The wonders of the polar regions are best experienced through active participation. Scientists routinely take in situ observations in the polar regions, but the IPY might expand field participation to include all education levels and ages. At the most basic level, the IPY endeavor could train future scientists, engineers, and leaders by placing a special emphasis on fieldwork during 2007-2008. Formal programs, such as the Research Experience for Undergraduates, already exist to provide field experience to undergraduates, but there are few formal programs that can reach out to a large percentage of undergraduates and graduates who are interested in polar field experience.
In K-12 classrooms, teachers have a tremendous role in communicating the science of change and exploration to young students. Field experiences for adventurous teachers, coupled with programs that can be easily implemented at the national network of science museums, are needed to help expose the polar regions to today’s youth, who are tomorrow’s leaders. Another untapped resource for entraining students in polar studies is through the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of America. For instance, Paul Siple went to Antarctica as a Boy Scout on the first Byrd Expedition (Siple, 1931, 1959) and Eagle Scout Dick Chappell went to Antarctica during the IGY. Another novel product that could result from IPY research is the creation of children’s books and outreach to scholastic publishers to include more IPY research in textbooks.
For the public, ecotourism can promote increased public participation and understanding of the polar regions. Tourist ships could participate in the science of IPY by