Monday, September 17, 2001

Teacher bound for Antarctica


Internet opened door onto trip

By Nancy Young
Enquirer Contributor

        LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — An Internet project with her students introduced Jan French to the beauty, splendor and mystery of Antarctica.

click to zoom         Soon the Cincinnati Country Day School teacher and Liberty Township resident will explore the continent firsthand. She has been selected by the National Science Foundation to join a research expedition called “Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic.”

        In late October, Mrs. French will join the American contingent of the International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition for a two-month journey.

        “We'll have a few days of survival training, including learning how to build an igloo, use a three-way radio and other emergency tactics,” she said.

        The team of 13 professors, graduate students and support personnel will embark from a plane to tractor-pulled sleds. Accommodations will consist of a portable bunkhouse and kitchen, pulled to their destination by sleds.

        The trip will take place during Antarctica's summer, but it is still the coldest, driest, windiest and least- populated continent on Earth. The purpose of the expedition is to drill and collect ice cores, which will be shipped back to the United States for research.

        The cores will help scientists detect climate changes over the past 200 years, with the goal of understanding how these shifts have affected the ice both in Antarctica and the entire Earth. It is hoped that their findings will allow scientists to predict how the ice will respond to future climatic changes.

        Mrs. French intends to communicate with her third-, fourth- and fifth-grade science students, as well as other schools and volunteer organizations, during the expedition.

        “This is an incredible opportunity,” she says. “I'll be places nobody has seen before. I hope my contribution will enhance our understanding of the bottom of the world. I want to share the experience with as many people as possible.

        During her trip, she'll write a daily journal that can be read on the Internet at tea.rice.edu/tea_frenchfrontpage.html. She will also communicate by e-mail while she's on the ice, at frenchj@tea.rice.edu.

        A live Webcast from McMurdo Station is also planned.
       
       Interested groups may arrange pre- or post-trip presentations by contacting Mrs. French at Cincinnati Country Day School at 561-7298, Ext. 8321.
       

       



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