8 December, 1998

December 8, 1998

I'm home! It is great being back in the classroom, the place

where I really feel like I belong. Everyone at school seems very

excited to hear about what I learned and experienced in Antarctica and

I am having a fun time remembering it all as I tell them about it.

Today I mailed off the 90+ rolls of film that I shot in Antarctica and

New Zealand; I will get to relive the experiences in my mind again

when I get these photos back and start to organize them into slide


I am extremely grateful to NSF (The National Science Foundation)

and to my school (Flint Hill School) for this once-in-a-lifetime

opportunity they gave me to experience the mind-boggling majesty and

the wildness of Antarctica, to meet a wide variety of scientists, all

tops in their fields, to interact closely with cute cuddly penguins

and seals, and to stretch my mind and skills in new directions.

Studying fish and working in a lab and darkroom were, for the most

part, new experiences for me that I would not have pushed myself into

if it were not for this experience. So the challenges of these new

situations stretched me and gave me a more well-rounded background,

and they reminded me of what my students go through every year.

Answering the e-mails and keeping the journals on the web seemed like

a great teaching tool and I enjoyed the hours I spent each day at the

computer. The great questions that you all asked in the e-mails forced

me to research in the library and to seek out specialists at McMurdo

to find the answers so your questions broadened my experience and

knowledge too. Thank you all for your parcticipation in my experience!

What am I enjoying most about being home? First of all, of

course, is working with kids in the classroom. There are no kids at

McMurdo, and I really missed them and the constant interaction I have

with them in my classroom. I am also enjoying the darkness and the

night. As I walk home from school, even in the bright lights of the

suburbs, I savor the sight of the stars, the stark silhouettes of the

leafless trees against the dark sky, and the soothing stillness and

emptiness of the night. I am sleeping straight through the night now

instead of waking up every half hour thinking it's daylight and time

to get up. I am enjoying the sound of birds chirping and singing in

the morning, even the common "pest birds" like sparrows and starlings,

and the sight of them flying from bush to bush. All the common

backyard friends are a treat to see again after the near absence of

birds and mammals most of the time in Antarctic: bright red cardinals,

honking geese, perky chickadees and titmice, bushy-tailed squirrels,

boisterous Blue-Jays. Even the green of the lawns, the evergreen

shrubs, and the honeysuckle vines in this relatively brown time of

year are a pleasure to they eyes.

This will be the date of my last journal entry. However I will

insert two more journal entries in the next few days. One, describing

my time in New Zealand, will be on Saturday Dec 5. The other

describing adaptations of fish will be Dec 2. This will also

have digital photos of many of the fish that we saw frequently in the

McMurdo area.

I am still available to answer any questions you have about

Antarctica by e-mail even though I am home now. But don't forget

about the other TEA teachers who are also in Antarctica this year. You

can get to their journals and e-mails via the same internet page as

mine (../) Interact with them as you did with me, you

both will enjoy it.

Thanks again for following along and interacting with me.

All the best to you.

Have a good life and do something good for somebody.



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