Back to Port in Longyearbyen
This morning, we ate breakfast, said our goodbyes, and began to disembark the ship. I cannot believe we are leaving the Land of the Ice Bears! It was hard to leave my shipboard home and all my new friends with whom I have shared this great adventure.
I have a flight to and overnight in Oslo, a flight to and overnight in Newark, and a long flight to Honolulu before I am back home. Though school is not in session until August, I am already thinking of lessons that draw upon this rich experience. I hope my Arctic adventure will foster a more global perspective, encourage environmental stewardship, and inspire a passion for discovery among my students!
Lessons from Svalbard
Gaining a sense of place in the high Arctic was a powerful take-away: feeling the tundra sponge beneath my feet on a hike, smelling the freshness of a massive ice cap, hearing the snow bunting sing its solo in the vast Arctic landscape, and seeing a polar bear navigate from ice floe to ice floe in a seemingly endless scramble of sea ice. It was a sparse, harsh, and beautiful environment, and it has left an indelible impression on me. I now have a first-hand experience in the region, and my biggest take-away is not only a sense of place but also a sense of urgency to protect it.
I have renewed passion about combating climate change and specifically about conserving our polar regions. In Hawaii and elsewhere in the Pacific islands, negative effects of climate change are already being experienced. I scientifically understood how climate change is a worldwide concern, but my Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic expedition gave me first-hand knowledge of its global reach.
As longtime Maui-resident, naturalist CT Ticknor shared in our April workshop, the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship is a heavy kuleana. Kuleana is a rich, nuanced native Hawaiian word meaning both privilege and responsibility. Now that I have returned from my Arctic voyage, it is my duty to tell the story of my expedition but it is also my honor.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have been awarded a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship. My voyage through Arctic Svalbard has enriched my teaching and changed my life.