Hello Edmonton! You all may have noticed that we have not been blogging through our driving expedition- this is because, besides all of the incredible adventures we are having(!), we are really j u s t d r i v i n g. Yes, the Yukon Territory was beautiful enough for us to daydream of being a part of some serious winter mountaineering squad, and yes, it was awe inspiring enough for us to constantly lust after all of the untouched, skiable terrain, and YES, we saw some stray bison (buffalo?), but all in all we drove for 37 hours in three days.
Therefore, we arrived in Edmonton desperate for a home cooked meal and exercise.
Lona Ani, you are our saving grace! She and her husband Greg were some of the most hospitable people we have met in our journey so far, and without billable hours. Edmonton is the second largest city in Alberta, Canada next to Calgary. It is also the capital (we have realized in this trip that though there are only 10 Canadian provinces, very few Americans can name all of them, and far fewer the capitals). After driving through nowhere land for so long, the team was happy to have a day to train ourselves how to live in the real world again; Rachel and I went to a mall, and Ross frequented some type of racquet sports gym.
The next day was our first big outreach day, and we are going in with a bang. We were hosted by the Telus World of Science museum, a fantastic museum, much like the Museum of Science in Boston, that was teeming with people all on their day off from school. They gave us a space up on the second floor to spread our presentation out over two tables, science fair style.
Lona, a retired middle school teacher and current substitute-teacher for all grades, knows how to connect with younger kids a little bit better than we do, and as the target audience for this museum is middle school and elementary school age, she was an invaluable ally in the process. She set up her own table of activities: Blubber Gloves to demonstrate the effect of polar bear blubber, tubs of ice showing what kinds of ice contribute to sea level rise, and snowflake stencils for kids to trace out their own drawings.
These props and ours definitely drew people over to our set up. Our presentation often started with showing off a chunk of sea ice that we had sacrificed for outreach purposes.
It was sitting in a tub, ultimately melting, and we would pick it up with gloves to allow people to feel the texture with their hands and experience how porous it is. We had an ICE-MITT box on display that was running; we used Box #8 because it had one of the larger temperature gradients.
We also had a running movie of a lot of our footage from Barrow and our fieldwork. We brought in the core barrel to show off and to demonstrate our methods on. The most hysterical part, though, was the clothing. To set the mood, the museum did not have a mannequin for us to dress up so we had to use a skeleton. A skeleton sheathed in Ross’ overalls and under his giant Canada Goose coat is its own brand of wonderful. However, a whole other level is when a 6 year old is trying all of it on.
Though we were sad to leave Edmonton and it’s WONDERFUL science museum, we set off that day to Regina, Saskatchewan moving one time zone and 782 km closer to home. Next stop: Monona Grove High School in Wisconsin!