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UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS | INTERNATIONAL ARCTIC RESEARCH CENTER

People of IARC

fresco

Nancy Fresco

As network coordinator for IARC’s Scenarios Network for Alaska + Arctic Planning (SNAP), Research Assistant Professor Nancy Fresco organizes and contributes to many of the organization’s scientific and multidisciplinary research projects. With a background in biology, forest ecology, and environmental education, she serves as a strong example of SNAP’s mission to collaborate across fields and disciplines to forge relationships between research and stakeholders.

Contact Dr. Fresco

What would people be interested to know about your current projects?

The organizing principle behind my work has long been to seek out ways to connect people with the climate data they need. This means that much of my work is devoted to talking with land managers and community members about the capabilities and uncertainties built into our climate models, as well their own concerns about the future.

In particular, it is very important for scientists to communicate with our larger communities about what we mean by “uncertainty.” It means something very different for modelers than it does for the public at large.

My recent work has involved collaborating with other researchers in the UA system and with our funders at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on Rapid Ecoregional Assessments in three broad areas of western, northern, and interior Alaska.

This work comprises evaluations of the conditions of our natural resources; SNAP’s role is to assess in what ways these resources might change based on our climate models. These projects are multidisciplinary and collaborative, and depend greatly on the expertise of professionals from many different fields and backgrounds.

Because the effects of climate change in Alaska and the Arctic are much more severe than in other parts of the world, and because our state is very heavily dependent on natural resources, this work has vast implications for stakeholders across social, political, and economic spheres.

How has your background contributed to your scientific career?

Lots of close and productive relationships throughout my career have played a strong role in my feeling that collaboration is positive and necessary for scientific research to be truly successful. I’m also fortunate to have seen SNAP grow from a very small operation to something much more ambitious, which inspires me to seek out projects with even greater reach. And my love of Alaska and the Fairbanks area in particular inspires much of my work.

What are your interests outside of work?

I spend as much time as possible outdoors with my husband, twin daughters, and sled dogs. I love Fairbanks for its sense of community, but also for its wild spaces. We enjoy using that space for hiking, running, biking, skiing, and anything else we can find time for.

Even a few extra frost-free days can boost survival for young trumpeter swans. Maps created for the Yukon/Kuskokwim/Lime Hills Rapid Ecoregional Assessment.
Even a few extra frost-free days can boost survival for young trumpeter swans. Maps created for the Yukon/Kuskokwim/Lime Hills Rapid Ecoregional Assessment.
In interior Alaska, thawing permafrost is likely to alter hydrology and vegetation. Maps created using combined SNAP/GI Permafrost Lab data and models as part of a SNAP collaboration with the National Park Service.