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I am currently entering my 15th year of teaching. I taught for 11 years in Florida before returning to teach in Illinois at my elementary alma mater.

I am always striving to bring life to my lessons and provide as much practical and hands on experience for my students as I can. In order to do this I have involved myself in a variety of extra "jobs", courses and opportunities. Some of these have included: working 7 years as a zoo keeper asst. at Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa, FL., working with the Florida Division of Forestry for 7 years, attending scientific field studies training at the Brandwein Institute and archaeological studies with the Center for American Archaeology.I also have volunteered at a botanical gardens, FL. Game & Fresh Water Fish Comm., IL. Dept of Natural Resources and currently serve on two national grant committees.

During the course of the school year I use all of these experiences to provide my students with a variety of of current information that challenges them. I require them to apply the skills learned and reach the fullest of their potential.

This past year I was awarded a Christa McAuliffe Fellowship that I used to design a long term bio monitoring project to study the area watersheds and biodiversity. The project involves my students in real scientific research and field lab techniques. It has been one of my greatest pleasures watching my students take a stewardship role in their environment and make a difference in their communities.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my wife in our new home. I also enjoy hiking gardening, teaching teachers about environmental education, designing environmental educational exhibits and working with my geology collections, fossil collections and reptile collection.

I am extremely excited about this opportunity to parcticipate in the TEA program. It gives me the ability to provide a better "real life" education for my students and colleagues.

Arctic Environmental Observatory
Lee W. Cooper & Jacqueline M. Grebmeier
University of Tennessee

I will be parcticipating in a very diverse project with Dr. Lee Cooper of the University of Tennessee, entitled "Arctic Environmental Observatory." My parcticipation will take place throughout two separate sessions.

Session one will be on Little Diomede Island off the west coast of Alaska, northwest of Nome. Noted as one of the most isolated communities in the country, Little Diomede is located in the middle of the Bering Strait about one and a quarter miles from Russia. The island is home to approximately 135 Native Inupiat residents and its location makes it ideal for environmental research. While on the island we will be collecting, sampling and analyzing the nutrient rich waters that enter the Arctic Ocean from the North Pacific through the Bering Strait. Using a variety of monitoring devices, such as thermosalinograph and fluorometer, we will measure the amounts of silicate, ammonia, total fixed nitrogen, phosphorus, and oxygen18/oxygen16 ratios in the water. I will also have the opportunity to interact with the teachers and students from the Diomede Village School. Another component of the overall project that I may be involved in is marine mammal sampling and data gathering which is coordinated with local subsistence hunters by Gay G. Sheffield of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

My second session adventure will take place aboard the Canadian Icebreaker Sir Wilfrid Laurier. I will be working with Dr. Cooper and Dr. Jacqueline Grebmeier, University of Tennessee collecting data on benthic organisms and sediments in the Strait from St. Matthew Island to Barrow, Alaska. The goal is to assess to biological productivity of these benthic organisms, which are an important food source in the region for predators such as the bearded seals, walruses, diving ducks and gray whales.

Session one will take place in late March and continue through mid April and session two will be in mid July. I will update my journal daily throughout both journeys and I'll describe the research more specifically as I experience it.

Be sure to check out the images in the journal entries!

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July 2003

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April 2003

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March 2003

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August 2002

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