The role of ARCUS in Arctic research is about community. My introduction to Arctic research happened in the early 2000's when I started a research project in northern Sweden that sought to understand the role of reindeer in structuring the treeline north of the Arctic Circle in Fennoscandia. I approached that work in the only way that I knew at the time—alone or with the help of one or two close colleagues. I quickly was introduced to ArcticInfo, the listserve curated by ARCUS, that serves as the lifeblood of communication among the Arctic research community. It was like being thrown in a river after having been wading in some lazy tributary. There was so much activity in the Arctic! People were talking about common issues! People were gathering at meetings! All of this sounds elementary to those of us who have spent long parts of our careers benefiting from the Arctic research community, but for me it was eye-opening. I came from a background where I attended disciplinary conferences and even there, my work was only of interest to a small subset of people. More distressing within my own discipline was that much of the work that was conducted by my colleagues, while interesting, really didn't inform my own work. The Arctic research community was different because people knew each other, talked to each other, and read each other's work. Arctic researchers actually looked at the Arctic as a system and understood that the complex interactions within it influenced their own area of study.
ARCUS performs a critical role in this community. Our goal is to facilitate the kind of communication that drew me into the Arctic Research Community more than twenty years ago. ArcticInfo is still providing that linkage among us. Witness the Arctic and Witness Community Highlights focus on work done at specific centers of Arctic research. PolarTREC introduces Arctic science to teachers and potential future Arctic scholars. ARCUS is a premier organizer of meetings (both in-person and virtual) among our community. ARCUS has grown with our community over the past twenty years, but at its core, it is still about people and creating an environment where knowledge can be shared, innovation can be celebrated, and traditions maintained. I'm proud to be the President of the ARCUS Board of Directors and I am looking forward to giving back to an organization that has meant so much to me (and I hope many of you!) throughout my career.
President, ARCUS Board of Directors