One of the responsibilities of a PolarTREC teacher is OUTREACH! At the orientation in Alaska, we were told how to plan to get the word out about the researchers and science we are working with and our exciting expeditions. Once the school year started and the dust settled in my classroom, I wrote a press release to send out about my deployment to Antarctica. My school district's Communication Director helped me tailor the press release to each recipient. She also had some great suggestions on who might be interested. We sent it to all of the standard recipients like local newspapers, radio and TV stations. She suggested a few unique ideas that I hadn't considered like the universities where I earned my degrees. She also made the press release available to a thriving online podcast community. So I took her advice and suggestions and gave her the go-ahead to send out the press release. BOOM! I was not prepared for the response. Within just a few days I had several email requests from reporters. A day or two later I had appointments to be interviewed by WESA (our local PBS radio station) and The River's Edge Podcast. Then came a call from California University of Pennsylvania where I earned my Master's degree. Next was a call from the Pennsylvania Teacher's Union magazine. The most surprising was a response from Olentangy High School where I graduated from a very long time ago! I'll be featured on their social media! How cool is that?

Pod Cast
Mike Penn during the interview with the River's Edge PodCast.
The radio and podcast interviews were really fun. The WESA interview took place in my classroom but the Podcast took place in the River's Edge studios. It was really interesting to watch the engineering work and Brian the interviewer was easy to talk to.
This photo was displayed on WESA "The Confluence" radio program with Mike Penn.

Weather Summary
Hot and humid
80˚ F
Wind Speed
Light winds from the West
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Ashley (not verified)

Is there internet to outreach your family members?

Cole hagelberger (not verified)

Hi this is cole hagelberger from Dansville middle school and I was wondering what all can you do on outreach .

Elizabeth (not verified)

How many weather stations will you put up while you are there?

Quentin (not verified)

How many planes will it take to get to Antarctic

Mike Penn

Ashley,That's a complicated answer. When we are at McMurdo or South Pole Stations there is some limited internet. We can send e-mails, but we can't watch youtube or surf Facebook. We DO have some internet access, but since so many scientists have so much information that needs to be uploaded and downloaded there isn't much left over for just surfing the net. We may have access to satellite phones that I COULD call home on, BUT there is a 17 hour time change!

Mike Penn

Cole, I should be able to write journals like the one you just responded to and I should be able (At a scheduled time) do a "PolarConnect". A PolarConnect is a video Conference that I can be live (sort of like Skype or Facetime) with classrooms all over the country. I'll send Mrs. St. Amant a link, and if it works for your classes she may be able to join me!

Mike Penn

Elizabeth,There are about 140 weather stations situated all over the continent. They occasionally need to be serviced - basically, parts break, they get buried in the snow. They don't all need to serviced every year though. We also need to install new ASW in new and interesting places. I'll only be there for a month or so. I should, assuming the weather cooperates, work on about 20 of them.

Mike Penn

Quentin,Great Question! I just received my tickets last night for flying to "The Ice." I'll fly on commercial, normal airplanes) from Pittsburgh to Houston, Houston to Auckland, New Zealand, Auckland to Christ Church, New Zealand. Then I'll fly on military aircraft from Christ Church to McMurdo Station, Antarctica and then another military airplane from McMurdo to South Pole Station. So....I'll be on 5 airplanes to get from Pittsburgh to the South Pole!

landen (not verified)

how will you contact your family thers no internet

landen (not verified)

theres spelt it wrong

Mike Penn

Landen, When I DO have internet access I CAN communicate with my family using email. But I can't send pictures or use Skype of Facetime because they use too much data/bandwidth. I may be able to use an "Iridium Phone" that connects directly to a satellite. Oddly, I"m more likely to be able to do that when I'm out at a remote location than when I'm at either McMurdo or South Pole Stations.

Gabriel (not verified)

Was the podcast your first and were you nervous ?

Gage (not verified)

how did the podcast go

Hayden (not verified)

How many podcasts do you think you will do when you get back?

Mike Penn

Hayden, I don't have any dates set yet for any media outreach when I return. Several of the outlets that I worked with, including the "River's Edge" podcast said that they wanted to follow up when I return.

Mike Penn

Gabriel, I was a little bit nervous about the podcast and the radio interview. They both went really well, especially the podcast!