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"Poles Together" Outreach and Education Workshop for International Polar Year (IPY)
Poles Together Workshop Summary
The Poles Together Workshop, sponsored by CIRES and NOAA, was held July 20-22, 2005 , as an opportunity for polar researchers, science educators, and communication experts to network and plan a wide range of education, outreach, and communication strategies for the IPY. The Summary Report is now available.
Over 100 participants came from organizations that included U.S. federal agencies (e.g., NOAA, NSF, NASA, USGS) and international organizations (e.g., International Antarctic Institute in Hobart , Australia ; the International Polar Foundation based in Brussels; the Swedish, Dutch and German national IPY committees). Other participants represented universities such as Columbia University, the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, the University of Colorado, the University of the Arctic, Ohio State University, and the University of California at Merced. Attendees also included professionals in marketing, science education, and the travel industry.
As can be seen in the agenda the workshop offered a mix of "ice-breaking" information sharing and networking opportunities, working group break-out sessions, demonstrations of innovative tools and resources, and presentations. Featured speakers included David Carlson, the Director of the International Polar Year, and John Behrendt from INSTAAR (the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research), who shared images and stories of his IGY adventures to Antarctica 50 years ago.
Building on the past efforts of many individuals (including various workshops and planning meetings of the International Science Union (ICSU), World Meteorological Organization ( WMO ), the National Academies, and the 2004 Bridging the Poles Workshop), the Poles Together Workshop tapped into the energy and potential for polar regions to inspire, engage, and interest people around the world about the polar regions and their links to the rest of the planet. Poles Together served as a community-building event during which opportunities, challenges, and potential partnerships and collaborations were identified.
Photo credit: Susan Foster
Carol Knight and Mark McCaffrey at the NCAR Mesa Lab dinner
Funding for this summary of the workshop has been provided by the National Science Foundation and the NOAA Office of Education and Sustainable Development.
Co-chairs Mark McCaffrey from CIRES Outreach and Education Program and Carol Knight from NOAA Research were assisted in organizing and facilitating the workshop by Susan Lynds (CIRES), Susan Foster (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research), Rusty Low (Digital Library for Earth System Education), Becky Boger (GLOBE Program), Sheldon Drobot (University of Colorado), and Jane Beitler, Stephanie Renfrow, and Betsy Sheffeld (CIRES' National Snow and Ice Data Center). The organizers of the workshop thank CIRES and NOAA for their support.
The urgency and excitement clearly evident at the workshop has led to new partnerships and relationships, and to the development of specific strategies and plans for implementing education, outreach, and communication efforts for IPY, which officially begins 88 weeks after the workshop.
IPY 2007-2008 will be the fourth IPY; the first was in 1882-1883, the second in 1932-33, and the most recent, which was expanded to the International Geophysical Year (or IGY), in 1957-1958.
With the overarching goal of supporting the development and coordination of International Polar Year (IPY) education, outreach, and communication (EOC) efforts, the Poles Together workshop bought together over 100 individuals from a broad range of backgrounds and three continents for three days of discussions, presentations, and brainstorming. During the first day in a series of "Breaking the Ice" sessions, all participants were given three minutes to quickly share with the group their background, general IPY plans, and reasons for attending the workshop.
Presentations during the workshop included an introduction by Roger Barry, Director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center and World Data Center for Glaciology in Boulder, an overview of IPY plans and potential for research and outreach entitled "It's Cool and It's Hot" by IPY Programme Office Director David Carlson, and John Behrendt of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research sharing slides and commentary on his experience in Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year in 1957-8. One of the hosts of the Bridging the Poles Workshop held in Washington DC in June 2004, Stephanie Pfirman (who is also a member of the Polar Research Board of the National Academies of Science), and maintaining momentum for IPY. The majority of the PowerPoint presentions from Poles Together are available online (http://cires.colorado.edu/education/k12/ipyoe/presentation).
Panel discussions included a look at funding opportunities for IPY, including agencies and private foundations, and a dialogue focused on finding partners and creating impact.
Several demonstrations were offered during the workshop of the NOAA's "Science on a Sphere" and the EarthSLOT visualization tool. A film from the series of educational products that were developed after IGY entitled "Inconstant Air" was shown, with Stan Ruttenberg, the producer of the film, providing its introduction. A calendar of events leading up to and through the IPY was started during the workshop. For additional details and recommendations of the workshop, see Breakout Sessions.
IPY Legacy Article
To access an article written by Mark McCaffrey for an on-line magazine "Bridges" which focuses on the 125 year IPY (International Polar Year) Legacy please follow this link: IPY Legacy.