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The Institute of Arctic Studies at Dartmouth leads a project funded by the National Science Foundation called Partnerships for polar science education and outreach in Greenland (JSEP). This project supports fully-funded opportunities for U.S. high school students and Dartmouth graduate students to travel to the polar regions and participate in hands-on and inquiry-based science activities.
Each summer, students from all three countries spend 3 weeks in Greenland for a two-part JSEP experience. First, they spend two weeks in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland for the Greenland-led Kangerlussuaq Science Field School. During the third week, students travel to Summit Camp, an American research base that sits at 10,000 feet atop the Greenland Ice Sheet, for the Dartmouth-led Science Education Week.
Travel, accommodations, and meals are provided at no cost to participants. Students must provide regular clothing, including a sturdy pair of hiking boots/shoes and rain gear. Extreme cold weather outerwear is supplied by the program during travel to Summit Station.
Tentative travel dates for 2020 are 23 June – 17 July.
JSEP is made possible through collaborations with and additional funding from Naalakkersuisut (the Government of Greenland). JASE is a collaboration with the Institutó Antártica Chileno (INACH), who supports the program in Punta Arenas, Chile, and at Profesor Julio Escudero Base on King George Island, Antarctica.
Dartmouth faculty and graduate students with extensive experience in field science in polar regions lead inquiry-based education modules during Science Education Week. Dartmouth educators have a strong working knowledge of science and logistics in Greenland, and they have been deeply engaged in polar research there for many years, including in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, glaciology, and climate science. Their depth of knowledge and innovative teaching experience makes for a fun and informative week.
The Greenland Ice Sheet is the second largest ice body in the world after Antarctica. Because of its remoteness, travel to Summit Station on the Greenland Ice Sheet is primarily restricted to scholarly researchers. Because all fuel and supplies are flown in by large cargo planes equipped to land on ice, the Summit community works together to conserve resources.
The JSEP Science Education Week is a rare opportunity for non-researchers to learn first-hand about this unique environment that covers 80% of Greenland and is three times the size of Texas.
Students learn about and participate in polar science alongside researchers and educators at field stations located in the tundra region of Kangerlussuaq, in western Greenland. The Kangerlussuaq Science Support International facility is a hub for research in the area and a resource for showcasing international, collaborative science.
Participants in the Kangerlussuaq Science Field School live in dormitory-style housing and share in cooking and cleaning responsibilities. The Field School is led by Greenland and supported by the government, and assisted by Dartmouth faculty and graduate students with experience in Greenland.
Reaching beyond the field classroom to communicate with a wider community about the important issues of climate change and polar science is one of the goals of JSEP and JASE. Students learn to articulate their knowledge, classroom teachers develop educational modules, online resources are made available to anyone, and knowledge is shared with the research community.
Greenland is one of the places most affected by global climate change. While in Greenland, JSEP students not only learn about climate change and polar science, they share what they have learned with the local Greenland community. Students work together—finding creative ways to overcome the challenge of communicating in three languages (Greenlandic, Danish and English)—to develop presentations and exhibits on polar science. Each year JSEP students set up exhibits in the busy Kangerlussuaq Airport where community members and international travelers can glimpse the JSEP program and the cutting-edge polar science occurring in Greenland. In addition, students explain, in their own words, the independent polar science projects they develop with the help of the JSEP graduate fellows.
Dartmouth hosts an annual one-day, regional polar science workshop in the Fall for K-12 STEM educators who partner with JSEP graduate fellows to develop polar science lessons for high school classrooms. Teachers and fellows work together to adapt field-based work into classroom lessons in soil biology, lake ecology, and more.
The outcomes and products from the JSEP and JASE programs—student projects, graduate training, and lessons developed during the polar science educator workshop—are shared at national and international meetings.
The Joint Science Education Project (JSEP) was established in 2007 during the International Polar Year by the Joint Committee, a high-level forum involving the Greenlandic, Danish and American governments. Beginning in 2015, the students created a JSEP blog where they could reflect on their experiences, sometimes in three languages (English, Danish, Greenlandic).
The Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) and the program PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) successfully ran JSEP summer programs from 2008-2014. Read about previous JSEP groups and the work they did in Greenland.