This year, on account of my commitment to helping students understand the world we live in, I have been selected as a National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions Grosvenor Teacher Fellow. The fellowship program is named for National Geographic Society Chairman Gilbert M. Grosvenor. Only 25 teachers from the US and Canada were chosen for this honor, and I am proud to be the only Fellow selected from Hawaii in the fellowship's eight year history. All the Grosvenor Teacher Fellows get the chance to participate in an expedition aboard the National Geographic Explorer somewhere in the world, and my particular expedition will be of Arctic Svalbard from June 7th-16th. I am so excited to experience the Arctic wilderness!
In April, all of this year’s Grosvenor Teacher Fellows travelled to Washington, D.C. for a professional development workshop at National Geographic Headquarters. The three-day training was a chance to develop a collegial network among the fellows and to learn about expedition gear, photography, and outreach planning through hands-on sessions. We also had the opportunity to meet Lindblad Expeditions President Sven Lindblad, along with National Geographic’s Gilbert Grosvenor himself.
My expedition will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime voyage of discovery.
In less than two weeks, I will travel to Arctic Svalbard and board the National Geographic Explorer. I will have a chance to learn from experts including National Geographic photographers and Lindblad Expeditions naturalists. I will leave the tropics and enter a foreign landscape of pack ice and glaciers, and I will most likely observe wildlife such as walrus, reindeer, and polar bears in their natural habitat.
My new parka, knee-high rubber boots and all manner of silk, wool, and fleece layers are already packed. I have been learning how to use my camera's settings in order to best document my experience. And I have been reading all I can about Svalbard natural and cultural history. Embarking on this Arctic adventure is such a thrill, and I cannot wait to share it with students, other teachers, and my community. I will be bringing back to Hawaii knowledge about a wholly different part of the world and no doubt a greater understanding of how we are all connected.