Landscape Change in the Tundra: Citizen-Scientist Driven Arctic Observations


Landscapes in Alaska’s tundra regions are undergoing rapid changes due to climate warming. These changes can affect snow and ice cover, vegetation growth, surface water balance (e.g. lakes, soil moisture and surface flooding), and thaw of permafrost, which can result in soil collapse and ecological destabilization. Support from citizen scientists is necessary to expand Arctic science monitoring networks that identify and record signs of landscape change. This project works with the community of Atqasuk, on the North Slope of Alaska, to install a science monitoring station to record daily and seasonal changes in plant growth, landscape freeze and thaw, and soil wetness. We will work with the Meade River School to teach students how to collect data from the monitoring station. We will also teach the students how to visualize and interpret the information in a way that can be more easily shared with the surrounding community.

Project status and milestones:

Project Lead, Jennifer Watts, visited the North Slope of Alaska in August 2018 with PolarTREC teacher (, Kim Young, to visit with the Meade River School in Atqasuk and maintain the science monitoring system that was installed last summer (2017) with help from Meade River students. Visit the photo gallery below to learn more about their trip!

Watch this great timelapse video from the Atqasuk Trail Camera during July 2017–August 2108!

Project Location


1 June 2017 to 1 June 2019


Atqasuk, Alaska


Lead Scientist

Organizer Photo

Jennifer Watts

Woodwell Climate Research Center
Falmouth, MA
United States


Ryan Toohey

Alaska Climate Science Center
Anchorage, AK
United States

Lead Scientist

Kyle Arndt

San Diego State University

Lead Scientist

Santosh Panda

University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK
United States

Lead Teacher

Eugene Bilodeau

North Slope Borough School District
Atqasuk, AK
United States


Emily Roseberry

North Slope Borough School District
Atqasuk, AK
United States