6 August, 2002
TEA Teachers Go Back to School
School is starting a little early in Hanover, New Hampshire. But if you take a closer look you'll soon realize that this is not your typical classroom. What makes this classroom so unique? The school is housed at the Army Corps of Engineers Cold Research and Engineering Laboratory, or CRREL, and the students are K12 teachers from all over the U.S. All twelve will soon be traveling to either the Arctic or Antarctic during the 2003-2004 season. And who are the teachers? They include former TEA parcticipants, polar researchers, and representatives from the Office of Polar Programs of the National Science Foundation (NSF).
For the past two days we've gotten a taste of polar research, heard stories from past parcticipants, and been introduced to our Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) gear. The goal of this orientation is to give us hints, ideas, and suggestions that ensure a successful TEA experience in the eyes of NSF, the TEA staff, and our PI.
CRREL is one of seven labs in the Engineer Research and Development Center and is part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The facility contains numerous laboratories for conducting research related to polar science. Much of the CRREL research involves developing, testing, and improving instruments, materials and structures that will be used in extreme climates.
A tour of one of CRREL's cold rooms gave some of us our very first taste of below zero temperatures. The room we went into is used to store ice core samples that have been collected in past expeditions. While I was not as uncomfortable as I had expected, I was surprised that I wasn't able to "see my breath". I quickly realized that the air was just too dry for any condensation to remain in the air long enough for me to see it. We were also surprised to see that the room was full of coolers. Why would researchers need coolers in a -20F cold room? To keep things warm!
Although our brains are on overload, there is no doubt all of us will leave this orientation even more excited about our upcoming adventure.
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