Friday, March 6th, started out at a seasonal -10C, but temperatures warmed up to a balmy -3C with warm sun by the afternoon. A great day to learn about the Arctic outdoors!
A big thank you to the scientists from University of Manitoba (CEOS) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, to Michelle Watts of Schools on Board/ArcticNet for her role in coordinating, and to the FortWhyte volunteers and staff who helped out with the day.
Research stations set up at FortWhyte Alive's Lake Cargill included two pop-up fishing shelters for water sampling and microbiology, a snow pit and ice coring activity, a meteorological station, and an area for sampling contaminants in water and snow. Students also had the opportunity to learn about remote sensing technologies that are used to assess ice thickness in the north, as well as examine marine mammal artifacts such as narwhal tusks, seal skins and baleen. 84 high school students from 14 schools, with 17 teachers came for the full day of learning.
At the Interpretive Center, 66 Grade 8 students from Arthur Day School and Van Walleghem School learned how to tell the age and life stories of fish by dissecting out their ear bones ("otoliths"), sampled water chemistry, and learned about changes in Inuit clothing and culture over time.
Many teachers are committed to returning next year, to give this unique opportunity to more students. Arctic Science Day brings science to the next level, helping students to imagine possible future careers and the roles they can play in understanding and planning for the changes that a warming Arctic will bring to northern communities and to the world.
"We learned that climate change can mess up the food chain," and "that climate change can affect humans as much as it affects animals,' were among the comments from grade 8 students from Arthur Day School.
"It seems like we are always talking about those algae growing under the ice. They must be really important to the ecosystem," commented students from Acadia Jr. High.
Thanks to everyone involved for a great day. See you next year!
Learn more about the Schools on Board Outreach program here.