Seeking Svalbard

Latest update May 9, 2019 Started on May 9, 2019
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I am a 2019 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow traveling to Svalbard on the National Geographic Explorer. During this expedition, I will be observing ways that humans have impacted this wild environment, from ocean plastics to global warming.

May 9, 2019
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Expedition Background

The countdown has begun! Less than 30 days before I leave for Svalbard.


So, how did I get here? You could say this specific journey started in September last year, but really it started when I was a kid. My parents have always instilled my love for travel and nature. We gladly packed a Ford Econoline van every summer and set off for weeks with very few shower breaks and many camp set ups and tear downs. Traveling the continental US was always an adventure, from seeing meteor showers on the beaches of the East Coast to the rocky terrain of volcanoes in Idaho.

But, this particular adventure started when I became a National Geographic Certified Educator. It opened my teaching up to many new opportunities and ideas on how to bring this world a little closer to my students. Looking at fossils from a local level to a global level was just my first lesson using the National Geographic Framework and it has inspired me to keep using it!

In December I applied for the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship, a professional development program like no other! I was so excited about the possibility of being able to take water samples to analyze microplastics, observe ice sheets up close, and be able to let me students experience this opportunity alongside me.

A phone call in February made all my dreams a soon to be reality. I jetted off to Washington DC for a week of pre-expedition workshops and a brain full of ideas! Luckily, I have the support and resources from all the former and current Grosvenor Teacher Fellows!

So now I am in the final countdown.

I hope to take water samples to analyze: looking for microplastics. How much plastic is in the Arctic Ocean? How far did it travel? What can my students do to help?

When most people picture the Arctic, they think of polar bears, whales, seals, and ice. But what about vegetation? What plants flourish in this harsh environment? Are blooming flowers among the ice? I cannot wait to see.

And what about the ice? I want to listen the story it wants to tell. What is it trying to tell us? And, are we listening?

Will you listen? Follow along to learn all these answers and more!

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Congratulations on a once in a lifetime event, and bringing more awareness to our pressing ecological issues to your students and beyond.

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