Earthwatch Institute, Maynard, MA, April 8 2009 - Ten teachers from across the country who were recently awarded a Wells Fargo Earthwatch fellowship will embark this weekend on a two-week expedition to study climate change, reporting back to their students "live" using blog and conferencing technology.
The teacher fellows will travel to the South Shore region of Nova Scotia, Canada from April 12-25, 2009. They will conduct hands-on research with Drs. Christina Buesching and Chris Newman from Oxford University to explore how the animals who live in this vulnerable ecosystem-from deer to voles-cope with the impacts of climate change. The work will help scientists understand the effects of climate change on forestry, hunting and tourism.
"Earthwatch's Live From the Field program empowers teachers to create a ripple effect and share their experience far and wide, well beyond the walls of their classroom," said Ed Barker, Director of Corporate Partnerships for Earthwatch. "It's incredibly rewarding to see how enthusiastic the students get when they see their teacher on the screen and hear first-hand how the research works and how it's going."
The students are able to communicate with their teachers, ask questions and learn about how their actions affect nature and what they can do to become better environmental stewards. The interactive blogs can be accessed here: http://www.earthwatch2.org/LFF/Buesching09_Team1/.
One of the Wells Fargo teacher fellows from Minnesota, Dan Gasteazoro, said, "I can't really contain my enthusiasm for this Earthwatch expedition. I have been working with my students on podcasting and even purchased a special video camera for the expedition."
The fellowships provide funds for each teacher to develop a community project to address a local environmental issue. For example, one teacher created butterfly gardens using native plant species, worked with local parks to clear invasive plant species,
"This is an exciting opportunity for teachers to give students around the world a rare frontline view of environmental stewardship," said Mary Wenzel, Director of Environmental Affairs at Wells Fargo. "At Wells Fargo, we want to do all that's possible to continue to support education and healthy, sustainable communities."
Wells Fargo has sponsored supported teacher fellowships through Earthwatch since 2006. The 2009 teacher fellows-nominated by Wells Fargo team members-were selected based on their enthusiasm for teaching and ability to translate an adventurous field experience to their classroom, colleagues and community. The teachers include:
- Jennifer Beeman (Aquila Primary Center, St. Louis Park, MN)
- Dan Gasteazoro (Glacier Hills Elementary School, Eagan, MN)
- Millie Wong-Tang (Los Perales Elementary School, Moraga, CA)
- Kurt Long Voelkner (Bemidji Middle School, Bemidji, MN)
- Lee Wignall (Lionsgate Academy, Crystal, MN)
- Erika Metz (Williamsville Junior High School, Williamsville, IL)
- Pete Pembroke (Chico Country Day School, Chico, CA)
- Wendy Quam (Horizon Elementary School, Johnston, IA)
- Ben Wolfe (Mallard Creek High School, Charlotte, NC)
- Kristina VanWilgen-Hammitt (Bemidji High School, Bemidji, MN)
For more information please contact Kristen Kusek, 978-450-1281, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earthwatch Institute (www.earthwatch.org), the world's largest environmental volunteer nonprofit organization, is a world leader in experiential education. Its mission is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. Earthwatch was founded in Boston in 1971 and affiliate offices are based in the UK, Australia, and Japan. With approximately 120 projects fielding in more than 35 countries worldwide, Earthwatch focuses its research efforts on oceans, climate change, cultural heritage and ecosystem services.
Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through more than 11,000 stores, over 12,000 ATMs and the internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and internationally. Wells Fargo is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency "2007 Green Power Partner of the Year."