to obtain measurements for climate studies. Because the Arctic is experiencing the effects of climate change more rapidly than other areas of the world, data from Barrow are very important for scientists studying Earth’s climate.

The field trip was part of the school’s emphasis on “combining science and cultural lessons with outdoor explorations and studies with direct connection to our local community.” With its juxtaposition of cutting edge instrumentation and research located within the largest traditional Eskimo village in Alaska, Barrow was a fitting choice for their field trip.

In addition to their visit to the ARM site, a few other highlights of their trip included a welcome from the North Slope Borough Mayor, science lectures by University of Alaska researchers at the Barrow Alaska Research Center, a hike on the sea ice, and a visit to the Iñupiat Heritage Center. This center also hosts an interactive program and learning modules, developed by ARM, to share information about climate change from a scientific and cultural perspective.