Arctic Plant Phenology Learning through Engaged Science
July 25-29, 2016
Applications Due: April 1, 2016
Admission decision and notification will be sent to all applicants on May 2, 2016
One of the most widely documented ecological consequences of climate change is the earlier occurrence of springtime events. Earlier flowering by plants, earlier arrival by migratory birds, and earlier emergence of invertebrates have been documented across all regions of the Earth, but such changes have been most pronounced in the Arctic, where warming has been greatest.
The discipline of "phenology" is the study of the timing of such events and how they advance in response to climatic warming. But how do we know that spring events, such as the blooming of flowers, are occurring earlier? How do scientists study phenology in the field? Teachers will have the opportunity to participate and collaborate with leading polar research scientists, CSATS science educators and PolarTREC Teacher Nell Herrmann, and schools from across the country.
Since 1993, Dr. Post has been studying the effects of climate change on arctic plant phenology using three approaches: direct human observation of plants, time-lapse photography of plants, and mini-greenhouse warming experiments. These methods, the way they are used in the study of phenology, and what they can tell us about ecological responses to climate change will be a major focus of this workshop. Dr. Post's long-term data from his study of plant phenology at an arctic field site in Greenland will be used in exercises focusing on the use of such data in detecting trends toward earlier onset of springtime events.
Middle and high school teachers will spend a week at Penn State learning about how scientists identify key phenological stages of plant growth, and how to monitor plant phenological responses to climatic warming using time-lapse cameras and mini-greenhouses. Teachers will participate in science inquiry activities which replicate the practices of scientists and the systems nature of research. With support from the APPLES team, teachers will develop a research project to implement with students in the 2016-2017 academic year, integrating research practices into the research design. The classroom research project will incorporate learnings from the workshop, including arctic data collected by Dr. Eric Post and his research team, and utilizing equipment and procedures used by the researchers. This workshop is limited to 15 participants, so register early!
Lodging and meals are provided during the week
Travel support included for partner schools, additional travel support to other teachers based upon funds
Equipment needed to carry out classroom research projects (experimental warming chamber and plant phenology camera)
$500 stipend for implementing classroom research project during the 2016-2017 academic year
Up to three teachers from the workshop will be considered for participation in fieldwork in Greenland with the research team during summer 2017
$500 stipend for presenting at the Arctic Research Symposium at Penn State in spring 2018
For more information, contact Pernille Sporon Boving from The Polar Center or Leah Bug from CSATS.
While all teachers may apply, these partner schools are given travel funding priority:
Bald Eagle Area School District in Bellefonte, PA
Blue Hill Consolidated School in Blue Hill, ME
Durango Middle and High School in Durango, CO
Pribilof Island School District in St. Paul Island, AK