Comments from the Executive Director

By: Helen Wiggins, Executive Director, ARCUS


Since the last Witness the Arctic issue published in July, we have continued to run our programs and foster collaborations in the Arctic research and education communities—all virtually, of course. Keeping in mind the anxiety that we are all under, we are focusing on opportunities that make it easy for you to network and collaborate. Below are a few highlights of recent and upcoming activities. We hope you find a way to connect with us and with each other!

ARCUS Annual Meeting – We held our open 2020 Annual Meeting in late October, which gathered 128 participants to meet one another and discuss issues ranging from interdisciplinary research, to co-production of knowledge, to Arctic STEM education, and others. It was a great opportunity to hear from our community—established and newcomers—and the group came up with some exciting ideas for follow-up activities, which we will report on shortly. We kept it as fun and casual as we could, with Halloween costumes, fun hats, and door prizes. Several ARCUS member organizations provided updates on their activities, and we invite you to read a summary of those here.

ARCUS Community Coffee Chat – Please join ARCUS staff, Board members, and Institutional Member representatives on Friday, 11 December from 10–11am AK/11–12pm PT/12–1pm MT/1–2pm CT/2–3pm ET for a virtual coffee chat (tea, cocoa, &/or other beverages of your choice also welcome!). This online social hour will be an opportunity for members of the wider Arctic research community to share news, ask one another questions, and to explore next steps for some of the projects and ideas raised during the 2020 ARCUS Annual Meeting.

AGU Fall Meeting – We are gearing up for the virtual AGU Fall Meeting in December (as I'm writing this, I just finished uploading a pre-recorded talk with hours to spare until deadline!) In addition to several ARCUS talks and posters (we'd love to see you there), we've also compiled online lists of Arctic sessions and presentations focused on Arctic Indigenous/Traditional Knowledge and co-production.

Early Career Conference Funding Award – In early October, we launched an Early Career Conference Funding Award. This award program supports attendance to conferences by early career researchers and students, especially Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. For this first round of funding, we supported attendance to virtual conferences and will announce winners soon. We will run the program again in spring/summer 2021, so keep an eye out for the opportunity next year!

Other Online Products – We've developed several other Arctic research and education resources, including a website featuring information about the projects that have been supported through NSF's Navigating the New Arctic (NNA) program, virtual educational resources from the PolarTREC program, a meeting report from the Polar Technology Conference, a post-season Sea Ice Outlook report from the Sea Ice Prediction Network (SIPN2), an archived webinar on "Bridging Arts and Science in the Arctic"—and don't forget our gallery of virtual meeting backgrounds!

Get Involved – Please get in touch and get involved—join us at one of our AGU sessions or the ARCUS Community Coffee Chat, contribute a future Witness the Arctic or Witness Community Highlights article, give an Arctic research webinar, or become a member. Just email me or any ARCUS staff and we can help find a way for you join the community!