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Permafrost Outreach

The permafrost outreach team is bringing Pingo Peat along on their trip
down the Yukon River. Photo by Jessica Garron.
Elle Fournier

The GI’s permafrost outreach team is set to travel down the Yukon River from June 11-19, 2017 to host community events about permafrost.

The team, led by Matthew Sturm, will stop in communities down the river, where displays and demonstrations will include ice samples, a portable permafrost tunnel, and Pingo Peat -- the group’s giant inflatable mammoth.

While the group has currently scheduled four stops, they are “planning on engaging with anyone who will have us,” said Jessica Garron, Senior Science Consultant for Alaska Satellite Facility.

After putting in at the Yukon River bridge on the Dalton Highway, the flotilla of three river boats will travel to Rampart, Tanana, Ruby and Galena, stopping along the way scope out historic sites and connect with new communities.

“I get to talk with elders, adults, and children about our changing Alaska landscape, and we all learn from each other,” said Garron.

The outreach project is in its third year of a five-year NSF grant. This is the first time the group has traveled by boat, and they are optimistic about the community response.

“We expect different reception when we are traveling by boat because people don’t normally do that,” said Garron. “Plus, we’re getting off a boat, inflating a 15-foot mammoth, and inviting people for tea.”

During the trip, the group plans to upload to videos and photos as often as possible, so followers can keep up with the expedition as it unfolds.

“We are hopeful to at least upload material once a day from the visited communities,” said Garron.

To receive regular updates on the permafrost outreach team’s adventure, follow the group on Facebook at

You can find out more about the permafrost outreach project and displays at