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Researchers kick-off NSF-funded educational program with local students

U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Public Affairs
Published June 1, 2017
Recently, the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory hosted 150 students from the local Richmond Middle School to kick-off the annual Adopt-A-Buoy program in which researchers interact with students to learn more about the Arctic and their own environment. In the photo, Dr. Don Perovich explains to the students how extensive the Arctic Ocean’s sea ice extent has changed – from September 1980 having 7.8 million square kilometers of coverage to September 2012 and 3.4 million square kilometers, which indicates a huge decrease in ice extent. Data shows that the Arctic Ocean’s ice sheet is losing both area and thickness.

Recently, the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory hosted 150 students from the local Richmond Middle School to kick-off the annual Adopt-A-Buoy program in which researchers interact with students to learn more about the Arctic and their own environment. In the photo, Dr. Don Perovich explains to the students how extensive the Arctic Ocean’s sea ice extent has changed – from September 1980 having 7.8 million square kilometers of coverage to September 2012 and 3.4 million square kilometers, which indicates a huge decrease in ice extent. Data shows that the Arctic Ocean’s ice sheet is losing both area and thickness.

U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory Polar Researchers and Dartmouth Adjunct Professors Drs. Don Perovich and Chris Polashenski, with their graduate students Nick Wright and James Whitlock hosted 150 eighth-graders and their teachers, from the local Richmond Middle School, for a presentation that kicks-off the annual Adopt-A-Buoy program, now in its 8th year.  

For one week in May the students were guided by the researchers to study data, weather, climate, and the Arctic. This project is part of a National Science Foundation-funded program using autonomous buoys to study the growth and melt of Arctic sea ice.  

CRREL researchers provided classroom visits and hands-on instruction on collecting and analyzing data from an observation site located on the school campus, designed to mimic observation sites located in the Arctic Ocean. In the classroom, students compared local data on weather, snow depth and ground temperatures with CRREL’s Arctic data, past and present.  

Later, students will again visit CRREL to tour the facilities and interact with other researchers who will share their work.  The finale is to Adopt-A-Buoy, when all 150 students will get the opportunity to sign a buoy that will be deployed later in the summer in the Arctic.  

This NSF educational outreach program offers an opportunity for researcher’s to engage with the future generation of researchers. 



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