Digitally integrated field guide to Alaska now available online

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 5, 2011

Frontier Scientist Photograph

Fairbanks, Alaska—Just in time for the annual flood of summer tourists to the Last Frontier, a new website connecting Alaskan field scientists with those curious about Arctic discoveries is now available online.

Frontier Scientists shares first-person accounts and real time insights from leading archeologists, grizzly bear biologists, volcano researchers, climate change specialists and other scientists.

“We want to let travelers, teachers, students, aspiring scientists, and anyone else interested in science feel as if they are along when our team is tracking a grizzly or documenting how climate change is disrupting Alaskan ways of life,” explains Greg Newby, Chief Scientist of the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “Visitors to Frontier Scientists can ask their own questions to our scientists directly, follow some of them on Twitter and Facebook, and converse on their blogs.”

Newby has received funding from the National Science Foundation EAGER (EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research) program to support "small-scale, exploratory, high-risk, potentially transformative, time-critical research in the fields of science, engineering and education." The NSF-funded project, "DIG Frontier Scientists" (DIG-Digitally Integrated Guide) will "widen the general public’s interaction with the cultural and natural environment by allowing them to access Web sites and load their handheld mobile devices with engaging descriptions of research," according to Newby.

The one-year, experimental DIG project also includes funding for one graduate and two undergraduate students at UAF to assist in the delivery of digital videos to computers and mobile devices.

Co-investigator on the project with Newby is Elizabeth O’Connell, producer, editor and project manager for WonderVisions. O’Connell is a University of Alaska broadcast media graduate. Her award winning programs include the “Science of Whales,” which aired nationally on the Discovery Channel.

According to O’Connell, fascinating footage of current scientific discoveries in some of the Arctic’s most remote and dramatic landscapes are chronicled in short vodcasts, Twitter feeds, blogs and web reports on Frontier Scientists. The research is organized into categories:

Grizzlies

Petroglyphs

Cook Inlet Volcanoes

Alutiiq Weavers

Climate Change Watch

Frontier Scientists also provides resources and tips on things to do in Alaska for those considering travel to the Last Frontier state, whether on an Alaska cruise or a backpacking expedition.

Frontier Scientists is funded by the National Science Foundation, with additional support from the National Park Service and 360 North television.

CONTACT: Dr. Greg Newby, ARSC chief scientist at (907) 450-8663 or newby@arsc.edu, or Elizabeth Connelly, Frontier Scientists co-principal investigator at (541) 312-2419 or wondervision2@yahoo.com.

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