Scientists gather on river for Fresh Eyes on Ice workshop
At the Tanana Wayside and Boat Launch, a team of scientists braved -20 degree temperatures as part of the Fresh Eyes on Ice workshop. According to Chris Arp, a research associate professor at UAF and part of the science team on the project, Fresh Eyes on Ice is a project intended to create a database of useful information. “[We want] to raise awareness about how ice is responding to climate change,” said Arp. “How thick it is, when it freezes up, when it breaks up.”
“But also,” added Arp, “We really wanna try to promote ice safety and awareness of safe travel conditions, [particularly among] people in smaller villages that use ice for getting around and for subsistence activities."
Another component of the project’s overall scope involved deputizing citizen scientists to collect data about ice thickness. Teachers from schools all over Alaska were present to receive this training and pass it on to their students.
Beverly Chmielarczyk, a life science teacher from Bethel Regional High School, elaborates on what she’ll be bringing back to her students. "I'm learning about some of the protocols necessary for the program,” said Chmielarczyk, “So we've been talking about safety, […] we've been talking about data collection, and we've been talking about what it'll take to incorporate this program into our classrooms."
Training the teachers will create data from all over the state. "Right now, we're training the teachers on the citizen science team how to do those measurements,” said Arp, “And we're gonna be doing those through the winter to track how ice is responding to the weather and climate."