Historical Ecology for Risk Management

What Are They Doing?

Sunrise in Barrow, AlaskaSunrise in Barrow, Alaska Applied Research in Environmental Sciences Nonprofit, Inc., ARIES, the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium, BASC, and the North Slope Borough of Risk Management are collaborating to plan, develop and implement a historical ecology model for the North Slope Coastal Region of Alaska.

Historical ecology is an applied research program that focuses on interactions of people and their environments. Research applications involve studying and understanding this relationship in both time and space to gain a full picture of all of its accumulated effects. The research program can be applied to understanding changes among community landscapes that can assist strategies for the future. For this proposal the emphases align with the ARIES mission that combines research, education, and community outreach.

The emphases are 1) a bibliographic database of relevant historical resources, 2) an examination of the shoreline to provide a time-series baseline 3) simulation models to demonstrate socio-natural cycles of change for the North Slope shoreline, 4) the historical ecology study of the shoreline, interactive mapping and database available as a web based resource to assist academia, industry, regional government and local communities for socio-cultural and management purposes, 5) an integrated team who can work with interested researchers, industry planners and Risk Management of the North Slope Borough to extract data and provide simulation models that apply to current studies of the region and 6) provide a variety of eco-heritage opportunities that include community participation in research, educational products, age level appropriate activities and outreaches for community service learning.

This includes natural and social science research and use of eco-heritage data for disaster preparedness among the "Next Generation", that is, middle and high school students. This aligns with the Cumulative Risk Integrated Operability Project (CRIOS) with DHS CREATE funds, since 2008, to reduce risks across emergency management jurisdictions of tribally inclusive geographic areas (TIGA). Here is the project website.

Where Are They?

Traditional blanket toss in Barrow, AlaskaTraditional blanket toss in Barrow, Alaska The team worked in Barrow, Alaska and the North Slope Borough Coast. Barrow is the economic, transportation and administrative center for the North Slope Borough. Located on the Chukchi Sea coast, Barrow is the northernmost community in the United States.The community is traditionally known as Ukpeagvik, "place where snowy owls are hunted." Barrow was incorporated as a first-class city in 1958. Learn more from the City of Barrow Website.

The land is vast and remote; and while seemingly rugged, is really remarkably fragile. The ancient cultural traditions practiced today by Iñupiat Eskimos have survived in one of the world's harshest climates through their ability to adapt. They adapted to the discovery of oil in their traditional homeland by forming the North Slope Borough which offers residents a chance to help manage the lands, participate in the benefits of the oil boom at the same time to protect the subsistence values, especially whaling. Learn more about the North Slope of Alaska.

Expedition Map


No issues with flights from Barrow to Chicago -- though I think I hit the ground in Chicago running faster the plane. Rachael and I have had the brief chance to say hello aside from visiting family, friends, and moving our things to Logansport. We aren't "settled" yet, just settling. I imagine it will be months before I get use to Indiana after being in Alaska for 2 years. School starts for me tomorrow. It's surreal to be back in the same town, school, and classroom that I was in 3 years ago -- so much has happened in that short amount of time. I am blessed. Thank you to everyone that...
Oh, Home My flight from Barrow leaves in only a few hours. Thanks, again, to PolarTREC, Anne Garland with ARIES, BASC, the people of Barrow, and everyone else that helped make this trip possible. An extra special thank you to my wife, Rachael, and daughter, Mava, that supported me in this growing experience -- I miss the heck out of you two (and our dog) and I can't wait to get home to you. When will PolarTREC research focus on warping and wormholes so that we PolarTREC teachers can make it back to our families as soon as we leave these lovely research sites? I'll arrive tomorrow in...
whale flippers
Last day/night in Barrow Thank you, Anne Garland, for your help and guidance and teaching in this project. I’ve learned SO much from you in regards to risk management and especially the importance of networking. It’s late and it’s been a loooooooooong day – not to mention a long 2 weeks ☺ I’m just going to let the photos do the talking here. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Whale flippers at Nalukataq. Distributing food at Nalukataq -- that's what this celebration is all about. No one has more fun here than the kids. They first distributed the cut-up whale flipper...
Promo toys
A good ol’ show Our community event at Tuzzy library went well tonight. By 7:00, it seemed as if only 5 or 6 adults would show up for this event geared at children, then Anne rallied together a big group (20+) of kids that were hiding out in the back of the library. It seems that there was another event tonight in Barrow that brought in more than 100 kids -- That’s where they all went! In all, we had around 30+ people show up, which was more than I’d expected and a good-sized group for our purposes. The lessons and games went well and the kids couldn’t get enough of the free flash-drives...
Matt showing us the intruments
NOAA messin’ around in Alaska The fact that NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has facilities in Barrow can only be described by the word AWESOME. We were able to tour the facilities with Matt, the engineer that runs and maintains the station. Of the many things going on here, I’ll explain just a few of the more interesting pieces of equipment: Matt was such a cool guy and he showed us all the weather goods. 3 intake-valves that are used to pull in air to measure the levels of different gases in the atmosphere. This guy follows the sun across the sky to...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

14 July 2013 to 27 July 2013
Location: Barrow, Alaska
Project Funded Title: Historical Ecology for Risk Management: Youth Sustainability

Meet the Team

Hollis Yenna's picture
Nenana City School
Nenana, AK
United States

Hollis Yenna was born and raised in northern Indiana. As a lover of all things science, he attended Purdue University in pursuit of a mechanical engineering degree. After two years of University, Hollis began working as a substitute teacher to pay for his education and quickly discovered his passion.

Hollis now lives in Nenana, Alaska, where he works as the science teacher for grades 7-12. He loves the challenge of teaching real-world, relevant science in the classroom and in only 5 years has worked as a teacher and adjunct professor at every level of education. As a young teacher, Hollis tries to better himself and his students' experiences by taking on new projects, incorporating student involvement in deciding their curriculum, and using a variety of teaching methods.

Outside of the classroom, Hollis enjoys hiking, kayaking, traveling, and playing guitar with his best friend and wife, Rachael. His latest adventure is in raising his newborn daughter, Mava, and caring for his crazy, English bulldog, Trudey.

One of Hollis' main goals in life is to show others the beauty of our Earth so we can all learn to take care of it responsibly.

Anne Garland's picture
Applied Research in Environmental Sciences Nonprofit, Inc.
Smithfield, VA
United States

Anne is interested in applying natural science and social science research to assist community based decision making in the areas of Historical Ecology, Public Archaeology, Museum Education, Culture Contact Studies, Applied Anthropology for Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation. You can see her ARIES website here.

Natalya Sousa's picture
Applied Research in Environmental Sciences Nonprofit, Inc.
Selden, NY
United States

My academic interest are Anthropology, Biology, Public Health, Global Health, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and Psychology. My research interests are Disease, Health, Culture, Disaster Management.

I am both a Biology undergraduate at Stony Brook University in New York and a graduate of Biological Anthropology at the University of Maryland at College Park.

My personal interests are Literature, Music, Art, Languages, Technology, Culinary Arts, Conservation, International Aid and Development. My social interests are Theatre, Film, Exploring New Places, and Museums. You can learn more about me at the ARIES Website.

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