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UA News for July 31, 2023

In today's news: spruce beetles have moved north into Denali National Park; Tuesday is UAF Day at the Tanana Valley State Fair; the UAA first-year experience provides year-round peer-to-peer support; more than 50 researchers will be participating in the Polar Aeronomy and Radio Science Summer School - including spending several days at the HAARP facility conducting experiments; scientists return to a rock glacier cleaning up remnants of a 20 year old research site; and the Ketchikan Daily News interviews UAS professor Barbara Morgan about a colorful bloom of phytoplankton seen along beaches, marinas and waterways.


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alaskabeacon.com
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Spruce beetles’ expansion into Denali poses questions about future changes in the forest

Published Jul 31, 2023 by Yereth Rosen

Along with the tourist crowds that are flocking to Denali National Park and Preserve is another arrival: Masses of beetles have burrowed into the park’s spruce trees and begun killing them off.


The aggressive infestation that took hold in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough north of Anchorage in 2016 has now spread north, covering hillsides in the communities outside the park with rust-red dead trees and reaching into park boundaries.


The ferocity and northward spread of that “epic” Mat-Su infestation surprised Glen Holt, a forester with the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Cooperative Extension Service.


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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
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UAF Day at the fair scheduled for Tuesday

Published Jul 31, 2023 by Staff report

The University of Alaska Fairbanks will host UAF Day at the Tanana Valley State Fair on Tuesday.


UAF employees, students, alumni and friends will receive $1 off admission by wearing UAF apparel or showing their PolarExpress card. The day will include UAF activities throughout the fairgrounds.


The University Fire Department’s fire truck, a hockey slap-shot net and the giant inflatable Nanook will be set up in Totem Square from noon to 7 p.m. Nook, UAF’s mascot, will make appearances throughout the day. At 6 p.m., the UAF Police Department’s K-9 Yogi and handler Jill Copeland will conduct an explosives-detection demonstration and meet-and-greet.


Inside the Borealis Pavilion, UAF will have several special exhibits and activities.


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NorthernLight.org
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First-Year Experience provides peer-to-peer support for new students all year long

Published Jul 30, 2023 by Taylor Heckart

First-Year Experience, previously known as New Student Orientation, provides resources and support for students new to UAA – all by UAA students themselves. Student leaders run orientations, provide campus tours, answer calls and questions and more, directly interacting with new students. 


The support that First-Year Experience provides doesn’t stop at the beginning of the semester, instead continuing year-round. 


“I feel like it's important that they know us so that in the middle of the semester, there's follow through,” said First-Year Experience orientation leader Bay Baqi. 


The team said that UAA students providing this support makes a difference, because they’ve gone through this experience before. Not only that, but since the First Year Experience team is made up of current students, they’re in the same spaces that new UAA students are. 


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Kiny
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Polar Aeronomy and Radio Science Summer School returns to HAARP

Published Jul 29, 2023

More than 50 researchers will be in Alaska in August for the resumption of a science summer school that culminates with experiments at the High-Frequency Active Aurora Research Program facility operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute.


The Polar Aeronomy and Radio Science Summer School was last held more than 10 years ago.


Its return is provided for as part of a five-year $9.3 million National Science Foundation grant awarded to UAF in 2021.


That funding allowed the creation of the Subauroral Geophysical Observatory for Space Physics and Radio Science at HAARP.


“The return of PARS marks a milestone for HAARP and the geospace communities,” HAARP Director Jessica Matthews said. “With a strong foundation laid during previous PARS events from 2000 to 2012, PARS 2023 is committed to meeting the growing demand for skilled scientists and engineers with knowledge of the special effects that occur in the ionosphere at high latitudes.”


The program runs Aug. 1-14.


Participants will spend the first few days in classes and experiment design at the Geophysical Institute, have two full days of recreation in Valdez, and then spend several days at HAARP in Gakona, Alaska, to run their experiments.


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Anchorage Daily News
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A debt finally squared with a long-pondered return to a pile of rocks

Published Jul 29, 2023 by Ned Rozell

In returning to Fireweed rock glacier near McCarthy this summer, a group of scientists cleaned up a site they had left more than two decades ago.....


Also standing here on this pleasant pile of rocks — a 13-mile hike for us from the town of McCarthy — is Martin Truffer, lead researcher in the same Geophysical Institute lab where Adam fledged as a scientist.


Many things have changed in 20 years, including this: The stroll into the heart of Fireweed Mountain massif that took five hours in the ‘90s somehow morphed into an 11-hour hike in July 2023.


Adam returned in July 2023 to remove what he and Roger had left with the help from a helicopter from Valdez funded by the Geophysical Institute. He asked me and Martin to come along.


Wearing his bug jacket and standing a few yards from Adam, Martin twists open a bolt to inspect the metal barrel that bears had not disturbed for the past 20 years.


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Ketchikan Daily News
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Bloom of “Sea Sparkle” phytoplankton seen along Ketchikan shoreline

Published Jul 28, 2023 by DANELLE KELLY Daily News Staff Writer

Ketchikan’s marine life has created quite the stir among locals lately with swaths of brilliant orange, odd-smelling clouds of phytoplankton swirling along beaches, floating into marinas and threading along channels.


During a phone call with the Daily News on Thursday, University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan Campus Professor of Biology and Natural History of Alaska Barbara Morgan offered insight into the colorful marine invasion.


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