14 October, 1999
I think the time is real close when I go to Antarctica. John Wrenn got the call last night and he left for the ice today at 8:00AM. I should be on the ice flight tomorrow. In fact, I almost went today! The NSF Directorate for Elementary, Secondary and Informal Education had arranged for me to make a visit to a Christchurch school today. So I assumed that I would be going out later. At 3:00AM this morning, my land lady at the guest house I am stay at suddenly knocks on my door and says, "“Bruce, do you know you are on the manifest for the flight today? You’re leaving in 15 minutes” Well, I had not pack my stuff and started to panic. After a phone call to the NSF Travel office, they got that straighten out and I should be going out tomorrow. It really is amazing all the people who are involved in getting the scientists and support personnel to the research station at McMurdo. Sometimes it does not happen flawlessly, but considering the nature of the task, it works quite well.
At any rate, I did make my visit today. I went to Heaton Intermediate School in Christchurch. I met with the 7th and 8th grade classes of Mrs. Shirley Ann Collins and Mr. Jan Taylor. I loved the visit. I felt quite comfortable being in a classroom again. It was reassuring to note that, even on the other side of the globe, kids are still kids. These children had lots of good questions. I explained where I lived and what I would be doing in Antarctica. Many students asked questions concerning why I want to go to Antarctica and how I prepared for the trip. The general knowledge of New Zealand students about Antarctica seems to be a bit broader then the students in the States. This would be expected considering how close they live to the frozen continent. Many students in the class knew people that had been to the ice. Hardly any of the students I met with in the US knew anyone who had ever been to Antarctica. I would expect that US students probably know more about the Great Lakes then the students in New Zealand for the same reason. If any class would like to contact either Mrs. Collins class or Mr. Taylor’s class they would be interested in exchanging information via e-mail. The address of Heaton School is firstname.lastname@example.org. They would love to hear from you. At the end of this message you will find pictures of the students I met at Heaton.
It was quite cool in Christchurch today. A raw, windy, damp spring day. I spent much of the day traveling on the city buses to and from the NSF office and back from Heaton School. The bus system is quite good in Christchurch. Well the next journal I post should be from McMurdo. (I hope!) I may not be able to post a journal tomorrow due to being in transit, but I will post one as soon as I can. So long until then.
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