Association of Polar Early Career Scientists



Polar Outreach Catalogue

Svalbard rock ptarmigan
  • Students (primary school)
  • Students (secondary school, high school)
Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea) is a unique endemic species of the terrestrial ecosystem on Svalbard. Being the only wintering herbivorous bird in this high-Arctic ecosystem, it has attracted interest from research, management and children.

Cappelen Damm publishing house has published a series of children’s books on animals in the Arctic. First out were books on the Arctic fox, the walrus, the polar bear, and snow, ice and climate. Ptarmigan researcher Åshild Ønvik Pedersen of the University of Tromsø thought that the Svalbard rock ptarmigan also deserved its own book, so she sought funding from the Norwegian IPY programme to research and write one.

The children’s book on the Svalbard rock ptarmigan was launched at the Svalbard Museum in September 2009. The book documents the lifecycle of a ptarmigan hen for an entire year. According to co-author Kirsti Blom, “It is a story of birth, survival and death.” Blom has long experience of co-writing children’s books with researchers. The researchers tell her everything they know about the subject, and she makes a story out of it. The entire series on animals in the Arctic has been produced in this way.

The book is illustrated with unique photographs that the authors collected from friends, photographers on assignment and other researchers. The first printing of the book on the Svalbard rock ptarmigan was quickly sold out, and a second printing was made. The book is available in Norwegian only and is suitable for children of all ages.

Through collaboration a partnership was formed between a professional fiction author and a scientist in writing the book "Svalbard rock ptarmigan". The story covers the life cycle of the ptarmigan, and the species' function in and interaction with the terrestrial ecosystem through text and coloured photographs. The goal is to share experiences about important steps in the process, from the stage of ideas to how we have used the final product to communicate to children the importance of the Arctic and wildlife species in this ecosystem. One key-point is that an engaged scientist will successfully communicate science to the narrator.
  • Book
University of Tromso, IPY
Yes, all of it
Oslo Science Conference, Norwegian IPY report

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APECS International Directorate
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Huginbakken 14
9019 Tromsø
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