By Emily Wolfe
Two of our partner scientists stepped up to the plate for ASC this winter, organizing a session about our work at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting—the largest, most influential earth science conference in the world.
With 23,000-plus attendees, the conference is a platform for presenting new research spanning the entire realm of Earth and space science, said ASC partner Dr. Dragos Zaharescu, a research fellow at Biosphere 2 who set up the session with Dr. Natalie Kehrwald, an ASC glaciologist partner who works with the University of Venice.
Entitled Is Global Citizen Science the Next Big Science?, the session featured ASC mountaineer Dr. Hari Mix, a paleoclimatologist, and Executive Director Gregg Treinish.
“For years I wanted to get in touch with mountaineers to see about the possibilities of obtaining samples for my own research on thinning glaciers,” said Natalie, who learned of ASC at AGU in 2011. “I have had great interactions with ASC and would like other scientists to know this great opportunity exists.”
By Jennifer Presler
In the modern world, staying connected means keeping up with world news, following the latest trends, and plugging into social media. While the prairie might not have much in the way of popular culture, it does offer the possibility of connections far deeper than can be achieved among the distractions of city life. On the prairie, there is no safety cushion, no guardrail, and nothing screening you from experiencing the land in its full glory.
In the short two months I lived on the American Prairie Reserve, I felt more in tune with the land and its inhabitants than other places I’ve called home. From walking transects and discovering the land on foot, I developed an intimate trust in my own instincts, my crewmates, and in the other animals constantly fighting to survive in this beautiful yet challenging climate.
A few members of the December Landmark crew are staying on in January, and are joined by three new teammates Caroline, Hannah and Amber. Get to know the new folks here:
Caroline Hedin has an addiction to prairie. Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, she earned a degree in Ecology and Geography from Quest University in Squamish, BC. After school, she wrung out her rain gear and returned to the prairies to work for Parks Canada.
For three years, Caroline has led the education team at Elk Island National Park, where she teaches visitors about bison conservation and the loss of the Great Plains. Along the way, she has fallen head-over-heels for the wide open skies, elk bugling over the hills, and the sense of solitude imbued in the prairie landscape.
Elk Island N.P. has sent bison to APR, helping build its wild herd, and it is that connection which brought Caroline to the Reserve. She looks forward to seeing her bison friends in their new home and can’t wait to further contribute to prairie conservation.
Originally from Minneapolis, Hannah Larson discovered her love of wild places as a teenager on canoeing trips in northern Minnesota and Canada. A graduate of Bowdoin College in Maine, she holds degrees in both Environmental Studies and History.
Since then, Hannah has led wilderness trips in Minnesota, built hiking trails in Maine and New York, collected stream data across the western United States, and worked for two environmental nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C.
Hannah plans to return to graduate school in 2015 to study applied ecology, and she looks forward to gaining more field research experience on the American Prairie Reserve. Having heard so much about the prairie, she can’t wait to spend a winter under the open Montana sky.
Growing up in California and Western Massachusetts, Amber Kapchinske developed a love for adventures, animals and the outdoors. While at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, she worked as a lab technician analyzing scat and hair for a project focused on the trophic relationships of carnivores in Newfoundland.
After graduating with a degree in Wildlife Biology, Amber spent a year in Australia's Victorian Grasslands caring for captive quolls and trapping wallabies. In 2014, she was part of a projectSaskatchewan trapping and tagging black-tailed prairie dogs in Grasslands National Park, Canada.
Amber enjoyed the Saskatchewan prairie so much, she is returning for another season in March. In the meantime, her newfound appreciation for prairie life brought her to APR. She is excited to explore the Montana prairie with ASC!
By Abby Barrows
ASC Partner Scientist
Up until this point, all the microplastic I've counted has come from surface samples. But, my most recent batch of samples included water from ASC adventurers in Palau, who took our first scuba samples, as well as a well-prepared Alaskan adventurer who used specialized equipment for sampling water from the deep ocean.
By Tony Mancuso
Since February of 2014, I have spent roughly 100 days working on the American Prairie Reserve during two stints as a Landmark crew member. Walking 10 miles a day—in any condition—our goal is to observe and report on all of the wildlife that calls APR home. I have never seen another place like this.
Yesterday we came across a herd of more than 100 North American Bison five miles from the nearest road. As my partner and I reached the southern border of the Reserve, the wind changed direction. The bison must have caught scent of us, and they galloped off over a hill to the east. In just a few seconds, the plain before us went from being dotted with the wooly brown animals, to being apparently empty and silent. The contrast was impossible to ignore.
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