The Interdisciplinary Climate Change Expedition (ICCE) is a program that takes CWC community college students on a two week field expedition to collect data for original research. These undergraduates are majoring in a variety of fields, including outdoor education and leadership, archaeology, and anthropology. ICCE allows undergraduate research opportunities in hydrology, ground-penetrating radar (GPR), soil sampling, kite aerial photography, and high-alpine archaeology.
Jacki Klancher, associate professor of environmental health and CWC, has developed and led this expedition for the past five years. Fellow professors Darran Wells and Todd Guenther have also helped prepare and guide students into the back country to collect data used to answer a variety of scientific questions.
This past summer students studied water flow and quality, black carbon, and geo-spatial mapping. With a research area located at 10,000 feet, the expedition is both mentally and physically challenging. Students and staff who participate come in with background experience in NOLS or other outdoor leadership courses. The research team of 19 required 9 horses, 600 lbs of scientific equipment, and 300 pounds of food.
|Students trek up the Dinwoody Glacier. Photo by Christian Harder.|
Klancher enjoys seeing her students take their next steps after the ICCE prgram. Many undergraduates go on to the University of Wyoming and continue their research. They also return to the following year to help train new students out in the field.
|The team prepares to use the ground penetrating radar. Photo by Christian Harder|
|Ariel photography of the glacier. Photo by Christian Harder.|
This year, ICCE will begin to study the microbial communities in and around the Dinwoody Glacier. With changing snow fields, data collection of microbes may show how microbial communities are changing as the glacier recedes.
Klancher looks forward to learning and teaching new microbiological data collection methods.
"Adding this microbiology component is letting us cover as many science fields as possible. So each student can really find what lights their fire," Klancher says.
Klancher works to find grants, support, and wishes to further expand the program by bringing in new instructors and mentors. With other great ideas on the radar, Klancher is looking forward to expanding ICCE to other parts of Wyoming.
"We are delighted to share what we've learned with other community colleges across the state," Klancher says.
She is thankfully for the support the program has received from Wyoming EPSCOR, INBRE, and the Wyoming State Grant.