Learning new things is HARD! I have been plunged into the uncomfortable role of a learner since I don't know as much science as the people around me. I have to ask for help to understand stuff, I need to be corrected sometimes. It's very humbling and makes me wonder how often my students feel this way.

    But how do scientists learn?

    The answer that seems obvious is that scientists do research and make discoveries. The less obvious answer is is that they learn from each other! For example, as I write, I'm at the coolest science conference ever:

    It's for the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) network. The LTER network is a group of about 500 scientists who work at 28 field sites, mostly in the United States. The McMurdo Dry Valleys LTER (MCM(abbreviation) McMurdo Station LTER) is the site that my team works with. At each site, teams of scientists intensively investigate ecological questions over long periods of time- decades! Some examples of MCM(abbreviation) McMurdo Station LTER questions:

    • How are lakes responding to increased temperatures?
    • How are microbes in the lakes responding to abiotic factors?
    • How many microbes are in the soils and how is that changing over time?

    Dry Valleys LTER areas of study
    Dry Valleys LTER areas of study

    So here in Monterey, scientists have been meeting in different groups to share their hypotheses and findings, to learn from each other, and plot their next areas of investigations. They give talks, share posters, and lead discussions. Making a new discovery is amazing, but science only grows if scientists share their work. We also got a chance to see each other, because these collaborations often happen between people who live far away from each other. So, we went out to dinner, and walked on the beach here in Monterey.

    So here's me, reporting to you about a small fraction of what I've discovered

    • That there's this amazing network of scientists investigating communities from the coast of Maine, to forests in Alaska.
    • That my smaller science team, B-011 is nestled into the much larger LTER team, and the science is highly collaborative.
    • And as an aside, I learned from an LTER team in Oregon that skunks WILL still spray even if their tails are not up. They did NOT tell me how they learned that- I inferred.

    Artwork by students Viviana and Abby
    Artwork by students Viviana and Abby

    Pacific Grove, CA


    Mia Melendrez


    Don't worry about asking questions! You are learning more and you are obviously not gonna know everything. Don't be scared to also share your ideas and Hypotheses. I think this trip is really cool because you can collaborate with each other to figure out microbes that live there.



    Madelyn Murdock

    I found it very interesting in how many teams there are and that many live far away and they have to come together to communicate with each other. Another thing that was interesting was that all of the teams sometimes feed off of each other and help collaborate and create new hypotheses as well. It is amazing that there is a full network of these teams working together to find out more about ecological research.

    cooper metheny

    I hope we get to learn more about this in class!

    Lucy S.

    Learning new things is hard sometimes however, we all learn from each other. Telling other people your hypothesis will help others learn from what ideas you have come up with. I think that it is cool that other scientists get to collaborate with each other on their ideas. I think that this trip will be really fun because you are going to be learning about different microbes that live in the Dry Valleys.

    Parker W.

    I think that it is very cool that you can see the changing of the microbes over time.

    Kayla Bradley

    I think it's super cool how you and your science team learn stuff from each other. It sounds nice that at the conference you are going to, everyone will get to share their ideas with each other. It sounds super collaborative. Also, I hope you have lots of fun in Antarctica!

    Jackson W. period 4

    That sounds cool


    Sounds cool👍

    Dylan Amos

    I hope we can learn more about this.

    Ethan Bagwill

    It is cool how you can use other experiments from your colleagues to find out more about a species over time and I hope we learn more about this in class.

    Gabriel Salazar

    I think that it is interesting that all these smart people still need help.

    Ella Sheppard

    I cannot wait for you to go out to Antarctica and learn more about the ice and the living life so that you will be able to show and tell us when you get back.

    Aurora S.

    Wow, I can't wait to follow along on this journey.

    madison schumacher

    I think it is really cool that you are getting to learn a bunch of new stuff, and I can't wait for you to teach us all about it.

    Denys stadnytskyi

    I hope we get to learn more about this in class i fined this very cool and interesting.


    I hope that this is a good trip for you, and I can't wait to learn about this during class.

    Isabella James…

    That sounds like fun!! I hope we get to learn more about it in class.

    Gabriel Muqatash

    This sounds cool, hope you can tell me more than this!

    Leighton Sommerdyke

    I can't wait to learn all about your journey in class! I hope you have a great time in Antarctica!

    Sakura Skye Scott

    I find it cool when scientists make new discoveries.I bet it's one of the best feelings when you find out that you made a new discovery

    Chloe Bonnee

    That's really cool that you get to do that, hope we learn more about this.

    Matt .Q Period 6

    Im very excited to hear more information about Antarctica!

    William Chapple

    I can't wait to see all the pictures you will send us.

    Ethan Gray

    I think that it is cool how you are using teamwork and cooperation to find out different discoveries and investigate different things in Antarctica.

    Faith C

    I'm very excited for you to be going on this trip. Don't be afraid to ask questions, just because your an adult doesn't mean you know everything. Be excited to learn so you can show it to others. I wish you the best of time.


    I think it is so cool that you get to work with all these amazing people on this upcoming trip. I hope to learn more about your expedition.

    Lana I.

    I think it is amazing how you are going to be investigating microbes and watching their growth! It sounds like a very exciting trip!

    Lily Quillin

    I can't wait to learn more about these experiences from my teachers own knowledge and others.

    Joselle C.

    I think that it's quite intriguing how you and your team will be making many different discoveries on this trip and I hope that we will learn more about it in class and after you have gone on it.

    Karlie Hermit

    I think it is amazing that you get to learn and meet all of these amazing people. It can be hard to ask for help but it is very helpful to you understanding what your studying and it is important to work with your peers on this exciting trip. Hope you have fun!

    Kaitlyn N. Period 4

    It is very interesting to think how many others learning process works and I think learning in groups and from others is very influential. I hope you and your small team can group up and discover much soon and experience an exciting trip! I can’t wait to see the outcome and learn more about your upcoming expedition.

    Kimani N Period 4

    I think its really cool that you're allowed to go on this trip, and I can't wait to learn about it more.

    Alina Rodriguez

    It is so cool that you get to go out there and learn more, I have a good trip!

    Madison L

    It's so cool that multiple different scientists are coming together to talk about different hypotheses and learn from one another! Being able to learn from other scientists and better understanding different topics sounds really engaging. Along with that, the questions you'll be answering while in Antarctica are very interesting and I'm excited to get to know how you'll be able to answer them!

    Anthony Handy

    I hope we can all learn more from this class. Also, this all sounds super cool.

    Kayden Y. Pe…

    There are so many of you and you guys are all spaced pretty far away from each other probably making it difficult to work on one project.

    Alyssa I Period 2

    In the pictures everything really polluted.

    Olivia Pope

    Sounds awesome! Can't wait to learn more.

    Haleigh Terrell

    This was really cool, i hope we get to do labs on this and i hope we'll get to learn about it more.

    Leylah S

    I like that while learning, people can turn boring things into interesting things that others are excited to learn.

    Kamryn N

    HI, I found that so many people from different places come together to help each other and how everyone works as a team to find out the information that need . have a great trip!!!!

    Sakura Scott

    This seems interesting, Hope you guys have a great time while you are there.

    Karlie Hermit

    This sounds like an awesome trip! Can't wait to learn more about it!


    i'm excited to see how the expedition goes and plays out i'm enterested to see what discoveries or changes you will see at the dry valleys! what was enteresting was the clothing. how do you guys not get super hot in those cloths?


    It sounds really fun find something so we can get a few days off of school

    Lena Hess

    This sounds like a great experience. And now you know a little more about skunks too :). It also gives you a great chance to be in your student's shoes!



    I think it's really cool that you're surrounded by people who know more about science than you. Being with a group of people who have more understanding of the subject is a great way to expand your knowledge and learn more, which is why you shouldn't be embarrassed about asking questions or being corrected.

    Gavin Judd

    This all seems very interesting I hope that we get to learn more about microbes in the lakes. What will scientists do with their discoveries and are warming temperatures affecting the dry lakes?