Endemic species of Galapagos

June 10 2018

Thanks to Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic, we have been named 2018 Grosvenor Teacher Fellows and have been assigned to Galapagos! We look forward to studying endemic species and bringing it back to our classrooms and classrooms worldwide!

Becky and Samra

June 10 2018

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Preparation Stage

Long time, no post. Don't worry--we haven't been slacking, we've been teaching! Samra and I have begun our new school year and each day, we draw closer to our much-anticipated expedition together to Galapagos. We have watched four other Grosvenor Fellows complete their expedition, and it has been incredible to see the experience through their eyes, hear their advice, and read their reflections.

Becky: Having been on my first field expedition this past summer, I know that this one will be amazing if I wasn't convinced previously. I am in the process of narrowing my personal and professional focus for the expedition. I know that I will be studying endemic species while in Galapagos, but I will also take a specific water quality focus. I am trying to decide what equipment I will bring to gather and analyze data which is proving to be quite a challenge. I know that I will bring a GoPro, 360 camera, and thermal camera for data, but for specific water sample and analysis, I am still undecided. Despite my current indecisiveness, I know that whatever I bring, I will be able to gather great data to use and share with the education world. I have created a VR preview tour for my students which I will be using in the lab with them soon and look forward to making a new one with my own footage after I return in December. At our local aquarium, there is also a 3D Imax film on Galapagos that we will bring students to view as a kick off to my expedition and our study of biodiversity of South America.

Soon, I will also have a hallway display with preview materials for all students in my school complete with photos, QR codes, and links to this blog, my podcast, and website.

As if this opportunity were not AMAZING enough already--I want to share with you one reason I am looking forward to this expedition!

Reason 1 (for today): Samra Zeweldi, my roommate! I met Samra one amazing day in Washington DC in March of this year. This year's class of Grosvenor Teacher Fellows were all notified in February 2017, of selection. At the same time, however, we were instructed that we could not notify the public until a later date. This was an incredible secret to keep. In March, all 40 of us would be in Washington DC to meet in person for the first time and be able to freely talk about our selection. This, of course, was only with one another, again, we had to keep this secret under wraps a little while longer. Not only would we meet our fellow . . . Fellows, we would meet our roommate(s). This was it! I was going to meet Samra, and I have to tell you I was incredibly excited and nervous at the same time. I can be a lot to handle, I talk a lot, I am rather loud to boot, and I have a lot of energy. Oh yeah, I am also THAT morning person--so meeting Samra was filled with energy and I could only hope she would embrace me for me, and we would be on a magical journey together. As fate would have it--we were instant friends! Samra is a cool, calmer than me type--so we balance each other out well. We hold the same values as educators and human beings which was also amazing to learn! I could not be more happy or excited to be on expedition with her!

Remember how I said Galápagos is always forming? Well, here you go!


Check out this article on current volcanic activity in Galápagos!

Galapagos, huh? Yep. Knowing that I am traveling to Galapagos in November is still pretty surreal. A few things have happened since I heard the news in early February that have made me realize this IS happening, but on many days, I still feel like I dreamed all of this up.

What's so great about Galapagos? Are you serious, dude?

Well, I'll humor you for a few minutes. First, let me tell you that I am a science teacher and write curriculum for grades Pk-5.

Galapagos is THE PLACE to study scientific concepts such as biodiversity, landforms, natural selection, and endemic species. First off, Galapagos is an archipelago formed and continuously changing/forming on the Nazca tectonic plate. It is conveniently located over a hotspot, which means that magma from the earth's mantle is continuously pushing towards and through the earth's crust which in turn creates new land. I could speak on this for days, there is so much to say, but believe me, this ALONE is INCREDIBLE to study and to be there in November (remember, I am taking YOU with me!) will be amazing.

Endemic species: First off, let me define that in case you are unsure what it truly means. Endemic species are organisms that live NOWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD. Again, this ALONE is fascinating. Marine iguanas, giant tortoises, galapagos penguin (yes, I said PENGUIN), and flightless cormorant are the most famous. I have been asked what I am most excited to experience or see in Galapagos and I truly cannot decide. I just want to see it ALL!!

My brief overview here does not in any way do Galapagos justice, I suggest visiting this site: https://www.galapagos.org/aboutgalapagos/about-galapagos/history/ to REALLY learn more!

Can you believe I have not even BEGUN to talk about Darwin? Yeah, that is going to have to be a different post--there is A LOT to say there as well!

In the meantime, think about Galapagos and ASK QUESTIONS! I would love to hear from you about what you already know, what resources you have used to learn more, and what you want to know. Feel free to comment away! :)

Expedition Background

Photo Credit: Bennett Goldberg

The Grosvenor Teacher Fellow (GTF) Program is a professional development opportunity for Pre-K-12 educators made possible by a partnership between Lindblad Expeditions and the National Geographic Society. An annual competitive application process is used to select educators and host them aboard Lindblad Expeditions’ voyages for a life-changing, field-based experience.

These exemplary educators complete a series of deliverables that enable them to transfer their onboard experience into new ways to teach students and engage colleagues. Through this experience, they bring new geographic awareness into their learning environments and communities. Fellows also take on a two-year leadership commitment to support educators with National Geographic. Throughout their commitment, Fellows may be asked to conduct webinars, participate in meetups, and serve as a mentor to other educators.

The program is named in honor of Gilbert M. Grosvenor, Chairman Emeritus National Geographic Society in recognition of his decades-long work supporting Pre-K-12 teachers and promoting geography education across the U.S. and Canada.

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