Polar Educators International - Professional Network for Outreach Activities

PEI initial meetingsDiscussions during 2012 IPY set the stage for polar educators network. Photo courtesy of Sandra Vanhove.

Polar Educators International (PEI) is an international professional network for everyone who educates in, for, and about the polar regions. Evidence shows that education and outreach associated with the 2007-08 International Polar Year touched 24 million people through the work of teachers, scientists, writers, filmmakers, policymakers, government agencies, and many others. PEI was organized to continue this momentum. The network began to form during discussions at the IPY meeting in 2010 and was realized during the IPY meeting in 2012 with a formal announcement from Peter Harrison, chair of the IPY 2012 Montreal conference.

PEI is a legacy of the IPY theme, "From Knowledge to Action," with a mission to connect, energize, and foster collaboration in polar education and science across the globe. Representing 24 countries, the group of more than 250 leading educators, scientists, and community members will develop innovative resources and best practices in advocating for polar education and scientific literacy at all ages. They aim to excite students about science learning in the context of the polar regions, thereby changing the terms of debate and the framework of education to rekindle student and public engagement with global environmental changes.

In the first six months, the PEI steering committee made concrete progress in becoming a strong voice for international coordination in polar education. In a partnership with APECS for International Polar Week, PEI initiated a global snow science activity called "Flakes, Blobs, and Bubbles: An Ice Core Art Project." The activity was translated into twenty-one different languages, gathered 1,600 submissions of ice-core art, and is the basis for globally crowd-sourced ice core visualizations. Individual art, mosaics, and related resources can viewed at icecoreart.weebly.com.

PEI is currently supported through in-kind support from the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) and the International Polar Foundation. The organization will continue bringing together polar communities and individuals to advance scientific literacy about the polar regions and environmental change.

For further information or to become a member, please email polareducators [at] gmail [dot] com or ask to join the Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/247660677828.