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Arctic Science Day 2020

Posted on March 10, 2020

FortWhyte Alive collaborated with the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Earth Observation Sciences to host the 11th annual Arctic Science Day this past Thursday, March 5th.

Test tubes filled with various liquids on a table outdoors in the winter

Arctic Science Day is a free educational experience with the goal of inspiring youth to consider post-secondary education and future careers in Arctic environmental science. Station themes connect to learning outcomes in physics, chemistry and biology, and the event allows scientists to share their understanding of the diverse impacts of climate change on the Arctic – and our Earth overall.


Over 60 high school students from 15 schools spent the day visiting research stations on FortWhyte’s Lake Cargill, learning about sunlight reflection and absorption through sea ice, learned about remote sensing of ice thickness and how to take ice cores. Students learned how to age a narwhal by counting the growth lines on its tusk, and learned about technology used in marine mammal research. Other topics included impacts of ocean acidification and contaminants such as methylmercury and the interaction between freshwater and saltwater in the Arctic Ocean.

A group of high school students listen to a presenter outdoors in winter

At the Interpretive Centre, over 100 Grade 6-8 students from three schools learned about the challenges of oil spill cleanup in the Arctic, how ice, water, and warming temperatures affect life in the Arctic Ocean, and the impact of carbon dioxide on the warming of Earth’s atmosphere. Students took turns manipulating a model to observe the impact of different human activities or policy changes on the overall global temperature increase.

A big thank you to Dr. John Iacozza, Executive Director of University of Manitoba’s Centre for Earth Observation Sciences, and the team of more than 20 graduate students and research scientists who took time away from their busy schedules to inspire the next generation. 

Three high school students hold up a block of ice

In the words of some inspired high school students:


“I learned how many different branches of science are present in Arctic research!..A wide variety of careers”


“Environmental science must be studied from different angles (biology, chemistry, physics) to gain a full understanding”


“I realized that Arctic research is going to be forever on-going and with the research we are doing today we can use it to determine how we should be acting or supporting actions [around climate change]”


Thanks to our generous sponsors, Boeing and Honda Canada Foundation, for supporting this year’s Arctic Science Day.