Berry Science

Young students and their chaperones gathered around an elementary school table

Tundra berries are more than a meal; in Western Alaska, they can be a way for scientists and students to monitor change.

A student group in the village of Shishmaref called the “Climate Heroes Club” has just launched a project to monitor patches of naturally growing blackberries (sometimes known as “crowberries”). Each child “named and tagged a few berry plants… to keep monitoring over the coming year,” reports volunteer reporter Zoe Grueskin, who visited the village last month to bring the story to KNOM listeners.

Image at top: in a classroom in Shishmaref, members of the “Climate Heroes Club” learn about tundra berries and their importance in the local ecosystem. Photo: Zoe Grueskin, KNOM.

Students examine small berry plants outdoors

Outdoors, students choose their plant to monitor over the coming year. Photo: Zoe Grueskin, KNOM.

Close-up of crowberry patch with bright pink tag

A close-up view of one of the patches of crowberries, tagged and labeled. Photo: Zoe Grueskin, KNOM.