Global warming is causing rapid changes in Alaska. Glaciers are melting, sea ice is receding and river temperatures are rising.
“And Alaskans, especially Alaska Natives, this land is their livelihood. It’s their way of life. It’s their culture,” says Nyssa Russell of Northern Latitudes Partnerships.
The group is working with the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island to expand the Indigenous Sentinel Network — an effort to monitor changing conditions in the state.
“Alaska is huge, and there is a need for local data and observations from these rural areas that are just largely underserved,” she says.
The project provides residents of remote communities with training and tools to record coastal erosion rates, melting sea ice or other data of interest.
Participants record their observations in a application smartphone. It works offline, then syncs with an online database when cell service is available.
Tribes can use the data they collect to better manage natural resources as the climate warms. And they can share it with others, like state or federal biologists.
“Working with Western science and traditional knowledge, these elements can really create a powerful way to manage Alaska’s lands and waters,” says Russell.
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media