Kenan Fellow Sam Fuerst is one of fourteen teachers from around the world to participate in an effort to map the ocean floor using sonar. They are part of the ARMADA project, which is designed to give teachers experience in cutting edge scientific research.
Fuerst boarded the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy and departed Barrow, Alaska on August 17th. The icebreaker can plow through ice eight feet thick, but the ice was thinner than normal. Occasionally, however, the Healy had to stop, back up and ram the ice to break through. Fuerst saw polar bears and was so far north the sun never set. He worked an eight hour shift each day monitoring computer equipment that recorded the data received from sonar. He also kept a record of life on board the ship to share on a web site.
Fuerst, a science teacher from Durham’s Northern High School, has a background in marine geology. Although he was away from the confines of a classroom, he did not leave his students behind. He maintained a web log and students observed the gathering of data as it was posted. After nearly a month at sea, Fuerst returned on September 15th. For more information on his trip aboard the Healy, visit this web site.