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From Kilpisjärvi to Tromsø
While we were at Kilpisjärvi, we got to enjoy a bit of the local culture and cuisine. The kitchen staff made us a huge batch of pancake batter, that you traditionally make over a fire. We did it in the replica Sami goahti hut that is at the station. Put a little cloudberry jam on it, and mm mm mm!
Brooke and Tiff got good at flipping the pancakes, and even took requests for pancake shape.
Also, on our last night at the station, the cook made us a delicious dinner of local fish. It's hard to find a store here that sells fresh fish, because most people just go catch the fish themselves. (So who would buy it, when it's so easy to get it yourself?) The cook asked her friend to go fishing for us. So our last dinner at Kilpisjärvi was white fish straight out of Kilpisjärvi!
It was a great stay at the research station. Students have done a very good job on their BioArt research and communication projects. And not only that, but throughout the week, we got to learn a lot from local scientists and artists who work in the BioArts. They helped demonstrate just how successfully the sciences and arts can be intertwined. For example, Leena Valkeapää showed us a project at the Pikku-Malla nature reserve where she (an artist) and a scientist are testing the use of two native plant species to re-vegetate damaged soil. The design of the experiment tests whether the two species successfully revegetate the soil, and also whether the geographic origin of the individual plants matters for its success. Leena, the artist, worked with the scientist to design a layout that is both scientific to test the hypotheses, but also visually aesthetic (...once the plants start growing! They are still very small right now.)
Leena shows the students the marking system for the pattern of crowberry and ligonberry plants used in the revegetation experiment.
We left Kilpisjärvi yesterday morning and drove to Tromsø, Norway which is the point of departure for the program. We took the same bus that brought us to the station at the beginning of the program. You can compare this photo to the one from that early trip. The students who are awake are still smiling, but there are a few more sleeping students on this trip. We wore them out!
While we are here in Tromsø, though, we might as well keep learning and experiencing science and art! One of the places we went to is Polaria, an aquarium to learn a bit about marine science, which is not something we got to see up in the mountains. When it was getting close to the time to leave, I didn't see any of our students walking around anymore, so I had to search a bit for them. Of COURSE I found a cluster of them in a corner peppering the seal handler with questions:
We had a good day in Tromsø (though a bit wet and cold... it's been rainy), and ended with a group dinner at a restaurant on the fjord. Now, the students are all on their airplanes headed home. They still have work to do to wrap up their projects, which will be exhibited at the gallery on campus in September. Stay tuned for updates on that!