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Public Lecture Series featuring Lauren Farmer & Alex Cowan

Citizen Science at the North Pole

This event will be streamed live. Please visit our Live Stream page at 7pm on the evening of the event to view the lecture for free.

Every July and August, the world’s largest and most powerful icebreaker, 50 let Pobedy journeys to the Geographic North Pole 6-8 times carrying paying passengers of all nationalities, spending 3-5 days breaking through 1-3 meter thick ice during each voyage. With the ship traversing the same approximate path each time, during a period that covers the main summer melt and the beginning of the winter freeze, there are great opportunities for valuable data collection. As well as the obvious benefits of utilizing a tourism cruise for scientific purposes, it is an excellent opportunity for education and involvement of the guests on board.

With this in mind, expedition photographer Lauren Farmer and geologist Alex Cowan, employed as expedition staff on board 50 let Pobedy by Poseidon Expeditions, facilitated a citizen science program to collect this sea ice data, both from the bridge of the ship and on the ice at the North Pole. Along with 36 enthusiastic guests ranging in age from 8 to 75, they recorded sea ice thickness, type and extent data, and melt pond distribution, depth and salinity for the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, McGill University and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ERDC Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory.

Lauren and Alex look forward to sharing their experience, including the logistics of setting up and running an ambitious citizen science project, crowd-funding the required equipment, being trained and training others in sea ice observation, and possibilities for future science projects in tourism ventures.

They will also return Explorers Club Flag No. 69, which they proudly carried during this expedition.



Lauren Farmer MR’14 is an expedition photographer and Assistant Expedition Leader in both the Arctic and Antarctic. She documents the wildlife and icy landscapes of the most remote places on Earth through photography and time-lapse video. The remainder of her time is spent in Brooklyn, NY as a Digital Strategist in the TV industry. Her photography has been published by The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

Dr Alex Cowan FI’15 is a geologist and Expedition Leader working in the Arctic and Antarctic, primarily for expedition cruise companies but also briefly with the South Georgia Government and IAATO. He has climbed and mountaineered on foot and ski in many parts of the world including Greenland, Kenya, British Columbia and many parts of Europe, and also spent several years working as a yacht skipper and sailing instructor at home in the UK.

Date: November 23rd, 2015

Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Lecture

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: Free

Guest Ticket Price: $20

Student Ticket Price:

Free for EC Student Members, $5 w/ valid student ID

Reservation Notes:

Reservations are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To secure a reservation, please call us at 212.628.8383 or email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste