How do contaminants affect lands, waters, and community health in Alaska? Can scientists distinguish persistent contaminants that arrive in the Arctic via wind and ocean currents from hazardous chemicals associated with local military and industrial activities? Alaska Community Action on Toxics is working with scientists and fifteen villages in the Norton Sound region to answer these questions.

Our annual Field Sampling Institute provides participants with the tools necessary to conduct their own community-based environmental sampling program to assess contaminants from local and global sources.

5 days • 1 credit • BIOL 193P
Gambell, St. Lawrence Island

FULL SCHOLARSHIPS are available for tuition, travel, housing, food & lodging

  • Participate in a field institute to learn about water quality testing, fish sampling, and sediment coring, GIS computer mapping, and how to monitor stream health.
  • Explore local streams, wetlands, and coastal areas in hands-on investigations.
  • Examine how you can implement a community-based environmental sampling
    program to assess contaminants from global and local sources (such as formerly used defense sites, past and current mine sites and local dump sites).
  • Discover how environmental contaminants affect human health.
  • Learn from nationally-renowned scientists Frank von Hippel, Ph.D. and David Carpenter, M.D. and Alaska Community Action on Toxics staff.
field_institute_macroinvertebrate_lab_ACAT_300Sorting macroinvertebrates in the lab.

Annual Field Institute

Our annual Community-Based Environmental Health Research: A Field Sampling Institute brings together tribal leaders and other community members from more than a dozen Norton Sound villages for a week-long intensive training program. Participants gain knowledge and hands-on experience from classroom and field sessions with nationally renowned scientists and environmental health experts. They learn about water quality testing, fish sampling, sediment coring, GIS computer mapping, and how to monitor stream health. Instructors teach participants ways to determine the presence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in fish and how to use research tools such as semi-permeable membrane devices (SPMDs) to detect pesticides and other industrial chemicals in water. Through hands-on investigations, participants explore streams, wetlands, and coastal areas. Back in the classroom, they learn how environmental contaminants may affect human health and how to implement independent community-based environmental sampling programs in their villages.

Field Institute participants have the opportunity to earn college credit from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Northwest Campus. The Institute is held annually in Nome or Anchorage. Please contact us to learn more, call 907-222-7714 and ask for Sama or email her at samarys at akaction dot org.

field_institute_placing_SPMD_ACAT_300
Placing a Semipermeable Membrane Device (SPMD) to test water quality.

Lead Instructor

Frank von Hippel, Ph.D., University of Alaska Anchorage (Lead Instructor 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012)

Guest Lecturers

David Carpenter, M.D., director of the Institute for Health and the Environment, and Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Albany (Guest Lecturer 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012)

Pamela K. Miller, Executive Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics (Guest Lecturer 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012)

Viola Waghiyi, Environmental Health & Justice Program Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics (Guest Lecturer 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012)

 

field_institute_stickleback_ACAT_300 field_institute_sediment_core_sample_ACAT_400

Removing stickleback fish from a trap. Sticklebacks, native to northern latitudes, are a good indicator species for the presence of endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Sediment core sample to test for contaminants in soil.
Photo by Frank von Hippel

Summer Field Sampling Institute Application:

For an application or questions, please call Sama at 907-222-7714. Or email her at samarys at akaction dot org.