• WorldView
  • 4 Min Read

Giving Back to Our Teachers: How Travel Can Inspire, Educate & Empower the Next Generation

Teachers are the conduits to the next generation, and we believe in their power to inspire the changemakers of tomorrow. Through the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship, Lindblad Expeditions and The National Geographic Society are honored to offer PreK–12 classroom and informal educators a life-changing experience in the natural world.

 

By bringing them on board our ships, it not only impacts them, but their students as well. After exploring transformative places like Antarctica, the Galápagos Islands, the Arctic, and beyond, they return to their classrooms and communities with a new sense of global and environmental awareness.  

 

These educators then use their field-based experience to empower their students to become planetary stewards and inspire their peers and colleagues with new ways to teach students about the world. Many of our past Fellows become changemakers themselves in the field of education, serving as mentors to other teachers, creating innovative learning opportunities, and supporting National Geographic’s educational initiatives. The impact of this unique program has a ripple effect that often lasts for years. 

 

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week (May 1-7, 2022), learn about some of our exemplary past Grosvenor Teacher Fellows and watch the videos below to meet the new class of educators coming aboard in 2022.   

Empowering 2nd Graders to Combat Plastic Pollution

“Prior to my 2019 expedition to Arctic Svalbard, I too often relied upon convenience. I rarely paused to pay attention to the way that vendors packaged goods and I used single-use cutlery and coffee cups when in a hurry. However, all of that changed when I witnessed the impact of macro-plastic waste on the otherwise pristine Arctic ecosystem on my 2019 expedition to Svalbard. Conversations with our underwater specialist, Maya Santangelo, my fellow Grosvenor Teacher Fellow and STEM educator Mindy Steele, and other naturalists on board National Geographic Explorer illuminated not only the urgency of the problem, but also my role within it.

 

Dr. Jennie Warmouth (right) explored the Arctic alongside another Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, Mindy Steele. Photo by Dr. Jennie Warmouth

Upon my return home to Seattle, I shared my experience and dilemma with my 2nd grade students. Within six months, my seven and eight-year-old students successfully changed our public elementary school's cafeteria's single use plastic policy at the district level, removing 70,000 single use sporks from our environmental footprint.”   

 

Dr. Jennie Warmouth
Seattle, Washington
Arctic Svalbard: Land of the Ice Bears, 2019

From Galápagos to Green Screens: Fifth Graders as Filmmakers

“When I traveled on my Galápagos expedition in 2017 as a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, I wished I could bring my fifth graders along with me. I couldn’t, so I did the next best thing: I returned with enough information and video footage for them to make a documentary film about the wonders of the Galápagos. The environmental story of the Galápagos Islands tells the clearest real-life story of how humans can not only harm nature, but heal it. And when my students learned about the ways that people have restored the ecosystems on specific islands, it gave them hope that it’s never too late to take action.

 

Bryan Johnson collects footage of a giant tortoise in Galápagos. Photo: Ian Devlin.

To make our documentary, we used green screen technology and costumes inspired by the Lindblad Expeditions naturalists to give the illusion that the students were filming on location. Much of the information that the students used to write their scripts came from information I gathered from naturalists while I was on board. Their finished documentary has now been seen by hundreds of people at screenings and online, passing on what they learned about the Galápagos and how to protect it.”

 

Bryan Johnson
Tacoma, Washington
Galápagos Aboard National Geographic Endeavour II, 2017

Bringing the Wonder of the Arctic to Hospital Classrooms

“For children in isolation due to illness, being exposed to the outside world broadens their horizons and gives them a different perspective; they love seeing something outside of the confines of their hospital room walls! My expedition with Lindblad-National Geographic to Arctic Svalbard in 2016 allowed me to bring polar bears and icebergs back to my hospital classroom in California, introducing these ideas and places to kids who never gave a second thought to the Arctic.

 

Kathy Ho investigates the native flora of Svalbard. Photo: Courtesy of Kathy Ho.

Seeing pictures—not just my photos, but me in these photos—suddenly made these places real. Students became interested in remote areas of the world then grew to care for, and wanted to help protect, these fragile environments. It's a powerful thing knowing my travel experiences with Lindblad affect not just myself, but all my students.”

 

Kathy Ho
Mountain View, California
Arctic Svalbard: Land of the Ice Bears, 2016

Instilling an Explorer’s Mindset for Better Emotional Learning

“In our technologically-focused world, it’s easy for us to forget that we are part of nature. Experiences like the one I was fortunate to have on Lindblad Expeditions' Epic 80° North Arctic voyage help us remember we are all part of a beautiful and fragile interconnected ecosystem that we can choose to impact either negatively or positively.

 

Kelly Koller on the bow of National Geographic Explorer. Photo: Will Stein.

My 24-day expedition to the Arctic gave me the inspiration and headspace to fine-tune a plan to pursue my passion in education, which is to improve how students are supported emotionally in the learning process and empowered to take action as they learn. I applied for two National Geographic Society grants to support this work, developing resources to help students connect with their inner explorer. As part of that work, I am leading an international study that is seeking to find the impact an Explorer Mindset has on students’ feelings of engagement and empowerment. I also gave a TEDx talk on Learning with an Explorer’s Mindset three months after returning home from my expedition.”

 

Kelly Koller
Sobieski, Wisconsin
Epic 80° North: Exploring Greenland, Baffin & Ellesmere Islands, 2018