24 August, 2002
This will be my last journal. As I write it I find I'm very sad that this wonderful experience is over. For the scientists on board, it is just one more research cruise, and they will do this again many times. Many of them know one another and will work together again. I do know that I will see many of them at the SBI follow-up meeting in March of 2003, but it is still difficult to say goodbye to people with whom I have worked so closely for 40 days. In addition, because we arrived in Nome early, some have been able to change plane tickets and are leaving a little earlier than expected. So, one by one, our numbers are dwindling, and I have already missed one or two opportunities to say goodbye. I'm also more than ready to get home myself. It will certainly be different to be back to my usual routine. It's strange to have missed summer! I have been so busy that I have not really thought much about what I miss, but I can assure you that I miss, among other things, my husband, my dog and my horse, all the fresh summer vegetables, (we ran out here about two weeks ago) and Ben and Jerry's ice cream. It will definitely be good to get home!
I do have a few final thoughts before we leave the ship and everyone disperses. I want to thank the TEA program for giving me the opportunity to experience the process of science in such a rich environment. In conjunction with the TEA program, the folks at Rice University who handle the website have been fantastic whenever I had a problem. In addition, Jackie Grebmeier deserves special thanks for volunteering to bring me along and for her guidance and her willingness to answer my endless questions. Lee Cooper has been unbelievably patient with all of us despite the pressures of his role as chief scientist. Jim Bartlett has been so helpful as we have worked together for hours on end! Steve Roberts, the JOSS representative on board, has helped me countless times with my computer and with my photography. Ari Balsom has not only done her own work (she's here as a "team" of one) but she has helped us with the benthic work on several occasions. Without the help of Todd Hindman, teacher at the Anvil City Science Academy and past TEA, I would not have been able to post my first few journals on time. Lastly, ever since coming on board the Healy, Captain Visnesky and his crew have been unfailingly helpful, friendly and courteous. Thank you to all of you!
What are some of the things I will remember? In no parcticular order, I'm going to just list a few of my impressions and memories of the summer SBI cruise. I know there are more that I will think of when I am home and rested, but as a start, I will always remember: the sounds of the ship breaking ice, the gentle rolling motion of the ship throughout most of the cruise and the rougher rocking motion when we were in ice and during the storm, how good it felt to get into my top bunk after several hours on a long, cold station with little sleep, the always changing beauty of the ocean around us, the ever-changing shapes, colors and patterns of the ice, the excitement of seeing a polar bear for the first time, the generosity of the Romaneskos who "adopted" me for four days in Nome prior to my departure, the excitement of the students of the Anvil City Science Academy as they toured the ship, the incredible frustration and disappointment I felt as my computer repeatedly failed, the intensity of the shallow stations which came so quickly and exhausted all of us, the importance of meals and the mess in general as a place not only to eat but to socialize, the unbelievable work ethic of the scientists who never questioned working around the clock to gather their data, Jackie's excitement when she brought up a perfect core or found a neat "critter" in her samples, how much we all enjoyed the time allowed us by the "pump boys," the amazingly talented young people on board who are our next generation of researchers, and the many friendships I have formed.
What will I take back to my classroom? I'll take back a real appreciation of what it means to do intense field research, especially when ship time is limited. I have always understood the need to help students relate science to the real world, and I now have so many more examples to give them. Data gathered on the SBI cruises will provide information about environmental changes that may have global impact. Indeed, it seems changes are already occurring in this region of the world. I hope be able to help my students understand the importance of the science that is taking place here in the Arctic Ocean. Science is a dynamic and exciting process; it is not something to be memorized from a textbook!
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