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
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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