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The International Polar Year 2007-2008 (IPY) saw unprecedented polar collaboration between scientists, educators and communities, and prioritized science communication alongside the diverse science program. This global effort represents one of the largest investments in polar science outreach to date. IPY outreach occurred in more than 70 countries, involved millions of people and represents a microcosm of science outreach knowledge. In order to understand and learn from the many IPY education, outreach and communication (EOC) projects an ICSU sponsored IPY EOC assessment, managed by the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), conducted a global inventory and assessment of IPY EOC programs at the end of the IPY. As a result the project has now gathered information on more than 530 outreach events including endorsed outreach programmes, science partnered outreach projects and simply IPY inspired science outreach events. By talking to communicators and scientists around the world many lessons can be learned on how to engage and actively involve the public, students and early career scientists in polar research in a meaningful way. Through the integration of science outreach from budget to results, dedication of outreach personnel and an inclusive approach to all aspects of science outreach, IPY has demonstrated that the public wants to be engaged in polar issues, and how science can incorporate both good science and effective outreach. This type of public engagement is not only critical for science literacy, it is this level of involvement in science that helps to keep science in the forefront of people’s minds, and thus high on the agenda of governments and organizations funding research. At the conclusion of this latest IPY, polar science outreach programs not only supported science that expanded our knowledge of the Polar Regions, it integrated essential, and called for, science education, outreach and communication to a global community.
For more information: apecs.is/education-outreach/catalogue
Provencher J, Baeseman J, Carlson D, Badhe R, Bellman J, Hik D, Huffman L, Legg J, Pauls M, Pit M, Shan S, Timm K, Ulstein K, Zicus S (2011) Polar Research Education, Outreach and Communication during the fourth IPY: How the 2007–2008 International Polar Year has contributed to the future of education, outreach and communication. Paris: International Council for Science (ICSU).