I’m still trying to comprehend this opportunity that has been bestowed upon me. You see, I’m currently traveling aboard the National Geographic Quest with Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic as a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow. Alisha Lindsey, Kerry Hynes and myself are in the midst of our expedition from Seattle Washington to Sitka, Alaska via the Inside Passage. I could never have dreamed of a more powerful professional development opportunity that will tremendously impact both my students and myself. In fact, the impact has been immediate.
To help prepare for my expedition, my students became my tour guides. They were responsible for becoming the expert on one of the fourteen locations I’d be visiting on my expedition and presenting their findings to their classmates and I. My students were excited to take on this role and dove into their learning. We created a Google Tour of everyone’s presentations and my students began sketchnoting their learning.
Though they were sad to see me leave for two weeks, my class knew they’d have many opportunities to follow along and learn with me on my journey.
And, now I’m here, one week into my two week expedition and my learning has been tremendous.
This morning, after breakfast and a beautiful black bear sighting, James, one of the many incredible naturalists, gave an extensive presentation titled “The Miracle Turned Monster- Ocean Plastics”. In the afternoon we joined him on a zodiac tour to look for and sample sea plastics, in the Klewnuggit Inlet. This evening he’ll share our findings with the rest of the guests.
Yesterday, the day started with Dall’s porpoises swimming off the bow of the ship and naturalist, Jill filling us in with invaluable pieces of information as watched and listened intently. Eric, Lindblad naturalist and photographer, shared a short presentation on how to make the most of our cameras on our smart phones. After breakfast Steve, another incredibly knowledgeable naturalist, taught guests about bear behaviour, identification and safety. We were then able to put our new knowledge into action with the sighting of three grizzlies off the bow of the boat!
After a hearty lunch, naturalist Jill shared an incredibly informative and engaging presentation on Inside Passage Cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises). Guests then took part in two afternoon activities which included bushwacking through the British Columbia rainforest, sea kayaking or zodiac cruising. I went with the bushwack and followed with a self guided kayak tour. I learned an incredible wealth of information while tramping through the rainforest with Eric, our naturalist, while on my kayak, I simply slowed right down and took in the beautiful scenery.
After dinner we were treated to a wonderful video presentation titled “Whale Windows” by renowned National Geographic whale photographer Flip Nicklin. Just as the sun started to set a pair of Fin whales graced us with their presence to cap off an incredibly wonderful day.
The day before last, I was invited to write the Daily Expedition report.
I’m trying to soak it all in, to be present in the moment and absorb it all. At the same time, I feel a great desire and responsibility to share my experience with my family, students and friends. I wish they could be here with me. Luckily, the power of technology is helping me stay connected with them. My students are following along with daily updates to Mr.C’s Passage to Sitka Tour and my Twitter feed and I just got off the phone with family. Though they can’t be here with me, I’m doing my best to bring them along.