Antarctica (Sat., 4/25/09) – An aquascience teacher’s dream

Teacher-at-sea Megan O’Neill shares her Antarctic experience.

Being a high school Aquascience teacher from Fairhope, Alabama, this is an opportunity of a lifetime!  I have been wanting to experience Antarctica and the scientific research that has been going on here for years, but never dreamed it might become a reality.  Thanks to the National Science Foundation, University of Rhode Island ARMADA Project (connecting teachers with scientists in the field), Dr. Kristin O’Brien and Dr. Bruce Sidell, my family/friends, community and school, I made it!  I also found out that I will be piloting a National Geographic Education Website teacher in the field spotlight. Therefore I get to join the Duke University Whale Tagging Team also!  Just incredible to be a part of such an expedition to share with my students and others!

This morning I woke up and immediately looked out my porthole and saw the glaciers! I almost fell out of my top bunk, I was so excited to get dressed to go out and see it!  I woke my roommate, “Irina, Irina, there’s ice!!!”  She joined in my excitement, and we dressed with many layers and headed out to the deck.  I wanted to shout with excitement and almost did when I saw others out on deck experiencing the scenery!  I took a few pictures, however it was still quite dark.  The wind was also howling and it was tough to enjoy being out on deck.  So, I resorted to going in and eating breakfast.  We arrived at Palmer Station at 8:00am promptly and snapped lots of pictures.  I was really in awe – Antarctica. Absolutely amazing.  The glaciers, the blue azure that I have always seen in my National Geographic magazines, I was experiencing first hand.  Overwhelming and the cold was exhilarating.  At 9:00am, the Palmer Station Director came onboard and gave us some pointers about the station. The sun actually started to come out when we disembarked and took a tour of the buildings.  The lab is amazing – a scientist’s dream with every kind of glassware imaginable and the aquarium room for our fish is so cool!  Flow through systems that are going to be fitted for the fish temperature tolerance experiments.  In the morning we head out to go icefish fishing!


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