News
News Home
Quick Bites Archive
Exploradio Archive
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Science and Technology


Journey to the bottom of the world
A Crestwood Primary School teacher travels 8,000 miles to Antarctica to teach first graders that science can be an adventure
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
It's summer at Palmer Station near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Crestwood teacher Natalie Harr will spend six weeks here studying the continent's largest land animal, a wingless fly.
Courtesy of R. Lee
Download (WKSU Only)

An Ohio first-grade teacher begins an 8,000-mile journey to the bottom of the world on Monday.   Natalie Harr teaches at Crestwood elementary in Mantua.  She heads off  the day after Christmas on a six-week scientific expedition to the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.  

She’ll be looking for the continent’s largest land animal -- a wingless fly that WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports could someday help human transplant patients. 

 

Exploradio - Journey to the bottom of the world

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:14)


(Click image for larger view.)

Bring your spoon

Adelie penguins breed on the barren rocks surrounding Palmer Station during the brief polar summer.

But Natalie Harr isn’t there to capture – or even study -- penguins. Team leader Richard Lee, a zoologist from Miami University, invited her with a different quarry in mind.  That’s why he asked.

“Are you pretty good with a spoon Natalie?   And she says “Well, yeah.” And I said, ‘Well, then maybe you ought to come to Antarctica with us because we use a spoon to collect our insects when we’re crawling around on the rocks down there.”

Lee first braved a stormy passage to Antarctica in 1980 to spoon up the larva of the world’s southernmost insect, Belgica antarctica.  In recent years he’s invited public school teachers to travel with him. But Harr will be the first primary school teacher to join the expedition.  She’s got her spoon, and a few other essentials. 

“Just packing layers of clothes -- nothing fancy, we’ll be at the bottom of the world, no one will see us.”

Antarctica's largest land animal 

The National Science Foundation provides cold weather gear for the team, and year-round funding for Palmer Station.

Lee says while life abounds in the southern ocean, only a few hardy creatures survive on land.

“I want to understand how these insects can tolerate the extreme environmental stresses they face in the Antarctic.”

The larva of Antarctica’s wingless fly survive through high salt and low oxygen conditions, dehydrated and frozen solid for months.

Lee is trying to unlock their survival secrets.  He and his colleagues identified proteins in the cell membrane called aquaporins that allow the larva to survive freezing.

“This is an important discovery to help us better understand freezing because it’s a pretty unusual adaptation.”

His research could lead to a breakthrough in storage of human organs for transplant patients.

Connecting with Ohio kids

At Crestwood Primary School Natalie Harr’s first graders are excited about their teacher’s scientific mission.

Aubrey says “She’s going to study the wingless fly.” 

“And where is that?”

“Antarctica.”

But in her research, Harr finds much of what her kids know about science comes from caricatures in the media.

“There’s a stereotype out there of what a scientist is.”

All wild hair, nerd glasses, and lab coat. Harr wants to broaden her kids' idea of who can do science by doing it herself, in Antarctica.

“I really hope it inspires students to think outside the box, to just wonder about everything around them, to get them thinking about how the world works and what they can do to make the world better.”

Natalie Harr will keep in contact with her students online during her six-week expedition to Palmer Station.  She hopes her students will connect her studies in Antarctica with scientific observations they make year round in their own school yard here in Ohio.


Related Links & Resources
Natalie Harr's Antarctic Connection blog

Dr. Richard Lee's research website


Related WKSU Stories

Exploradio - The dinosaur revolution
Monday, December 31, 2012

Exploradio - The papyrus window
Monday, November 7, 2011

Exploradio - Monkshood patrol
Monday, October 10, 2011

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page




Stories with Recent Comments

Pluto: The Browns split from Manziel is long overdue
Get Brock Osweiler from the Denver Broncos! He's fantastic and seems like a great person.

Democratic Senate hopeful P.G. Sittenfeld pushes for local gun control
That makes no sense at all... why not let cities determine driving codes as well? Maybe Cincy want's folks to drive on the left side of the road. What could go ...

Exploradio: Autism in the workplace
I would love to get more information re: Autism on The Town and other such programs in Northeast Ohio. Thanks!!

Human trafficking cases rise in Ohio
It is about time this is presented to proceed with a plan of prevention..to protect our youth.And very necessary to inform communities through school, churches ...

Fermented food company aims to preserve Cleveland's farm-to-table movement
This is terrific! I make my own sauerkraut and consider it vital to good health. Well done, I wish you all success.

Ohio doctors get new guidelines for prescribing certain painkillers
I would gladly smoke pot to get off pain killers but its not legal.It would save the hassle of doctor visits for pill counts,pee tests,blood tests,driving to pi...

Ohio unemployment cuts are nearing a Statehouse vote
What about those that are laid off seasonally? My husband has been employed by the same company for 26 years and has been laid off (for the last 17) mid-Januar...

Ban on microbeads is a big step in fighting plastic pollution
What a bunch of liberal "so open minded their brains fell out" tree huggin yuppies. Professing to be wise they became fools.

Who's on -- and left off -- Ohio's medical marijuana task force?
Biggest joke everm these people are evil they know marijuana is harmless they rigged the polls last nov everypne kmows it

Dayton 'Black Lives Matter' protesters to appear in court today
Police to fast with the trigger finger and not the brain.A lot of police officers out here judge by color first instead of accessing the situation first. If a p...

Copyright © 2019 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University