During, before, and after the field course, Polaris students and faculty share their thoughts through journal entries.

© Chris Linder

Blog Posts

  • Tundra_Basemap

    Bringing it all together…

    The last 3 weeks for me have been a whirlwind of mapping and on-the-fly spatial analysis. In a geospatial sense, our tundra expedition had landed in almost completely uncharted territories.
  • Olga and John

    Making Outreach Connections

    Today was a very special day for me. I was able to meet with one of the local elementary school teachers in Cherskiy.
  • In the field.

    Expectations Exceeded

    All of the expectations that I had of the tundra did not amount to the beauty and indescribable features of the landscape nor the vast variety of questions that met my scientific interests.
  • Jess and Kenzie mix their water samples for analysis.

    Out of the Field and into the Lab

    Since we have returned form the tundra the core students have been working endlessly on preparing their samples and collecting the various measurements in the laboratories at the station.
  • Core students return to the barge from their last hike on the tundra.

    Voyage South

    I knew I did not want to leave the tundra. As I stood with friends on the cliff next to the sand spit where the barge was parked, I leaned into the wind from the south. Something was welling up inside me. At the time, it came out as song—all five of us were belting as we watched dark blue storm clouds pierced with lightening in the northern sky and bronze sunlight dancing on the Kolyma River water to the south.
  • Kenzie surveys the tussocky terrain.

    Stumbling Through the Tundra

    Before I came to the tundra, I imagined it to be a vast, flat landscape. And it is indeed vast, but flat is the last word I would use to describe the tundra. The topography is dynamic, just on a very tiny scale.
  • Kenzie in the “lab shack” weighing soil samples.

    More Questions!

    The core students have been working hard in the field collecting, mapping, photographing, and measuring their plots, streams, and ponds. Now that we are into the last days of our time in the tundra the focus has turned toward extracting the numbers from the various samples.
  • Horse

    Pleistocene Park Part II: Mammoths, Microbes, and Machines

    Even though mammoths are absent from the park, we still have a plethora of arctic megafauna influencing our sites. The animals leave signs of their presence in the form of hair, trails, browsed shrubs, and especially dung.
  • A rare moment of relaxation on the tundra

    Back from the Tundra

    The main Polaris group has returned safely from the tundra. All are now in Cherskiy, where they'll spend their remaining days analyzing samples and working on data.
  • Here, a heard of wild horses grazes and tramples their way across Pleistocene Park.

    Pleistocene Park Part I: The Earth’s Spheres

    To test big ideas we need big minds and big spaces. That’s why just south of here the Zimovs created Pleistocene Park, a 16 square kilometer experiment in ecology and biogeochemistry.
  • Tins for Max

    Soil Lab Party!

    Only a handful of returning students are still here at the North East Science Station. The Core and the rest of the students are up in the tundra, working on their projects. Although historically being sent to the tundra is a bad thing, I can’t help but feel a little jealous as I pull yet another tiny tin of soil out of the oven.
  • DSCN3896

    Halfway There!

    It is very exciting to watch the core students and listen to how their conversations and questions develop and evolve as they experience the tundra firsthand and receive insights from the faculty members. This team has shown a huge amount of support for each other and a high level of understanding about what it takes to conduct successful polar science in the field.
  • cl_20140709175406

    Arctic Ground Squirrel

    I want to understand how arctic ground squirrels are influencing carbon flux in the tundra. These little critters are one of many examples of wildlife that can affect the processes that affect climate change.
  • cl_20140711023904

    A Snapshot

    The barge is the central hub of life. The metal hull is about 30 meters long with a 10 meter flat deck in the bow where two tents sit. They are tied down by an ancient bison femur, a mammoth scapula and other bones we found on our travels.
  • cl_20140708182125

    Hunting for Plans and UV light

    I thought I knew what I wanted to study, and how to do it. I needed water—a stream that ran from headwaters down through beaded pools and into an outlet. There were many of them around Cherskiy, but there were none near our mooring on the Kolyma River.
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