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8 August, 2002

Learn to Return!

At this week’s orientation, we have not only learned what Teachers Experiencing the Antarctic and Arctic (TEA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) expects of us, but that it is also important to them that we return!

Brian Horner, owner of Learn to Return Training Systems, was invited to train the TEA parcticipants on arctic safety and survival. Brian provided our group with ideas that we will use in our every day lives. One simple principle was the HIS/HER Principle. The acronym stands for: Hazard, Injury, Shelter, Heat, Energy, and Rescue and is written in chronological order as to how a survival situation should be handled. Brian discussed each stage in detail: hazards included cold temperatures to plane crashes, injury included everything from cuts to internal injuries, shelter involved changing trash bags to rain coats and snow drifts to snow caves, heat included body heat and clothing to starting fires with flint, batteries, steel wool and cotton. The energy discussion weighed heavily on food and finally there is rescue – making it home!

During Brian’s training we were taught how to start a fire as well as keep it burning without matches or wood. Many of us got so proficient that CRREL research hardly had to worry about mowing their north lawn. Not only did we use flints to start fires we used batteries, cotton, lip balm and food to keep it going. Now I have a reason to carry a cell phone and not turn it on!

We also learned a variety of knots that will be helpful in our lives. Who would have thought I could loose a button on my Levi jeans and quickly replace it with a stone and a slipknot or quickly cut my t-shirt into strips to make a 10-foot braided rope to lash an object down.

Many people of great qualities that are easy to describe but Brian Horner is at the far end of the spectrum. Here is a guy that could outwit McGyver in the worst of situations. His experiences are endless: he trains militia in Peru, rescues climbers from Denali and produces great Halloween costumes for his daughters. A truly talented individual who has changed my thinking.

Trash bag safety!

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