Nobleboro teacher, former student prepare for Arctic adventure

Ken Williams of Nobleboro Central School will join Seth Campbell and UMaine climate change researchers on Alaskan expedition at end of the month
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Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 1:15pm
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(Top): Ken Williams; (Below): Part of the Alaska Range in Denali National Park (Image credit:PolarTREC)

ORONO — University of Maine climate change researchers are headed back to Alaska in April to collect an ice core record of Arctic climate change over the past 1,000 years, funded by the National Science Foundation. One of the leaders of the expedition, set to take place April 29 to June 30 in Denali National Park, will be Karl Kreutz, a professor in UMaine's Climate Change Institute and School of Earth and Climate Sciences. Kreutz, who uses ice cores to study atmospheric and hydrologic dynamics in high-latitude and high-elevation regions, has been conducting field research on Denali since 2008.

Among those accompanying Kreutz on this expedition will be UMaine graduate student Seth Campbell, whose Ph.D. research focuses on the 3D ice flow dynamics of several glaciers in Denali National Park, and one of Campbell's former grade school teachers from Nobleboro Central School, Ken Williams.

For 29 years, Williams has been a teacher at Nobleboro Central School in Damariscotta. Although primarily a science teacher, the nature of a small school with only three faculty for grades 6-8 often necessitates that Williams work and teach in a variety of disciplines. The small school setting, with class size routinely at ten or less, proves that relationships between students and teachers matter most. This is proven by the fact that Campbell and Williams have continued to maintain a friendship since Campbell left middle school in 1991. Now, teacher and student get ready to embark on an exciting adventure in the Arctic.

Seth Campbell is working to complete his doctoral degree through the School of Earth and Climate Sciences at the University of Maine. He is also a research physical scientist at the US Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) in Hanover, NH, specializing in applications of geophysics to the cryosphere. Excluding dozens of CRREL related projects, Campbell has led five glaciological research expeditions to Alaska and participated in 15 research expeditions to the Arctic or Antarctica during his career. Research through his PhD and at CRREL range from glaciology, permafrost, and glacial geology, to radio wave propagation studies. He is also a former rock and ice climbing guide with 17 years of climbing/mountaineering experience, a past emergency medical technician-intermediate, and instructor for Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities (SOLO), a renowned national leader in wilderness emergency medicine education.

Campbell has mentored Ken Williams, and the entire Williams family, on various rock climbing adventures and has returned to Nobleboro multiple times to present his research and help Williams guide eighth grade wilderness trips.

Williams' participation in the expedition is supported by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States Polar TREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) Group. More information about Ken Williams can be found on the Nobleboro Central School website. In addition, during the three weeks in May that Williams and Campbell will be together on the expedition, the pair will blog about their experiences on the PolarTREC website.