RET Past Projects

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Arly Davis
Arly Davis is currently a grade seven Life Science teacher in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, having begun her teaching career in her home state of Connecticut, with fifteen years teaching in the Fabulous Florida Keys.  Born, raised, and educated in CT, the opportunity to teach in Marathon, FL, was vastly different from traditional classroom teaching!  The middle school students participated in the Jason Project when it was based in Key Largo, took snorkel trips out to Sombrero, Molasses, and Looe Key reefs, did field studies on Pigeon Key, partook of educational programs at the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key, took and led ecotours at Sombrero and Bahai Honda beaches, marveled at the tropical flora and fauna while on a glass bottom boat tour between Key West and the Tortugas, and more.  Now, although teaching in a much different part of the United States (but still one surrounded by water) Arly has found "the Cape" rich with opportunities for the students to learn while actively participating in both local and global programs.  Next year, Arly will be teaching grade seven at Sandwich's new STEM academy, where Project Based Learning will be the driving force behind the curriculum.   She looks forward to being an active participant in AntarcTECH penguin project program that will allow her students the best in Distance Learning: the investigation of the life history and survival of the Adelie Penguin, the use of AUVs to observe the penguins' underwater behaviors, and following the work at Antarctica's Palmer Ecological Research Station to increase understanding of the changes in the polar marine ecosystem.


Renee Fudala

Renee Fudala is a Grade 7 Science teacher at the STEM Academy in Sandwich, Massachusetts.  Renee holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Wildlife Management and a Masters Degree in Environmental Science.  She has also taught high school Biology and Earth Science and has worked for many years as a naturalist and conservation tour coordinator.  She was a member of the Mashpee Conservation Commission, the South Cape Beach State Park Advisory Committee and the Friends of the Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge’s Education Committee.  She is currently a member of the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve’s Education Committee. Renee has been involved in co-directing a camp, Tidal Quest, which involved teens in environmental monitoring projects.  Students had the opportunity to learn about current research at the Reserve, which involved carbon management in coastal wetlands – quantifying carbon storage and greenhouse gas emissions by tidal wetlands. 


2012 / 2013

Johanna Blasi

Johanna Blasi grew up on the coast of Massachusetts and quickly developed a love for all things ocean. This passion led her to the New England Aquarium in Boston where she is currently a senior educator.  Jo educates visitors about the world beneath the waves, including everything from African penguins to tidepool creatures to the challenges facing the oceans.  She is excited to join the Palmer LTER team so that she can experience firsthand the research being conducted to determine how climate change is causing changes in complex food webs so she may share this with the many Aquarium visitors.  Jo Blasi is a senior educator at the New England Aquarium in Boston Massachusetts.  After receiving her Masters degree in marine science from UMass, Dartmouth, Jo wanted to combine her passion for the oceans as well as a desire to teach others about the amazing world of water.   As a certified Interpretive Guide,  Jo has educated Aquarium visitors for the past eight years about coastal New England tidepools, sea turtle rescues, what it takes to clean penguin poop and the need to protect and conserve our oceans from threats like overfishing and climate change.  She has also communicated from the field, documenting her experiences for the Aquarium community while teaching teenagers about rescuing orphaned penguin chicks in South Africa.  Jo is excited to engage Aquarium visitors and the public in learning about glider technology with Palmer LTER and to explore why the polar regions are so important for understanding global climate change.



Nell Herrmann

Nell Herrmann is a Learning Enrichment and Gifted Support Specialist at State College Area High School in State College, Pennsylvania. She joins the Palmer LTER outreach team with extensive background as the coach of several academic quiz teams at State High including both the National Ocean Sciences Bowl and the Department of Energy National Science Bowl teams. Her experience spans both middle school and high school science and most recently focuses on increasing awareness of polar science through a variety of outreach events at local schools and community festivals. Nell holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Ecology and Conservation Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, along with a second Master's degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She has been involved in conservation research at many organizations including the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic, Colorado; the Hato Pinero Research Facility in Venezuela; Association ANAI in Costa Rica; and the Kangerlussuaq International Science Station in Greenland. Nell served as a PolarTREC teacher in 2012 where she traveled to Palmer Station, Antarctica to participate in ocean acidification research. That experience continues to inspire her work with the Polar Ambassadors students in grades 9-12 this year alongside the Palmer Long Term Ecological research program. Her Ambassadors are following the scientists onboard the R/V Lawrence M. Gould through Jo Blasi, Palmer LTER’s 1st Teacher at Sea blog. They are learning more about the LTER research components and then mentoring 7th grade students at Park Forest Middle School in Pennsylvania by implementing lessons based on the LTER science. Nell’s involvement in the Palmer LTER RET program will also focus on designing and revising hands-on inquiry STEM instructional materials that reinforce the kinds of LTER technology used in scientific research. She will be complementing those inquiry experiences with short video clips, which will reside on the PAL education resource page.



Sharon McDonald

I am Sharon McDonald from St.Lucia, a small island state in the Caribbean with an area of 238 square miles and a population of approximately 160,000 people. I am presently the principal of a primary school in St.Lucia and have been for the past six years. Prior to my becoming a principal, I taught as a primary school teacher at this very same school for a period of sixteen years. My work experience is not limited to the classroom but extends greatly to the development of the youth in my community. Through the assistance of one of my peace corp volunteers, I was able to design, develop and coordinate a Primary School after School Programme for my school community, providing students with a positive alternative outlet during after school hours. In addition, I initiated and developed an Information Technology Adult programme for the school community. Many of the graduates from this programme were able to find employment which required them to utilize their IT skills. I have also worked with the Sir Arthur Lewis Community college-Division of teacher Eduction Educational Administration as a teacher supervisor for teaching practice. In 2002, I obtained my Bachelor of Education Degree in Educational Administration with the University of the West Indies and in 2005 received my Masters Degree in Educational Studies with the University of Sheffield; England.


Mrs. Edmie Charles

Mrs. Edmie Charles hails from Fitz-Hughes and Chateaubelair in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. She has worked at the Chateaubelair Methodist School for 26 years. With 20 years' experience as a classroom teacher, she has been the Principal for the last six years. Mrs. Charles received her secondary education at Petit Bordel Secondary School before going on to St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers College. She also holds a degree in Leadership & Management from the University of the West of England - Bristol




Mr. Lawrence Hooper and Mr. Jeffrey White

Mr. Lawrence Hooper was born and raised in Petit Bordel, St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Eastern Caribbean. He has been a primary school teacher for 23 years and currently teaches Grade 6 at Chateaubelair Methodist School. His has long been involved in community organizing, particularly with groups focusing on environmental issues and sports. He was formerly the Vice President of Tru-Blacks, a group dedicated to promoting healthy living through sports, environmental cleanup and awareness with adolescents and young adults ages 12-25. He is also Chateaubelair Methodist School's Chairperson for the Children Against Poverty Program which aims to provide educational opportunities during the summer for low-income and at-risk children ages 7-10. Mr. Jeffrey White was born and raised in Rose Bank, St. Vincent and attended Troumaca Primary and Secondary School. Mr. White received his Teaching Certification from St. Vincent Teachers College in 1993. He has taught at the secondary school level for 24 years and has been teaching Grade 5 at Chateaubelair Methodist School for the past two years. He holds extensive training in visual and performing arts. His interest in environmental issues such as coastal erosion and beach pollution stems from his previous studies in geography and naturalistic observations through practicing visual art.


Beth Deal

Beth Deal is a middle school science teacher at Family Christian School in Winter Garden, FL. She earned a bachelors and masters degree in Agricultural Education from The Ohio State University. During college she worked in the Curriculum Materials Services developing animal skill-a-thon kits. Her research in graduate school focused on peer based education programs as well as comparing rural and urban education programs. After graduation Beth spent 9 years moving around the country while working in television news. Even though her career path was in TV, extra time was spent on education. Beth coordinated overnight education camps at the Albuquerque Aquarium and was an animal keeper and educator at Wildlife West in Edgewood, NM. Eventually she moved to Central Florida where she began work on the elephant team at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Beth maintains a season position at Animal Kingdom educating guests on African animals and conservation, while teaching science to amazing 5th through 8th graders.


Jessie Soder

Jessie Soder is a 3rd-5th grade teacher in the remote Alaskan village of Gustavus. A love of the outdoors and wild places brought her to Alaska and she shares this enthusiasm with her students. When she is not outside she enjoys playing the banjo, reading and cooking. Before she started teaching in Alaska she shared her passion for wilderness and learning by working as a naturalist and park ranger for the National Park Service in Alaska and Michigan.







Christy Millsap

Christy Millsap has a Bachelors degree in Marine Biology and joins the Palmer LTER outreach team bringing with her over seven years of experience both in the classroom and at sea. Prior to teaching, she worked extensively with the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, California coordinating their visiting classroom program, developing science based curriculum and scheduling outreach programs with teachers. She has also had previous experience doing field research, as she worked on the 70-foot research vessel called the R/V Explorer. She presently teaches at Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, California teaching Marine Science. This year her students were exposed to Antarctic science by engaging in the 2010 Palmer LTER cruise blog. Connecting with scientists LIVE in the Antarctic and taking a tour of Palmer station, Christy continuously works with her students teaching them about Antarctic science. See the write up in the Rancho Bernardo News Journal



Jay Hendricks and Season Mussey

Jay Hendricks an Advanced Placement (AP) teacher from Rancho Bernardo High School and Season Mussey an AP teacher from University California Preuss School in San Diego. Jay Hendricks from Rancho Bernardo High school and Season Mussey from the U.C.S.D. Preuss School join efforts during the summer of 2006 to design and develop supplemental instructional materials. The focus of this experience; two krill species Euphausia pacifica from the California Current and Euphausia superba from the Southern Ocean near Palmer station. Exposing their students to the research conducted by two Long Term Ecological Research sites (CCE LTER and Palmer LTER), they integrated field sampling protocols and real time data into inquiry learning activities for use in their own classrooms. The cross-site comparative study contrasted six ecological criteria - physical and biological contrasts, life histories, behavioral characteristics, krill sensitivity to warming trends, and their impact on the food web.