Meghan Orman is a PhD student at University of Pittsburgh, Fulbright fellow at University of Iceland, and Youth for Arctic Nature collaborator, with her main research interest being the exploration of how humans connect with nature. She spent the school year 2022-2023 in Iceland under a Fullbright grant to study nature connectedness and well-being in Icelandic preschoolers. In connection with her project, the Youth for Arctic Nature project funded her trip to Norway this year from the 2nd to the 9th of June, with the goal to strengthen our ties to academic and organizational communities in Tromsø.
Meghan met with Dr. Monika Abels, our board member at University of Tromsø, and her master’s student, Helenah Gustavsson, who will be doing research on young children’s nature connection this Fall very using similar methods to what she has done in Iceland. This could lead to a joint paper with Helenah about Arctic children’s relationships with the natural world, as well as a possible theory paper in collaboration with YAN project leader Dr. Jessica Aquino and Dr. Abels on critically examining cross-cultural understandings of nature connection. She also gave a talk on her research in Iceland to people in the UiT Psychology Department interested in the topic of young children’s nature connection.
Finally, Monika, Helenah and Meghan met with Katrine Opheim, Arctic Frontiers advisor, at the Fram Centre. Arctic Frontiers a Tromsø-based organization with the goal to foster valuable Arctic research in Norway and beyond. They had a wonderful conversation about the work they are doing, the Fram Centre, and the potential for programming and research collaborations with YAN in the next year. Like YAN, Arctic Frontiers aim to foster curiosity and increase knowledge about Arctic research in youth, to foster international collaboration, and to generate scholarly knowledge.
Thank you very much for your work Meghan, hoping to see you soon again in Iceland!
Dagana 17. til 22. maí voru Deisi og Cécile frá Youth for Arctic Nature verkefninu í Seattle til að hitta frumbyggja og ekki frumbyggja fræðimenn frá Kanada, finnska hluta Sápmi (samískra landa í norðurhluta Fennoskandíu) og mörgum ríki Bandaríkjanna, þar á meðal Alaska og Washington. Þessi vinnustofa var sú síðasta í 3ja ára verkefni, "Co-Designing Civic Education for the Circumpolar North", og var lögð áhersla á að mynda samstarf til að þróa frekari hugmyndir og verkefni. Við erum mjög þakklát fyrir þetta ótrúlega tækifæri og mynduðum mörg tengsl sem við teljum að gætu verið byggð upp í átt að framtíðarsamstarfi.
From the 17th to the 22nd of May, Deisi and Cécile from the Youth for Arctic Nature project were in Seattle to meet with indigenous and non-indigenous scholars from Canada, the Finnish part of Sápmi (the Sámi lands of northern Fennoscandia), and multiple US states including Alaska and Washington. This workshop was the last one in a 3-year project, "Co-Designing Civic Education for the Circumpolar North", and it focused on forming collaborations to develop further ideas and projects. We are very grateful for this incredible opportunity and made many connections which we believe could be built towards future partnerships.
On the 15th of November, we welcomed Helga Aradóttir and Ragnhildur Guðmundsdóttir from the Natural History Museum of Iceland to the Húnaklúbburinn weekly art workshop in Hvammstangi. Helga is a maker, designer, and environmental educator, and Ragnhildur is Doctor of biology who specializes in groundwater ecology and crustaceans. They organized a workshop about biodiversity on the Icelandic shore, and how it can be used to inspire art, in collaboration with Húnaklúbburinn and Youth for Arctic Nature. Ragnhildur described how Icelandic shores are inhabited by different species of plants, algae and invertebrates which live at different depths, and Helga explained how to use the shapes of these species to create textile stamps. Beautiful artworks were created, and the group will meet once more to design a communal piece which will reflect how shore species are separated into different zones, creating a rich and diverse ecosystem. This artwork will be shown in Perlan next May!
On Saturday the 15th of October, the Youth for Arctic Nature project was presented at the Arctic Circle Assembly at Harpa. This presentation described the efforts of the project, based in Northwest Iceland, to create international connections between Arctic youth groups, scientists, and local communities through wildlife monitoring and nature-based educational activities.
Dr. Jessica Aquino, the project manager, presented an overview of the project, methods, and theoretical underpinnings. Dr. Sandra Granquist, head of seal research at the Icelandic Seal Center and lead scientist for YAN, focused on the scientific value of the project as community science. Deisi Maricato presented her work on the YAN Handbook, a guide of activities with the main objective of promoting a greater connection between children and local nature which will be published and free online. Finally, Cécile Chauvat, the coordinator of the project, presented her work in creating tools to facilitate nature monitoring for youth with the YAN nature monitoring app.
Yesterday, youth and families had a chance to have a closer look at life in Icelandic freshwater at Náttúruminjasafn Íslands (the Icelandic Museum of Natural History) in Perlan. They used two microscopes and two stereoscopes that were bought partly thanks to Youth for Arctic Nature funding to observe often overlooked aquatic bugs and plants, such as water boatmen, midge larvae, diving beetles, and green algae. The event was very successful, and we can't wait to organize some activities and projects together in the future.