International Polar Year, or IPY (2007-2009) is by far the most exciting international scientific and educational opportunity of this century. For the next two years, all eyes will be focused on the physical, social and human dimensions of our planet's polar regions. Watch this blog for news related to Canadian outreach and education efforts related to IPY. Of particular interest to educators! Note: This blog is created independently of any official IPY organization

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Upcoming IPY activites....

Here are some upcoming IPY related activities that you might be interested in learning more about: 1. International Polar Year Focus Day - 18 June 2008 2. PolarTREC Teachers in the Arctic starting June 1 3. Summer Course for K-12 Teachers on Climate June 25-27, 2008 4. Ice Stories: Dispatches from Polar Scientists website *************************************************************************** 1. Celebrate the International Polar Year by joining others across the globe on June 18, 2008. The focus will be on Land and Life in the Polar Regions. There will be several live events and opportunities to talk with polar researchers. For more information about the various events, check out Be sure to sign up for the North American Live from IPY event on June 18! More info about the event and to register at 2. Starting June 1, teachers will be traveling with researchers to various locations in the Arctic. Follow them on their expeditions as they work along side researchers and learn about polar research. Anyone can read the journals, view photos, and ask the team questions online at the PolarTREC website, Be sure to join a Live from IPY event and hear about the research first-hand! 3. Understanding the Role of Permafrost in a Rapidly Warming Climate is a K-12 teacher workshop, June 25-27, 2008, in Fairbanks, Alaska. Contact Tohru Saito or visit the website for more information <>. 4. Ice Stories: Dispatches from Polar Scientists - a website with blogs and webcasts from scientists in the Arctic and Antarctica. Check it all out at:

Friday, May 23, 2008

IPY lesson plans from Canadian Geographic

I am writing on behalf of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society to bring to your attention a new educational resource created to mark International Polar Year (IPY). The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, in collaboration with the Canadian Council for Geographic Education and the Canadian Polar Commission, has developed a set of bilingual lesson plans on Canada's North for elementary, intermediate and secondary schools in Canada.

In support of IPY’s aim to engender the next generation of polar scientists, these lesson plans are certain to kindle an interest in the study of the Canadian North - its human and physical geography, and its past, present and future challenges. They offer teachers and students intriguing opportunities to explore and discover Northern issues from climate change and resource industries to transportation and Inuit settlement.

The lesson plans are freely available for viewing and downloading in word document or PDF formats at

Yours sincerely,

MJ Starr

Friday, May 16, 2008

IPY Initial List of Communications and Training Projects

International Polar Year

InITIAL list of Communications and Training Projects

The Government of Canada has allocated $5.2 million to fund communications and training and outreach projects, as part of its International Polar Year program. After a national call for proposals and rigorous review process, a diverse range of applicants from across Canada – including community organizations, educational groups, government departments and agencies – has been chosen to carry out creative and innovative projects that will become part of Canada's IPY program.

These projects will help raise awareness about the Canadian Arctic and its peoples, promote IPY and polar science and research, and foster greater understanding of the importance of the polar regions among Canadians and other countries. Specific activities will encourage youth, particularly in the North, to learn about polar science and research. Others will provide experience and training for Northerners to carry out northern-based research and monitoring during and after IPY.

Below are some of the projects that have been selected for funding. Other selected projects will be announced pending further approvals.

Communications Projects

Making northern science accessible: Popularizing northern scholarly articles

Arctic Institute of North America

This project will rewrite technical articles in academic journals about northern science and IPY research, and make the information more accessible to the general public, and Northerners in particular. They will then distribute these articles to the media and other outlets.

2008 Alianait! Arts Festival – Premiere performance of Oatiaroi (Wait)

Iqaluit Music Society and Alianait Arts Festival

Nunavut’s Artcirq will perform Oatiaroi (Wait), a 60-minute theatre production portraying global warming and its impact on the Arctic from an Inuit perspective. The performance incorporates theatre, circus arts and traditional Inuit storytelling.

Arctic Seabirds as Insiders on Climate Change

Meltwater Media

Seabirds have become harbingers of environmental change in the Arctic. This film will document the work by IPY researchers to study these important Arctic birds, as well as the insights of Inuit seabird hunters.

Formation of Labrador: Two Windows on the Planet

Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador

Formation of Labrador: Two Windows on the Planet is a project to create a book for children aged 9 to 12, telling the fascinating story of the creation of the polar regions through the world of geology and traditional folklore, with an emphasis on Labrador.

Arctic Odyssey – Journey to the Top of the World

Science North

Science North is creating Arctic Odyssey – Journey to the Top of the World, an IMAX film that will feature the impacts of climate change on the Arctic. It will also show how Canadians are carrying out world-class science during IPY. It is a celebration of the North as it exists today, reminding us all of the importance of Canada’s polar regions.

Gwich’in Settlement Regional Atlas: Mapping a Path through Change

Gwich’in Land Use Planning Board

Gwich’in Settlement Regional Atlas: Mapping a Path through Change will be a regional atlas, a hardcover book that will include important geographic information about the Gwich’in region. It will feature maps, photos, easy to understand scientific information and traditional knowledge.

Polar Perspectives: Canadian IPY Speaker Series and Youth Forums

Canadian Museum of Nature

This is a national speaker series to be hosted at museums across Canada, featuring a wide variety of dynamic speakers on important issues and intriguing topics involving Canada’s Arctic. Scientific research being funded by International Polar Year will also be highlighted and explained.

Aquatic Ecology of the Canadian Arctic

Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Aquatic Ecology of the Canadian Arctic will be a comprehensive book, with an accompanying website, that describes the fascinating and important field of Arctic freshwater and marine ecosystems, including the species that inhabit them and the research methods used to study them.

Long Ago Person Found (Kwaday Dan Ts’inchi) Symposium and Publication

Kwaday Dan Ts’inchi Management Committee / Royal BC Museum

This project will highlight the results of the discovery of ancient human remains at the edge of a melting glacier in British Columbia’s Tatshenshini-Alsek Park. The general public and scientific communities will hear the results of nine years of research, partly funded by IPY, involving experts at eight universities and cultural institutions in Canada and five other countries.

Arctic Shadows: The Arctic Journeys of RM Anderson

Greyhound Information Services

This documentary film will capture the early 19th century Arctic journeys of Dr. R.M. Anderson, a former chief biologist with the National Museum of Canada and a world renowned expert on mammals of the North. Long overshadowed by his dramatic colleague Vilhajalmur Stefansson, Dr. Anderson’s story is another exciting glimpse into Arctic history.

Dempster Highway Natural History Event Series

Friends of Dempster Country Society

The Friends of Dempster Country Society in the Yukon will host six events along the Dempster Highway, Canada’s northernmost highway. Each event will focus on a different aspect of the area’s natural history, connecting this to current IPY scientific research and environmental concerns.

Training Projects

Students on Ice – IPY Arctic Youth Expeditions 2008-2010

Students on Ice Foundation

IPY is funding 10 students per year for three years to take part in the highly successful Students on Ice program. The program provides youth aged 14 to 17 with a greater understanding and appreciation for the Arctic, while inspiring them to continue their studies of the polar regions.

Yukon College Field Course to North Slope

Renewable Resources Management Program, Yukon College

This is a 14-day field course for Yukon College students to visit an IPY research project investigating the impacts of climate change on birds and mammals on the Yukon North Slope. The students will help collect data for this project.

Crowley Lake Studies

Yukon Department of Education

This project involves a field study program for high school students in the Yukon. It will engage students in a scientific monitoring project on Crowley Lake near Whitehorse.

Northern Village Data Collection System

Nunavik Research Centre, Makivik Corp.

The Northern Village Data Collection System will bring together representatives from 15 communities in Nunavik for training on a web-based data collection system. This will allow users to record their plant and animal species-related observations and improve data management in the region.

Organization of the Nunavik Research Centre

Nunavik Research Centre, Makivik Corp

The Nunavik Research Centre holds a wealth of important research materials related to the Nunavik region; however, work is needed to organize the collection so it can be used more effectively. This project will involve training staff and organizing the research centre’s resources.

Contrasts between the Poles

Geological Survey of Canada

This project will involve two northern students traveling to the Antarctic to participate in the collection of ice cores. They will be working with world-renowned glaciologist Roy Koerner, learning about ice coring, ice thickness measurement and sampling for contaminant studies. They will also be involved in the analysis of the data collected.

Education webpages for IPY Land and Life Day June 18

Dear all, Firstly, a quick introduction! My name is Nicola Munro and I work in the International Programme Office (IPO), based in Cambridge with Rhian Salmon and Dave Carlson. My role within IPY has recently changed and I will now be working more closely with this teachers group and the Education Working Group. I will be the main point of contact to the IPO and will be helping with the educational activities that relate to the upcoming Polar Days, the next one being the Land and Life Day on the 18th of June. To this end, I just wanted to let you know that the Education webpages for the Land and Life Day are now ready which you can find at: You will see that I have now uploaded the activity flyer and summary for this Day and these have been translated into 15 different languages so far so thank you to the volunteers (I know some were from this group) for your help with these. Please do get involved in this day by trying out the activity in your classrooms, launching a virtual balloon and taking part in the various live events we will have taking place throughout the week. You can find more information about these at the above link. If you can recommend any resources you think would be useful for this day, please send them to me ( ) so that I can add them to the links and resource page. At the moment this is looking a little bare so would be great if you could send me some suggestions! If you have any other comments about the Land and Life Education Page, please let me know! Please note, these pages are currently being developed and will go live next week so please send us any feedback. I look forward to working with all of you! Best wishes Nicola Nicola Munro Office Manager and Education Liaison International Programme Office

Friday, May 9, 2008

More PolarTREC live events...

Celebrate the International Polar Year (IPY) and virtually join teachers and researchers in the Arctic and Antarctic through Live from IPY events! Interact with PolarTREC teachers and researchers conducting research in the Polar Regions. These are real-time, interactive events where you can ask questions and view photos! Anyone can register for these events and participation is free! For more information about PolarTREC and to register for Live from IPY events, visit *********************************************** Upcoming Live From IPY Event Information *********************************************** You may register for these live events at: 22 May 2008 - Join PolarTREC teacher Katie Pena and the research team aboard N.B. Palmer, to learn more about their work in the Drake Passage, near Antarctica. Event starts at 8:15AM Alaska Daylight Time [6:15AM HDT, 9:15AM PDT, 10:15AM MDT, 11:15AM CDT, 12:15PM EDT]. 18 June 2008 - Join us in a Live from IPY event to celebrate the International Polar Year! This is a special live event focusing on Land and Life. Researchers from around the world will present on polar issues. Check the website for event times and to register! 10 July 2008 - Join PolarTREC teacher Elizabeth Eubanks and the research team in Barrow, Alaska. Learn more about their work in the Arctic tundra. Event starts at 7:00AM Alaska Daylight Time [5:00AM HDT, 8:00AM PDT, 9:00AM MDT, 10:00AM CDT, 11:00AM EDT]. For these events, we will be using the "webinar" (online seminar) interface, Horizon Wimba, which allows presentation of PowerPoint slides over the Internet during a conference call or through Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol (VOIP), and includes other useful functions such as online chat and polling features. To take full advantage of the webinar you will need Internet access with a microphone and/or Internet and a telephone. If you do not have Internet access, however, you can simply join the conference call. Every event is archived and available online after the completion of the live sessions. Instructions on how to view an archived events will be posted on the PolarTREC website and emailed to all registered participants. For more information, contact Janet Warburton or Kristin Timm or call the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) at 907-474-1600