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Joe Mello Leavitt was born in 1959 in Barrow, Alaska to Cora and Luther Leavitt, Sr. Joe is a whaling captain and subsistence hunter who grew up hunting and camping with his family in all seasons, and learned much of his knowledge of whaling and hunting from his father, a respected whaling captain. Joe is a well-respected expert on sea ice and frequent collaborator with researchers on sea ice projects. He provides ice observation data to Dr. Hajo Eicken of the Sea Ice Group at the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks. From 2006-2010, he participated in the National Science Foundation funded Siku-Inuit-Hila Project, which brought together Inuit from Barrow, Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River), Nunavut, Canada, and Qaanaaq, Greenland with scientists to exchange knowledge, experiences and skills related to sea ice. Joe is one of the editors of their publication: The Meaning of Ice: People and Sea Ice in Three Arctic Communities (edited by Shari Fox Gearheard, Lene Kielsen Holm, Henry P. Huntington, Joe Mello Leavitt, Andrew R. Mahoney, Margaret Opie, Toku Oshima, and Joelie Sanguya, International Polar Institute Press, Hanover, New Hampshire, 2013).