Four Years Later
Four years ago today, I set sail on the R/V Nathaniel B Palmer out of Hobart, Australia headed for East Antarctica as the educator on a research expedition to map the seafloor and study ice stream dynamics. Today I’m prepping to fly back up to Fairbanks, Alaska to assist the next group of educators in getting ready for their expeditions. A lot has happened in 4 years!
The data from the expedition was published:
Nitsche, F. O., D. Porter, G. Williams, E. A. Cougnon, A. D. Fraser, R. Correia, and R. Guerrero (2017), Bathymetric control of warm ocean water access along the East Antarctic Margin, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 8936–8944, doi:10.1002/2017GL074433.
Since our expedition in 2015, the Nathaniel B. Palmer, crew, and science support staff have gone out on many, many more expeditions with different researcher teams. And the researchers from our expedition have continued their work and gone on to new projects and publications. But beyond work, life has happened along the way for the team as well, including marriages, grad school, graduations, retirements, new houses and more. Myself included.
The ECW kit and PolarTREC activities continue to be a hit at the annual science night and the lesson based on our expedition has been one of the most popular interpretation activities at the Aquarium.
But the expedition has had a lasting impact beyond the deliverables it’s produced. I’ve made lasting connections and friendships with other teachers and scientists. I’ve become a part of a greater community that supports science and climate change education. These experiences and connections have broadened my knowledge base and taught me life lessons that have allowed me to better serve my students and the visitors at the Aquarium and to give them opportunities they might not have otherwise had. I’ve been so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had through and because of PolarTREC. I’m so excited for the next group of educators and the impact this experience will have on them, their lives and careers. I hope in another 4 years I’ll be looking back with even more PolarTREC opportunities and experiences to reflect on!