Supportive Resource teachers Jo Anna Kloster and Kirsten Reitan and 19 gifted and talented 6th grade students from the Green Bay Area Public Schools boarded the ice cutter Arni J. Richter on Feb. 13 fora winter tripacross the icy waters of Death’s Door. Their destination was Washington Island School and Steve Waldron’s science classroom where they would attend a presentation by him about Antarctica.
As part of an assignment about Antarctica, the Green Bay students read “Shackleton’s Stowaway” by Victoria McKernan — a fictionalized account of Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1916 Antarctic expedition.
The first step in their Island adventure was provided by Ferry Line President Hoyt Purinton who talked to the group during their ferry ride about navigating the seas and ice cutting in harsh winter conditions.
The visitors then attended a slide presentation by Waldron, who has made three trips to work in Antarctica. He talked about the abundant wildlife in the waters at the bottom of the world such as the Antarctic cod which have a substance in their blood that acts like antifreeze, and weigh up to 130 pounds; leopard seals up to 12 feet long; four ton (8,000 pounds) elephant seals; sea spiders; sponges; penguins, and more.
Waldron explained that while the ice on Green Bay breaks up in the spring, in Antarctica it takes the whole summer to do so and does not break up until the fall.
We learned about ice caves; what it was like for Waldron to live in a place with 24 hours of light; that the average temperature at the South Pole is minus 56 F and the warmest minus 6 F; that there are no native people; what biologists were studying there; the life of sled dogs; and, about the isolation and desolation of the landscape. He said, “It is the coldest, windiest place on the whole planet and incredibly beautiful.”
Photos by Patricia Hewitt, Washington Island Observer
In Story - Supportive Resource teachers Jo Anna Kloster and Kirsten Reitan with 19 sixth grade gifted and talented students from the Green Bay Area Public Schools visit Washington Island science teacher Steve Waldron to learn about his first hand experiences in Antarctica. Karolyn Jordan, the Island's only sixth grade student this year, helped with the slide presentation, Feb. 13.
Thumbnail - Steve Waldron points to Antarctica on a globe during his presentation.
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