Reaching Arctic Communities Facing Climate Change (ReAC)


From increasing temperatures to changing weather patterns to earlier wildfire seasons, Alaska is experiencing the effects of rapid Arctic climate change.  How do these changes impact the lives and the traditions of Alaska Native communities?

The Signs of the Land: Reaching Arctic Communities Facing Climate Change (ReAC) Camp Academy facilitates in-depth dialogue about climate change and explores its impact through the cultural lens of Alaska Native communities.

The week-long camp integrates local observations, traditional knowledge, and western climate science.  Participants gain an understanding about the impacts of climate change from Alaska Native elders and local climate researchers, and also learn about climate communication tools and resources for responding.

Participants design individual outreach plans to share what they learned at camp with others in their community and beyond.  The camp is designed for Alaska Native educators, local leaders and planners, and rural community members. 

The first Signs of the Land ReAC Camp took place at the Howard Luke Gaalee’ya Camp by the Tanana River near Fairbanks, Alaska in July 2014.  Outcomes from the camp include: 

  • Participants’ attitudes showed positive change; after the Camp, there was strong agreement about their ability to communicate about climate change, their awareness of climate science language, and how to locate resources, tools and strategies to for sharing and informing others about climate change.
  • Participants confirmed the value of elders in helping them understand, respond, and adapt to climate change, and that the camp setting facilitated an in-depth discussion and sharing of knowledge.
  • Participants were satisfied, and found the organization, facilitation, and content went beyond expectations. They felt the camp was “100%” successful, and they were grateful for the opportunity. They received new information and felt well prepared to include climate change resources into their community. 

The 2016 Signs of the Land II: Reaching Arctic Communities Facing Climate Change Camp Academy took place June 14-17, 2016, in Fairbanks, Alaska.  For an overview of the camp experience, please see "Native Elders, scientists talk action, plans for fighting climate change in Interior Alaska villages" by ReAC Participant Diana Campbell.

Organization Name: 
International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks
Association of Interior Native Educators
Project Lead: 
Elena B. Sparrow, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Malinda Chase, Association of Interior Native Educators
Key Personnel: 
Sam Demientieff, Athabaskan Native Elder
Jessica Brunacini