2016ArcticNet conference

NOVEMBER 29, 2016

This is my fourth blog opening for my fourth NorthSTAR (formerly ISAMR) trip. I am always excited to return to Canada, but this trip inspires a different kind of excitement. It has also required a much more intensive preparation process. These past few days have been a blur of four way Skype calls, endless emails, and surprise phone calls. I can't count how many times I have formatted and reformatted posters and PowerPoints. This is the first time I have truly felt how much other people depend on ISAMR's work. 

Baltimore and Churchill will be flying to Winnipeg, MB for the next three days to participate in the Wapusk Conference. We will blog everyday of the Wapusk conference. The week following will be ArcticNet. Only Kelvin students will be attending and presenting. They will also be posting fairly regularly. Photos will be posted nearing the end of the conferences.

- Cecilia Charney, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

DECEMBER 1, 2016

Today we had to wake up around 6:30 to have breakfast and do dry run of our talk before we left for the conference. There were four of us doing the talk, Me, Grace, Ceci, and Anna.

We were up late last night so that sucked, with the fact we woke up so early. We left for the conference around 8am. The ride there wasn’t to long.

The morning was super interesting because we got to listen to other professional researches talk about their work. Lunch wasn’t to bad, the soup was really good. The afternoon was more fun, we did our talk (it went pretty smooth if I may say). Then at 4:40 we got two see all the posters so that was great.

Supper, ah yes supper, it was ok, we had Earls. We came back to Jane and Jim's house. Now we are doing nothing for the rest of the night.

- Scott Stewardson, Junior Canadian Ranger

DECEMBER 2, 2016

We kicked off the second day of the conference with more oral presentations, categorized by themes such as polar bears or geology. When the talks were organized thematically, it became even more clear how interconnected all of our research was; while it didn’t come as a surprise, it was great seeing the connections being made. 

After lunch, the topic went to a new integrated research and monitoring site in the park. We were all invited to participate in small-group conversations about the purpose, location, and pros and cons of such a site. Overall, the consensus was, we all wanted to improve communication with each other first. Once that was established, it would be much easier to ask and share data amongst ourselves, and know what everyone was doing in the park and when. It was awesome to be part of such a conversation with grad students, professors, and professional researchers, talking about something we all cared about very dearly. It made for an excellent ending to the event.

After the symposium wrapped up, we had a few hours to look around Winnipeg. Since we usually had work to do, we never got much of a chance to really see the city. After walking in the mall for a while and playing piano at Chapters, we picked up some food and headed back to the house. After we ate, we started making cookies (as well as some plans for tomorrow). We all turned in at about 12:30, ready for a day of (a bit less) work come the morning.

- Luke Pound, Park School of Baltimore

DECEMBER 3, 2016

Today we got to sleep a little more since yesterday was the last day of the conference. At 9:30 the kids from from Kelvin came so work on our presentations for Arctic Net. It was really nice working with everyone in the same room and in person. We worked until about 12:30 then bought some pizza. Many kelvin kids had left but others stayed and we took a break to hang out and watch a movie. Later, we baked cookies. Alex and Sean, two of the kelvin kids we had met on the trip were part of a competitive improv team and were preforming that night. It was a really great experience. I had never been to anything like that before and it was just nice to be there, cheering on and supporting our Canadian friends. It was a great way to end our last night together. Phaolan, one of the last Kelvin students that stayed with us that night, took us to a Tim Hortons after the show. We ate and hung out then went to the house. We said our final goodbyes to Phaolan and Grace, who had came back to the house to practice her presentation. Once they left, we picked our bags, sad that we would be leaving the next day.

- Lexi Mantilla, The Park School of Baltimore

DECEMBER 4, 2016

I'm back to close off part one of the conference trip. The next week will involve only Winnipeg students at ArcticNet (Baltimore is really pushing the amount of days their schools will let them miss). Winnipeg students will post occasionally about their two presentations on Bog vs. Burn active layer thickness and vegetation and Whisker Printing. We will also have students there discussing the posters.

I wanted to thank all of ISAMR's partners for supporting and funding us. It has provided me and so many other students amazing opportunities to learn more about our world and the possibilities that arise when passionate people collaborate. The Wapusk symposium has empowered me more then I could ever imagine. I feel so lucky to have had conversations with such amazing people.

- Cecilia Charney, BPI

DECEMBER 7, 2016

Throughout the day, all those interested made their way over to the Conference Center. Walking into the event, I was surrounded with the cool blues and greys of the many posters of arctic studies. The first topical session began at 10:30. During topical sessions, there are a multitude of themes to choose from, in which there are five or six talks of various undergraduate and graduate projects or scientific groups. For example, the second wildlife session included talks about muskoxen, polar bears, lemmings and foxes. Today, I went to sessions on marine biology, food and water issues and sustainable living.

For lunch, the ISAMR folk met up at the chinese food banquet. Following that, were two more topical sessions with a coffee break in the middle. Then came the most exciting part of the day; the poster session. Grace and I stood by the poster for one of our summer projects, research on the regeneration of burnt bogs. Many others stood by the fall trip poster about polar bear identification, or ‘whiskerprinting’. We talked to a multitude of researchers of whom we learnt even more about our topics. One woman told Grace and I about how in Alaska, there is also an issue with increasing wildfires. Another talked to us about the importance of the lichen, which was burnt in the fire, to the caribou. All in all, we are extremely grateful to have been given the chance to be a part of the ArticNet poster session.

After having spoken to many old and new friends (and grabbing some free loot), we went across the skywalk to the banquet. Without a doubt, it was one of the fanciest events that I have ever been to. We chatted over soup and salmon and steak and cheesecake, while the adults took sips of wine. Stunning pictures of the arctic were displayed throughout the room. It was a great time and a fabulous end to the evening.

- Marissa Claire Hamlin

DECEMBER 8, 2016

ArcticNet is truly an incredible conference. Day 4 of ArcticNet for ISAMR was another eventful one.

I had the pleasure of doing a talk today in the "Permafrost" session. This talk revolved around our research in a bog near Ritchie Lake, Churchill, that was partially burned in 1999. We have been collecting Active Layer Thickness (ALT) measurements and vegetation estimation (both at a categorical and species level) in both the unburned and burned terrain since 2008 and 2012, respectively. What we have found was that the ALT in the burned bog is significantly thicker than the one in the unburned one. We have correlated this with the fact that there is around 60% less lichen coverage in the burned bog, which is a vegetation that has insulating properties for the permafrost.

After the Permafrost session, we went to the "Arctic Wildlife 2" session to hear Jackie ("What would Jackie do?") and Jim Roth's talks, both revolving around lemming population dynamics. It was wonderful hearing their talks again, this time in a spacious convention room and not the cramped living room of Nestor 1. 

Beside the talks, we had a wonderful lunch of pierogis, sausages, meatballs, and tangy tomato soup, explored the poster room, collected some cool merch and information booklets, and picked up some valuable knowledge and recommendations from (adult) arctic scientists. 

ArcticNet has no doubt exceeded my expectations. The scope of arctic research currently being done is much larger than I ever would have imagined: permafrost, wildlife, Inuit health, arctic mining... the topics truly seemed limitless. This is such a pivotal time for the health of our world, and experiencing ArcticNet has fueled me to continuously extend my knowledge and actions on protecting our ecosystem. What a beautiful world we live in - let this not be a temporary statement. 

- Grace Ma


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