Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 20 miles, approximately 3/4 hour riding time plus stops. Walking up to 3 miles throughout, standing up to 1 hour at a time indoors and out during field trips; mostly flat terrain, potential for rain; dress accordingly.
At the hotel.
We’ll start the day with a lecture by our Group Leader to gain further insight into this fascinating and unique region. We’ll then board the motorcoach for a field trip to the Large Animal Research Station, a branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology. Studies of the large ungulates of the Arctic — such as musk oxen, caribou, and reindeer — have been ongoing for decades. A researcher or station staff member will tell us about the biology of the animals and the ecosystems they inhabit, emphasizing the different adaptations these various species have made to the same environment, including life cycles and survival strategies. Pelts, skulls, antlers, and horns will be available for hands-on examination and study. A special highlight will be the opportunity to see and learn about musk oxen, an emblem of the Arctic. Next, we’ll make a brief stop to see a section of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). The approximately 800-mile pipeline crosses three mountain ranges and is built on permanently frozen ground in the north and in areas of routine seismic activity in the south. Overcoming these obstacles led to the development and implementation of cutting-edge technology, making the Alaska pipeline one of the great engineering feats of the 20th century. We’ll then make our way to the Museum of the North.
At the Museum of the North, we’ll have boxed lunches.
We will explore the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. This public research university is a world-renowned circumpolar research center with extensive collections gathered from current and past scientific expeditions in Alaska, America’s only Arctic state. During our self-directed exploration, we will see exhibits on Native culture, post-contact history, geology, fauna, flora, the Gold Rush, the Alaska pipeline, the Aurora, plus rotating art and photo exhibits, all housed in a beautiful and striking architectural gem. We will also be able to learn about Arctic and sub-Arctic ecology and environment and the people who inhabit this northern edge of our world. Following our exploration of the museum, we will walk to the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute where we will learn from a university geologist about the effects that climate change has had on the region, the steps that are being taken to study these effects, and the different projects that are being conducted at the university.
At a restaurant near the hotel.
At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.