Twenty four masters and undergraduate students from eleven nations travelled to Longyearbyen, Svalbard last weekend to take part in the first international and interdisciplinary IPY Polar Field school thanks to generous sponsorship from IPY Norway and UArctic. The week began with the UNIS safety course, including riffle training and survival suits, and has been packed full of interesting lectures and field excursions covering topics in climatology, glaciology, marine and terrestrial biology, oceanography, geology and permafrost.
We have also been hiking in the mountains around longyearbyen, had a conference call with Jose Xavier in Antarctica and were even fortunate to take part in the Svalbard mid-summer bonfire and party on the beach!
The field school will be running for a further two weeks with lectures on the human dimension, project work, career development sessions and lots of field work and excursions.
The students will be keeping a daily blog (in a variety of languages) on the IPY website and we will be updating the APECS site with blogs, pictures and lecturers in the coming weeks. I hope you will enjoy reading about the students experiences in the high Arctic.
Liz Thomas (APECS vice president) and Elise Strømseng (UNIS and UArctic)