Working in Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow) Alaska (Amanda Grannas)

Dr. Grannas talks about how serendipity works doing fieldwork in the Arctic. While conducting fieldwork on the North Slope, she and a group of scientists had a chance encounter with a local station manager who was also an Iñupiaq whaler. They asked him to help collect some samples for them, and after he agreed to help, he also invited them to join him on an ice-breaking trip that he and his whaling crew were conducting for the upcoming whaling season. He said they could collect the samples themselves. During their trip, they encountered Arnold Brower Sr., a respected whaling captain and Iñupiaq elder who shared his experiences and opinions on climate change. Dr. Grannas and her team had that special experience of hearing stories that illuminated modern and traditional lifestyles of the local Iñupiaq population, noting their use of technology alongside their spiritual subsistence activities. Dr. Grannas believes that in sharing Iñupiaq culture and the Iñupiaq approach to hunting, scientists come to learn so much that can then inform their own science, as well as teach the outside world important lessons.