One year after the launch of the International Polar Year (IPY) Education, Outreach and Communication (EOC) Assessment Project the task of inventorying and investigating the hundreds of IPY EOC programmes that occurred during the IPY 2007-08 is now complete. Supported by APECS, IASC and SCAR, this ICSU funded project is the only global examination of what happened in outreach during IPY. The latest IPY event was one of the most ambitious polar research programmes to date, tens of thousands of scientists and students participated, but IPY also set out to involve members of the general public in active polar science endeavours on a global scale. How successful was this part of the IPY plan?
With over 550 IPY EOC activities, from more than 70 countries in 25 languages IPY EOC is one of the largest global investments in science outreach to date. The IPY EOC Assessment brought together educators, communications personnel and researchers and the resulting report examines the success of IPY EOC efforts, and discusses why IPY EOC was able to reach its goals and beyond. From the experience of IPY, the report also outlines a set of lessons learned on how to improve science outreach across a variety of disciplines. These lessons will be useful for other science outreach projects - large or small - regional, national or international.
IPY EOC went to new heights, depths and extremes to take people to the poles and to take the poles to the people. Now the legacy of IPY outreach is helping to shape the future of science education and outreach. Read the report or search the online Polar Outreach Catalogue - a growing inventory of these IPY projects and new outreach efforts to help educate the world about the global importance of the polar regions. For the searchable database, please visit the APECS website.