About Us

Arctic Stories features a range of videos about the Arctic environment, how it is changing, how it is being studied, what the impacts might be, and most importantly, what life in this beautiful part of the planet is all about.

This site came about as a result of the friendship between three people – Peter Lourie, Paul and Jody Shepson.  Their passionate concern about climate change and love for the natural environment, and a grant from the National Science Foundation to Paul, created the opportunity to capture, in the form of “Video Storytelling,” the voices of the Arctic, and the scientists who study it.

Peter started taking photos for his nonfiction children’s books and gradually got interested in multimedia projects.  Working with an atmospheric chemist like Dr. Shepson, while in the Arctic, presented many wonderful opportunities to capture a special people in a magic environment.

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Dr. Paul Shepson
Jody Shepson
Peter Lourie

Dr. Paul Shepson

Paul Shepson was born and raised in Elmira, N.Y., a child of the Finger Lakes.  He is an atmospheric chemist, and is currently Dean of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University.

  
From 2014 – 2018, he served as Director of the Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences at the National Science Foundation, as a “rotator,” on leave from Purdue University, where he has been the Jonathan Amy Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, and Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, until becoming Emeritus in 2018, when he moved to Stony Brook.


At Purdue he was also the founding Director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center.  Professor Shepson’s research focuses on exchange of gases between the surface and the atmosphere in a variety of environments and involves building unusual platforms including tethered balloons, ice-tethered buoys, and his group’s aircraft, the Airborne Laboratory for Atmospheric Research (ALAR).  He is an avid pilot.  He is passionate about understanding and communicating about climate change and its impacts and related constructive problem solving.  He is currently working with New York State in developing climate mitigation plans and other solutions to environmental challenges.

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Peter Lourie

Peter has always been fascinated by the great mysteries and adventures of the world. Never content to simply read about them, he travels the globe to explore many subjects, then shares his experiences and passions through books and talks. Whether hunting for ancient Incan treasure in the cloud forests of the Andes Mountains, riding in helicopters with scientists as they track polar bears on the North Slope of Alaska, trekking to Tierra del Fuego at “The End of The World,” or traveling the Beaufort Sea on a Canadian Icebreaker, Peter’s passion for adventure and storytelling is insatiable. When he isn’t traveling, writing, or teaching in college, you’ll find him in elementary-school classrooms across the country inspiring students to forge their own paths into the wonderful unknown.

 

Peter holds a BA in classics from New York University, an MA in English Literature from the University of Maine, and an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Columbia University. He has taught writing at Columbia College, the University of Vermont and Middlebury College. He is now planning to re-travel the length of the Hudson River, this time from the sea to the source, 34 years after he paddled it from the source to Manhattan (River of Mountains: A Canoe Journey Down the Hudson). He and his family live in Weybridge, Vermont. Visit his website here.

 

 
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More Conversation between Paul Shepson & Pete Lourie
Celebrating the Arctic

Through interviewing residents and scientists in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, Paul Shepson and Pete Lourie have discovered a unique and close-knit community in the Arctic, characterized by a strong sense of connectedness and support. This experience allowed them to appreciate the richness of human connection, which they believe is often overshadowed by the distractions of the modern world such as social media and information overload. Witnessing an indigenous Arctic community’s positive outlook despite the challenges they face, Paul and Pete are deeply moved and inspired to share their stories and promote the importance of community and positivity.

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Paul Shepson and Pete Lourie express their deep appreciation for their extraordinary experiences in the Arctic. From interacting with live polar bears to flying over the stunning landscapes, they feel incredibly fortunate to be part of groundbreaking research. They see their work as a celebration of the natural world and cherish the opportunity to interview people over time, capturing the essence of the ever-changing Arctic. Their sense of wonder and discovery remains a driving force behind their passion for sharing the unique stories of this remarkable region.

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