Bridging the Poles: link Education with research

N.F.D. Johnson-Amin of the International Polar Foundation participated in the "Bridging the Poles" workshop held in Washington in June 2004. This workshop brought educators, scientists and media specialists together to focus on building stronger partnerships between Arctic and Antarctic communities, and between education, polar research and the wider community. A dedicated website has been constructed to present the objectives, conclusions and strategies developed which emerged from the workshop. The workshop goals and outcomes, now available on a dedicated website, relate closely to the IPF's objective of acting as a bridge between polar science and society and represent a valuable contribution in this area.

The goals of the National Science Foundation-sponsored workshop were to define strategies that will engage the next generation of polar scientists, engineers and leaders, and inspire the general public.

This workshop represented a major community effort to develop an integrated education and outreach program that would maximize the potential of the International Polar Year.

With their geographic foundation, the poles encompass multiple content areas ranging from science to culture and heritage. Workshop participants advocated capturing student interest and increasing science literacy in the general public by linking fascination with polar environments, as well as integrating polar themes into state and national standards.