A Great Bend High School Alum, Alexis Reed, along with 17 other students and faculty from four National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship programs recently met in Juneau, Ak., for a workshop titled Understanding Rapid Environmental and Social Change in the Arctic: Bridging Traditional Knowledge and Interdisciplinary Science Across IGERTs.
The four IGERT programs were Climate Change, Humans and Nature in the Global Environment, University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University; Resilience and Adaptation Program, University of Alaska-Fairbanks; Marine Ecosystem Sustainability in the Arctic and Subarctic, University of Alaska-Fairbanks; and Polar Environmental Change, Dartmouth College.
The workshop, held March 22-24, focused on creating a dialogue across disciplines and cultures and bridged information gained from scientific research and local traditions to address these questions: What are the critical dimensions of ecosystem and social system change in the Arctic? How are Arctic natural and human worlds connected? How do we identify and implement adaptive and sustainable responses to rapid change? How do we design inclusive, socially responsible interdisciplinary research to address rapid change problems? What are the ethical responsibilities associated with partnering and engaging with local communities when conducting research in the North?
Because the Arctic is home to many indigenous communities, the workshop examined comparative knowledge systems, collaborative research designs and resilient adaptation strategies for native homelands and people. The partnership between KU and Haskell Indian Nations University was the basis for several workshop sessions to which attendees from all participating institutions were invited. Dartmouth and KUs IGERTs share an interest in environmental and social change in Greenland; the two Alaska IGERTs examined terrestrial and marine systems of Alaska.
Undergraduates from the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Institute who attended were Brandon Bandy, MaKoQuah Abigail Jones and William Spoonhunter, all from Haskell; Tina Benally, San Juan College, Farmington, N.M.; and Delphine John, Din College, the higher education institution of the Navajo. KU faculty and staff who attended were Jay Johnson, assistant professor of geography; Joane Nagel, University Distinguished Professor of Sociology; and Natalie Parker, C-CHANGE. Haskell faculty and staff who attended were Daniel Wildcat and Rhonda Lavaldo.
The workshop was funded by the National Science Foundation with additional support from the Kansas NSF EPSCoR program.
Alexis Suzzanne Reed, doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology, is the daughter of Max and Judy Reed, with a bachelors degree from KU.