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Arctic willow, the only tree in the high Arctic, doesn’t grow higher than a few centimetres off the ground.

Arctic willow, the only tree in the high Arctic, doesn’t grow higher than a few centimetres off the ground.
Photo Credit: (Katriina O’Kane / Canadian Polar Commission)

Canadian web documentary highlights Arctic science

Eye on the Arctic brings you stories and newsmakers from across the North

Ever wondered how noise affects marine mammals in the Arctic? Or what glacial ice really looks like?

Profiles from the Arctic is a new web documentary that answers these, and other questions, by giving site visitors a front row seat to the science and scientists working in Canada’s Far North.

The project was put together by Katriina O’Kane and inspired by her experience at the 2012 International Polar Year conference in Montreal.

Katriina O’Kane visited the Polar Continental Shelf Program in July 2013, to profile scientists and other people involved in the Arctic research community. (Evan Hall / Canadian Polar Commission)

Katriina O’Kane visited the Polar Continental Shelf Program in July 2013, to profile scientists and other people involved in the Arctic research community. (Evan Hall / Canadian Polar Commission)

Conference speakers frequently said that Arctic science needed to be better communicated to the public.

That message was something that stayed with O’Kane long after the conference was over.

“Having worked with scientists I saw how interesting and cool what they were doing was and I really wanted more people to be able to see that,” she said.

O’Kane travelled to Canada’s High Arctic herself and interviewed 25 different people conducting polar research.

The web documentary went live on March 31st with three profiles. A different one will be added every few weeks until the series is completed.

An arctic fox takes a nap after running around near the Polar Continental Shelf Program. (Evan Hall / Canadian Polar Commission)

An arctic fox takes a nap after running around near the Polar Continental Shelf Program. (Evan Hall / Canadian Polar Commission)

Site visitors can click on the scientist profile they choose and then can scroll down to discover everything from interviews on research and unexpected encounters with polar bears, to interactive animation and graphic content.

“With scientific work itself you’re always poking around and seeing what happens,” O’Kane says. “And I think I kind of wanted to imitate that a little bit (on the site). It’s up to (site visitors) to discover what they want to discover.

“Science can be very creative too and hopefully that comes across and little bit in the web documentary.”

In the end, O’Kane hopes visitors will come away with a better appreciation of northern issues.

“There’s huge changes going on in terms of the environment but also in terms of development and I think there’s a lot of questions that remain unanswered,” O’Kane says.

“We really need to find answers for (them) before it’s too late.”

Eye on the Arctic’s Eilís Quinn spoke with Katriina O’Kane to find out more about her web documentary Profiles from the Arctic:

Listen

To receive an email alert when a new profile is posted to the web documentary, click here

Related Links:

Web documentary: Profiles from the Arctic

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