Home. I arrived at RDU about 10:30PM Friday night. My husband and I hugged, my sons carried my luggage and my daughter did not let go of my hand for a long time. I slept for 2 days, awoke Monday morning and went to school. I met my advisory for the first time.

    Ward Advisory
    The Ward Advisory: DA 2008-09

    I met my classes. I talked about vertebrates and barrier islands. I packed for the beach trip. I went to Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina for 4 days with 95 8th graders. We learned about shore ecology and about each other.

    Ward Advisory on the dock.
    The Ward Advisory at the beach!

    Upon returning to school, I learned that my classroom had been broken into and 7 computers stolen. My laptop, with all my PolarTREC expedition pictures was mysteriously left behind. (For the record, I had backed up my computer the Friday before.) So what did I do? I put my expedition training to work and made a movie! See "DA CSI 401" below. No, the thieves have not yet been identified.

    Then the Durham Academy community lost one of our most loved members: Justin Straus passed away after a long struggle with cancer. Justin had been at DA since the third grade and we had been sharing his fight since then. You can read about the impact this very brave young man had on us and on cancer research at Duke University here.

    Last weekend was Fall Break at DA. The Wards went to Western NC. We hiked up Hawksbill Mountain and down into Linville Gorge. We lay on the rocks in the sun and debated whether Duke Football would win enough games this year to get a bowl bid and, if so, where it would be played. We were especially thrilled when Fred opened his sleeping bag and we found 3 unmated (new, expensive, running) socks attached to the velcro hood closure that we could reunite with their mates atop the dryer at home.

    Ward Family
    The Ward family on Hawksbill Mountain. Yes, I DO have other clothes besides PolarTREC t shirts!

    Reentry friction, like when the space shuttle returns to Earth, is something that everyone who goes away for an extended period of time must content with. I wonder how the Canadian Coast Guard officers and crew are feeling right now, as they prepare to go back to the LSSL for another 5-weeks? How are the scientists and students readjusting? Most had planned a week off, and I can now understand why! A few had short turn-arounds and were headed back out into the field on other expeditions.

    This past weekend was a long overdue time away with my family. NOW I am ready!

    I am giving my first PolarTREC expedition talk to the Durham Academy Lower School on Oct 14th-- Cavaleo and I are ready!

    Check out the video


    So long for now from room 401, Durham Academy