September 10, 2009
Galena teacher joins research team in Ecuador
Michelle Grose, a resident of Pontotoc County and a third grade teacher at Galena Elementary, joined an Earthwatch research team for an 11-day expedition in Ecuador to help scientists study and understand more about climate changes and the effects on plant and caterpillar life. Grose’s trip was sponsored by a grant from the Phil Hardin Foundation.
From July 21 to August 1, Grose joined 10 other Earthwatch volunteers from all over the United States for the “Climate Change and Caterpillars” project. The research team was led by Dr. Lee A. Dyer of the University of Nevada, Reno.
“I went to Ecuador alone and a little worried, but I came home with new friends, a new idea on research, and a love for the untouched parts of nature. This expedition showed me the connection that all living things have on climate changes and all lives big or small. I gathered large amounts of information, and a renewed enthusiasm for the way I teach science to my students.”
The Earthwatch volunteers used different means of collections to gather caterpillars and the plants they feed on. They catalogued and photographed caterpillars, eggs, and parasitized caterpillars in different stages. They spent time in the “zoo” checking bags for hatched eggs, pupated caterpillars, and adding more food to the caterpillars that were still growing and feeding.
“I never imagined I would get a chance to travel to a rain forest, much less help a scientist with his studies,” said Grose. “I was awestruck taking in all the scenery, the information, the photos, and the work. It was amazing to watch scientists at work and help them step by step to watch the caterpillars and see forces of nature first-hand.
“Being a hands-on expedition made the learning more enjoyable and memorable. I plan to carry on the idea of hands-on to teach the students in my own classroom.
“I fully believe that no one should ever stop learning. I hope to use all my travel experiences to learn more and be able to share with others.”
Earthwatch (www.earthwatch.org), the world’s largest environmental nonprofit volunteer organization, has a mission to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. Since its founding in 1971, the organization has supported nearly 1,360 projects in 120 countries and 36 states.
“I will go again if the opportunity ever arises,” Grose said.
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