Undergraduates in the Subarctic: Developing Study Abroad Courses in the Environmental Sciences


Scott Werts

From Winthrop University (USA)

The arctic and subarctic regions of the northern hemisphere contain some of the most rapidly changing environments on the planet.   It can be difficult to impress upon students the rate and scope of change here by simply showing pictures and graphs in a lecture hall.  Implementing an introductory course to immerse students in this landscape can help deepen the understanding serve to train students in basic sciences at the same time.  Over the past 5 years, an undergraduate dominated course has been run three times taking students to Churchill, Canada, located on the southwestern shores of Hudson Bay.  Students have learned to conduct everything from simple data collection activities to establishing remote sensing systems to monitor the environments back at the university. Thus far, we have collected half a year of air temperature, relative humidity, insolation, leaf moisture, soil moisture and soil temperature from a treeless tundra and from a forested landscape within 0.5 kilometers of each other.  As the course continues to develop, we hope to develop larger remote sensing arrays and conduct increasingly complex studies on a yearly basis with new undergraduates every year. 


Contact the host Anne Hope Jahren if you would like to speak with this guest.

Published Dec. 31, 2018 10:42 AM - Last modified Jan. 10, 2019 2:31 PM