Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First Thoughts from Dominica and the Floating Classroom

Kara Robinson, Dominca Expedition

After taking off from Boston Logan International Airport, flying 35,000 feet above a blanket of fluffy white clouds, landing in Miami, I then took off the next morning for San Juan, Puerto Rico. I transferred to a smaller plane, flying at 17,000 feet, and finally, after the ride through the interior rain forest with beautiful views, ups and downs, I have made it safely here to beautiful Dominica and ready to get started!

(Photo: Kara Robinson)

I am so excited to help out with International Fund for Animal Welfare's (IFAW) Floating Classroom program. I have been a marine science educator now for about 8 years, and have been lucky enough to have helped out on some whale research projects as well. Any opportunity to share my passion and love for whales, the ocean and, of course, educate at the same time is what I love to do.

Today was about getting oriented with the curriculum guide we will be giving the teachers, putting our plan together and getting to know some of the government officials who have worked with IFAW for years. I am getting more and more eager to both see this wonderful marine life that I have read and heard so much about, and also SO eager to get to know the teachers and children that are our target audience. I am eager to know what their thoughts are currently about the animals that make the Dominican waters their home.

Tomorrow we meet with the boat program staff to discuss the at-sea element of the program. With any luck we might even get the opportunity to go out to see sperm whales. I couldn't be more excited! Dominica is an island formed from many volcanoes, and as such the island's size grows underwater. Just a few miles offshore the water is deep enough for sperm whales to dive, feed and nurse their young. I look forward to blogging about what we see! Stay tuned for more about our activities on this beautiful island!

- Kara

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