Arctic systems and seasons: Braiding culture, art, STEM, and community through year-round Arctic citizen science
This project has developed into a major citizen science research project in rural Alaska. A recent article about it was published in Witness the Arctic.
Our project aimed to develop a year-long interdisciplinary, culturally responsive unit of study that braids citizen science throughout the seasonal cycle with art, Gwich’in language, math, culture, and community service. To do this, John Fredson School teacher Terri Mynatt and University of Alaska Fairbanks ecologist Katie Spellman partnered to engage students in the early primary grades in a year-round suite of citizen science monitoring projects using Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE). They also piloted a new UAF citizen science program called Winterberry, now fully launched throughout Alaska. Students tracked changes in the clouds, weather, temperature, soil active layer, and berry abundance throughout the year, supported by learning activities across the disciplines and visits from “Dr. Katie.”
Our expected outcomes for k-2 students in Venetie include: (1) increased science identity and science enthusiasm; (2) Increased participation in professional science practices; (3) increased perception of connections between components of the Arctic system, such as connections between weather, soil and plants and animals; and (4) increased understanding of connections between science, their own lives, and their community.
Read more about the project's recent participation in the Alaska GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) Learning Expedition here:
Alaska students share real-life climate change experiences at international event, Article in IARC Latest News and Upcoming Events by Heather McFarland, 6 September 2018.
Seasonal Activity Calendar and Matching Circular Citizen Science Graph
By Terri Mynatt and Katie Spellman
We created this learning tool to match the seasonal subsistence activity calendar to the student's own activities and their citizen science monitoring projects. The circular graph allows students to see connections between the soil active layer, berry phenology, and air temperature.
Winterberry Citizen Science Protocol
By Katie Spellman and Christa Mulder
Terri Mynatt and Katie Spellman piloted this protocol with the K-2 students and they refined it based on their observations. Venetie and The Arctic in the Classroom partnership was one of four pilot locations for the protocol.
Winterberry Citizen Science Berry BINGO
(In English and Gwich'in Languages)
By Katie Spellman and Mary Rose Gamboa
We developed this game to serve as a training tool for identifying the types and categories of berries in the Winterberry Citizen Science berry monitoring protocol, and a Gwich’in vocabulary learning tool. We also used it as a community engagement tool in our community berry science night, with berry themed bingo markers and berry themed prizes, of course!
Arctic Citizen Science
Conference presentation at Rising Voices: Collaborative Science with Indigenous Knowledge for Climate Solutions, April 2017, UCAR Campus, Boulder, CO
- Katie Spellman presented the TAC project in Venetie as an example of culturally responsive, collaborative citizen science work with youth in Indigenous communities.
From Data to Action: A project example from Venetie, AK, grades K-2
Presentation at Climate Change and My Community Workshop, June 2017, UAF Main Campus, Fairbanks, Alaska
Terry and Katie co-presented their project to the participants in the Climate Change and My Community workshop at UAF, June 2017. They detailed the process of using citizen science and data to motivate youth to action helping their community prepare for less-certain berry harvests.