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Feature

Alaska

U professor Sarah Hobbie will explore the "The Glory and the Challenge of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge" on February 12.

Research and travel in the extreme

The Bell Museum's new series explores the last frontiers

February 7, 2006

For most real-life adventurers, the trick to survival isn't dodging spears or poisonous snakes--"it's getting paid to do what you love to do," says Bell Museum of Natural History graduate student Tony Gamble.

With his talk on Brazil's reptiles and amphibians, Gamble recently kicked off the Bell's new "extreme" travelogue series-- "Fire and Ice: Extreme Adventures from the Arctic to the Equator,"--which features University of Minnesota scientists whose work takes them to exotic and far-flung places most of us visit only in our dreams.

"These aren't your typical Alaska-by-cruise-ship travel stories," says Peggy Korsmo-Kennon, the Bell Museum's director of public programs. "We wanted the public to meet the University's real-life Indiana Joneses--biologists, archeologists, and other researchers doing real work often in exotic and extreme conditions."

Conditions that would make even Lara Croft shudder.

Next up in the series is associate professor of ecology, evolution and behavior Sarah Hobbie, who spent months in a remote field station on Alaska's North Slope. "Extreme is relative," she shrugs. "For me enduring the extremes of Alaska is simply the tradeoff you make to be a part of the world's last great frontier." For Hobbie, snowstorms in July, and harrowing encounters with grizzly bears and swarms of mosquitoes pale in comparison to her love of the Alaskan wilderness and her drive to protect it.

Hobbie's talk (February 12), "The Glory and the Challenge of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," will be followed later this spring by presentations by professor emeritus Donald Siniff (February 26) who's traveled to Antarctica for his research on seals, and graduate student Dawn Tanner (March 12) who studies the clouded leopard of Borneo.

All presentations are at the Bell Museum auditorium. Tickets for the travelogues are $8 for the public; $6 for Bell Museum members. Discount packages for the series--three admissions for the price of two--are available for members and nonmembers. For a detailed list of scheduled travelogues and package prices, visit www.bellmuseum.org. The Bell Museum is part of the University's College of Natural Resources.