Thirteen countries were represented by approximately 60 attendees/presenters at this 3-day Polar Educators International workshop on "Education and Polar Science in Action." Delegates travelled from Europe, USA and South America, the Indian subcontinent and Japan. Highlights included tours and presentations by researchers from the Scott Polar Research Institute, including a welcome from the Director and Executive Secretaries of SCAR, IASC, EPB and British Antarctic Survey. On the 9th and 10th of April sessions based at Christ's College focused on the Polar Research topics of:
- Remote Sensing - Earth observed from space including Greenlandic Glaciers and the movement of Whales in Arctic shipping regions
- Re-imagining the Poles - in particular the North & Circumpolar regions, taking into account knowledge from Indigenous Populations
- Science Communication Skills
- Collaboration and Engagement across the Arctic
- Microplastics - including opportunities for citizen science
These sessions provided scientific background information and hands-on engagement activities for attendees. Conference attendees also provided posters and Snap-Talk presentations sharing their own initiatives focused on the conference theme of ‘Connect, Communicate, Collaborate and Create.’
In post-workshop surveys, conference participants reported an overall knowledge gain of 94% related to conference topics. Participants rated the value and efficacy of the workshop to their own work in a variety of aspects on a scale of 1-strongly disagree to 5-strongly agree.
For example, on the topic, “I have new ideas of how to engage my community in understanding the Polar Regions,” the rating was 4.4/5.0, and the overall average workshop rating was 4.3/5.0.
The monies provided by IASC supported attendance by 4 early career researchers from the UK Polar Network, a UK teacher/Polar Ambassador and 2 researchers from India. All of the supported participants valued the new connections that they were able to make at the workshop, and have reported plans to increase their outreach activities to engage new audiences. Additionally, one funded participant has joined the 2019-2020 PEI Council. The IASC funds also assisted polar Early Career Scientists and PEI in covering costs associated with coffee breaks and lunches on the 9th and 10th of April at Christ’s College.
Information about the conference including video recordings of keynote speeches and panel discussions can be accessed at Polar Educators International website: https://polareducator.org/. There will be a short video documentary of the event available by summer 2019.
This workshop was supported by IASC; this report was submitted by PEI.