Skip redundant pieces
KU Home  :  KU News

KU News Release

Nov. 14, 2005
Contact: Jill Hummels, School of Engineering, (785) 864-2934.

KU researchers invite K-12 students to track Antarctica mission in December

LAWRENCE -- A couple of Beanie Baby bears will help younger elementary students track a team of engineers and scientists from the National Science Foundation Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), based at the University of Kansas, as they work in Antarctica.

K-12 students are being invited to follow the researchers as they take advantage of the Antarctic summer in December and January to conduct research to collect data with advanced radar sensors developed as a part of a large Information Technology Research Project. Summertime temperatures in parts of Antarctica can be well below freezing.

The two bears are part of Bears on Ice, a program to appeal to younger elementary students, said Jennifer Holvoet, assistant research professor with the School of Education. Holvoet is coordinating K-12 educational outreach activities and is a member of one of two CReSIS research teams headed to McMurdo Station.

Outreach efforts will run the gamut, from following the team's efforts to collect data and interpret findings to exploring what is necessary to live and work on a polar ice sheet. Holvoet will have the two bears on hand to follow the researchers at work. She also will take some instruments to collect data about temperature, carbon dioxide and ozone levels at different sites in Antarctica.

The two bears -- Berkley, an American bear, and OzGold, an Australian bear -- have made previous trips to Greenland and Antarctica.

" The last time the bears were in Antarctica, they spent most of their time on an Australian icebreaker and worked with Australian researchers. This time they will see Antarctica from the perspective of U.S. researchers and will highlight the difference between working in a remote camp and in a permanent science station," Holvoet said. The bears will accompany the researchers and provide detailed descriptions of life in Antarctica at McMurdo Station and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Camp.

Older students and teachers will be able to follow the research team's activities through daily online journals with photos and video, audio conferences, e-mail and the Virtual Dashboard that will show viewers what is happening from the front seat of the robotic rover.

The NSF established CReSIS on June 1, 2005, with a $19 million grant. It is one of only two Science and Technology Centers established in 2005. The center is led by Prasad Gogineni, Deane E. Ackers distinguished professor of electrical engineering and computer science at KU.

CReSIS is headquartered at KU and has as core partners Elizabeth City (N.C.) State University, Haskell Indian Nations University, the University of Maine, The Ohio State University and Pennsylvania State University.

Learn more about polar research efforts at www.cresis.ku.edu or www.ku-prism.org. To learn about the Bears on Ice program visit www.ku-prism.org/resources/BearsOnIce/index.html.

Teachers who would like their classes to take an active role in these activities should contact Holvoet at jholvoet@ku.edu. Schools in Kansas, Florida and Illinois have already signed up to take part.

Engineers and scientists on the CReSIS teams plan to contact the principals of schools they once attended, inviting current students to follow them in their work. They are listed below.

City State School Teacher title First name Last name KU researcher
Denver CO Holly Hills Elementary School Principal Tera Helmon-Gary Jennifer Holvoet, assistant research professor
Englewood CO Cherry Creek Jr High Jennifer Holvoet, assistant research professor
Greenwood Village CO Cherry Creek High School Principal Kathleen Smith Jennifer Holvoet, assistant research professor
Greenwood Village CO Cherry Creek High School Science Department Coordinator Steve Lantz Jennifer Holvoet, assistant research professor
Garden City KS Abe Hubert Middle School Principal Gerald Neumann Richard Stansbury, Ph.D. student in computer engineering
Garden City KS Garden City Senior High School Principal James Mireles Richard Stansbury, Ph.D. student in computer engineering
Garden City KS Garden City Senior High School Science Department Chair Casey Wise Richard Stansbury, Ph.D. student in computer engineering
Lawrence KS Central Junior High School Principal Frank Harwood Claude Laird, research associate
Lawrence KS Hillcrest Elementary School Principal Tammy Becker Claude Laird, research associate
Lawrence KS Lawrence High School Principal Steve Nilhas Eric Akers, Ph.D. student in computer science
Lawrence KS Lawrence High School Principal Steve Nilhas Claude Laird, research associate
Liberal KS Liberal West Middle School Principal Khristopher Thexton Richard Stansbury, Ph.D. student in computer engineering
Maize KS Maize Senior High School Principal Teresa Ott Richard Stansbury, Ph.D. student in computer engineering
Maize KS Maize Senior High School Science Department Coordinator Bill Kruse Richard Stansbury, Ph.D. student in computer engineering
Tecumseh KS Shawnee Heights High School Principal Warren Watson Eric Akers, Ph.D. student in computer science
Tecumseh KS Shawnee Heights Middle School Principal Cleo Gardner Eric Akers, Ph.D. student in computer science
Tecumseh KS Tecumseh South Elementary School Principal Gary Groves Eric Akers, Ph.D. student in computer science
Holts Summit MO North Elementary, Principal Barb Martin Dennis Sundermeyer, technician*
Jefferson City MO Jefferson City High School Science Department Chair Dennis Nickelson Dennis Sundermeyer, technician*
Jefferson City MO Jefferson City High School Principal Richard Pemberton Dennis Sundermeyer, technician*
Jefferson City MO Thomas Jefferson Middle School Principal Roberta Hubbs Dennis Sundermeyer, technician*
Sidney NY Sidney Elementary School Principal Peter Stewart Joel Plummer, Ph.D. student in geography
Sidney NY Sidney Middle School Principal Allen Bilofsky Joel Plummer, Ph.D. student in geography
Sidney NY Sidney Senior High Principal Annette Hammond Joel Plummer, Ph.D. student in geography
Sidney NY Sidney Senior High Interim Principal Barry Gould Joel Plummer, Ph.D. student in geography
Oklahoma City OK Red Oak Elementary School Principal Jackie Legg Richard Stansbury, Ph.D. student in computer engineering
Chesapeake VA Western Branch High Scool, Principal Arthur Brandriff Jerome Mitchell, Elizabeth City (N.C.) State University, student
Chesapeake VA Western Branch High Scool, Science Department Head Randall Trivett Jerome Mitchell, Elizabeth City (N.C.) State University, student
Chesapeake VA Western Branch Middle School Principal Craig Jones Jerome Mitchell, Elizabeth City (N.C.) State University, student
Portsmouth VA Churchland Primary and Intermediate School Principal Ann Horne Jerome Mitchell, Elizabeth City (N.C.) State University, student
Portsmouth VA Douglass Park Elementary Principal Barbara Jones-Smith Jerome Mitchell, Elizabeth City (N.C.) State University, student
*Alternate

-30-

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

kunews@ku.edu | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045