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BTN LiveBIG: Penn State student learns at ‘glacial’ pace

It’s an experience that, at first blush, seems ideal for outdoor enthusiasts: Spend your days skiing, rappelling and ice climbing in a wintry wilderness. But there are a handful of downsides … sudden snowstorms and hidden crevasses, for example. Oh, and polar bears. Still, there’s nowhere else Penn State graduate student Kiya Riverman would rather be. She and her colleagues in the Penn State Ice and Climate Exploration (PSICE) are sitting on top of the world — literally — while researching glacial hydrology in Svalbard, a remote chain of islands roughly halfway between the northern coast of Norway and the

BTN LiveBIG: Nebraska professor digs into global climate research

You can find lots of interesting things at the bottoms of lakes. Shipwrecks. Lost towns and cities. A physical record of climate patterns over several previous millennia. That last one especially interests Sheri Fritz, a professor at the University of Nebraska’s School of Biological Sciences. Fritz has spent more than three decades studying global climate patterns — she actually started her research in this area while pursuing her doctorate at the University of Minnesota in the mid-1980s. That work, which involves studying lakes, takes her from icebergs in Greenland to the foothills of the Andes. Why lakes? Because their geographic

BTN LiveBIG: University of Maryland works to save trees in College Park and beyond

It’s National Arbor Day, and people across the country are taking time to acknowledge the importance of trees and forests. However, the University of Maryland celebrated the holiday a bit early this year for a couple of reasons. First, the state’s official Arbor Day is always designated as the first Wednesday in April (also the first day of the month this year). The second reason was that Maryland was among a select few institutions recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA program for its commitment to urban forest management and engaging staff and students in conservation goals in 2014.