The Hearts in the Ice team returns to self-isolation and conducts educational programs from remote cabin!

The Hearts in the Ice Team is sponsored by longtime Polar Bears International partner, Canada Goose. Join Sunniva, Hilde, and polar bear scientists across the globe to learn all about polar bears this December!

© Hearts in the Ice/

12/3/2020 6:59:21 PM

Hearts in the Ice December Live Events!

Subzero temperatures. Starry skies and northern lights. A remote trapper’s cabin in Svalbard. What better stage for our December outreach events than a setting that promises snow, cold, and possible polar bear sightings?

We are very excited to be partnering with two women explorers in Norway who are self-isolating in the High Arctic. Their goal is to build a bridge between science and citizens while shining a light on climate change. Hearts in the Ice, a platform for social engagement connecting students, scientists, businesses, environmental organizations, and all who care about the health of our planet, have announced that while many people around the world are confined to their homes, Sunniva Sorby and Hilde Fålun Strøm are isolating themselves for a second winter in the High Arctic of Svalbard, Norway, about 78 degrees north of the Arctic Circle.

Last year, Sunniva and Hilde became the first women to overwinter in Svalbard solo, with their stay lengthened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have now returned for a second season. They will stay in a remote 20-square-meter trappers cabin known as Bamsebu with no running water or electricity. There, they’ll continue their citizen science work collecting data for climate change research until May 2021. 

“What gives us hope is that we saw that citizens around the world were able to make important changes quickly around slowing the spread of Covid. We need to try to use that to do the same thing with climate change.” say Sunniva and Hilde.

Polar Bears International, in collaboration with Canada Goose, is excited to partner with the Hearts in the Ice team for two live educational webcasts for students during the month of December. The webcasts will be hosted by Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants and broadcast on the Polar Bears International website for our Tundra Connections audience and viewers.

December 10th, 2020 11:00am Central
Maternal Denning—Studying Polar Bear Moms and Cubs! – watch here
Panelist: BJ Kirschhoffer (Polar Bears International)
Join the Hearts in the Ice team from their remote cabin at Bamsebu to get an update from the field. Then learn all about why December is an important month for polar bear moms, who typically give birth to their cubs around Christmas or New Year’s! Tune in to learn all about polar bear moms and cubs, and how scientists use technology to study them emerging from their dens in Svalbard, Norway. Learn more from the women at Bamsebu and polar bear scientists and ask your questions live!

December 15, 2020 11:00am Central
Polar Bears in Svalbard – watch here
Panelist: Dr. Jon Aars (Norwegian Polar Institute)
Join the Hearts in the Ice team from their remote cabin at Bamsebu to get an update from the field. Then learn all about polar bears in Svalbard with Dr. Jon Aars, a senior researcher who is responsible for the polar bear research program at the Norwegian Polar Institute. Jon spends a lot of time in the field, which is his favorite thing about his job. He loves being out and experiencing nature on Svalbard under all weather conditions. One part of the work he does is satellite tracking polar bears to learn more about where they go on the sea ice and how they are adapting to a changing Arctic climate. Learn more about the polar bears and ask your questions live!

Given that COVID-19 has halted the majority of field research this year and created data gaps, the observations and data the Hearts in the Ice team gathers for seven Citizen Science projects will be critical, sending insights to organizations such as NASA, UNIS, and the Norwegian Polar Institute. During their 2019-2020 season, they collected over one hundred samples for scientific agencies while reporting over 50 close polar bear encounters—even collecting polar bear poop samples! 

“Polar bears have been our neighbors for an entire year, and we’ve had a few extremely close encounters. We were able to observe a female polar bear # N26131 and her 4-month-old cub last April which was great news. Jon Aars from the Norwegian Polar Institute has been tracking her and was not able to determine if she had given birth. What a wondrous sight to see this 15kg cub in its element!” says Sorby.

We hope you will join us to chat and learn with Sunniva Sorby, Hilde Fålun Strøm, and our research partners at the Norwegian Polar Institute and San Diego Zoo Global for these live educational events!

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