Story by McKenna Peterson | Photos by KT Miller
... to fill a liter bottle with ocean water from the middle of the Denmark Strait?
Six. One to steer the sailboat in the correct direction. One to tack the sails, while navigating an icy deck. Two to fish ocean water into a bottle using cordelette and a MacGyvered weighting system. One to take temperatures and comment on how cold it is outside. And, finally, one to document the process while laughing at the slightly dysfunctional, yet incredible crew that makes up the Shifting Ice and Changing Tides Expedition.
This hilarious ordeal was one of many highlights from the six-day open water crossing, which we completed from Iceland to Southern Greenland. We were on a mission to ski first descents in the region, while visually documenting the impact climate change is having on the Greenlandic geography and way of life.
Story and photos by Crystal Dolis
In such an expansive landscape, it isn’t surprising that most people imagine the large and charismatic features of the prairie. The bison, pronghorn, coyotes, raptors; the golden colors of fall and the wind rustling through seas of grass; the clusters of human inhabitants that call this place home.
But when you look closer, paying attention to more than what's immediately in front of you, a whole world of details emerges from a view that can often look uniform and unchanging.
In some of the places I have walked alone, I've learned to look and listen for the small and forgotten wonders we tread over daily. Beyond the prickly pear cacti and the sagebrush that demand to be noticed, there is a diversity of plants underneath our feet. From flowering purple vetch flowers, to the scents of sweet clover, or the delicate dew drops on a dandelion seed head in the light of the early morning, each provides in its own way.
By Emily Wolfe
Jeremy Jones is one of the world’s foremost snowboard mountaineers, riding peaks from Alaska to the Himalaya, and founding Protect Our Winters, an influential nonprofit mobilizing the winter sports community in the fight against climate change.
While filming for Higher, the third in a series of Teton Gravity Research films about his progression as an athlete, Jeremy collected snow samples from 18,300 feet in the Himalaya for ASC’s Snow & Ice Project.
“One of [Jeremy’s] samples, the deepest sample from Ning Bu La Glacier, demonstrates a peak in radioactivity,” said ASC partner scientist Dr. Natalie Kerhwald, a glaciologist at the University of Venice. “This can only be caused by human activity.”
By Alex Hamilton
ASC collects a lot of video which won’t ever be edited or published.
For projects like Landmark and our Olympic National Forest Pine Marten Survey, we work with a diligent team of videographers. They stay immobile, day and night, recording at the slightest hint of movement.
Our team receives little recognition and no credit when their film is actually watched. They don’t mind, though—they aren’t human.
The last decade has seen an increase in the use of automated camera traps in ecology and conservation biology. Camera traps are motion-activated, either firing off photos or recording a certain length of video when movement enters their frame. Sometimes they’re set off by nothing but wind rustling through the grass; other times it’s an entire herd of bison.
ASC crews regularly check camera traps and sort through what sometimes amounts to hours of video. Of the hundreds of one-minute videos we’ve collected, here are some of our favorite moments, in no particular order.
1. Who's watching whom?
Story and photos by Nikki Mann
These are not sword-wielding turtles moving through the shadows of society to defend humans.
These are flashlight-wielding humans, moving through the shadows of society to defend turtles. They often work alone, usually at night wearing dark clothing. They work long hours for little or no pay, and even less notoriety.
They do it for the turtles.
Until our recent trip to Costa Rica scouting an ASC Guided Outing, I had no idea this underground army existed.
A reserved Costa Rican native named Oscar Brenes, who seemed as much a general naturalist as highly trained biologist, was the first turtle ninja Jeff and I met.
Story and photos by Laura Hitt
One thing is certain: The prairie is a land of extremes. I arrived two weeks ago—wending down a dirt road beneath a huge cloud-speckled sky—a few days after a storm that dumped more than half the precipitation usually seen in a year. The prairie had turned from brown to green in the course of a few days, the streams were swollen, and the roads deeply rutted.
Next came the mosquitoes (or “mozzies” as our Australian crewmember calls them). They descended plague-like, biting through our clothing, catching in our eyelashes and mouths.
We hike the transects with mosquito nets and double layers, surrounded by a constant hum, trying to spot wildlife through the haze. We wear gloves and hoods, constantly readjusting so they can’t squeeze through the cracks, sweating in the 70-degree days. We start at 6:30 a.m. to beat them, but they swarm by 7:15. At night, they pitter-patter against my tent like rain, trying to get in.
Though I have only lived on the prairie for two weeks, I know this landscape better than some I have lived in for years. Our job here is to pay close attention, to go outside daily and observe. Hiking transects and gathering data is different than hiking or backpacking. You can’t hike a transect while staring at your boots or lost in your thoughts. You must be present.
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