Jon Turk: Crocodiles and Ice, An Illustrated Lecture

7PM Thursday, November 9
Jon Turk: Crocodiles and Ice, An Illustrated Lecture
Howe Library, Hanover, NH

Jon Turk, nominated by National Geographic as one of the Top Ten Adventurers of the Year in 2012, will discuss the details of his 1500-mile, 104-day journey circumnavigating Ellesmere Island in 2011. This journey, along with others, is chronicled in his latest book, Crocodiles and Ice.
Please join us as adventurer, author, and scientist Jon Turk shares insights gained from a lifetime of travel in the “deep wild,” where one learns to “turn off your think-too-much-know-it-all brain and seek the primeval joys of companionship, art, and adventure.”
Jointly sponsored by The Center for Circumpolar Studies and Howe Library as part of Everyone is Reading, Howe Library’s annual community read program.
Free & Open to the Public. Donations Gratefully Accepted.

The Southern Ocean: An Illustrated Lecture by Steven B. Young

7PM Wednesday, November 16
The Southern Ocean: An Illustrated Lecture by Steven B. Young
Fairbanks Museum, St. Johnsbury

worldThe Southern Ocean lies to the south of all continents except Antarctica.  It stretches in a continuous band around the world in high southern latitudes.  Its strong currents isolate Antarctica from the rest of the world, and they have an enormous effect on climate, past and present.  The Southern Ocean and its islands provide a unique habitat for whales, penguins, and a host of other creatures.
Paleoecologist Steven Young will talk about his visits to many Antarctic seas and lands, including Elephant Island, which featured prominently in Shackleton’s adventures. The lecture will be illustrated with many color slides, including some of birds and beasts with which you may not be familiar!

Jane English: The Ceremony Cards, Introduction & Workshop

6:30PM Wednesday, December 2

Cafe Anna, College Hall, Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier

ceremonycardsFor millennia, the Kalaallit (Greenlandic) people not only survived but thrived in a land of cold winter darkness and summer midnight sun, a place where the natural world was both spectacularly beautiful and unforgivingly harsh. Survival required that practical knowledge and skills be integrated with a rich inner life so that, within each person, family and community, both the seen and the unseen were woven intricately together in the ceremony of life.

Please join us for an introductory workshop with the Ceremony Cards, which were developed to capture both the natural wonder of the Greenlandic landscape and the traditional wisdom of the Greenlandic culture. The Ceremony Cards combine evocative photographs of Greenland with words and phrases from Greenlandic culture. Using the cards as a divination tool allows wisdom from the Far North to spark and facilitate a conversation within (and amongst) ourselves, a conversation in which the Ceremony Cards are an invaluable inspirational aid, especially for those of us who are just coming to know and trust our own intuition.

In an illustrated presentation, Jane will share some of the insights from Greenland that led her to develop the Ceremony Cards and will explain some of the ways in which the cards may be used. Participants will be able to break into small groups to use and play with the Ceremony Cards. Sets of Ceremony Cards, as well as some of Jane’s books, photographs and 2016 calendars, will be available for purchase.

Visit to learn more about the cards. Jane’s paper on divination is also available on the website (, and you can see some of Jane’s books and calendars here –

janeenglishJane English, who holds a doctorate in experimental sub-atomic particle physics from the University of Wisconsin, is a well-known author and photographer of nature whose images illustrate a best-selling translation of Lao Tsu’s Tao Te Ching, which she completed with her late husband, Gia-fu Feng. She is an active elder with the EarthWalk Vermont program. Since 2007, Jane has “walked with” the Greenlandic elder Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, and has traveled to Greenland four times.

Chasing Ice: Screening & Discussion

7PM Monday, November 9

Simpson 3, Sterling College Craftsbury Common

chasingiceposterPlease join us for a Special Screening of this award-winning documentary on climate change. Center for Circumpolar representatives will be on hand to facilitate Discussion following the film.

Acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog went to the Arctic on assignment for National Geographic to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.

Cliick here to watch the trailer.

Sas Carey: Discussion & Film Screening

7PM Tuesday, October 27
Catamount Arts, St Johnsbury

ceremony posterPlease join us as we welcome Director Sas Carey for a Discussion & Special Screening of her evocative documentary film exploring the shamanic practices of the Mongolian Reindeer Herders.

CEREMONY is a spiritual journey among shamans in northern Mongolia. The documentary revolves around a specific ceremony in the steppes. Outside we see mists with reindeer emerging, smoke coming from stovepipes through the poles of the Siberian tipis or urts, animals grazing on the steppe, and the moon in a clear sky. Inside, we experience a mysterious ritual as a shaman slips into a trance around midnight when the stars come out. The master shaman beats the drum, chants, dances, and takes on the spirit. He then motions to his young shaman apprentice to begin playing a mouth harp. The shaman and others give commentaries on the events during the ceremony to help the viewer comprehend the mysterious phenomenon.

Watch the trailer here:

Mongolia Map

unnamedSas Carey, Founder and Director of Nomadicare, is a nurse and energy healer trained in Traditional Tibetan-Mongolian Medicine. With a merger of East and West, she advocates traditional and modern medicine for nomads, which  promotes their cultural survival. Since 1994, Sas has been connecting with nomads, assessing needs and supplying them. She is the director and producer of several films, including the feature documentary Gobi Women’s Song, and she is the author of Reindeer Herders in My Heart: Stories of Healing Journeys in Mongolia (2012, Wren Press, Vermont).

What in the world!

cropped essay photoWhat’s THAT in Bill Fitzhugh’s backpack?

Object 1. [far left, Horse Tooth] Electrical insulator? Ceramic kiln waster? Wrong on both counts! This is a 3000-year old horse tooth from the Mongolian steppe. I have been excavating Bronze Age Deer Stones in Mongolia for the past twelve years. One thousand deer stones—megalithic granite plinths standing for warriors—are among the most enigmatic monuments known from Central Asia. Their true age remained unknown until Smithsonian and Mongolian archaeologists discovered sacrificed horses arranged in rings around the deer stones. By radiocarbon-dating horse remains, we discovered the deer stones date to 700-1200 B.C. Horse teeth like this molar were the most reliable dating samples.

Object 2. [second from left, Swordfish Harpoon] The earliest harpoons in the world come from the Rift Valley in East Africa, date some 50-60,000 years old, and were used for catching fish. Toggling harpoons like this one can capture much larger animals, and were first invented by early maritime hunters in northern Japan about 6-7,000 years ago. They work by ‘toggling’ beneath the skin and blubber, allowing hunters to capture seals, walrus, and whales. This bronze harpoon is used by swordfish hunters along the New England coast. I bought this one in Chatham, Massachusetts. Its form copies a style of toggling harpoon used by Greenland Eskimos that was passed on to Dutch whalers in the 17th century.

Object 3. [third from left, Chinese Roof Tile] This fragment of green-glazed Chinese roof tile comes from the spoil piles of the German excavations at Kharakorum, the capitol city of the Great Mongol Empire. Kharakorum was founded in 1235 by Ogodei Khan, one of Genghis Khan’s sons, and was not finished until the 1260s. William of Rubruck, a Franciscan monk and emissary of the Pope, visited the city in 1254 and described its thirteen temples of many different religious denominations, including a Nestorian Christian church. It also had artists’ shops and the khan’s Great Palace, which Rubruck described as having a silver tree designed by the French goldsmith, Guillaume Boucher, which delivered fermented mare’s milk and four other liquors from its branches.

Object 4. [fourth from left, Inuksuk Model] Thule Eskimos and their Inuit descendents built inuksuks (“like a man”) as geographic and spiritual markers throughout the Central Canadian Arctic. Made of rough unhewn stones and assembled in the likeness of a human being, inuksuks have become the iconic motif of the Canadian Arctic and its Inuit people. Their original use is obscure, but their placement at prominent locations suggests use as geographic markers and way-finding aids. Others were erected in converging caribou drive lines to mimic humans and scare caribou into locations where they could be killed.

Object 5. [fifth from left, Iron Spike] Railroad spikes are pretty common, and their trail can be found girdling the world. Despite their ubiquity, some have more historical value than others! This spike comes from a section of Stalin’s gulag railway near Salekhard, north of the Arctic Circle at the mouth of the Ob River in Western Siberia (Russia). I collected this souvenir during an archaeological survey with Russian colleagues in the 1990s. The rail lines connect Stalin’s forced labor camps across the Russian Arctic and was built and maintained by tens of thousands of political prisoners, most of whom died in the process. Much of the steel rails and iron spikes were produced by German and American industry to aid in “developing Russia’s post-WWII economy.”

Object 6. [far right, Atlas vertebra] This small bone is the first cervical vertebra of a small seal. It is called the atlas vertebra because it articulates with the base of the skull, whose weight is borne on its two broad, wing-like flanges. The atlas has a small hole into which fits the pin-like bone extension on the upper surface of the axis vertebra, the second cervical vertebra, so-named because it allows the cranium to rotate easily right to left.

William W. Fitzhugh is a specialist in circumpolar anthropology and archaeology who has spent more than forty years studying and publishing on arctic peoples and cultures in northern Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia, and Mongolia. He is founder and Director of the Arctic Studies Center at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and a Trustee of The Center for Circumpolar Studies.

Register now to find out more about what Bill has in his backpack at The Arctic Roadshow, from 1-5PM on Saturday, March 22, at the Hulbert Outdoor Center, Fairlee, VT.

CCS/WREAF 2014 Artists’ Showcase & Art Auction

Opening 10am Sunday, November 23rdAlpine-Summer-72-_5x6.8-.jpg

The Wilderness River Expedition Art Fellowship (CCS/WREAF) Program, under the inspired leadership of Rob Mullen, encourages nature artists to live their art on extended, self-supported river expeditions in some of the most rugged and remote regions of the world. The arduous rigors and sublime joys of wilderness canoe travel provide intense experiences that inform the artists, ensuring that the artwork remains grounded in the realities of the natural world.

The resulting artwork, however varied, is connected by a thread of shared adventure and experience. By exhibiting these individual visions together, usually within a natural history context, we work to raise awareness of the areas in which these rivers run. A principal focus of WREAF expeditions has been the North American portion of the Circumpolar Boreal Forest – the largest terrestrial ecosystem on Earth, critical for global climate, fresh water, indigenous cultures, wildlife and birds.

We are delighted to present this showcase for CCS/WREAF artists, featuring 41 original artworks from 9 exceptional artists. In addition to supporting the work of these artists, your purchases will help support CCS/WREAF programming. Thank you for participating!

View Auction and Bid Now!

View the Catalog