Local observers can detect subtle changes in weather, landscapes and seascapes, and plant and animal communities. The Arctic Council is working to build a circumpolar network of local environmental observers.

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Our world is changing rapidly, and local observers can detect subtle changes in weather, landscapes and seascapes, and plant and animal communities. The LEO (Local Environmental Observer) Network, currently active in Alaska, uses web-accessible maps to collect, display, and share local observations of unusual environmental events. As of early 2016, the LEO Reporter – an app allowing observers to post their observations with text and pictures – was launched. LEO Reporter (iOS / Android) is an entirely new channel for collecting local observations and important data.

During the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, ACAP and its Expert Group the Indigenous People’s Contaminants Action Program (IPCAP) are working to expand the existing LEO Network around the Arctic, creating a Circumpolar Local Environmental Observer (CLEO) Network. This expansion across the Arctic would help the Arctic Council to monitor further the impact of climate change in the Arctic. An ACAP workshop supporting that effort will take place in Inari, Finland on 2-3 June.

Looking forward to the workshop, Patrick Huber, a project lead for the CLEO initiative, said "This workshop will be an excellent opportunity to highlight the LEO Network, to learn about community-based observation systems in the Arctic, and to highlight the importance of knowledge-sharing in a rapidly-changing Arctic."

The workshop is supported by the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, the U.S. EPA, the Finnish Sámi Parliament, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and the Sámi Education Institute. The workshop will be held at the Sámi Cultural Centre Sajos.

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