The Lusaka Experience:
On Tuesday, 16th March, Lucky Musonda , Mathew Kalabo and students from the surrounding area, joined a discussion with Jose Xavier, a marine biologist from Portugal, recently returned from carrying out his research in Antarctica. The discussion focussed on the importance of the polar regions and climate change. We had questions from students ranging from the implications of climate change on the economy and agriculture to the effects on wildlife. Below, you can read a report from Lucky on the event.
The International Polar Year 2010 Polar Week activities were held in Lusaka, Zambia at the UN Information Centre Library Auditorium. This activity was attended by students from the University of Zambia who are part of the UN Youths Association (YUNA-Zambia), University Branch, pupil representatives from member schools around Lusaka and youth members of YUNA-Zambia. In total over 25 youths gathered together in the auditorium to discuss issues surrounding climate change in general and how climate change is affecting the people living in Polar Regions. Our aim was to highlight the fact that climate change is real, as scientists and researchers from across the globe have concluded. Secondly, we wanted youths to begin to understand that climate change affects us in Zambia, and also affects people in the Polar Regions in a similar but unique way. Lastly, we wanted the youths to begin to share the information gained from this day’s experience with their fellow pupils in their respective schools.
The programme began with a youth-tailored discussion on climate change: the science behind climate change and already visible impacts. The discussion also highlighted the projected impacts of climate change if mitigation interventions are not put in place. Lastly, the discussion highlighted the need for young people to think of ways to help avoid the impacts of climate change through adaptation.
The experience was thrilling: we discovered that youths already noticed that on average, weather conditions have changed; as they had already discussed this with their grandparents. What was lacking was the explanation as to why these changes were occurring. We also discovered that young people already understood the importance of trees, and the adverse effects of deforestation; what they didn’t know was that trees played a very significant role in reducing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Students and youths were very eager to learn how the Polar Regions have been affected by climate change and were looking forward to hearing the experiences first-hand from scientists and people in the region. They also were interested to know how the information gathered about climate change and its effects in the polar region would be used to influence decisions made that would benefit people in the tropics as well as the rest of the world. Our observation and conclusion after the discussion was that the event was a n effective way of sharing information about climate: thanks to the interaction via phone with colleagues in the northern hemisphere who have been experiencing changes in weather patterns and the effects on their livelihoods and life forms found in their environments. We also concluded that young people are ‘thirsty’ for knowledge and are very much willing to share their experiences with their colleagues, and climate change is no exception.
As a follow up to the event, students promised to share the information they had gained with their peers. The students look forward to more interaction with scientists and fellow youths with the aim of sharing experiences.
In simple terms, youths in Zambia felt very privileged to have been part of the IPY activities once again. Information is power, they just became more powerful!
Photos courtesy of Lucky Musonda
Harry Dewey Fundamental School:
As part the polar week activities, Mary Anne Pella-Donnelly (Science teacher at Chico Junior High School) gave a presentations to several classes at the Harry Dewey Fundamental school, about the Greenland Seabird Ecology research project that she participated in with PolarTREC, focussing on the work carried out by Ann Harding from the Alaska Science Centre. Below are a couple of pictures from the event.
Mary Anne Pella-Donnelly and students from the Harry Dewey Fundamental School
2010 Arctic Climate Change Youth Forum
Submitted by: Ameena Bajer-Koulack (co-chair of the ACCYF organizing committee) and Lucette Barber (coordinator, Schools on Board)
In November of 2009, Lucette Barber had the opportunity to do climate change research in Canada’s Arctic onboard the CCGS Amundsen through the Schools On Board field program. It was an unbelievable learning experience, and led to her participation in planning the 2010 Arctic Climate Change Youth Forum (ACCYF); the perfect chance to share what she learned with the wider community. The ACCYF is a component of the Schools on Board program that introduces high school students to the sciences and issues related to Arctic climate change research. It is held every 2 years in conjunction with a major science event, as one of the key features of these forums is the direct face-to-face contact between participants and scientists. This year the forum was linked to the International Polar Year – Circumpolar Flaw Lead system study (IPY-CFL), and an event planned on the opening night of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival that featured the world premier of Vincent Ho’s Arctic Symphony. Like myself, Vincent had been on the CCGS Amundsen, as part of the IPY-CFL Artists on Board program. This link between music and science provided a wonderful theme for the 2010 ACCYF.
The weather was balmy for a Winnipeg winter, only -5ºC, when approximately 200 students and educators from 27 different schools in Manitoba gathered at FortWhyte Alive for the forum, which was completely planned and organized by students of Kelvin High School. It was a perfect day to be outdoors learning about Arctic research and science on the frozen lake, snowshoeing, and igloo building.
Throughout the fun-filled and educational day, students and teachers had the opportunity to participate in simulated Arctic field research (working with ice and sediment cores, snow and water samples, weather balloons and radiosondes, and sophisticated instruments for measuring solar energy and albedo), and sessions on environmental education and Inuit culture. In a unique collaboration between WSO artists and scientists, participants also had the opportunity to engage in music workshops on throat singing, acoustic ecology, and composing music to the environment.
Our goal for the forum was to engage students in scientific research, make connections between music and science, and to leave feeling empowered to make changes in their own communities. Our connection to the IPY-CFL gala event on the opening night of the 2010 New Music Festival introduced teachers and students to IPY and follow-up emails informed participating teachers of the upcoming IPY Polar Week. The day was very successful, and we hope that students will continue to get involved and share their newfound knowledge with others, and the teachers will integrate some of the information and activities into their classrooms.
On March 22nd the Kelvin High School ACCYF Organizing Committee will receive the 2010 Manitoba Climate Champions award from Climate Change Connections.
Photos courtesy of Schools On Board
Discovering Polar Science, ArcticNet Student Association and Université Laval
Submitted by Sophie Charvet (Université Laval Outreach Working Group) and Lucette Barber (Schools on Board-ArcticNet)
This event was aimed at contributing to the International Polar Week and to a national effort to increase scientific outreach within the Canadian ArcticNet community. During this workshop, modeled from the Schools on Board Arctic Science Day, thirty grade 5 students (9-10 yrs old) from Amédée-Boutin primary school in Quebec City, (CANADA) had an unforgettable experience working with polar scientists and simulating the work they do in the Arctic. The day was organized and delivered by a team of graduate students and scientists from the Université Laval and the ArcticNet Student Association. It occurred on February 23rd, 2010, a few days before the official Polar Week due to school holidays and the weak reliability of lake ice in mid-March. The Duschesnay faunal reserve, near Québec city, provided the perfect outdoor setting for conducting a very hands-on, experiential and authentic science experience.
The day started on the frozen lake of the reserve where the students used various instruments and tools to sample deep water sediments, ice, snow and water. The class was divided into groups, each taking turns at 3 different stations: one collecting samples from the snow and ice, another sampling from the water column and one extracting samples from the benthos. Our goal was to immerse the students in the scientific process involved in the sampling work we do in the Arctic, both on and off the ice.
After the lunch break, everyone returned to the school, where we set up 4 more stations to analyse the collected samples using microscopes and binocular magnifying glasses. Two new stations were presented, one on the permafrost and another on Arctic animals. The main objective of this day was undoubtedly achieved: to raise the curiosity and interest of the students for Arctic science in a fun and interactive manner. Furthermore, the day was also a way to raise awareness of climate change and how it is affecting the Arctic. By the end of the day, the students understood the importance of studying the Arctic, and all that it entails. It is now our hope that in return, they will share what they have learned with friends and family. In a few years time, we will see if this day inspired the minds of a new generation of polar scientists. To be continued….!
IPY Polar Week was promoted to students, teachers, graduate students and other researchers as a follow-up to our Discovering Polar Science Day. From all accounts this day was a great success, enjoyed by students, teachers and scientists alike.
Photo credit 1: Rachel Berrouard, Photo credit 2: Jessie Motard-Cote
ASA Outreach Event for International Polar Week
Wednesday March 10, 2010 (12:00 pm to 1h45 pm), at CEGEP de Ste-Foy in Québec city.
Title: Living Science in the Arctic
ArtcicNet students from Université Laval visited a local high school to describe and discuss their experience of field work in the Canadian Arctic. Most high school students attending were part of the Ecobiology Technique program, which aims to train future field technicians.
The event took place in a small amphitheatre at the school, during the student’s lunch break so that they might attend in greater numbers. The 50-60 students and teachers who attended had the privilege of virtually visiting the Canadian North in a latitudinal transect, from Car Ridge in Alberta to the Northwest Passage on the CCGS Amundsen, to Bylot Island and finishing with Ward Hunt Island at the top of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. They were shown through interactive presentations, how scientists live in the field and what techniques are used by polar biologists to study the Arctic environment. The presentation also included a description of IPY and the International Polar Week.
List of presentation titles:
La vie en montagne: Un projet de recherche sur les chèvres de montagne en Alberta
Life in the mountains : A research project on mountain goats in Alberta
By Rachel Théoret-Gosselin
By Marjolaine Blais and Maxime Geoffroy
Études écologiques et suivi environnemental à l'île Bylot, Nunavut
Ecological studies and environmental monitoring on Bylot Island, Nunavut
By Frédéric Bilodeau and Jean-François Therrien
Exploration polaire d’un monde invisible
Polar exploration of an invisible world
By Tommy Harding and Sophie Charvet
March 19, 2010 4 p.m.
University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila”, Bucharest, Romania
ERICON Aurora Borealis Icebreaker future opportunities for study glaciers melting, by Teodor Gheorghe Negoita, Romanian Polar Research Institute
The Research Icebreaker AURORA BOREALIS will be the most advanced Polar Research Vessel in the world with a multi-functional role of deep-sea drilling and supporting climate/environmental research for the next 35-40 years.
March 14, 2010 11 a.m.
“George Tutoveanu” House of Culture, Barlad, Romania
Ice melting and the sudden climate changes in Romania
by Teodor Gheorghe Negoita, Romanian Polar Research Institute
We hope the massive forest plantations in the East Romania area should also protect the glaciers. National interest issues on a short and long term. We hope more oxygen from local sources could save the polar world/environment and fauna.
International Education and Outreach
ERASMUS scholarship students worried by glacier melting
Submitted by: Andreia Magdalin, Erasmus Architect Student, Romanian Polar Research Institute, APECS member; Eng. Teodor Gh. Negoita , PhD., Senior Researcher I, Director of the Romanian Polar Research Institute, President of the Romanian Antarctic Foundation
The Erasmus Students from more than ten countries (Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Chile, Mexico, and China) and Andreia Magdalin (Romanian Polar Research Institute) have celebrated March Polar Week 2010 in the Arctic and Antarctic Museum in Valencia, Spain.
All the students could see the biological systems, remarkably adapted to cold, ice, UV radiations and long periods of darkness. Being informed of the various changes in the Polar Regions, they could recognize the impacts of polar changes on our global systems, on our climate - the balance between the tropics and the poles, and on many parts of the world. So many students in different faculties from all around the world could understand that WHAT HAPPENS AT THE POLES AFFECTS US ALL !!!
Message from a Science teacher from Rockford, Illinois, USA:
'My sixth grade science students and I completed an integrated unit about Antarctica in which we learned about diatoms (and many other topics). We recently examined prepared microscope slides and every student asked to see the diatoms! In previous years no one wanted to see diatoms. Studying the polar regions piqued my students' interest in a very small but significant piece. Amazing!'
On Friday 19th March, students from Brazil, from Arviat, Nunavut and Malaysia, together with an Antarctic marine biologist and an Elder from Inuvik in the Northwest Territories discussed the importance of the Polar Regions. The students exchanged information on what changes they have seen in terms of climate and how this impacts on their daily lives. Changes discussed included longer summers and earlier springs in the Arctic, increase in black flies making it harder to dry fish and meat, snow freezing later in the year, and also the arrival and disappearance of several bird species. In comparison, the students in Brazil, talked about seeing hotter summers, with temperatures reaching record levels each year, winters getting shorter and coastal communities having to adapt to beaches that are diminishing as sea level rises. Students in Malaysia (joining at 3am local time) talked about the initiatives they are involved in to combat climate change in their country, which includes the 'Keep Planting Trees' initiative.We had questions ranging from the influence of global warming on algae to the importance of communication and exchanging information. You can read about the participants here. You can hear a recording of the discussions here:
Photo: Miriam Almeida
From left to right:
At the back: Enzo Luiz H. Almeida Picca, Miriam Hebling Almeida, Samir Palma and Tuca Miranda.
At the centre: Tomas K. Borba, Letíca S. Vieira, Anna Beatriz P. Salesse and Matheus P. Biscaro.
At the front: André Caes and Igor Fier.
Portuguese Events during Polar Week:
In preparation to the International Polar week, José Xavier gave lectures in 4 different schools during the International Environment week (by José Xavier), from kindergarten children to high school students on climate change (5-8 March)
16-18 March: Group of 3 science lectures at the University of Lisbon
José Xavier (APECS PORTUGAL) was also involved with work with the IPO office on 2 Education & Outreach activities (16 and 19th March), one in which we called Zambia to talk about “How polar regions can affect you!”. The second event was “ world call on polar issues” gathering representatives from numerous continents: José Xavier (APECS Portugal, Europe), Nicola Munro (IPO, UK), Miriam Almeida and her students (APECS Brazil, America), Khadijah Sinclair and her students (Malaysia, Asia), Gordon Fraser and Hank Rogers (Arctic, North America) providing personal views (from scientists, educators, students and citizens) on how climate change and the polar regions can affects us all. (See the story on 'Comparing notes' above for further information).
18 March: Education & Outreach activity “ read & learn”
This activity involved the school of Dr.Ferreira da Silva (Cucujães, Portugal), whose students read the book “Adventure in high seas” (childrens adventure book whose famous 5 get lost and reach Antarctica; the book is based on interviews made by the authors to José Xavier and Gonçalo Vieira, both young polar researchers) and had a skype call to discuss the book and how the polar regions can affect us all.
Photo: Jose Xavier
19 March - APECS PORTUGAL workshop “what is the role of early career scientists in polar science” : organized by José Xavier, Marco Jorge and Alexandre Trinidade at the Institute of Marine Research of the University of Coimbra.
Numerous discussions took place on "how polar regions can affect us all". Also, there was an E & O activity “ask and get frozen by the answers” with early career scientists replying to questions from children during lunch, organized with the Museum of Science of the University of Coimbra.