High school teacher explores South Pole

COLLEGE STATION, November 1 Marietta Cleckley is the kind of teacher who would go to the ends of the earth to help her students learn biology and in November, she'll be doing just that. Cleckley will spend the month doing research at McMurdo Station, the largest and oldest U.S. base in Antarctica.

Along with a Texas A&M University research team, Cleckley will study the impact of human habitation on the area around McMurdo. The Uniondale, N.Y., high school biology teacher is one of 16 public school teachers to participate this season in the National Science Foundation's Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Artic.

"We're very excited to be taking Marietta with us to Antarctica," said Mahlon C. "Chuck" Kennicutt II, who heads Texas A&M's Geochemical and Environmental Research Group (GERG), which journeys to the region to conduct research each year. "She spent a week here in College Station this summer, getting acquainted with our team, learning field work techniques and finalizing Web-based teaching units for use with students while she's at McMurdo."

Cleckley, who teaches 9th and 10th-grade biology, was selected for the TEA on the basis of a national competition. Her students in New York, as well as those at Cypress Grove Intermediate, GERG'S adopted school in College Station, will be able to follow her field activities and complete educational activities related to the team's Antarctic research via the World Wide Web.

"I heard about TEA at a teachers' convention, when I attended a presentation by a teacher who had participated in the program last year," Cleckley said. "I had to submit an extensive application, with eight documents detailing my view of teaching, the reason for my interest in TEA, my teaching style and my background. Competition was pretty fierce for the 16 spots. Eight of us will be going to the Antarctic, and the other eight will be involved with projects in Artic reg

Contact: Judith White
Texas A&M University

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