The following is a guest post from ACE teacher, Lucy Coleman, a middle school science teacher at Natomas Charter School in Natomas, CA. Lucy applied to participate in PolarTREC, Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating, a program that pairs teachers up with researchers in the Arctic and Antarctica.
PolarTREC's mission is to educate young people about science in the polar areas by matching teachers with scientists in the field. I thought "what an awesome concept!" and thus my quest began!
While in the field, teachers and students can follow along virtually through blogs and webinars offered on the PolarTREC website. I joined in all of the events that I could, and I also participated in classes offered for teachers through the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. These classes are very interesting and engaging, and allow teachers to share ideas about teaching polar science.
I also worked really hard on my application, which had many essay questions related to how I would share the PolarTREC experience with as many people as possible.
Finally, I was elated to be interviewed and selected to join a team of researchers from UCDavis who are going to Antarctica next October! We will be researching microbial communities in the Dry Valleys to better understand what early life on Earth may have been like.
I think I was chosen for their team for two main reasons: I demonstrated a passion for preparing students to be scientists and I have extensive experience in wilderness settings. The team I will work with was especially concerned with my comfort levels in the wilderness because their field site is a very remote, temporary campsite in the Dry Valleys. It will require a high degree of self-reliance and the ability to work with very small team for weeks at a time in isolation.
I am really looking forward to this once-in-a-lifetime experience; I think it will be the adventure of a lifetime!