I applied to PolarTREC hoping that I would get in, and when I was interviewed by John Woods and heard about Operation IceBridge, I knew that this program was meant for me. I was ready to take part in the daily flights surveying the Arctic. I had experience as a flight attendant so the long days in a plane was something I was used to. The only thing I was worried about was the cold. Having lived in Florida, I ended up borrowing clothes from friends and buying some odds and ends that I had to order online. It is very hard to find thermal underwear in Florida. I wore my layers and I enjoyed being in the cold during my time in Greenland. It was a great place to visit, but I don't think I'll give up the warm shores of South Florida.
Having this experience has changed me drastically. I have truly fallen in love with the complexities of the Arctic system. I never realized how complex the movement of the ice sheet could be until now. I am still learning and will continue to follow IceBridge and use their data in my classroom. Not only did I gain educational knowledge, but I learned about myself as a person. I survived the cold, climbed mountains, and had many new experiences. Getting a chance to fly on the P-3 Orion was the chance of a lifetime. Being able to actually see the ice sheet showed me how vast it is and how big Greenland is. I learned that ice has many parts, how it moves, how it gets its blue color, and I got to see a piece of glacier ice being put into a drink, watching as the gas left the ice making the liquid bubble.
Going back to school, I felt like I never left. The students were excited to see me and I was excited to share my adventures with them. The first day back we did nothing but talk about my trip. The students asked intelligent questions and I enjoyed recanting my experiences with them showing them my pictures and videos. I know I will continue to talk about my experiences. This past Saturday night I chaperoned prom. I go every year. It is one of the things that I love to do. It was nice to have an excuse to dress up. It was definitely a different dress code than being in Greenland. I was happy to not be wearing all my layers. Seeing students that I had as freshmen all grown up and dressed up in gowns and tuxes. It is amazing to see how the students have grown and matured over the years. One of the reasons I teach is because I like my students and I want them to be successful. Seeing them about to graduate all grown up and ready to start their lives makes me happy that I had a small part in their lives.
I'm also including a video scrapbook of some of the things I have seen and done while in Greenland. It was hard to decide which picture to include. I took hundreds and I can't believe I have become a photographer. I look back at some of the pictures I took and I feel like I'm looking at pictures that should be in a wall calendar. Did I really take these? The answer is yes. I am a huge fan of the shoot and spray method of photography. Which is where you just the a bunch of pictures and hope for the best. I think I was lucky and took some of the best photos I have ever taken.