About

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.

Dr. Paul Shepson
Dr. Paul Shepson
Jodie Shepson
Peter Lourie
Dr. Paul Shepson

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.

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.  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 for the State.

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Peter Lourie

Explorer, Writer, Teacher, Historian.

Peter has always been fascinated by the great mysteries and adventures of the world. Never content to simply read about them, he undertakes missions across the globe then shares his experiences and passion through books and talks. Whether hunting for ancient Incan treasure in the cloud forests of the Andes Mountains, following scientists as they track polar bears in the Alaskan Wilderness,  living in Tierra del Fuego at “The End of The World”, or traveling to the Arctic in an Canadian Icebreaker, Peter’s passion for adventure and storytelling is insatiable. When he isn’t traveling or writing, he’s teaching at Middlebury College or visiting classrooms across the country to show students how they can forge their own paths into the wonderful unknown.

The Usual Stuff. 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 and the University of Vermont. He now teaches Adventure Writing & Digital Storytelling at Middlebury College and makes his living traveling, writing, and photographing. He visits schools to share his adventures with students and teachers. He and his family live in Weybridge, Vermont.

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Want to learn more?

Follow scientists as they scan the Alaskan wilderness for these magnificent creatures.
 
It is springtime on the North Slope of Alaska, and the U.S. Geological Survey team—the polar bear biologists Kristin Simac and Mike Lockhart—is gearing up for polar bear capturing. During a capture, all information is collected on the sea ice. The scientists locate bears from a helicopter, tranquilize them, give them tattoo ID numbers and tags, and collect data such as height, weight, and body fat measurements and samples such as blood, hair, feces, and even teeth. All this information goes into a large database studied by scientists such as Drs. Steven Amstrup and George Durner, the former and current leaders of the Polar Bear Research Project. For more than forty-five years, scientists have been capturing bears in order to get information. What has this information been telling scientists about polar bears and global warming?
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A spellbinding biography of Fridtjof Nansen, the pioneer of polar exploration, with a spotlight on his harrowing three-year journey to the top of the world. An explorer who many adventurers argue ranks alongside polar celebrity Ernest Shackleton, Fridtjof Nansen contributed tremendous amounts of new information to our knowledge about the Polar Arctic. At a time when the North Pole was still undiscovered territory, he attempted the journey in a way that most experts thought was mad: Nansen purposefully locked his ship in ice for two years in order to float northward along the currents. Richly illustrated with historic photographs, this riveting account of Nansen’s Arctic expedition celebrates the legacy of an extraordinary adventurer who pushed the boundaries of human exploration to further science into the twentieth century.

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“A somewhat sobering, yet upbeat examination of the probable effects of global warming on the culture of the Iñupiaq whale hunters of Alaska’s North Slope. Lourie, in company with atmospheric chemist Dr. Paul Shepson and three of his students, made three journeys to investigate the problems presented by climatic change on the human and animal ecologies of this remote, challenging landscape. His lively, straightforward text describes the mixture of traditional and modern ways of the present-day Iñupiaq, as well as the work of Shepson and his team to record weather and climate changes and to predict what effect they will have locally and globally. The author also explores the efforts of BASC (Barrow Arctic Science Consortium) to assist researchers and encourage a sharing of information between scientists and native people. Numerous full-color photos and helpful maps and diagrams enrich the package. Lourie presents a serious look at the local intensities of a global problem. Grade 5-8”

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Much thanks to the National Science Foundaton for making this project possible.
NSF’s mission is to advance the progress of science, a mission accomplished by funding proposals for research and education made by scientists, engineers, and others. To learn more about NSF, visit their website, nsf.gov

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