Keep the news coming! Your ad here for only $30 a week.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

GoNorth! sets dogsled trip, online classroom for '06

A team of educators and scientists based at the University of Minnesota is planning a dogsled journey to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge starting in February 2006. The goal is to create a live classroom experience on refuge conditions that will be available free to K-12 teachers.

Calling itself GoNorth!, the team will head north from Circle, Alaska, on a two-month, 700-mile journey through ANWR, concluding at Prudhoe Bay. The expedition will explore the environment of ANWR and oil drilling on the North Slope, collect data on weather conditions and climate change, and share their findings live on the internet for teachers and students.

The team includes Dr. Aaron Doering, education director and University of Minnnesota professor; Paul Pregont, expedition leader and research director; and Amy Vargason, a fifth-grade teacher from H.A. Snyder Elementary School in Sayre, Penn., selected to join the trip to provide a grade-school teacher's perspective.

"We will explore the realities of climate change and traditional ecological knowledge, while inviting the public and K-12 classrooms around the world to debate the controversy of oil exploration and the realities of looking for renewable resources," GoNorth! reports on its website, which already includes a variety of interesting classroom materials.

The site also includes lots of chilling photos of the sled-dogging adventurers huddled behind piles of gear on training trips, seeking shelter from bitter winds and blowing snow. So it isn't all fun and games.

Sponsors of the expedition include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Best Buy, Cargill, NASA, the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, and the Alaska Coalition.

The expedition will also spend time in several native communities along the way, including Arctic Village and Kaktovik, with the goal of sharing traditional environmental knowledge with students around the world.

"Elders of the communities will share with teachers, students and scientists how the environment has changed around them and how these changes threaten their culture. A powerful learning experience is derived when scientific environmental data is combined with a living, breathing human element."

Sounds like a noble effort. GoNorth! is seeking donations (tax deductible) to support the trip, if you are so inclined.

[Technorati tags: ]