This spring in Youth EXPO, we have driven an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and walked inside a Space Shuttle replica at Kennedy Space Center. So it only makes sense that we go canoeing today in Biscayne National Park! Ranger Chris talked with us about the environment of the National Park, including the mangroves and the coral reefs (the 3rd largest reef system in the world), and how important it is to keep it clean and healthy for its inhabitants (and us). He even told us about this species of fish in the Bay which can actually switch genders! (Can you find out which species it is?) After we had a canoeing safety lesson, we we able to go out on the Bay. Canoeing is certainly harder than it looks. It was very windy, and on the way back in to shore, 3 boats had to come back as a team, each one holding on to the next. But we all made it back!
Many of us dream of becoming explorers. Sometimes we may mistakenly think that there is nothing left to explore on Earth. Nothing could be further from the truth, as we learned today from Dr. Lonnie Thompson and Dr. Ellen Thompson, of the Byrd Polar Research Center at The Ohio State University. They continue to explore the world, including Antarctica and Greenland, in order to study the Earth’s climate. They both spoke to us in Second Life, and talked about where they’d been, and what they study. Lonnie Thompson even has the nickname “The Ice Man” because he is responsible for groundbreaking research in the area of climate change. He and Ellen have both observed, monitored, and studied ice cores and glaciers for evidence of how Earth’s climate has changed, and is changing. And not only are they a research team, they are a husband and wife team too! So we were lucky to talk to both of them in our Second Life NASA island – outside sitting on the snow next to an ice core drill!
After we sat in the snow with both Drs. Thompson, we each got to work on making a short movie of our time in Youth EXPO. We only have one more class to go, and looking back at all our photos, we learned so much about climate, met the most amazing scientists whose research is changing the way we think about the Earth, got to build model sediment cores, saw the Space Shuttle on the launch pad on a visit to Kennedy Space Center, and millions of other things. It’s a big challenge creating a short movie of so much!