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edu meeting1Representatives from all six members of the EDU-ARCTIC consortium were treated to a truly Arctic experience when they met at Svanhovd Research Station in the very north of Norway from March 28th until the 30th for the project's biannual progress meeting.

On the agenda were discussions about the progress being made in each of the project's work packages and plans for the upcoming months. Highlights included discussion on how school recruiting has been progressing, how students and teachers have started to upload data to the Monitoring System, and the advances being made on the ever-expanding Polarpedia.

Even more exciting is that the EDU-ARCTIC consortium discussed starting the process of evaluating all the wonderful entries that we have received for the Arctic competitions from enthusiastic students across Europe. There are many creative ideas, and we look forward to reading them all!

However, while work was the primary reason for the trip, it was not the only item on the agenda for the EDU-ARCTIC consortium members. During our down time, we also got to experience the Arctic environment and taste local cuisine.

With the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) hosting this progress meeting, we were treated to a true Arctic experience in the vicinity of their research centre: we were given the chance to relax in the sauna, take a tour of their exhibition describing the flora and fauna of the region, taste reindeer meat, take a stroll in the snowy landscape (well bundled up of course!), and visit a sledge dog team.

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The most beautiful experience during the entire visit happened on the final evening, when we sat around a cozy campfire at night that our host, Paul Aspholm, had built form scratch. The roaring fire was most welcome, given the  -17°C temperatures that evening!  For several hours we ate, drank and chatted while watching the beautiful auroras that danced in the Arctic night skies above us. It was an unforgettable experience! Who says you can't mix business with pleasure?

We're all looking forward to seeing everyone again at the next progress meeting in six months' time!

Author: Joseph Cheek