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Polarstern ArcWatch Scientists Deploy Maryland and Oregon Boats

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

On August 3, 2023, the German research icebreaker Polarstern set sail from Tromsø, Norway, to conduct two months of research in the Arctic Ocean. The goal of the current ArcWatch-1 expedition is to study the biology, chemistry and physics of sea ice as well as the effects of sea ice retreat on the entire ocean system, from the surface to the deep sea. Read entire article.

While out on the expedition they carried decorated wooden boats from two school systems: Calvert County Public Schools and Hood River Middle School. Then on September 13, 2023 they deployed a buoy and boats at the North Pole. View the live autonomous measurements of sea ice properties data page with live regular updates of the path of the sea ice, Arctic buoy, and wooden boats.

Teacher, and PolarTREC Educator, Tom Harten, engaged his 2022-2023 students in the CHESPAX environmental education program in the Calvert County Public School System in Prince Frederick, Maryland. CHESPAX is a unique program in which the staff work closely with local, state and regional partner agencies to provide hands-on environmental education experiences for the students of Calvert County. CHESPAX/Calvert County Public Schools, Frederick, Maryland

Adam Smith, a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow and teacher at Hood River Middle School in Hood River, Oregon sourced his own wood and cut his own small wooden boats for his students to decorate. Then once decorated he sent them to the Polar Science Center at the University of Washington to be branded with unique serial numbers and the letters.

View the expedition's daily log (click on it and scroll up and down) and see the September 13, 2023 Float Your Boat deployment.

Vessel name and call sign​

RV Polarstern

Science campaign/Project name

Polarstern PS138-Arcwatch 2023

Type of buoy deployed


Person responsible for on-ice wooden boat deployement

Mario Hoppmann (Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research)

Deployment date and time (UTC)

September 13, 2023

Location of deployment (Lat/Long)

North Pole! 89.83/-2.9

Decorated Boats From These Organizations

  • CHESPAX/Calvert County Public Schools, Frederick, Maryland

  • Hood River Middle School, Hood River Oregon


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