As expected, the National Science Foundation, PolarTREC, and The Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) have officially canceled my participation in the April Arctic science expedition. The Office of Naval Research and University of Washington Polar Science Center are not behind in officially cancelling too.
Hoping that the midsummer Greenland Arctic Circle trip will happen.... yet who knows.
In the meantime, laying low trying not to become part of the problem as an unintentional vector of covid-19. Just moved everything I need for a couple months out of my office and am now set up at home. Thankfully my house has a sunny south facing porch that is blocked from the wind - it may become my favorite new office space.
And for some much needed levity (in case you haven't already seen this on my social media channels) -
I've been googling Covid-19 too much and sometimes I accidentally type in Corvid as well and have seen so many pics of really cool birds. Thought I would share some of these really cool Corvids. Here are only 16 of the 120 corvid species around the world.
Stay connected to those you love and care about, I think the psychological effects of this pandemic is already causing intense emotional exhaustion for everyone on some level. Love your people - even if it's just through phone calls and video chats. I'm definitely feeling it myself.
In it for the long haul, until next time,
Be flexible with lost luggage, getting sick, delayed flights, missed trains, date changes, weather... I didn’t expect an international viral outbreak to be on that list. Yet, I must remain flexible. I'm trying to get used to the uncertainty of the daily (sometimes hourly) decision making required of all of us right now.
So, the current status of going to the Arctic is uncertain and I'm remaining on standby. My participation in PolarTREC is directly connected to National Science Foundation (NSF) grant funding. And currently the NSF is recommending that grant awardees not travel domestically or internationally, if possible.
Also, I'm thinking about what it means for a group of scientists from the lower 48 states to potentially serve as a vector for COVID-19 and bring the virus to remote communities in Alaska. This feels a bit irresponsible. Another thought is considering the risk and or access to health facilities in rural Alaska should someone on our team get sick.
I have learned that student travel has been restricted by the bigger school districts in Alaska (Anchorage, Kenai, and Matsu). Our primary investigator's (lead scientist) institution, the University of Washington in Seattle has shut down and gone to virtual classrooms. Our other primary investigator from the Office of Naval Research Reserve Component (ONR-RC) has cancelled all OCONUS (outside contiguous United States, which includes Alaska) travel for March 2020.
This is an elective opportunity of learning and adventure for me. I am not essential to this science team, nor the data collection in terms of the priority of my participation. Yet, I'm having to work hard at being okay with the situation as it is incredibly disappointing. There is a chance that I may still get to join the International Arctic Buoy Programme on a mid-summer Greenland and Canada Arctic Circle buoy deployment mission; the funding for that trip has been up in the air for a few months so I am waiting in the wings to see what happens.
Until next time...
Only 23 days until I fly to Alaska! The logistics of the next few weeks are beginning to become real, and some might say overwhelming.
Not only am I considering all the logistics of packing, attending a week long orientation in Boulder March 15-20, and then participating in an Arctic science expedition; I'm also in full swing of running my own business Wild Rose Education, designing a new fall course syllabus for Colorado Mountain College SUS-440 Watershed Science and Land Use Impacts, finalizing the logistics for five graduate level educator classes this summer, presenting at three conferences between now and the end of April, making sure I've got taxes and bills paid, and looking for new housing here in my community. Yet, I'm confident it will all happen and turn out quite well. Thankfully I'm really good at planning and paying attention to details. And hopefully I can prove to be incredibly flexible. As with any expedition, things change at any given moment and one has to be ready to flex, and also try to be okay with the new situation.
One phenomenon I'm really hoping to experience are the northern lights or aurora borealis. It will be my first time to experience them.
Thanks to the MOSAiC Expedition, I found these really neat website links:
Looking for equipment to borrow; used gear is great as long as it works well:
I need everything by March 6, 2020 so I have adequate time to learn how to use it well before traveling. Contact me to let me know what you may be able to share.
Then plan to mail (or drop off) any items to Sarah Johnson, Wild Rose Education, 520 S. Third Street, Suite 16, Carbondale, CO 81623
Or, if you would like to send funding to help purchase this equipment, please do so with a check or through Venmo (@sarahrosejohnson)
Also, thought you may be interested in all else that I'm up to with Wild Rose Education. Read the latest news (sent 2/16/2020) here.
In addition to posting to this blog about my Arctic expedition experiences, I'm also posting to all of these social media channels. Please click on the black and white platform icons below (bottom of email) that you use and be sure to 'like' or 'follow' my pages. You'll find more short updates, photos, quips, and maybe even a map or two.
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I love learning places. It's important to me to learn about places from a broad scope and on many scales; one way to think about this is 'from from the rocks to the politics'. To learn a place requires giving a bit of yourself to a place so you can become part of it and it can become part of you.
One way to begin to learn a place is to explore its culture And for me, music is a rich inroad to learning about culture. Music celebrates nearly every experience of the human condition and it occurs in a place or is influenced by a place. So I began to think about some songs and even a poem or two I already knew. Then with a bit of further pondering I realized these songs written by men of European descent, did not even begin to represent the music of the Arctic. So with the help of google, an entire evening was spent diving in to the native peoples' music of their homeland.
What I have learned thus far, is the traditional throat-singing of the Inuit people is still alive today in some millennial musicians. Throat singing mimics the natural sounds of the Arctic landscape: wind, ice, sea birds and more. Listen to a few songs and watch one of the videos below.
Today I got word from John Woods, the logistics lead, that we have a solid diverse team and dates set for our April expedition; the Utqiaġvik Buoy Exercise 2020 for The International Arctic Buoy Program (IABP)
December 23 – “Hello…, yes I’m sitting on a plane in Dallas. Just landed. Turned on my smartphone and it immediately began ringing. I’m excited to talk to you...”
Although I was sitting on a completely full plane of Christmas travelers, I chose to answer as it was a number from Alaska I had seen a couple weeks prior and was excited to hear from them. Yet it was curious if Santa was calling me from the North Pole?
It was a call to invite me to participate in a 2020 PolarTREC expedition in the coming months. I was selected from over 200 applicants through a rigorous application and interview process to join Arctic researchers from the U.S. Navy and University of Washington who work on the International Arctic Buoy Programme. An opportunity of a lifetime, to go to the Arctic with a science research team. They even mentioned during the interview the possibility of going to the North Pole! I accepted even though it means missing my grandmother’s 100th birthday during the same week of April.