Bill Lindquist: Eager for the Journey, April 24, 2013

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Bill Lindquist
Aboard NOAA Ship Rainier
May 6-16, 2013

Mission: Hydrographic surveys between Ketchikan and Petersburg, Alaska
Date: April 24, 2013

Pre-cruise Log

I am absolutely thrilled at this truly unique opportunity to join a team of scientists aboard NOAA’s research vessel Rainier conducting hydrographic surveys through the Teacher at Sea program.

I am a teacher and have been for the last 34 years. It is a great career. My students have changed over time from my own fifth grade classroom in rural Minnesota, to a science specialist at Crossroads Elementary in the urban core of Saint Paul, to teaching graduate pre-service students at Hamline University. The unifying weave in my teaching fabric has been the creation of learning environments supportive of a collaborative, student-centered, community of learners. Woven into that professional cloth are the fibers of guiding high school kids on canoe trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, escorting my elementary students to a residential environmental learning center (Audubon Center of the North Woods), contributing authentic scientific data through GLOBE, visiting community schools in Ghana, flying our sixth grade students’ investigation in a microgravity environment through NASA’s Reduced Gravity Flight program, softening the reluctance of pre-service students to see themselves as teachers of science – exciting them to engage their students in the kind of science learning that strikes at the core of what makes us human, and all the myriad interactions with hundreds of young people as we have shared together in the joy of learning.

Something that has eluded me during my career has been the kind of extended immersion into the doing of science that I expect from this program. I applied six years ago without success. Being gifted this time with this Teacher at Sea opportunity is a realization of a multiple long-held visions, including:

  • Immersion into the doing of science. I am excited to be able to share with my students the first hand experience of being in the scientist role in the practice of doing science in the field – in a more real and felt way than the doing of science we experience in an elementary science lab.
  • Being at sea. I feel at home in a canoe and grew up with a love of being on the water. Seems the Rainier is bigger than my 16.5’ Old Town Penobscot. Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, but a far, far way from the vast expanse of the ocean. With the increasing need to understand the vital impact the oceans play in the global climate systems directly impacting the day-to-day life on the Minnesota prairie, I am excited to bring home first hand experience.
  • Exploring Alaska – the grandeur of the Ketchikan Gateway is spectacularly breathtaking. I have little desire for a tourist cruise – seeing Alaska (albeit a small part) through the eyes of a researcher is thrilling. Though our focus will be viewing the bottom of the ocean – I will be deliberate in taking the time to look up to capture the grandeur of the surrounding landscape. I once had a fascinating conversation with Dan Barry, NASA astronaut, as we prepared for our reduced gravity flight. He told of many astronauts so intently focused on their work during a space walk that, once home, were unable to describe the incredible view impeded only by the visor of their space helmet. In response, he scripted into his program specific commands to look out and “make a memory”. I have little doubt I will not need a reminder to look up from the sonar data collections screen to make memories while cruising through the Gateway. I have my camera ready and fully expect my pictures to run beyond 1000.

I look forward to sharing this grand adventure. Specifically, I hope to share the story with my current class at Hamline. The semester ends while I am at sea, so facilitation of learning will happen while I am on board. They have patiently lived the experience of my acceptance as an alternate while anxiously waiting word of a cruise, to the excitement of successfully being placed aboard the Rainier. I will be working with a former colleague at Crossroads Elementary in Saint Paul, MN to vicariously take her class on an exploration of the ocean bottom off the coast of Alaska. I also hope to share the journey with my grandson, Logan’s class at Westwood Elementary in Traverse City, MI.

In a short week and a bit (May 4) I fly out of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul airport to begin this grand adventure. I can’t wait.

My family
So thankful for all the support of a loving family
Reduced Gravity
Had a chance to fly our sixth graders’ experiment in a reduced gravity environment
In love with the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
In love with the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

11 Replies to “Bill Lindquist: Eager for the Journey, April 24, 2013”

  1. Hi Bill! I’m so excited for you to be joining the crew of NOAA Ship Rainier! My TAS cruise was in summer 2009 in the Pavlof Islands in the Gulf of AK. It was the last survey season before Rainier had her overhaul. Share a photo or video tour with us–I would love to see the changes since I was aboard! I’m also wondering if some of the same folks are still on board. I know that my favorite, Steve Foye, will be retiring in a couple of days after a long NOAA career…wish you could have met him….but I’m sure if you ask, there are plenty of stories! Happy Hydro!

    ~ Stacey

    1. Thank you, Stacey. I am thrilled to join the crew and spend 11 days at sea in an area sporting some of the most beautiful vistas in the world. I am excited to enter the world of hydrographic surveying. Soon, “happy hydro” will have a lived meaning for me. Will be sure to post many pictures. Please stay in touch.

  2. How exciting to be able to go on this cruise with you and just sit back and enjoy the ride! Thank you for sharing!

    1. One of the goals of the Teacher at Sea program is to share the experience, so glad to bring friends along on the journey. I will be specifically addressing the science we will be involved in during the cruise. My target is language accessible to an elementary audience. Feel free to share with colleagues at Hinckley Elementary. I’d be happy to respond to any of their comments or questions.

      As always, good to hear from you.

  3. I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing about what it is like on a research vessel. I hope that the weather is more cooperative at sea than it is now in Minnesota. I would be interested to know besides all the research what the crew does during down time.

    Have a safe trip out.
    Jason J

    1. I’ll keep you posted on the weather and will give you a feel for what the crew does during down time (I am assuming there is some). I have also wondered about this.

  4. Bon Voyage, friend. I too am excited to share with you (albeit from cyberspace) the grandeur of Alaska and the excitement of this experience! Cheers! KK

  5. We at Crossroads are excited to hear about your experiences! We just started intercession and have been practicing observing and collecting data. We hope you had a safe trip to AK and my class of 4th graders has a few questions for you. They would like to know:

    What kind of animals have you seen?
    Have you caught any fish?
    Is it nice on the ship?
    What kind of food do you eat?
    What does it feel like to be on the ship; is it like the Titanic?
    What is the weather like where you are?

    Thank you Mr. Lindquist!

    1. Hi Crossroads friends,

      We saw an otter swimming near a shoreline today and some porpoises jumping in the distance. We have also seen a number of eagles. Will let you know if we see more.

      We are not fishing so no fish to catch.

      Yes, it is nice on the ship – everything is a bit smaller and cramped, but all the comforts of home. I will be posting a bit more about what life is like on the sea. Watch for it. The Titanic was much bigger – not sure how big – perhaps you could look it up.The Rainier is 230 feet long.

      The food is great. Three hot meals a day. I have a choice at breakfast of omelettes, waffles, or cereal. Tonight we had a choice of potato pancakes, pasta, or steak. The freezer is open for ice cream any time I want. No one goes hungry here.

      The weather has been beautiful. The sun has been shining every day and the seas are calm. With the ocean and mountains in the backdrop, it is spectacularly beautiful.

      Keep writing,
      Mr. Lindquist.

  6. Mine was also in 2009. I loved the adventure in Trocadero Bay and going to Glacier Bay when the job was done. I drove t he ship for about 15 minutes and it was quite nerve-wracking. The Rainier’s food is great and the people were a hoot. Have a grand time!


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