Polar Potties calendar shows where explorers go

Think about the Arctic and the scientists devoted to studying it, and outhouses may not automatically spring to mind. Your own Polar Potties calendar might change that.

International group uses outhouse calendar to help young researchers

This portable outhouse appears on the cover of the Polar Potties 2012 calendar. (Association of Polar Early Career Scientists )

If you think about the Arctic and the scientists devoted to studying it, outhouses may not automatically spring to mind.

But thanks to the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists, an outhouse somewhere in the Arctic — or the Antarctic — could become part of your daily life next year.

The international group has put together the Polar Potties 2012 calendar, devoted to the unique bathrooms of each polar region.

The creators hope to wipe away stereotypes about the scientists' life as well as help show the importance of polar research, says Jenny Baeseman, the director of the association.

"I think the Polar Potties calendar helps to show that science is not just being in a lab and conducting the typical chemical experiments. You can be out in nature, learning about ecosystems."

The calendar includes pictures of caves dug into snow banks and metal buckets perched on piles of rocks. Four of the pictures are from Canada.

Baeseman has her favourites in the outhouse collection, including the snow caves found on the Svalbard archipelago at the northern tip of Norway.

"There are some that are holes in the ice sheet in Antarctica, where your view is ice and sky and all you get is a hole in the ground."

The calendars can be bought online. Money from sales of the calendar will help the association train researchers in how to communicate their findings to the public, said Baeseman. The association also promotes collaboration among young researchers and others with interests in the polar regions.