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Kuril Islands: Pre-Historical Human-Environment Interactions

July 11 – August 31, 2006 | Kuril Islands, Russia

JOURNALS!

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Teacher
Misty Nikula-Ohlsen
Whatcom Day Academy
Bellingham, WA
Researcher
Ben Fitzhugh
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington
    Researcher
Joanne Bourgeois
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington

Kuril Islands
Photo from the International Kuril Island Project

Misty Nikula-Ohlsen traveled with Ben Fitzhugh and Jody Bourgeois to the Kuril Islands, Russia. This research project brought together an interdisciplinary team of American, Japanese, and Russian scholars and students to examine the 5,000-year history of human-environmental interactions along the Kuril Island chain in the northwest Pacific, between Kamchatka and Japan. Evidence of human settlement and abandonment at various times in the past 5,000 years and under different social, economic, and technological conditions is being used to study human vulnerability and resilience to both sudden and gradual environmental changes. This was the first year of a three-year project.

Misty Nikula-Ohlsen teaches middle school math and science at Whatcom Day Academy in Bellingham, Washington. A former chemical engineer, Misty is looking forward to linking classroom instruction to the adapting and changing world of science. Misty participated in a TREC 2004 expedition, and, as a second-time TREC teacher, hopes to continue to make a contribution to the body of scientific knowledge and to provide a direct link from the realm of real science into the classroom.

Ben Fitzhugh is a Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Washington in Seattle. Ben’s research focuses on maritime/coastal hunter-gatherers in the North Pacific and addresses questions of cultural evolution and human-environmental dynamics. Ben teaches classes on archaeological method and theory, North and South American Archaeology, Arctic Archaeology, and the Evolution of Inequality.

Joanne Bourgeois is a Professor in the Earth and Space Sciences Department at the University of Washington. Her main research interests include sedimentary structures, and tectonics and sedimentation. She also teaches and researches the history of geology, believing that exploration of how science is done leads to better science being done. Jody has also served a two-year stint as a Program Director in the Earth Sciences Division of the National Science Foundation.


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