Association of Polar Early Career Scientists


The APECS Education and Outreach Committee started up a new initiative to showcase outreach activities by scientists, researchers, research institutions and field stations in the Polar Regions and communities. We want to highlight ongoing outreach efforts as well as provide resources and examples of both successes and challenges for current outreach practitioners. If you have an outreach story you'd like to have featured or know of a Polar research institution or field station actively pursuing outreach, public consultation or community based research, please email your story or suggestions for a story to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

© Ricardo Matias, Jukes Liu, Linde van Bets, Henrik Christiansen, Quentin Jossart (left to right)

Practicing your way to effective science communication

Lee Blog 1

The alarmist approach to conveying science doesn’t really work for me: The earth is warming, glaciers are melting, all the phytoplankton in the ocean are going to die and the entire food web will collapse, so we need to study this now! It’s too Chicken Little. But I’m noticing, in all the literature I read and the grant proposals I’m starting to write, we are pushed to justify why our work is the most crucial, the most underappreciated, the first of its kind. We are trained to convey urgency and importance, sometimes over exaggerating what we know to be true, so we can get the funding or get the story published.

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Telling People About the Stuff You Study

Effective communication of science to a wide audience is arguably as important as the science itself, although it receives less attention in the academic world. As a first-year master’s student, I can finally say that I am relatively confident in my ability to read an academic journal article and come away from it with an understanding of the scientific questions answered and the big-picture implications of the results—provided that the paper relates to my specific sub-field. The further the topic strays from atmospheric dynamics as inferred from ice core chemistry, however, the more lost I become. Now don’t get me wrong, I totally understand the importance of publishing technical papers in academic journals written for an audience of experts. But everyone—experts, non-experts, people of all academic levels and concentrations—is dependent upon nature. And in a world where the natural sciences are increasingly tied to politics, it is essential for policymakers, and those who elect them, to be able to understand how we affect nature and how we can better coexist with it.

One of my favorite sessions at the 2016 American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference involved talks by scientists about their research, with the caveat that they could only use the 1,000 most used English words. This was a refreshing break from many of the other talks I’d been to that day, which, as an undergrad attending my first AGU meeting, had been way over my head.

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On the Organisation of Climate Change Outreach Events

I am Sarah Mercer, a Research Masters student in Geography and Archaeology at Durham University, UK. I have been lucky enough to have worked with USAPECS Board Member Mariama Dryak on an event in 2017 titled Changes in the Arctic, a climate change outreach event at Durham University. This directly led to me organising the event that I am running this year entitled Footprint. Footprint is a two day event, aiming to bring people from all walks of life together to talk about environmental protection and climate change communication.

My own interest lies in the communication of climate science, so that is what I will focus on in this article. In my own experience, I get the feeling that climate change communication is often extremist, problem loaded and overwhelmingly negative, with ideas such as “it’s too late” or “we can't do enough” thrown around more often than not. While I understand this comes from a desire to highlight the importance of climate change, I believe the common ‘Doomsday’ rhetoric is damaging to our attitudes towards climate change, and fosters an attitude of willful ignorance and laissez-faire. Per Espen Stoknes states that “If you overuse fear-inducing imagery, what you get is fear and guilt, and this makes people more passive”. Being faced with an ‘insurmountable problem’ causes people to become disheartened, disengaged and disinterested. However, this is not the only way climate change, and indeed other scientific issues, have to be talked about.

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IPRN talk: What lies beneath the ice? - Role of Geologists in Antarctic Sciences

IPRN talk March 2017

Indian Polar Research Network (IPRN) (APECS India) in collaboration with Department of Geology, University of Delhi organised a talk titled “What lies beneath the ice - Role of Geologists in Antarctic Sciences” on 24th March 2017 in Ram Lal Anand College, University of Delhi. This event was to mark the International Polar Week Spring 2017 celebration and followed this year’s theme of Polar week - People of the Poles: Human Use and Appreciation of Earth’s Polar Regions. The event was organised to introduce and popularize Antarctic sciences to the undergraduate geology students of Delhi University.

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Finding Your Voice: Public Speaking and the Communication of Science

Lau Blog 1

Public speaking is probably one of the most valuable skills that we can develop. World leaders in business, politics, and law have espoused this for decades, and, yet, too many of us scientists aren’t developing these skills. Here, I’ll talk a little bit about my own experiences in public speaking, what it’s taken me to get better, and some ways that you can find your voice for communicating science through the spoken word.

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Shape the future of polar geosciences: Promoting polar science among young minds

Pic 1 Devsamridhi introducing her research in Antarctica copyA panel discussion titled “Shape the future of Polar Geosciences” was organised by Indian Polar Research Network (APECS-India) in association with Department of Geology, University of Delhi on 28th January 2017 on the special occasion of Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the department. The event was held to introduce polar geosciences to the undergraduate students and enhance knowledge of the postgraduate students. This panel discussion aimed at creating awareness among the students regarding the career opportunities in polar geosciences, the priorities of the polar research and their significance in the contributions to humanity.

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Communicating science from the field through the Follow a Researcher® Program

Kaluzienski Blog 1

Blogging from the back of a pistenbully. Mount Erebus can be seen through the left-hand window.

I am a doctoral student of glaciology at the University of Maine and my main research project focuses on ice shelf break up processes in Antarctica. As of six years ago I never would have imagined that I’d be traveling the world to study glaciers. I grew up in Georgia, studied physics in college, and it wasn’t until my final year in undergraduate studies that I was exposed to glaciology and discovered the world of academic research.

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ICECAPS Workshop 2016: highlighting the role of communication for a successful science career

rsessionIndian Polar Research Network (APECS-India) collaborated with Wildlife Institute of India-ENVIS centre on Wildlife & Protected Areas to celebrate the Antarctica Day by hosting ICECAPS 2016 (Improving Communication Effectiveness and Capacity Addition in Polar Science), a science communication workshop for early career researchers and graduate students. The workshop was attended by about 50 masters and PhD students from biology, geology, and environmental science disciplines.

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Communicating Science Through Art

US Blog 1

My name is Jill Pelto, I am a Masters student at the University of Maine in the Earth and Climate Sciences Department, and I work in the Antarctic. My research addresses the history of the ice sheet over the last 10,000 years, focusing on the retreat of ice in the southern Ross Embayment. This sort of paleoclimate work is done in large part to learn about the sensitivity of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in the past to various ocean and climate parameters, to better understand how it may respond to current change.

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Academics, Research and Jobs in the North: Perspectives from Early-Career Scientists

Polar Week YukonFor International Polar Week in the Yukon Territory, APECS Canada collaborated with Skookum Jim Friendship Centre to host ‘Academics, Research and Jobs in the North: Perspectives from Early-Career Scientists’. We had a panel of four northern early-career researchers who spoke at two events, one at Yukon College and one at Skookum Jim Friendship Centre, to a broad audience of students, teachers and interested members of the public on what it is like to work in science-related careers in Canada’s North. Many interesting points and perspectives came up, so as one of the organizers and panellists I will try to share and write up highlights from the panel discussion.

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