DCSIMG

Fulbright Arctic Week: Our Open House

By: Schuyler Litten and Chelsi Slotten

Last Tuesday, October 25th, we had the pleasure of hosting the Artic Fulbright open house in the Ocean Hall of the National Museum of Natural History.  We welcomed 17 Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholars from Canada, Denmark, Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Norway, Sweden and the US.  Their research was complimented by the Arctic Youth Ambassadors who joined us to discuss their experience of life in the Arctic. Representatives from Alaska Geographic, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dartmouth College, University of Alaska Fairbank, the U.S. Department of State, the National Geographic Society and the Institute of International Education were also present.

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Arctic Youth Ambassadors in the Ocean Hall. NHB2016-02527, Photograph by James Di Loreto, Smithsonian.

The program engaged visitors of all ages with current research on the impact of climate change on Arctic ecosystems and communities.  Over the course of 3 hours the public interacted directly with experts at 24 stations around the Sant Ocean Hall. Dr. Noor Johnson highlighted the need for more community-led research and involvement with offshore development in Canada, while Dr. Maria Tysiachniouk discussed how to balance the interests of oil companies and indigenous populations in the Arctic. Dr. Øystein Varpe talked about his research observing the relationship between Arctic sea ice and its effect on ecological systems. A few examples are the changes in growth rates among different species and shifts in hunting abilities or patterns due to increased light from receding ice. Itty Neuhaus, the only Fulbright artist, explained the development of her instillation. It reflects on the nature of icebergs and their real representation of climate change along their symbolic representation of changes within ourselves. Her 3D printed models of icebergs were created to match their density and behavior in water. Dr. Tamara Harms discussed her research on Arctic freshwater ecosystems and the effects climate change has on areas with significant permafrost melt. Bill Fitzhugh the Director of Arctic Studies and Stephen Loring an Arctic archaeologist had artifacts from our own collections available for the public to interact with. They were used as teaching aids and examples of arctic culture and art.

 

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Dr. Stephen Loring explaining traditional dress as seen on a doll. NHB2016-02556, Photograph by James Di Loreto, Smithsonian.

The importance of involving locals and arctic youth in this conversation was showcased by the presentation of several Arctic Youth Ambassadors who talked about a wide array of subjects relating to their lives in the arctic. One of the Youth Ambassadors, Willie Drake, presented on traditional Yup’ik housing. He discussed the traditional building materials along with functional and cultural uses in relation to their modern counterparts. Jannelle Trowbridge discussed her experience mushing (dog sled pulling) in Alaska with her family.

 

This open house contributed to the public understanding of the Arctic and stressed the need for continued research in the Arctic. The participation of so many scholars, professionals, and locals highlights the interconnected nature of the Arctic nations, both to one another and the broader world.  Many thanks to all those who participated, both as experts or visitors, and to the Fulbright Arctic Initiative for providing their generous funding of Arctic scholarship.


Carrie M. McLain Memorial Musuem: Journey of an Arctic Collection

By Amy Phillips-Chan, Director of the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum.  Originally Published in the ASC Newsletter, No. 23. 55-57

For almost 50 years the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum has perched a few yards from the icy coast of Norton Sound on historic Front Street in Nome, Alaska. In 1967 the Nome Museum, among other museums, including the Cordova Historical Museum, Pioneer Museum (Fairbanks), and Alaska State Museum (Juneau), sprung up across the state to celebrate the centennial purchase of Alaska from Russia. The centennial museums represented a concerted statewide effort to gather and preserve Alaska history and culture while at the same time they announced the importance of Alaska collections and researchers to the professional field.

In Nome, local historian Carrie M. McLain had embarked on a lifelong pursuit of collecting and sharing oral histories, photographs, and artifacts since her arrival on the fringe of the gold rush in 1905. McLain’s founding collection of ivory artwork and historical photographs set a precedent for donors with personal connections to Nome and the surrounding region looking to return their treasures and memories. The museum collection greatly expanded over the past five decades and now comprises 15,000 objects, 12,000 photographic prints and negatives, and over 100 linear feet of historical records.

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Tools, ivory carvings, a pair of model boots, and a baleen basket from the Lopp Collection donated by great-grandson Stuart Dick in May 2015. CMMM, Acc. 2015.4.abøgarður, Faroe Islands.

The museum’s greatest collection strength is Alaska Native material culture from the late 19th century, followed by items related to gold mining, the ivory curio market, ancient ivory carvings, and dog sledding. The collection also comprises a fair number of business and household articles from early 1900s Nome as well as cultural artifacts and faunal remains from the Snake River Sandspit site. The overall collection affords unique insight into the socio-cultural and economic shifts occurring within Bering Strait communities at the turn of the 20th century.

The Lopp Collection of bone and ivory implements, stone tools, models, and ivory curios represents one of the museum’s distinct assemblages portraying transculturation. William Thomas “Tom” Loppand Ellen Louise Kittredge Loppserved as missionaries, teachers, and reindeer superintendents in Wales between 1892-1902. The Lopps participated in subsistence activities, took photographs, and printed a newsletter, The Eskimo Bulletin, which chronicled daily life within an Iñupiaq village. The growing presence of gold miners in the area and ensuing changes to the local economy are captured in Kathleen Lopp-Smith’s, Ice Window: Letters from a Bering Strait Village, 1892-1902 (2002).

By the time of the Lopp’s departure from Wales in 1902, the town of Nome had swelled to almost 20,000  people, Western goods were prevalent, and the ivory curio market was in full swing. The Shields Collection provides an example of positive cross-cultural relations with Iñupiaq families in transition and a variety of items produced for the tourist trade in Nome. From 1910-1918, Walter C. Shields served as Superintendent of Schools

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Ivory artwork from the Shields Collection donated by grandson Philip Shields in April 2015. The reindeer and figure stand on top of the tusk inscribed, “To Walter C. Shields, Superintendent 1916. Nome, Alaska. From, Wales Delegates.” CMMM, Acc. 2015.2

of the Northwest District of Alaska. Shields oversaw the establishment of new schools and advocated for the promulgation of reindeer herding as a means to increase Iñupiaq wealth and standing. During his treks to northern communities by reindeer sled, Shields took photographs, acquired objects, and framed his view on Iñupiaq history as a book of poems titled The Ancient Ground (1918).

In February 2015 I came onboard as Director of the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum as it stood on the cusp of its own significant transformation with construction of a new building, new exhibits, and its first dedicated collections storage area. Like many small museums, lapse in staff and lack of training over the years had resulted in a disorganized and poorly documented collection. The use of multiple numbering systems, a lack of accession records, and dearth of deed of gifts, presented an impressive challenge. Indeterminate portions of the collection were also stored in seven different locations across town adding another layer of organizational complexity.

In spring 2015 the museum undertook its first comprehensive inventory in fifty years. For those who have processed collections, one is intimately familiar with the meticulous task of searching for documentation, identifying, attributing, and cataloguing. Opening unmarked boxes and exploring collection hideaways also carries a heady sense of excitement and discovery. One remarkable object found folded in storage is a tanned and dyed sealskin wall hanging featuring alternating light and dark squares of intricate geometric appliqué typically found on 19th century Chukchi clothing from Eastern Siberia.

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Sealskin skin wall hanging featuring alternating light and dark squares of geometric designs. CMMM, Cat. 1979.1.52.

For our museum, the comprehensive inventory served a manifold purpose. First, the extensive processing activity helped us establish right of ownership while gaining critical insight into the scope and strengths of our collection. Knowledge about the range and dimensions of objects was also instrumental in planning the layout of cabinets and shelves in our new collections storage area. Next, after objects were catalogued and photographed they moved down the line to where they were wrapped and boxed for the move to the new museum. Finally, hands-on analyses of the collection afforded an opportunity to visualize new exhibit themes and identify key objects for storylines.

The museum collection will embark on its next journey during summer 2016 as it moves approximately one mile north to our new facility. Rehousing the collection in mobile storage will greatly increase the accessibility of the collection and expand its potential value for research, public programs, exhibits, and community projects. Following the move, the museum will be rolling out a “Community Historian” program as an integral part of exhibit development for the main gallery. The program invites community members with localized knowledge to partner with museum staff and draft exhibit content utilizing materials within the collection.

The Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum contains a rich assemblage of artifacts, photographs, and papers that reveal the vibrant history of Nome and the Bering Strait, from marine mammal hunting equipment and ivory artwork, to gold mining and the origins of long distance dog sled racing. Through many personal donations and accounts, the collection offer critical insight into the shared history of Western and Bering Strait Native peoples that continues to enrich the cultural fabric of Nome.


ILULISSAT CLIMATE DAYS- ILULISSAT, GREENLAND JUNE 2 – 5, 2015

Climate Days brought together 158 Arctic specialists to share with one another the current knowledge of ice conditions and climate change in the Arctic. The primary venue for the conference was Ilulissat’s Hotel Arctic.

 

 

Sponsors who made this conference possible include Denmark’s National Space Institute, the Nordic Council of Ministers, the European Space Agency, the International Arctic Science Committee, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, the Hotel Arctic, and others.

 

 

Opening Session

 

Introductions made at Ilulissat’s sports hall (Ilulissat Hallen) were presented by Mala Høy,

Greenland Minister of Nature, Environment, and Justice. Anne Riiser presented a welcome from the Nordic Council of Ministers (NORDFORSK).

 

Professor Rene Forsberg led off for the major sponsoring institution, DTU-Space,

which is a Danish research Institute and part of the Technical University of Denmark. Here, he follows with a conversation with Toku Oshima of Qaanaaq, Greenland, on climate change and its effects on traditional hunting and fishing.

Professor Konrad Steffen, Director of the Swiss Federal Research Institute, began with the observation that sea level had been constant for 2,000 to 3,000 years. Now, with global warming producing more melt water and the upper layers of the ocean undergoing thermal expansion, we are seeing sea level begin to rise. The warmest year to date is 2014. Through changes in precipitation, evaporation, runoff, and ice discharge, the Greenland Ice Sheet is experiencing a loss in ice mass. The warming oceans are increasingly a key factor in melting of both glacier and sea ice.

Dr. Jennifer Mercer contractor to the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) thanked that body for its support of Arctic and Antarctic research, with its largest funding increases directed to Alaska and Greenland. Other conference leadoff speakers included Jørgen Hammeken-Holm, Acting Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources. He commented that even with all the sea ice reduction in Greenland waters, commercial quantities of gas and oil have not been found.

Dr. Mark Drinkwater from the Netherlands, with the European Space Agency addressed the use of satellite programs through which ESA monitors and studies the cryosphere. He offers that the ocean is becoming warmer and there is more evaporation – more moisture in air, and more precipitation, which falls as snow at higher elevation in central Greenland, which rises to above 10,000 ft.

Karen Anne Arleth, Head of Greenland’s Climate Office addressed Greenland climate change and adaptation policy.

From a cultural change perspective, artists Bjarki Bragason and Anna Lindal of Iceland talked of how politics influences both economy and nature. A loop has been created in which cultural change is causing climate change, which leads to further cultural change – a continuous downward lock step spiral of climate and culture, as we know them. Bragason and Lindal raise the question: Can our economic model be sustained?

Glacier Dynamics:

Selected Modeling Endeavors

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Image caption: Subsequent conference sessions over the period June 3 through 5 were held in the Hotel Arctic, which operates under the Directorship of Erik Bjerregaard. Aerial image is of hotel with town to right (south) and airport to left (north).

 

Maximum thickness of sea ice around Greenland occurred in the 1980s. In 2012, on the ice sheet, Greenland experienced its record year for glacial melt. 2013 had much less melt, possibly due to a coldwater incursion into coastal fjords that reduced the amount of ice lost through calving. This temporarily reduced the ice discharge of outlet glaciers.

The European Space Agency (ESA) through its Climate Change Initiative (CCI) space program measures ice mass through three variables: elevation, gravity, and ice flow velocity. The data show that there is more ice melt in Greenland than in Ellesmere and Baffin combined, particularly in 2010 and 2012.

One of the leaders of these modeling endeavors is Konrad Steffen who has personally installed 25 automatic weather stations in Greenland.

  1-Greenland Conference

Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) does very impressive modeling of ice sheet climatology and surface mass balance. The key is understanding the relationship between elevation and precipitation and the amount of surface melting. These variables are all represented in “Greenland Mass Loss Fits”. Several different models use the same data in different ways, though all realize the same trend of decreasing Greenland ice mass.

In its climate change studies in Greenland, Stability and Variations of Arctic Land Ice (SVALI), a Nordic research initiative, found like GEUS that while there is loss of ice through melt in lower reaches of Greenland, the volume of ice at higher, central elevations continues to increase. As the atmosphere and oceans warm, there is more evaporation and precipitation, with the latter falling as snow at higher elevations in Greenland.

Changes in ice sheet mass can be measured in Greenland by using “space-borne grravimetry”. A pair of orbiting satellites repeatedly measures the gravitational attraction of ice sheet as they pass overhead. The amount of ice lost as the ice sheet melts and as icebergs break off the edge of the ice sheet is not compensated for by new snow and ice. The satellites measure the resulting mass imbalance.

Glacial velocity is a function of season and proximity to sea. There are interesting patterns of advance and retreat, which correlate with ocean temperature. The ice dynamics are a function of velocity (which is a function of the steepness of the outlet glacier), calving rate (which is related to ocean temperature) and subglacial hydrology. (Ian Joughin and Ben Smith). The force of gravity, the weight of the ice, drives ice flow. Changes in climate can modify the frictional forces that resist ice flow. For example, lubrication by melt water can reduce friction if it makes its way to the base of the ice sheet, allowing faster flow.

There is an increase in snowfall in central Greenland, which doesn’t compensate for the mass lost at the edges.

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In 2013, the rate at which ice loss was occurring slowed. With apparent overturning of the North Atlantic’s massive waters, there was likely a cold-water incursion into the fjords around Greenland, with less heat energy being delivered to the outlet glaciers. This unusual event caused several outlet glaciers to temporarily thicken and advance as of time of conference May 2015 (Mike Bevis). The temperature has averaged three degrees less than the average temperature for this time of year calculated over the last 30 years, barometric pressure has decreased, and precipitation has increased.

A significant realization of glacial modeling is that climate feedback mechanisms, like weather, are not linear.

Through its Climate Change Initiative (CCI), the European Space Agency has investigated ‘essential climate variables’, which are related to changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet. CCI data products include ice velocity, surface elevation change, calving front location, and grounding line location.

Doug Benn concluded that calving, sub-aqueous melting, and buoyancy of, causes the front of floating ice to bend upwards, as ice beneath the water line melts more rapidly than ice above the water line. This has led to collapsing ice fronts at glaciers in Svalbard. Water from beneath glaciers can drive circulation in fjords, bringing in warmer ocean water that enhances the rate of ice melt and calving, sometimes accelerating glacial speed. Benn suggested that glacier surges may sometimes be driven by ice changes at the front of the glacier rather than up in the accumulation area of the glacier.

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program identified black carbon as a short-lived pollutant that drifts in from the south with 2015 proving to be a record-breaking high as massive, largely uncontrolled forest fires burn throughout western North America from California through British Columbia to Alaska with carbon particulate matter streaming to the Arctic. Local sources of black carbon further amplify build up. Every Arctic village has its own diesel-fired generator or electrical plant that emits black carbon.

The Greenland Climate Research Centre studies the fundamental relationships between community, ice, and living resources in northwest Greenland. They ask what does weather and climate change mean to the people who are dependent upon the sea for a livelihood. The essence of culture is to serve as a repository of hard won knowledge gained over time, which lends predictability to life. Actor Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves speaks of the loss of this predictability among the Southwest American Indians in the nineteenth century: “Through changes in circumstances, a people who become unable to predict the future become confused”.

Ilulissat Climate Days effectively demonstrated the complexity of climate science through the truly, fascinating modeling of environmental change in Greenland and with worldwide implications of those changes.

The Greenland Ice Mapping Project has tracked Jakobshavn (now Ilulissat) for 20 years, through 2014. The greatest rate of ice loss was in 2012. In recent years, the glacial terminus where calving occurs in Jakobshavn is moving inland approximately 600 meters each year.

Tracking Jakobshavn Glacier Flow

In 2013 I had the good fortune to meet Jens Ploug Larsen, a pilot who flies with Air Greenland as well as with his own local airline, Airzafari. In 2015, with one of Jens’s pilots, Martin, we tracked the Jakobshavn Glacier from Ilulissat inland towards the Greenland Ice Sheet. Photographs track glacial progression from the Greenland Ice Sheet. Note that images portray calving, or “ablation”, that begins well away from the sea.

To present this one glacier in a quantitative, global context, Jakobshavn – one of Greenland’s most prolific – each year produces enough water to satisfy all of the annual water requirements of the United States.

The Greenland Ice Sheet, which rises to more than 2 miles in height, is like a frozen desert that drifts largely through the forces of elevation (gravity) and ice mass. While still miles form the sea, a stream from the Greenland ice sheet enters the Jakobshavn channel. With compression and steeper incline, the ablation zone, region of calving, begins while still miles from the sea.

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A major ablation zone of Jakobshavn is fed with a number of ice streams, which congregate like the headwaters and tributaries of a river watershed. In front of the glacier is the top of a sheared wall, still prominently displayed as one large ridge with a zone of ice detritus in between.

03-4249.(rev)Ablation wall 04-4268.JKBG_Collapsed wall copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iceberg wall, shaped like preceding image of a sheared wall, now floats in the waters of Ilulissat’s Icefjord. All will become icebergs - and water.

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In the setting sun of an Arctic evening, a paddler in his kayak navigates through the icebergs of the Jakobshavn Glacier, calved into the waters of Ilulissat.

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NSF flight with Air National Guard 109th from Stratton Air Force Base Scotia, New York to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

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The US National Science Foundation (NSF) arranged for air transport for the American delegation on an U.S. Air Force C-130 from Stratton Base in upstate New York to Greenland’s primary airport, Kangerlussuaq.

Author/Photographer

Wilfred E. Richard, PhD Research Associate

Arctic Studies Center, U.S. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History,

Washington, D.C.

Research Fellow, Uummannaq Polar Institute, Uummannaq, Greenland

 

Author

Michael John Willis, PhD, Research Associate

Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University

Adjunct Assistant Research Professor

Geological Sciences

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

 

Reviewer

Hal Salzman, PhD

Professor and Senior Faculty Fellow

Rutgers, The State University of New York

 

Acknowledgements

Renee D. Crain - National Science Foundation Logistical Support

Jens Ploug Larsen - Airzafari

Ronald W. Levere - publication design


Free Public Lecture on Life and Death in the Arctic on January 15, 2016

Ernest “Tiger” Burch Memorial Lecture Series, 2016

Caribou, Cod, Climate, and Man: A Story of Life and Death in the Arctic

By: Morten Meldgaard, Natural History Museum of Denmark and University of Greenland

January 15th, 2016, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the Baird Auditorium, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

MortenBurchLecture

Far from being a remote planetary ‘deep-freeze’, the Arctic region today is recognized as a dynamic environment that has played a major role in the evolution and spread of animals and plants as well as the migrations and development of peoples and cultures. This presentation begins by investigating why Late Quaternary megafauna like the mammoth and the woolly rhinoceros went extinct while others like caribou and bison prevailed. What caused these differential outcomes? And what was the role of humans and climate in the dramatic changes that took place subsequently?

In order to explore these questions we will consider the history of caribou and caribou hunting in Greenland, where excavations at the important site Aasivissuit (“the Great Summer Camp”) reveal a close human association for several thousand years. Archaeological evidence reveals that dramatic caribou population crashes have occurred time and again, forcing major changes in the human economies. The key to human survival has been the development of broad-based, resilient resource strategies.

To understand what this strategy looked like and how people coped with fluctuating resources we examine the 4000 year old Saqqaq site “Qeqertasussuq” on a small West Greenland island in Disko Bay that has produced a wealth of biocultural information from the frozen remains of seals, fish, caribou and whales. Ironically, in spite of apparent abundance, Saqqaq suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. What happened? Did the marine resource base disintegrate? Did winter sea-ice disappear? Were other agents in play?

Given recent history, one cannot but wonder if humans had a decisive role in cycles of key resource populations over time?  Archaeology and history shows that humans have decimated many Arctic animal populations and that the scale of human impact has changed dramatically with industrialized exploitation. Instances of local prehistoric population decreases and extinctions have been replaced by massive over-exploitation that is resulting in possible irreversible changes in the populations of keystone species and even in the structure of entire ecosystems, in the Arctic and beyond.

Dr. Morten Meldgaard (Ph.D. in Biology, 1990, University of Copenhagen) is Professor of Arctic environmental history at the University of Greenland. He served as the directors of Danish Natural History Museum (2007-2014), The North Atlantic House (a cultural center for culture and art, 2000-2005), and the Danish Polar Center (1995-200). He conducted zooarchaeological research in Greenland and Labrador and published widely on historical ecology, animal fluctuation cycles, Inuit use of animal resources, and application of mtDNA and other genomic data in studying ancient human migrations in the Arctic.



Arctic Spring Festival Success!

By: Bill Fitzhugh. Originally published in the ASC Newsletter, No 22. 62-63.

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Official poster for the Arctic Spring Festival.


More than 50,000 people were in the museum during the Arctic Spring Festival and over 5,000 people interacted directly with experts at stations in the Sant Ocean Hall and the Evans Gallery, while an additional 1,900 visited the Q?rius Education Center to play games, learn crafts, explore objects, jam on video games, and watch films related to Arctic science and culture. Just as one example, Martin Nweeia’s narwhal station in the Sant Ocean Hall logged 1,262 visitors in four hours!

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Martin Nweeia attracts a crowd with his replica narwhal tusk! Photo: James DiLoreto, Smithsonian Institution.


The festival also featured performances in the Rotunda and Q?rius Loft by a youth group from the Uummannaq Children's Home in Uummannaq, Greenland, and a contemporary music and dance performance by Jody Sperling’s NYC-based dance team on the theme of melting Arctic ice.

Jody Sperling's group performs Ice Cycle.
Choreographer Jody Sperling, her company Time Lapse Dance, and composer Matthew Burtner present Ice Cycle for the evening dance performance on Saturday, May 9. Photo: Trish Mace.


Visitors and experts, young and old, local DC residents, and travelers from afar all had great conversations with Arctic experts and unique educational experiences throughout the Museum.

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Igah Hainnu instructs Noor Johnson on traditional caribou carving. Ms. Hainnu is an artist from Clyde River, Canada, who was sponsored by the Embassy of Canada to come down for the Festival and share her knowledge and art with our visitors. Photo: James Di Loreto, Smithsonian Institution.

 

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Bill Fitzhugh, Director of the Arctic Studies Center, addresses a question at the panel. Left to right: Mead Treadwell, Craig Fleener, Stephanie Pfirman, Bill Fitzhugh. Photo: Brittany M. Hance, Smithsonian Institution.

The program began with a Friday afternoon panel discussion with eight Arctic experts from the Smithsonian (Krupnik and Fitzhugh), Arctic Research Commission (John Farrell), DOS (Nikoosh Carlo), Canadian Museum of Nature (Margaret Beckel), Stephanie Pfirman (Barnard college), Craig Fleener (Alaska Governor’s office), and Mead Treadwell (former ARC chief and Lt. Gov. of Alaska). The panel was opened with Sounds of the Arctic by Charles Morrow and CAFF award winning photos and other Arctic photos from government agencies, set to sound by Meghan Mulkerin. Arctic films were shown on Friday at the panel and all day on Sunday, by the Greenland Eyes International Film Festival. In addition, the Uummannaq Greenland Youth Ensemble delighted the audience with a short performance at the panel. A reception was hosted Friday night by the Danish/ Greenland Embassy. Friday afternoon and Saturday were devoted to the public education events noted above, presented by NMNH, NOAA, NPS, DOS, DOI, USFWS, BLM, CAFF, BOEM, NSSI, NAS, NSF, NASA, ONR, National Ice Center, Tromso Museum, the Arctic Council, the Canadian Embassy, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, and the Danish Embassy with Visit Greenland.

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Pablo Clemente-Colón, Chief Scientist from the U.S. National Ice Center interacts with a visitor in the Sant Ocean Hall.


More than 150 people from over 20 partner organizations and agencies participated and provided materials and specimens, literature, website programs, Arctic ice maps, temperature curves, and nature photography for the festival – among the more unique items were a musk ox (with head) and polar bear pelts; a demonstration on how to make boots from king salmon skins; a narwhal tusk; Greenland ethnographic objects; and an ingenious melting ‘glacier goo’ game led by the PoLAR Partnership. The Uummannaq Greenland Youth Ensemble performed numerous times in different places of the Natural History Museum.

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The Uummannaq Children's Home Youth Ensemble performs in the Rotunda of the National Museum of Natural History during the Arctic Spring Festival, May 9, 2015. Photo: James Di Loreto.


The festival made a major contribution to public understanding of the Arctic and was a fitting way to introduce the new US Arctic Council Chairmanship period and its theme of public outreach and education. The Arctic Spring Festival would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship our our donors and the herculean contributions of Meghan Mulkerin, our new Program Coordinator in the Arctic Studies Center, and our colleagues in the Office of Education and Outreach, Barbara Stauffer, Margery Gordon, Jen Collins, Trish Mace, Colleen Popson, Naimah Muhammad, Courtney Gerstenmaier and Megan Chen. Igor Krupnik, Stephen Loring, and Bill Fitzhugh were also instrumental to the process of gathering partners and entertainers together for this wonderful program.

Joel Issak, Meghan Mulkerin, Rebecca Clemens, and Barbara Stauffer at the fish skin sewing activity.
Joel Issak shows Meghan Mulkerin, Rebecca Clemens, and Barbara Stauffer the finer points of fish skin sewing. Photo: Robert Radu.


The Arctic Spring Festival was generously funded by: the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Arctic Studies Center, Living in the Anthropocene Initiative, and Recovering Voices, with additional support from The U.S. Arctic Research Commission, The PoLAR Partnership (supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation: DUE–1239783), Oak Foundation, The Ed Nef Foundation, Embassy of Canada, Royal Norwegian Embassy, and Embassy of Denmark.


A Social Media Internship with the Arctic Studies Center

By: Ismelda R. Correa. Originally published in the ASC Newsletter, No. 22, pg. 77-78.

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Isme with Henry the elephant in the rotunda of NMNH

I was in residence with the Arctic Studies Center as a social media intern as part of the University of Houston partnership with the Smithsonian for three-weeks. The idea of working on social media in an anthropology office was a new experience for me. While I am confident in my technical knowledge—my major is chemical engineering—I knew I was going to work on two subjects I had limited experience with: social media and the Arctic. Don’t misunderstand me. While I am active on social media as much as every other 20-year-old, I did lack a Twitter and Instagram account. Additionally, I did not know how a research center in the most visited natural history museum in the world used Facebook. Could they post memes?

With her cheerful and approachable personality, my mentor, Meghan Mulkerin, soothed my worries soon after meeting her. My assignment was to provide the Arctic Studies Center (ASC) feedback on their social media outreach, which ranged from their own website and blog, Magnetic North, to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and to create some content of my own working with Meghan and Bill Fitzhugh. A few days after starting my internship, Meghan arranged for me to meet two other social media experts within the Smithsonian community; Maria Anderson, the Press Secretary for Latino Media and Adriel Luis, the Curator of Digital and Emerging Media at the Asian Pacific American Center. In our separate meetings, they discussed successful social media strategies and answered all of my questions. By the end of the meetings, I was better prepared to complete my assignment and amazed at the support the Smithsonian Institution offers to its interns. 

As I was learning about the do’s and don’ts of the various social media platforms, I worked on honing my tweeting skills. In an attempt to use the information I had learned on successfully engaging with our followers on Arctic subjects, I came up with my first tweet. As the day progressed, I constantly monitored the amount of retweets and favorites. Needless to say, I am extremely proud of it. As a note, the Unangax/Aleut people live in the Aleutian Islands located in western Alaska.

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Isme's first tweet!

One of the benefits of interning at the Smithsonian’s NMNH is the behind the scenes access interns and fellows have to the collections. While my internship was short-term, I got to see three different collections, the Burgess Shale, paleobiology (fossil marine mammals) and the birds collection. The tours were led by researchers within the departments that encouraged our questions.

As the end of my internship approaches, I appreciate social media is more than a form of entertainment. It is a powerful tool museums are using, and constantly improving, to engage with the American public; a public that has changed and is constantly changing the way they obtain information. Most of all, I have to praise the willingness of the Smithsonian Institution and the smaller research-divisions it is made up of (like the Arctic Studies Center) to embrace the  use of social media to reach out to the American public in order to uphold their mission of increasing and spreading knowledge.

If you are interested in learning more about internships at the Smithsonian, please visit the Office of Fellowships and Internships. Watch the video below for more on what Isme and her fellow interns from the University of Houston had to say about their experiences at the Smithsonian!

  

 


Arctic ‘Crashes’: ASC Advances on its Human-Animal-Climate Relations Project

By: Igor Krupnik.

Originally published in ASC Newsletter 22, June 2015, pg 25.

Crashes-Walrus_NOAA
In September 2014, a massive herd of estimated 35,000 Pacific walrus came ashore in Point Lay, Alaska. Its unusual large size points to a serious disequilibrium in walrus-sea ice-habitat system. Source: NOAA

In February 2014, the ASC team received the Smithsonian Grand Challenges Consortia award to implement its multi-disciplinary project Arctic Crashes: Human, Climate, and Habitat Agency in the Anthropocene (see ASC Newsletter 21:19–22, and 22:25-37). The project officially started in March 2014; the $100,000 grant was originally given for 15 months, till June 2015 but was eventually extended till fall 2015, to include the second Arctic field season for the project team. In late May 2014, the first field crew under Aron Crowell headed to the fieldwork in Yakutat Bay, Alaska (see Crowell, this issue).

The ‘Arctic Crashes’ project is aimed at the theme of human-animal relations in the rapidly changing Arctic that is of utmost relevance to scientists, Arctic people, resource managers and agencies, and policy-makers. The field is huge and a relatively small program, such as ours, would never achieve the needed circumpolar coverage and required focus on several animal species that are of critical importance to Arctic people. Therefore, our project from the beginning was organized around several local and species-focused ‘case studies’ in Arctic North America – some in the Western Arctic (Alaska and Bering Sea) and some in the Eastern Arctic and North Atlantic. In summer-fall 2014, four teams went to the field: those led by Aron Crowell in Yakutat Bay (Tlingit historical subsistence hunting of harbor seals), Bill Fitzhugh (historical Inuit and harp seals in Northern Québec), Stephen Loring (Innu and James River caribou herd in interior Labrador), and Walter Adey (Baffin Island to Labrador sea cruise to collect data on bottom coralline communities as proxies to historical sea ice and ocean temperature change). The stories of each of these 2014 field operations are presented in the sections below (Originally published in ASC Newsletter, No 22, see our Arctic Crashes blog posts, where they will appear here). In addition, Alaina Harmon conducted surveys of the NMNH arctic mammal collections at the Vertebrate Zoology and Paleobiology Departments (with the support of our colleagues,  Kris Helgen, James Mead, Charles Potter, Don Wilson, and Nicholas Pyenson – see below). Igor Krupnik summarized historical data on the distribution of the Pacific walrus sub-populations (stocks) in the Bering and Chukchi Seas, from 1825 to the present, assisted by biologists G. Carleton Ray and the late Lyudmila Bogoslovskaya. In all, our studies covered four Arctic species—caribou, Pacific walrus, harbor and harp seal (plus many more in the NMNH osteological collections)—and various groups of polar indigenous peoples, Inuit, Innu, Siberian Yupik, Chukchi, Tlingit, and others, who interacted with them over generations.

In 2015, the ‘Arctic Crashes’ crew is planning to expand its focus, both in terms of field geography, the number of species covered, and the spectrum of indigenous communities to be engaged in our research. We are also seeking to bring more partners—archaeologists,   paleobiologists, historians, indigenous experts, wildlife and environmental managers—to the ‘Crashes’ study. A major step in that direction was undertaken in winter 2015 by Aron Crowell and Igor Krupnik, who jointly planned an ‘Arctic Crashes’ session for the 42nd annual meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association in Anchorage. The full report on that day-long session on March 5, 2015, with 14 presented papers, covering ten species (polar bear, Pacific walrus, caribou, bowhead whale, white whale, fur seal, sea lion, harbor seal, ringed seal, and salmon), primarily from the North Pacific–Western Arctic area will be published in the next issue of the ASC Newsletter. Following the next field season in summer 2015, we plan to organize another ‘Arctic Crashes’ symposium in early 2016, this time at the Natural History Museum. The second session will be also focused primarily on the Eastern Arctic, i.e. Canada and Greenland, also Northeast Russia. Papers from the two sessions will then be published together in the project’s final collection volume that will be the main product of our two-year study on the changing relations among of Arctic Peoples, Animals, and Climate.  

For more on our Arctic Crashes project, please visit our website, and check out the other posts on this blog.


Symposium at NMNH July 6, 2015: Cargo: Birds as Material Culture

Cargobirdsasmaterialculture

Don't miss this fascinating interdisciplinary symposium, Cargo: Birds as Material Culture: Engagements between Anthropologists and Zoologists at the Smithsonian, held at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History on Monday July 6th at 4 p.m., featuring the Arctic Studies Center's own, Dr. Stephen Loring. RSVP is required, and non-badge holders will need an escort to get in. Please RSVP to SIMA@si.edu.

 


Arctic Spring Festival Symposium: May 8, 2015

Why the Arctic Matters: Applying a ‘Human Perspective’ to Understanding Arctic Change

Friday, May 8, 2015

1:30-4:30 pm

National Museum of Natural History, Baird Auditorium, Ground Floor

 

WilRichardCollage
Photo Credits: Wilfred E. Richard - ASC Research Collaborator. Featuring (center top): Aaju Peter


A panel discussion by leaders in Arctic research and education, followed by a film screening of ECHOES from the Greenland Eyes International Film Festival. The panel will be opened at 1:30 p.m. with Sounds of the Arctic by sound artist, Charles Morrow; a film screening of Tupilaq, from the Greenland Eyes International Film Festival; and a short musical performance by the Uummannaq Greenland Youth Ensemble.

Welcoming Remarks:

Kirk Johnson, Director, NMNH, Smithsonian Institution

Keynote speaker:

Heather A. Conley, Senior Vice President, Europe, Eurasia and the Arctic, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC

Panel Moderator:

Igor Krupnik, Arctic Studies Center

Panelists:

Margaret Beckel, President and CEO Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada.
C. Nikoosh Carlo, Senior Advisor to the SAO Chair, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, Athabascan
John Farrell, Executive Director US Arctic Research Commission, Arlington, VA
William Fitzhugh, Director, Arctic Studies Center, NMNH, Smithsonian Institution
Craig Fleener, Arctic Policy Advisor, Office of Governor Bill Walker, Anchorage, Gwitch’n
Stephanie Pfirman, co-Chair, Environmental Science Department, Barnard College, Columbia University, New York
Simon Stephenson, IARPC Executive Director and OSTP Assistant Director for Polar Science
Mead Treadwell
, President, Pt Capital, former Lt. Governor of the State of Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska


Keynote Address:

The Arctic is the New Mecca of the North?: Why is the Arctic such a “hot” global topic and what does it all mean?

By: Heather A. Conley

Explorers have probed its farthest reaches. Distinct indigenous peoples have lived in harmony with and gained strength from this unique region for centuries. Species of mammals, migratory birds, and fish arrive seasonally or remain in its extreme habitat.

This is the Arctic: a region that covers 6% of the earth’s surface and approximately 14.5 million square miles of ocean and land. It is also home to 4 million people, producing roughly 0.6% of the world’s gross domestic product.

Today, the Arctic is experiencing profound and stunning change as the increased presence of black carbon and methane, ocean acidification, coastal erosion, permafrost thaw, and the depletion of Arctic species alter its physical environment. As Arctic sea ice diminishes and Arctic temperatures continue to rise, the Arctic Ocean is increasingly becoming a navigable, blue water ocean, piquing the economic interests of Arctic and non-Arctic states alike and driving policy urgency to preserve and protect this unique and fragile ecosystem.

As the United States begins its two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council – an intergovernmental forum that discusses Arctic issues – it is a timely opportunity to examine current developments in the Arctic, assess the future of international cooperation in light of heightened geopolitical tensions with Russia, and address why the Arctic matters environmentally, economically, politically, and culturally.

 

HeatherConleyHeather A. Conley is senior vice president for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic and director of the Europe Program at CSIS. Prior to joining CSIS in 2009, she served as executive director of the Office of the Chairman of the Board at the American National Red Cross. From 2001 to 2005, she served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibilities for U.S. bilateral relations with the countries of northern and central Europe. From 1994 to 2001, she was a senior associate with an international consulting firm led by former U.S. deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage. Ms. Conley began her career in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. She was selected to serve as special assistant to the coordinator of U.S. assistance to the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union. Ms. Conley is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Arctic and is frequently featured as a foreign policy analyst on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, NPR, and PBS. She received her B.A. in international studies from West Virginia Wesleyan College and her M.A. in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).



Panelist Biographies:


Beckel

Meg Beckel President & CEO, Canadian Museum of Nature. On June 6, 2011, Meg Beckel began her five-year appointment as President & CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature.  Beckel joins a team of passionate and committed individuals dedicated to the museum’s vision to inspire understanding and respect for nature. Prior to joining the Museum Meg was Vice-President, External Relations at the University of Waterloo for four years and  Chief Operating Officer of the Royal Ontario Museum for nine years.

Beckel began her professional career at the Bank of Nova Scotia where she served as Officer in Charge of Operations and as Assistant Manager, Corporate Banking before moving to the National Ballet of Canada in 1986, where she began a career in fundraising and external relations in the arts and education sector.   

Beckel currently serves as Chair of TerraTundra Foundation and lead for the Arctic Natural History Museums Alliance.  She also serves as a member of the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada Board, the Advisory Board for the Ottawa CEO Breakfast Club and the Advisory Board of  Ottawa River Keeper.

 

 

Dr. Nikoosh Carlo CNikooshCarlo is Senior Advisor to Ambassador David Balton, Chair of the SAOs, at the U.S. Department of Sta  te for the U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council. She brings to this position  prior experience in Arctic policy at the state-level, as the Executive Director of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission, and at the federal-level as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation. Dr. Carlo has worked to advance programs that support the health and wellbeing  of  Arctic residents, and led efforts to develop U.S. Arctic science and policy. Dr. Carlo is Athabascan Indian from the interior region of Alaska, and was raised in the Fairbanks and Tanana communities. She attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks for undergraduate studies, earned her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego and served as a postdoc at the Salk Institute and a Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health and Johns Hopkins University.
 

Dr. John Farrell is the Executive Director of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, an independent federal agency of Presidential appointees that advises the White House and Congress on Arctic research matters and works with executive branch agencies to establish and execute a national Arctic research plan. The Commission also facilitates cooperation with local and state governments and recommends means for developing international scientific cooperation in the Arctic.

Farrell previously served as the Associate Dean of Research and Administration at the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. Before that, he was Director of the international Ocean Drilling Program that involved over 20 nations and had an annual budget of approximately $65M/yr. The program was dedicated to advancing scientific understanding of the Earth.

Farrell helped organized and conduct the first successful international scientific ocean drilling expedition to the high Arctic in 2004. He also participated in a US ocean mapping effort aboard the icebreaker US Coast Guard Cutter Healy in 2012.

He obtained a Ph.D. and Sc.M. in geological sciences from Brown University, and a B.A. in geology from Franklin and Marshall College. He was a NSF-funded Post-Doctoral Fellow at Brown University and an NSERC-funded Senior Research Associate at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada.

- See more at: http://www.arctic.gov/farrell.html#sthash.2z7hyrin.dpuf

John FarrellDr. John Farrell is the Executive Director of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, an independent federal agency of Presidential appointees that advises the White House and Congress on Arctic research matters and works with executive branch agencies to establish and execute a national Arctic research plan. The Commission also facilitates cooperation with local and state governments and recommends means for developing international scientific cooperation in the Arctic.

Farrell previously served as the Associate Dean of Research and Administration at the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. Before that, he was Director of the international Ocean Drilling Program that involved over 20 nations and had an annual budget of approximately $65M/yr. The program was dedicated to advancing scientific understanding of the Earth.

Farrell helped organized and conduct the first successful international scientific ocean drilling expedition to the high Arctic in 2004. He also participated in a US ocean mapping effort aboard the icebreaker US Coast Guard Cutter Healy in 2012.

He obtained a Ph.D. and Sc.M. in geological sciences from Brown University, and a B.A. in geology from Franklin and Marshall College. He was a NSF-funded Post-Doctoral Fellow at Brown University and an NSERC-funded Senior Research Associate at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada.

John W. Farrell, PhD
USARC Executive Director

Dr. John Farrell is the Executive Director of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, an independent federal agency of Presidential appointees that advises the White House and Congress on Arctic research matters and works with executive branch agencies to establish and execute a national Arctic research plan. The Commission also facilitates cooperation with local and state governments and recommends means for developing international scientific cooperation in the Arctic.

Farrell previously served as the Associate Dean of Research and Administration at the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. Before that, he was Director of the international Ocean Drilling Program that involved over 20 nations and had an annual budget of approximately $65M/yr. The program was dedicated to advancing scientific understanding of the Earth.

Farrell helped organized and conduct the first successful international scientific ocean drilling expedition to the high Arctic in 2004. He also participated in a US ocean mapping effort aboard the icebreaker US Coast Guard Cutter Healy in 2012.

He obtained a Ph.D. and Sc.M. in geological sciences from Brown University, and a B.A. in geology from Franklin and Marshall College. He was a NSF-funded Post-Doctoral Fellow at Brown University and an NSERC-funded Senior Research Associate at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada.

- See more at: http://www.arctic.gov/farrell.html#sthash.2z7hyrin.dpuf

John W. Farrell, PhD
USARC Executive Director

Dr. John Farrell is the Executive Director of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, an independent federal agency of Presidential appointees that advises the White House and Congress on Arctic research matters and works with executive branch agencies to establish and execute a national Arctic research plan. The Commission also facilitates cooperation with local and state governments and recommends means for developing international scientific cooperation in the Arctic.

Farrell previously served as the Associate Dean of Research and Administration at the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. Before that, he was Director of the international Ocean Drilling Program that involved over 20 nations and had an annual budget of approximately $65M/yr. The program was dedicated to advancing scientific understanding of the Earth.

Farrell helped organized and conduct the first successful international scientific ocean drilling expedition to the high Arctic in 2004. He also participated in a US ocean mapping effort aboard the icebreaker US Coast Guard Cutter Healy in 2012.

He obtained a Ph.D. and Sc.M. in geological sciences from Brown University, and a B.A. in geology from Franklin and Marshall College. He was a NSF-funded Post-Doctoral Fellow at Brown University and an NSERC-funded Senior Research Associate at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada.

- See more at: http://www.arctic.gov/farrell.html#sthash.2z7hyrin.dpuf

John W. Farrell, PhD
USARC Executive Director

Dr. John Farrell is the Executive Director of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, an independent federal agency of Presidential appointees that advises the White House and Congress on Arctic research matters and works with executive branch agencies to establish and execute a national Arctic research plan. The Commission also facilitates cooperation with local and state governments and recommends means for developing international scientific cooperation in the Arctic.

Farrell previously served as the Associate Dean of Research and Administration at the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. Before that, he was Director of the international Ocean Drilling Program that involved over 20 nations and had an annual budget of approximately $65M/yr. The program was dedicated to advancing scientific understanding of the Earth.

Farrell helped organized and conduct the first successful international scientific ocean drilling expedition to the high Arctic in 2004. He also participated in a US ocean mapping effort aboard the icebreaker US Coast Guard Cutter Healy in 2012.

He obtained a Ph.D. and Sc.M. in geological sciences from Brown University, and a B.A. in geology from Franklin and Marshall College. He was a NSF-funded Post-Doctoral Fellow at Brown University and an NSERC-funded Senior Research Associate at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada.

- See more at: http://www.arctic.gov/farrell.html#sthash.2z7hyrin.dpuf


Bill head shotWilliam Fitzhugh, Director, Arctic Studies Center, NMNH, Smithsonian Institution. Dr. William Fitzhugh is an anthropologist specializing in circumpolar archaeology, ethnology and environmental studies. As director of the Arctic Studies Center and Curator in the Department of Anthropology, NMNH, he has spent more than thirty years studying and publishing on Arctic peoples and cultures in northern Canada, Alaska, Siberia and Scandinavia. His archaeological and environmental research has focused upon the prehistory and paleoecology of northeastern North America, and broader aspects of his research feature the evolution of northern maritime adaptations, circumpolar culture contacts, cross-cultural studies and acculturation processes in the North, especially concerning Native-European contacts.

Recent research efforts have been directed at investigations into the problem of the western penetration of Maritime Archaic, Paleoeskimo and early Inuit cultures along the Lower North Shore of Quebec, and to associate this culture history more closely with Labrador and Newfoundland. Current interests in the origins of reindeer herding have led him to conduct research in Mongolia, where he is investigating reindeer herding in southern Siberia along the forest-steppe border, as well as investigating possible connections between deer-stones and Scythian art to the ancient art of East Asia and the Bering Sea Eskimos.

As curator of the National Museum of Natural History's Arctic collections, Bill has produced four international exhibitions, Inua: Spirit World of the Bering Sea Eskimos; Crossroads of Continents: Native Cultures of Siberia and Alaska; Ainu: Spirit of a Northern People; and Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga. His public and educational activities include the production of films, including the NOVA specials, Mysteries of the Lost Red Paint People, Norse America and several other Viking films. He served as Chairman of the Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology from 1975-80, is an Advisor to the Arctic Research Commission, represents the Smithsonian and Arctic social science in various inter-agency councils, serves on the Smithsonian Science Commission and holds various other administrative and advisory posts.


FleenerCraig Fleener, Arctic Policy Advisor, Office of Governor Bill Walker, Anchorage, Gwitch’n. Craig Fleener is Gwichyaa Zhee Gwich'in from Fort Yukon Alaska. He has 6 children and 4 grandchildren and is married to his best friend Uliana. His decades of experience include work on Arctic Policy, Wildlife and Fisheries, subsistence, food security, and Alaska Native issues. He served as a member of the Alaska Board of Game, Director of the Division of Subsistence and Deputy Commissioner for Wildlife, Subsistence, and Habitat with the State of Alaska. He is a wildlife biologist with a specialty in Moose management and human dimensions of wildlife and fisheries.

He served as a City Council member at the City of Fort Yukon, Alaska and as a tribal council member with the Gwichyaa Zhee Gwich'in Tribal Council and work for his tribal government for 16 years overseeing health care, education, and natural resources management. He successfully negotiated the first ever annual funding agreement in the United States between a tribe and the federal government initiating tribal management on federal land. He has a BSc degree in Natural Resources Management and a MSc degree in Strategic Intelligence.

He is a combat veteran and has been in the military on active duty and as a guardsman for over 28 years, and currently serves as the Senior Intelligence Officer in the Alaska Air National Guard. He currently serves as the Arctic Policy Advisor to the Governor of Alaska.


Pfirman photoStephanie L. Pfirman, is Hirschorn Professor of Environmental Science and co-Chair of Barnard's Department of Environmental Science.  She holds a joint appointment with Columbia University where she is a member of the faculties of the Earth Institute and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Adjunct Research Scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.  Professor Pfirman’s scientific research focuses on the Arctic environment, in particular on the nature and dynamics of Arctic sea ice.  She served as co-chair of the National Academy of Science study committee on Emerging Research Questions in the Arctic which produced the 2014 “The Arctic in the Anthropocene” report.  She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in the Section on Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences. 

Professor Pfirman has contributed to the development of innovative educational approaches in interdisciplinary, environmental, and STEM education including currently serving as principal investigator of the Polar Learning and Responding: PoLAR Climate Change Education Partnership supported by the National Science Foundation. Prior to joining Barnard, Professor Pfirman was a senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund and co-developer of the award-winning exhibition, "Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast," produced jointly with the American Museum of Natural History.  She is past President of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors, and has worked for the House of Representatives, as a staff scientist, for the US Geological Survey, as an oceanographer, and for the GeoMarine Research Institution in Kiel, Germany, as an Arctic researcher.  Her PhD is from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution joint program in Oceanography and Oceanographic Engineering.

 

Simon StephensonSimon Stephenson, Assistant Director, Polar Sciences, Office of Science and Technology Policy. As Assistant Director, Polar Sciences Mr Stephenson assists the President’s Science Advisor, Dr. John P Holdren, on issues related to research in the Polar Regions. Recently this included establishing the new Deputy Secretary-level Arctic Executive Steering Committee chaired by Dr. Holdren. Mr Stephenson is on detail to OSTP from the National Science Foundation where he serves as Head of the Arctic Sciences Section. The unit is responsible for a research investment of about $ 100 M annually.  The disciplinary scope of the programs is broad, encompassing much of the natural and social sciences as they apply to Arctic science questions. 

 


220px-Mead_Treadwell,_Photo_1Mead Treadwell, President, Pt Capital, former Lt. Governor of the State of Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska. Mead Treadwell was elected Lieutenant Governor of Alaska in 2010. Since the early 1980’s, Treadwell has held leadership roles in both business and public service. He is recognized as one of the world’s Arctic policy experts and has testified to Congress regarding America’s preparedness for increasing development pressures in the Arctic.

Treadwell was appointed to the United States Arctic Research Commission by President George W. Bush in 2001 (tenure ending in 2010) and designated the Commission’s chair in 2006. Under his leadership, a new United States Arctic Policy was developed and is now being implemented by the current administration. He represented Alaska on U.S. delegations which established the eight-nation Arctic Council, and was involved in the establishment of the Northern Forum. In addition, Treadwell was a Senior Fellow of the Institute of the North, an endowed public policy research program founded by former Secretary of the Interior and two-time Alaska governor Walter H. Hickel, to focus on Alaska and Arctic natural resource issues, governance of public assets, geography, and national security. His efforts there helped establish missile defense in Alaska and strengthened the regional U.S. alliance with Japan.

After graduating from Yale University, Treadwell moved to Alaska to became the lead political reporter for the “Anchorage Times.” Then, in 1982, after completing his MBA at the Harvard Business School, Treadwell joined former Alaskan governors Wally Hickel and Bill Egan to found the Yukon Pacific Corporation, which instigated the Alaska gas pipeline project. He later served as the Deputy Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (1991-1994). Later in his career, he helped launch a series of technology, manufacturing and service companies, two of which – Digimarc and Emberclear – trade on public stock exchanges, and was a chairman of Immersive Media Company (IMC),  notable for developing the camera used for Google’s Street View and Map Quest’s 360 View services. Until recently, he was also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Venture Ad Astra, an Anchorage company, which invests in and develops new geospatial and imaging technologies.

Treadwell was elected a Fellow National of the Explorers Club in 2002 and chairs the North Pacific Alaska Chapter of the Club. He is past president of the Alaska World Affairs Council, the Japan America Society of Alaska, and the Visual Arts Center of Alaska. As a founder of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce Siberian Gateway Project, he worked to open the Alaska-Russia border in 1988. Further, he has served as a board member of Commonwealth North, the Great Alaska Council of the Boy Scouts, the Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation and the Alaska-Siberia Research Center.