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 10 June 2004 - Part of the journey is complete View next topic
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Joined: 23 Mar 2004
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2004 6:21 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

June 10, 2004

Well folks, this is it. This will be my last post from the field. I have to give my satellite phone to Sasha Zulidov, as it is going to stay in Russia for future PARTNERS expeditions. We arrived in Moscow this morning after a grueling 6 hour flight from Yakutsk. Poor Max got sick on the planeóI donít think heíll ever eat fish as airplane food again. At any rate, we were all glad to have our feet on the ground in Moscow. The water samples are all set to be sent to the U.S., so we will have a day of sightseeing in Moscow before we are on our way back home on Saturday.

How do I begin to say how I feel about the last three weeks? Amazing is an understatement. I have learned so much that it is overwhelming and refreshing at the same time. I am going to be able to bring so much to the classroom having had the opportunity to work with scientists in the field. Not only am I going to be able to bring the PARTNERS project to the classroom as a curriculum piece, but I am going to be able to use the process skills that I have learned to help teach my students what science is all about. However, besides these two very tangible pieces I think the most valuable thing that I am going to bring back to the classroom is enthusiasm for science. Although, I love my job as a teacher, I know I am going to be encouraging the students who pass through my room even more to think of themselves as scientists and to explore the field of science as they get older. If any of my students ever have the opportunity to do what I have just done for the last three weeks, I know that they will feel fulfilled, challenged, motivated, and happy, which is exactly what I want for all my students.

Going to Zhigansk, and getting to know the people from this village in the arctic was unforgettable. The hospitality, kindness, and interest they showed in us was utterly incredible. These people might be the kindest people on the planet. Although they live in a place that is almost as remote and cold as it can get, they are the warmest people I have ever come across. The school was remarkable, much more than I would have expected in a small arctic village. The students and teachers were excited about learning and sharing with us and we all look forward to continued collaboration.

Probably the biggest feeling I have right now is a feeling of bittersweet. I know that if this expedition went on for ever, it wouldnít be able to sustain the momentum it had for the last three weeks. Although I will be happy to see my family, friends, students and colleagues again, I know that I will never be able to repeat the joys that I have had in the last three weeks, it is just unrepeatable.

I have a number of people I want to thank. First of all, I want to thank TREC, ARCUS, VECO Polar Resources, and the National Science Foundation for funding this program, putting it together and giving me the opportunity to participate in it. The passion I had for science is minor compared to the fire that was lit the last three weeks. I could never have imagined participating in a program that encouraged and motivated me more. Thank you so much. I am looking forward to taking this experience in lots of new directions with myself, my colleagues and my students.

I want to thank all the members of our expedition team. As with any project, the people working on it are what can make it or break it. I couldnít have asked to work with a better group of people. The humor and brains of this group was unbeatable.

Finally, and mostly, I want to thank Max, the principal investigator on this expedition. Part of me wants to end it like that, since I donít really know how to express my gratitude or my feelings about what a great scientist, teacher, friend, and leader he is and I know that this measly paragraph wonít do him justice. I met Max a month before our trip, and I knew that we would get along just fine, but I never could have imagined we could have hit it off so well. I am still at a loss as to what to say here, so I guess I will just leave it at that.

For those of you that donít like mushiness, Iím sorry to end this on such a mushy note. However, I have lived long enough to know when a good thing has happened, and the last three weeks were a definite good thingófar exceeding any expectation I had. So, although I know this trip will continue in many ways inside and outside my classroom and career, I canít help but feel sad that this part of journey is over.

Max and I in Moscow with Lenin statue in view.
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