“We had seen God in his splendors, heard the text that Nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.” – Ernest Shackleton
Admittedly, this quote is a bit dramatic because our Antarctic expedition did not include a shipwreck at the bottom of the world, as did Ernest Shackleton’s. But traveling to Antarctica IS a transforming experience, even in these tamer, more modern times. I will never forget the thrill of scientific investigation, the sheer power and beauty of nature, and the camaraderie shared by the 45 scientists and staff who lived together at the isolated Palmer Station.
But I’ve had my day in the sun (and wind, and snow. . .) so now it’s time to pass my spoon and plastic bag to the next teacher liaison who will make the trip to Antarctica with Dr. Rick and his research team in 2012.
Her name is Miss Natalie Harr, a.k.a., Nature Nat. Miss Harr is a first grade teacher at Crestwood in northeastern Ohio. In past years, Dr. Rick has carefully selected high school and middle school teachers to accompany his research teams, but Natalie represents the first elementary school teacher to travel with him. Kudos to him for his foresight and good judgment, as Nature Nat will reach the youngest, most impressionable students who are our hope for the future of science.
I have scrambled after dragonflies, collected moose scat, and climbed the Grand Tetons with Natalie over the past six years, so I can tell you from personal experience that you’re going to love this girl! She is hard-working, intelligent, and dynamic — a positive tour de force in education! In addition, she is surrounded by a cohesive team of savvy teachers, administrators, and community members who will support her trip and bring her level of communication with classrooms in the States to new heights. Nature Nat will be beginning her blog in October, so stay tuned for another exciting Antarctic season featuring some fresh, new faces and, of course, the perennial star of our show, Belgica antarctica.
-Polar Pat, Bugger Emeritus