Texas Tech University Public Media is in Alaska producing a documentary about Professor Chien-Lu Ping’s annual arctic soils field tour and climate change.
The tour, in its 23rd year, is also known as NRM 489, the Alaska Soil Geography Field Trip. The film crew interviewed Research Associate Gary Michaelson at the Palmer lab earlier this week and traveled to Matanuska Glacier and Denali National Park before meeting up with participants in the field tour, which begins Monday in Fairbanks.
The 11-day field tour will focus on frozen permafrost soils. Four soil scientists, including Ping, a three-member camera crew and 20 students will examine soils and ecology from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, with stops at Marion Creek near Coldfoot and Toolik Lake.
Michaelson said the film crew is interested in “how arctic soils are affected by climate change and how they will change.”
A post from a blog that will follow the field trip notes, “Through the lens of Alaska we can see how climate change is affecting our entire world, and through the soil science tour we can better understand what these changes mean.”
Michaelson said the crew will interview a permafrost specialist in Fairbanks and plans to work in other aspects of climate change, such as the effects on wildlife. Film production will take place Aug. 17 to Aug. 8 with a release date of early 2017. The crew hopes the documentary will air on public television and other media.
The idea for the documentary came from a Texas Tech soil scientist David Weindorff, who has participated in the tour several years with his students. He also helped raise money for the project. Funding has been provided by the the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Soil Science Society of America, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Department of Plant and Soil Science at Texas University, Texas Tech Public Media and Texas Tech University. The filming blog will feature video clips, journal entries, photos and more. See its slide shows and blog posts.