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> April 24, 2006 - Arctic Adventure, Get Set for the Adventure of a Lifetime!
post Apr 25 2006, 08:45 AM
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April 24, 2006 — Fairbanks, Alaska

Welcome to Fairbanks, Alaska! My name is Patty Janes, and I am the editor of a science magazine for teens called Science World. You’ll be learning a lot about me as you read my daily journals over the next five weeks. So for now all you need to know is that I am on assignment. My mission? To take you on an arctic adventure to the northern Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska, all while you enjoy the comfort of your classroom.

The first stop: Fairbanks, Alaska where I’ve come for safety training. That’s because the arctic can be an unforgiving place. The Bering Sea’s 2.3 million square kilometers (850,000 square miles) of water is said to be one of the world’s coldest and stormiest seas. And with winter temperatures sometimes plunging as low as -51 degrees Celsius (-60 degrees Fahrenheit), thick ice can form. Anyone traveling there has to be prepared for the region’s harsh weather, and any other dangers that might arise.

Luckily, I’ll be at sea during May, when temperatures are more bearable. Even so, the winter’s ice may still be around. To plow through the potentially ice-covered waters, I’ll have to board the Healy—a U.S. Coast Guard cutter. The 420 foot-long icebreaker is designed so that it can slice and ram its way through ice as thick as 8 feet.

The Healy, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, will depart from Dutch Harbor, Alaska bound for the northern Bering Sea.
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The icebreaker’s primary function is to serve as a research platform for scientists. It can hold up to 35 researchers. I’ll be joining a team of scientists as they study the plants and animals that live in the Bering Sea, and how this ecosystem is changing as temperatures all around the globe heat up. The researchers want to learn more about how global warming is affecting the sea’s air-breathing animals, like gray whales, bearded seals, and deep-diving ducks called eiders.

Check out this map of the Bering Sea. It shows some of the animals that live there.
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Before the ship sets sail on May 7, be sure to check out these Internet sites to learn more about the Healy and some of the marine animals that we’re sure to spot!

Healy Web Site

Marine Animals Web Site
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Bob Woolf, science teacher in Ga
post May 1 2006, 04:52 PM
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Luckily, Iíll be at sea during May, when temperatures are more bearable. Even so, the winterís ice may still be around.

We still have lots of ice here on the northern and western coasts of Saint Lawrence Island, not sure about south of us...have not checked the satellite images recently. As you travel, my students and village adults would love to hear about bowhead whales and walrus you might spot. You can ask questions of them, too. --Bob Woolf, science teacher in Gambell on Saint Lawrence Island (I won't always be checking this forum, as we are in the busy last 3 weeks of our school year. You email me directly at bwoolf@gam.bssd.org)
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