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Innovative collaboration brings Arctic science into the classroom

003, Holmes, along with 5 other American and Russian scientists, participated in a two-week water sampling expedition on the Lena River in northeast Russia. While on board, he saw that the boat captain's 13-year old daughter was very interested in the process. Communicating primarily through translators, he explained the work being done and she quickly mastered the basic sampling protocols. At the end of the trip, he explained to her how more frequent sampling would help scientists learn more about the Lena River, and that if she wanted to continue participating in the PARTNERS project she could be a big help. Anya agreed, so Holmes provided her with sample bottles and instructions on how to take samples from the Lena throughout the winter. Since September 2003, she has collected samples at 2-week intervals, often taking a snowmobile driven by her father out to holes in the ice and occasionally in temperatures as low as ?5 degrees Celsius (-67 degrees Fahrenheit). Anya's samples are already proving to be highly valuable, as her high frequency samples have captured temporal variability that otherwise would have been missed.

Because of Anya's interest, in May and June 2004, Holmes, Clapp, and Alexander Zhulidov, a Russian scientist who had been on the Lena trip, visited her school in Zhigansk, Siberia, to talk about science and the environment. Before leaving, they supplied the school with additional sampling kits, and now other students and teachers are involved in sampling the Lena River for a wide range of chemical constituents.

Holmes plans to expand the kind of student-teacher-scientist partnership they've developed in Zhigansk to several other sites throughout the Arctic. According to Holmes, "capitalizing on the energy and enthusiasm of students has tremendous benefits for education, for science, and for society. The relationship we've developed with the community of Zhigansk is paying huge dividends scientifically, and it also helping us to get
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Source:Woods Hole Research Center


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