WASHINGTON (April 9, 2013)—Fourteen highly respected educators have been selected as this year’s Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellows and will spend part of their summer in the Arctic aboard the Lindblad expedition ship National Geographic Explorer. The Fellows program recognizes teachers who best demonstrate excellence in geographic education, and provides an opportunity for them to experience geography through once-in-a-lifetime experiences and to use those experiences in their classrooms.
This is the seventh year of the Fellows program, established to honor former National Geographic Society Chairman Gilbert M. Grosvenor’s lifetime commitment to geographic education. Cabin space aboard the National Geographic Explorer was donated in perpetuity to the National Geographic Society by Sven-Olof Lindblad and Lindblad Expeditions to mark Grosvenor’s 75th birthday in 2006 and to honor his service in enhancing and improving geographic education across the United States. Additional support for the 2013 program is provided by Google and the Children and Nature Network as well as private funders.
Each year, K-12 educators from around the country are encouraged to apply for this one-of-a-kind professional development opportunity, with the object of enhancing their geographic learning through direct experience, so they can bring that knowledge back to their classrooms and lesson plans.
The 2013 Grosvenor Teacher Fellows:
- Amy Lake is a middle school social studies teacher at Lee H. Kellogg School in Falls Village, Conn., who infuses geographic concepts and skills into her daily lessons. For nearly 30 years, she has empowered students to be involved citizens, acting on their learning to benefit their community and wider world. A 2010 Fulbright Fellow, Lake’s experiential classroom is featured in the documentary film “Passion to Teach,” to be released this fall.
- Ally Amavisca is the programs coordinator for the Phoenix Zoo. Through a wide range of formal and informal hands-on education programs, she uses the zoo as a classroom, teaching children and families to care about the natural world. Her paper “Establishing the Ideal Platform for Creating Environmental Stewards: A Study of Multiage Grouping in Zoo Education” was presented at the 2012 Association of Zoos & Aquariums National Conference.
- Yolanda Barham is a first-grade teacher at Millbrook Elementary Magnet School in Raleigh, N.C., who uses trips abroad to integrate global issues with units of study. She recently traveled with The Center for International Understanding to explore sustainable energy practices in Denmark. She is a new member of the North Carolina Geographic Alliance.
- Betsy Wilkening is a middle school science and engineering/robotics teacher at Wilson K-8 School in Tucson, Ariz. Her students learn to think and act locally and globally to make a positive impact on the environment. She is a PolarTREC teacher from 2009 and is helping to continue the outreach legacy of the International Polar Year as a council member of the newly formed Polar Educators International. Her favorite animal is a narwhal, and she is extremely excited to share this opportunity of a possible sighting.
- Crystal Thiele is a National Board Certified fifth-grade teacher at PS 321 in Brooklyn, N.Y., who uses a multidisciplinary, hands-on approach to expanding her students’ view of the world. Previously she taught world studies and science for nine years at the middle school level and ESL for two years in Yamaguchi, Japan.
- Susan Pike is an environmental sciences and biology teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover, N.H., who pursues her goal of connecting people with nature by writing a weekly nature column for local newspapers and offering her students opportunities to get outside through field research, winter survival classes and hikes in the nearby White Mountains.
- Dr. Rona Zollinger integrates inquiry, problem-solving and play into an exploration of the places students live and learn about. Zollinger teaches in a transdisciplinary curriculum at Vicente Martinez High School in Martinez, Calif., in an environmental and health careers academy called New Leaf: A Sustainable Living Collaborative. As co-founder of New Leaf, she seeks to build community partnerships that link learning to hands-on experience. She is a part of the Children and Nature Network’s “Natural Teachers Network.”
- Lishawna Taylor is a sixth-grade science teacher at Central International School in Kokomo, Ind., who enjoys bringing science to life and empowering students to leave a positive impact on their world.
- Bill Schmoker teaches Earth science at Centennial Middle School in Boulder, Colo., and was selected as a PolarTREC teacher in 2010. His enthusiasm for Earth sciences is matched by his dedication to field ornithology and bird photography. His Arctic attraction began with a cross-continental camping trip from Denver to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, the summer after his high school graduation.
- Suzanne Kahn Eder is education director at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve in Wells, Maine. She oversees the Reserve’s teacher workshops, public programs, school field trips, camps, exhibits and trailside interpretation. A former National Park Service ranger and a currently registered Maine Kayaking Guide, she delights in sharing the wonders of the natural world with others through field-based education.
- Matt Eddy is a biology and environmental science teacher at Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C. His courses focus on the interaction between urban and rural landscapes in the greater D.C. area. He also serves as a manuscript reviewer for American Biology Teacher magazine.
- Megan Swanson is an environmental science and physiology teacher at Calabasas High School in Calabasas, Calif. She has developed a project-based environmental biology course to provide students with knowledge of the ecological challenges presented in the face of a growing global population. She recently received Ecology Project International’s Marine Education Fellowship for furthering conservation education.
- Joe Super is an environmentally active biology teacher at Minot High School in Minot, N.D. He has passionately taught riparian monitoring in his classroom for 15 years, getting more than 400 students outside to monitor health in local waterways. His students also assist the North Dakota Game and Fish Department by monitoring dissolved oxygen fish kills under the ice in local rivers and lakes.
- Charles Dabritz is a middle school teacher in Milton, Vt., where he teaches both social studies and language arts. He is a six-year member of the Vermont Geographic Alliance and serves as a steering committee member.
The Fellows will travel this summer on six separate, in-depth expeditions to such locations as Arctic Svalbard, Iceland, Greenland and the Canadian High Arctic. They will experience landscapes, wildlife and cultures unique to these parts of the world, including the midnight sun and formidable glaciers as well as polar bears, walruses and whales. Led by expert Lindblad-National Geographic expedition teams including a National Geographic photographer and an undersea specialist, the Fellows will gain a wealth of knowledge to develop activities for their classrooms and to share with professional colleagues on returning home. Prior to the expedition, the 2013 Grosvenor Teacher Fellows will travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in a pre-voyage workshop with hands-on sessions for learning photography, using Google tools to share their stories and networking with previous Fellows to maximize their experience.
“This program recognizes outstanding educators for their commitment to improving geographic literacy and inspiring tomorrow’s leaders to be responsible caretakers of our ocean and our planet,” said Sven-Olof Lindblad, founder of Lindblad Expeditions. “We are delighted that these educators will journey to the Arctic with us, and we are proud to support a group of Fellows who are so strongly committed to hands-on geographic education.”
“This partnership between Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic ideally combines our two missions,” said John Fahey, chairman of the National Geographic Society and the National Geographic Education Foundation. “We believe in the value of educational travel as well as an understanding of geography and the world around us. Lindblad’s programs are the best, and Fellows will have experiences they will never forget, which will prepare them to continue inspiring generations of young people.”
To learn more about this opportunity and to watch video of Grosvenor Teacher Fellows from previous years, visit www.natgeoed.org/gtf. To become more involved in geography education, contact your State Geographic Alliance at http://alliances.nationalgeographic.com/.
Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic
Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic have joined in a mission-driven alliance to inspire people to explore and care about the planet. As pioneers of global exploration, the organizations work in tandem to produce innovative marine expedition programs and to promote conservation and sustainable tourism around the world, as well as to improve geographic education and geo-literacy. The partnership’s educationally oriented voyages allow guests to interact with leading scientists, naturalists and researchers while discovering stunning natural environments, above and below the sea, through state-of-the-art exploration tools. A joint philanthropic fund that supports science and conservation groups enables better understanding of the world’s remaining special places and fosters the dissemination of geographic knowledge around the globe. Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Education have also partnered to create the Grosvenor Teacher Fellow program, a field-based professional development opportunity that recognizes educators for their commitment to geography education.
NOTE: Interviews with this year’s Grosvenor Teacher Fellows and photos are available. Arctic b-roll packages will be available following the teachers’ voyages.