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16 December, 1999

McMurdo Station, Ross Island, Antarctica


Re-deployment to Christchurch, New Zealand

In less than an hour, I will leave the bottom of the world! We have had a successful field season and the scientists with whom I worked are ready to begin analyzing their results. I have seen glaciers, snow-covered volcanoes, seals, sea ice, rocks of all descriptions, the Dry Valleys, Discovery Hut, and Cape Evans. I have climbed Observation Hill, shot the Labyrinth in a helicopter, and walked the same path taken by Robert F. Scott's party en route to the South Pole in 1911. I have talked with scientists, welders, cargo handlers, and military personnel. This trip is almost complete.

Before I leave the continent of Antarctica, I would like to thank numerous individuals and groups for giving me this opportunity.

A heartfelt thank you to:

*The National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs, and Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education. Thank you for providing us with a meaningful experience and one that will touch the lives of all with whom we come into contact.

*Dr. Wayne Sukow without whom this program is just a idea. You have supported us all the way!

*Stephanie Shipp of Rice University and The American Museum of Natural History for facilitating the Antarctic program. Steph relentlessy pursued the wayward journal or photo and answered the most absurd questions, always with humor and patience! This program runs so smoothly because of her efforts!

*Dr. Bess Ward and Dr. Mark Wells for taking a chance with me. Thank you for trusting in my ability to contribute to your research in a meaningful way. Thank you for showing me that patience is truly a virtue! Your ability to calmly wait day after day in Christchurch was a positive example to all of us! Thanks for forcing me to recognize that the limitations that I thought I had, were figments of my imagination. And finally, I gladly accept the title of "honorary oceanographer" and to uphold the duties and responsibilities implied therein!

*Julie and Maite. You did not hesitate to truly include me as part of this research team. Thank you for your laughter (my belly still aches), your culinary expertise, and your love. You encouraged me, laughed and cried with me, praised and complained to me, and helped me to keep my feet on the ground. I never expected to forge such lifetime bonds as those I have forged with you.

*Cal. Thanks for knowing that your Mom has an adventurous spirit and for never doubting me. Thank you for writing almost every day! You surprised me! You are an exceptional young man. I am so proud of you!

*Marc who initially gave me the thumbs up. Without you I would not have been able to leave the States. Thanks for keeping me up-to-date on the daily happenings at home and for taking care of the boring business end of things! Your emails were always entertaining and were enjoyed by all!

*Sister Nancy Merkle, the faculty and staff, the students, and the alumni of Mother of Mercy High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Your excitement was contagious! Thank you for the support, the letters, the emails, the packages, and most especially, your prayers! I am so blessed to count you as friends.

*my friends. Even though I was out of sight, you continued to keep me posted on your daily lives. The real world existed for me only through your correspondance!

*my friends from past stages in my life! Thank you for making contact! Now that you found me, don't lose touch!

*those students from across the country who followed my adventure. Your letters expressing awe and bewilderment were very appreciated. Thank you for such unabashed curiousity!

*our polar friends, expecially the Steve and Bert, welders from California and North Dakota, Kiwi Cargo, Rob, the wonderful helicopter pilots (and the crazy ones, as well), and the folks in Crary Lab. Your enthusiasm for my project was incredible! You continually availed yourself to my questions and never hesitated to share a bit of your lives with me. You will never be forgotten!

*all of the Charm School drop-outs; you know who you are!

Heading North,


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