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I am a Biology Teacher at Lakeside School in Seattle Washington. This field season, I am going to the dry polar desert in the Taylor Valley, Victoria Land, Antarctica where I will join the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) team to study the ecosystem of the
perennially ice covered fresh water lakes. Can you imagine those critters living in a place where they receive no light for several months of the year, and when light becomes available, it must penetrate up to 6 meters of ice! Who lives there? How do they earn their living? Who eats whom? Where do they live? How long do they live? What is the water like when it has been covered by so much ice for so long? What happens to the oxygen produced by the photosynthesizing organisms? How long have these organisms been isolated? Are they significantly different from fresh water organisms that we find in ponds and lakes at home in Seattle? Can we see evolution in progress?

I love talking with research scientists. I like to know about the kinds of questions they are studying and how they find answers. I like to see the labs in which they work and I always want to get my hands on the lab equipment. I have learned that all I have to do is ask and most scientists are willing to share their research. The Teachers Experiencing Antarctica program is about sharing research and teaching experience.

I am married to Wally (a business man), have a Bernese Mountain dog and a horse. I enjoy horseback riding (dressage and three day eventing), skiing, hiking and camping. As you can tell, I am an outdoor sort of person. While outside, there are always so many things to wonder about that I am always busy thinking about "science" things. I am also always looking for ways to find exciting experiences. I have been a science teacher for a long time. In fact, some of my friends have called me a science junkie. I guess that is because I always what to know "why did this happened? "or "I wonder what would happen if?" or "how is it possible that?" My motto: This is not a dress rehearsal, life is meant to be lived - so do it! I believe that it is possible to set high goals and achieve anything that you really set your mind on, thus, I am lucky enough to be a teacher experiencing Antarctica and will share the experience with you.

I will be writing daily, though I do not know how often I will have access to electronic mail. I will be in a remote field camp most of the time. I will send pictures and my journals about my experiences "on the ice" when I get the chance - so keep checking back to my journal page to see how the research in Taylor Valley is progressing!

McMurdo Dry Valleys: A Cold Desert Ecosystem

Visit the LTER Home Page!

I have an educational outreach project with two parts; first to create opportunities for teachers and students to collaborate with Antarctic Support Associates employees; second to work with the McMurdo Dry Valley Long Term Ecological Research on the schoolyard LTER as part of their educational outreach program.

1. To promote a greater understanding of Antarctica and Antarctic science research by teachers and their students through e-mail collaboration with ASA personnel.
2. To offer collaborative opportunities for student parcticipation in ongoing research through the LTER program with the Dry Valleys watershed study.


  • Promote understanding of the nature of science by the population with whom ASA personnel communicate via e-mail
  • Promote NSF/EHR/ESIE/OPP program goals
  • Make Antarctica more accessible to a larger population
  • Broadly distribute some of the knowledge generated by NSF funded Research such as the LTER in the dry valleys
  • Network people for a synergistic effect
  • Create a direct line of communication between students and ASA personnel
With my colleague, Pete Amati, I received an NSF support to facilitate a workshop to create collaborative opportunities for Antarctic Support Associates personnel who are comfortable using e-mail while on the ice. ASA employees work to support the science research and hold a wide variety of jobs including carpenters, firemen, cooks, truck drivers, helicopter pilots, communications operators, etc. There are approximently twice as many ASA employees as scientist.

As TEA fellows, we both spent time during a field season on the ice with research teams. Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic (TEA) is a NSF/EHR/ESIE/OPP sponsored program that selects several teachers each year to join a research team doing polar research. From our direct experience, we know the value and excitement among teachers and students resulting from their contact with enthusiastic people living and working in Antarctica.

There is a growing demand to make use of electronic communication and web based information as a part of K-12 education. There is also an increasing call for collaboration between schools and communities of adults from a wide variety of occupations. As more and more schools gain access to computer technology, students will make more and better use of the web and e-mail. As teachers, you are in the unique position to be able to share your classes with ASA employees who are living and working on the ice. We will facilitate a workshop with ASA employees during November 1999 and offer names of teachers as collaborative partners when they sign on with us. Peter and Barb offered an opportunity for teachers to

  • Collaborate with an ASA employee who wishes to work with teachers
  • Share the e-mail from Antarctica with your students
  • Send student questions and requests for information
  • Engage students in thinking about polar research and what might be learned
  • Engage students in thinking about what life might be like when living on the ice
  • Parcticipate the entire field season with your colleague.
  • Agree to parcticipate in an evaluation at the end of the season by answering a short e-mail questionnaire. Numbers are an important consideration in any investment.
Parcticipants completed a survey to indicate their willingness to work with an ASA employee. ASA employee volunteers also completed a survey and have offered to work with teachers and students during their stay on the ice. Contact Barb Schulz at this address barb.schulz@lakesideschool.org for further information or with questions.

For the schoolyard LTER, I will be working with Kathy Welch and Carmen Nezat to create a web link for other schools to access our data. I will be going to the Lake Hoare field camp in the Taylor Valley to collect data on some of the streams using the same equipment the we use at Lakeside School in Seattle. You can find the schoolyard LTER link on the web at this site http://www.geo.ua.edu/lyonsden/schoolyard-LTER/

Polar Classroom Activities:

Life in Extreme Environments
  • Introduction
  • Anhydrobiosis
  • Lakes Under Ice
  • Top of the Food Chain
  • Dissolved Oxygen and Aquatic Net Primary Productivity

    Photosynthetically Available Radiation (PAR) Measurements

  • Part 1. Calculating The Solar Constant Using A TI-8*
  • Part 2. Measure available radiation at your water testing site

  • Barb Schulz will begin her Antarctic journey at McMurdo Station.

    The Dry Valleys (yellow) host unique ecosystems!

    7 December, 2002:

    8 December, 1999:

    Lake Hoare and Anderson Creek - Schoolyard LTER site

    4 December, 1999:

    Molecular genetics of the antifreeze glycoprotein

    3 December, 1999:

    Another Kind of Fish Story

    1 December, 1999:

    A Fish Story

    28 November, 1999:

    Transportation in and around McMurdo Station.

    26 November, 1999:

    How is climate change influenced by bio-production?

    25 November, 1999:

    Research in the dry valleys!

    23 November, 1999:

    Update on the ASA Educational Collaboration Project

    20 November, 1999:

    International Tran-Antarctic Science Expedition!

    18 November, 1999:

    Scientists who are interested in collaboration!

    17 November, 1999:

    The "tourist "side of being on Ross Island in Antarctica

    15 November, 1999:

    Science Lecture Series

    13 November, 1999:
    11 November, 1999:

    Meeting the scientists while waiting for the plane south.

    10 November, 1999:

    Arrival at McMurdo Station

    9 November, 1999:

    Moving in at McMurdo!

    8 November, 1999:

    Arrival at McMurdo Station

    4 November, 1999:

    Good Morning! Today Pete and I start out on an educational adventure to

    31 January, 1997:

    This will be my last journal entry. I must tell you about the Polar Sea
    29 January, 1997:

    Closing up Shop:

    28 January, 1997:

    Subject: Class questions

    27 January, 1997:

    After the relative peacefulness of the dry valley, it is interesting to be
    26 January, 1997:

    From McMurdo Station:

    25 January, 1997:

    It is another gray day in the Taylor Valley with the temperature at -4
    24 January, 1997:

    Thanks to those of you who have assisted with the rotifer experiment by
    23 January, 1997:

    From the modern lab in the remote field camp:

    21 January, 1997:

    Rotifers are eating the FLM! The next question is how can I count them?
    20 January, 1997:

    Rotifers in the lakes:

    19 January, 1997:

    Another wonderful day in the dry valleys of Southern Victoria Land
    17 January, 1997:

    Remember that I mentioned the stream team yesterday? There are two
    15 January, 1997:

    I will start by telling you that you can send any questions you wish
    13 January, 1997:

    Life continues to be exciting here at Lake Hoare field camp. This
    12 January, 1997:

    I have spent a very comfortable night in my mountain tent. The snow was
    11 January, 1997:

    Arrival at Lake Hoare Field Camp

    10 January, 1997:

    Hi Everyone: Have you figured out what a PI is yet? Around this place it
    9 January, 1997:

    Hanging out at McMurdo

    8 January, 1997:

    Survival Strategies

    7 January, 1997:

    Snow Craft School

    6 January, 1997:


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