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Climate Change in a Glacier-River-Lake-System

July 11 – August 18, 2006 | Svalbard, Norway


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Arctic Alive! Podcast

Listen to Maggie Kane's discussion with her students in Arizona.
Maggie Kane
Prescott Mile High Middle School
Prescott, Arizona
Al Werner
Mt. Holyoke College
South Hadley, Massachusetts
Mike Retelle
Bates College
Lewiston, Maine

Svalbard, Norway
Clouds reflected on Lake Linne, Svalbard, Norway
Photo by Robert Oddo, Courtesy of ARCUS

Teacher Maggie Kane and researchers Al Werner and Mike Retelle traveled to Svalbard, Norway, located high in the North Atlantic. Maggie and the team investigated how high latitude glaciers, melt-water streams, and sedimentation in lakes and fjords respond to changing climate. The 2006 expedition was the third field season for the Svalbard National Science Foundation-sponsored Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program, which provides undergraduate students genuine field and research experience in the remote Arctic. The Svalbard region has been marked by the retreat of glaciers, reductions in sea ice, and measurable warming throughout the Holocene (last 10,000 years) and more specifically during the last 90 years. The Svalbard archipelago has preserved geologic records of climate change throughout the late Holocene (the period since the last ice age) and into the 20th century.

Teacher Maggie Kane is a 7th grade science teacher at Prescott Mile High Middle School in Prescott, Arizona, where in addition to teaching science, she is also part of their Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound (ELOB) 7th grade academic team. With a science background in geology and arctic climates, Maggie has had the opportunity to participate in field research in Alaska and the Northwest Territories of Canada. Maggie is very enthusiastic about the opportunity to engage her students and to show them that science is alive and well, and all around them. She hopes her TREC experience will help students understand how much the world needs them to share their ideas, and think creatively and scientifically.

Al Werner is a professor of geology at Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Al’s primary research involves taking sediment cores from lakes in arctic areas and analyzing them to interpret records of environmental change. Al believes research is an important part of the educational experience. Not only is it rewarding to learn about things but it is also a great feeling to understand things that were not previously understood. For Al, research is “a "whodunit" investigation - you typically have some information, you collect bits and pieces of additional information and you use your insights and wits to figure things out.” As a third-time TREC researcher, Al is excited to once again transfer this experience to Maggie and the whole TREC community.

Mike Retelle is a professor at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. Mike teaches courses that focus on Earth surface environments and records of environmental change. In 2005, Mike began working in western Spitsbergen (Svalbard, Norwegian arctic) on the Svalbard REU Project.
For more information on the Svalbard REU project, please go to:
For more information on the REU program in general, please go to:

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