New Harbor outreach
Science group teams with numerous organizations for education from the field
Posted October 10, 2008
Stephen Pekar’s science team can expect to put in long, cold days as it slowly crawls across the sea ice to image ancient sediments for the ANDRILL project .
But the members of the Offshore New Harbor project will also fill a busy schedule with an ambitious and expansive education and outreach program. The expedition is collaborating with about 10 educational organizations that will include live videoconferences to schools around the world, as well as blogs and Web casts.
“I feel very fortunate to have all of these organizations working with us,” Pekar said.
Two of Pekar’s students, Howard Koss and Andrea Balbas will participate in the ongoing Ice Stories project supported by the Exploratorium, a San Francisco-based science museum , by providing field reports with video and photos. The Global Nomads Group , an international organization that creates interactive educational programs for students about global issues, will work with ANDRILL’s outreach program on live videoconferences.
The expedition will also collect real-time weather data from its field camp and post the information on the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Web site . GLOBE is a science education program partly supported by the National Science Foundation.
In addition, Pekar has invited a Harlem middle school teacher from Promise Academy , a public charter school, to join the team on the Ice. “I was looking to recruit a teacher from an inner city school. I think diversity is nice,” Pekar said.
The teacher, Shakira Brown, worked as a biologist and was a Fulbright scholar, according to Pekar. “She was somebody who already had a passion for the sciences and already understood the language of science, even if she wasn’t a geologist per se, and she is simply a dynamic teacher.”
The Promise Academy is part of the Harlem Children’s Zone , a community-based not-for-profit that offers education, social services and community-building programs to children and families in Central Harlem.
Brown said she plans to teach her students — along with dozens of others through the Urban Science Corps , a NASA -affiliated, nationwide after-school program she is helping to develop — with lessons live from Antarctica via the video conferences and blogs.
“I’m a young African-American teacher who came from a public school education, from an urban environment,” Brown told the New York Times in an interview . “My mom made less than $30,000 a year, and she raised me and four brothers. Now I’m in a position to empower all these people to have the same path that I was on.”
Return to main story: Antarctica's Holy Grail