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

© Chris Linder

Blog Posts

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Skipping Stones in the Forest

    Most scientists follow a path that leads them to becoming an expert in their field —just one aspect of scientific knowledge. Some people spend their time looking at plants while others may dedicate their days finding animal poop. Everyone has different interests and these interests drive scientific discovery. However, sometimes we can become so focused on one topic that we neglect everything else.
  • Fun… Fun All The Time!

    Since arriving in Cherskiy, everything has been fast paced, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  • Tundra Anticipation

    Next on the agenda is the tundra. The anticipation has been building for the past seven or so days to go to this mysterious place.
  • Update from the Tundra – midnight July 11, 2014

    I just got a satellite phone call from Chris Linder. He reported that all is going great at the tundra research site.
  • Krutaya Drisva: 69.3479°N, 161.4630°E

    I got a message from Sue Natali reporting that they had arrived safely at the remote tundra research site and that they were already charging ahead at full steam on their research projects. At 69.3479°N and 161.4630°E, their location truly has to be one of the most remarkable places on earth for anyone to be, without even considering that the Polaris Project expedition includes a bunch of American undergraduate students!
  • To the Tundra…

    The Polaris Project has headed north from Cherskiy to spend ~12 days at a remote tundra field site. The way north is via the Kolyma River - they've headed downriver and stopped a bit short of the Arctic Ocean.
  • Pleistocene Time Machine

    As a child I visited many parks and historical sites. At most of these parks the rangers always mentioned that there was a chance that you might find fossils, bones or artifacts as you walked along. Finding a fossil or preserved bone is something that I dreamed about every time I visited one of these places. I have no doubt it wasn’t only me—the idea of finding a piece of history amazes everyone from children to adults.
  • Ideas Are Taking Shape!

    The first day out our group included Erika, Jessica, and Kenzie and we walked to the site known as Y3. This is where Dr. Heather Alexander has set up her studies on the effect of fire on the boreal forest.
  • First Snow

    I drilled cores of permafrost, put sensors in the trees, made a census of animal traces (looking for poop), placed gas chambers in the ground to measure CO2 fluxes, swam in the Panteleikha, talked about ideas for my own project, saw an owl, and jammed on the barge until late in the night. But the most remarkable thing was seeing snow for the very first time on Rodinka Mountain.
  • Bag Party

    After a week in Siberia, I have learned the number one rule to follow when traveling abroad, and it is to “go with the flow.”
  • Independence Day

    As Julian put it during last night’s reflection, ‘there is an energy crackling in the air around us’ as new ideas spring up and conceptual understanding deepens.
  • Beginnings

    But this was different. Partly from waking up just in time, partly from the luck of suddenly clear skies. Mostly because I'm not just sightseeing now. I'm on my way to a place where I get to look for answers, to try to understand a piece of the Arctic.
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