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

© Chris Linder

Blog Posts

  • Pleistocene Part workers house

    Life at Pleistocene Park

    As the cold weather blew in, we stopped drilling for a couple of days and headed back to the Northeast Science Station, I pause to reflect at the tough life of the workers in the wilderness that surrounds Pleistocene Park.
  • The pattern of silt and ice in one permafrost core.

    Two Tales of Drilling in Pleistocene Park

    The interesting part of fieldwork is that, as we begin to collecting the data, we have also collected some interesting stories.
  • Wild horses getting a dietary supplement.

    Pleistocene Park

    What was it like to live in the time of the mammoths? How was the environment different then? What animals lived then, and what was their ecosystem like?
  • Eugene models the glasses connected to the helicopter’s camera.

    A New View on the Environment

    As scientists, sometimes we need a bigger picture to understand what is happening.
  • Science is life at the Northeast Science Station

    Spending every waking (and sleeping) moment with like-minded ecologists really allows us students to come into our own as scientific beings.
  • Advanced Flower Picking

    My project is the first steps of the biodiversity survey. I find, picture, and identify as many of the flora and fauna in the region as I can then put the pictures and names together to create a field guide to Cherskiy. It would be impossible to categorize all life here in three weeks so I am focusing on the plants. As such the distillation of my project is flower picking.
  • Moss is Boss and Other Adventures

    Mosses are an extremely important player when it comes to insulating the permafrost. With the changing fire regimes and higher densities of deciduous larch trees, what happens to the moss?
  • Crunch Time

    We’ve entered crunch time, with students and PIs working feverishly to collect data as the end of our time in Siberia quickly approaches.
  • Ludda begins the process of dissolving one of her many organic soil samples.

    Highlight on Student Research – Ludda Ludwig of St. Olaf College

    Ludda’s research is looking at the rate that the microbes in the soil respond after these different types of burns by looking at enzyme activity in the soil.
  • Vasily Lebedev and Dr. Karen Frey boat out to the sampling site on Shuch’ye Lake.

    Highlight on Student Research – Vasily Lebedev

    The university students of the Polaris Project each work on independent research. Periodically, I will share the stories of these remarkable young people. Vasily Lebedev – Graduate Student at Moscow State University
  • Device 1: The plexiglass cube above has five solid sides but no base.

    Creative Contraptions

    Creative Contraptions... What are these two devices used for?
  • Mike Loranty and Logan Berner reach shore across a path of logs from the barge.

    Duvannyi Yar – A Trip Back in Time

    Last night after our 9:00 p.m. dinner, we all piled onto the barge hooked up to a tug boat and headed up the Kolyma River. At 1:30 p.m. just after lunch today, we arrived at a magical place – Duvannyi Yar.
  • Valentine and Varvara made detailed descriptions of each sample.

    Mt. Rodinka – Source of the Yedoma?

    Mt. Rodinka, a small mountain (351 m) rises from essentially sea level east of the Northeast Science Station. It sits in front of a many higher and larger mountains in the distance. Rodinka, I have been told means either “Birthmark” or “Little Mother Earth” in Russian.
  • Duvannyi Yar

    The barge casted off after dinner on the 11th, around 10:30 PM. By 1PM the next day the hills began to sparkle with exposed permafrost. Everyone was excited for our fieldtrip. New places to sample for some of us, new adventures for all of us.
  • Shuch'ye lake water from 0m and 10m

    Growing Up

    It’s been a week of rapid change here in Cherskiy. The “inter-niet” has switched to “inter-da”, tropical heat has replaced arctic snow and, for the first time ever, facial hair has appeared on the right side of my face.
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