International Polar Year to celebrate the North with Ice Alaska
Submitted by Jenn Wagaman
In collaboration with this year's "Celebrate the North"Ě theme of the 2008 World Ice Art Championships, the University of Alaska International Polar Year office has scheduled several activities at the ice park to provide visitors with a chance to learn about polar research. The activities will begin with an IPY celebration ceremony at 2 p.m. on March 8 at the IPY ice stage at the ice park.
The event will feature a presentation of flags from all of the circumpolar nations followed by the Borealis Brass premier of "Polar Synthesis,"Ě a full-length composition by UAF associate professor James Bicigo, based on the "Polar Fanfare"Ě Bicigo composed last March in recognition of IPY. The local Pavva dance group will perform in celebration of Alaska's unique cultures and Nanook the bear will be on hand to greet visitors.
Following the kickoff, UAF researchers will be present at the ice stage March 10, 11 and 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to provide various programs including talks by scientists, opportunities to see equipment that scientists use in the field and a chance to view furs from several northern species. A full schedule of events will be released at www.ipy.alaska.edu next week.
The UA Young Researchers' Network will maintain an ongoing presence at the ice park with outreach activities geared toward families at the ice igloo, located near the IPY ice stage and the skating rink. Phil, the northern gyrfalcon, will be in attendance again this year.
The polar regions have profound significance for the Earth's climate and environments, ecosystems and human society. IPY is an interdisciplinary and internationally coordinated research campaign, ushering in a new era of polar science. For more information on IPY, visit www.ipy.alaska.edu.