Arctic Plant Phenology - Learning through Engaged Science (APPLES)
The PI will develop and pilot a scalable strategy for involving educators in polar research and making data from polar research programs accessible to students. Plans include engaging grades 6-12 and undergraduate science educators in a long-term, ongoing research project in Greenland that examines changes in the phenology (e.g. seasonal life cycle events - in this case, the onset of springtime plant growth) of arctic plants and how this relates to climate. Educators and students will conduct similar observations and experiments in their local environment and will contribute their data to the ongoing research efforts. Participants will consist of approximately 24 middle school, high school, and undergraduate educators from schools across a range of geographical locations and school districts serving underrepresented and underserved students. The PI will conduct a workshop each year with the educators and develop online resources for the educators. Educators will be engaged in an ongoing study of plant phenology at a field site near Kangerlussuaq, Greenland and they will learn observational and experimental methods of studying plant phenology that they can use with their students in their local environment. Educators from Fort Lewis College, Colorado, Blue Hill Consolidated School, Maine; and St. Paul Island, Alaska, will participate in this project. Additionally, the development of online resources will provide access to data from long-term research on arctic plant phenology, related lesson plans, and media representations of research activities in Greenland to an expanded network of educators. These on-line resources will serve educational needs beyond the duration of this project. The proposed activities present outstanding opportunities for the involvement of student groups, including Native American and Alaskan Aleut students, in research through hands-on training and inquiry-based educational experiences.