Chicago Teacher Delivers Lessons From North Pole

A kindergarten and first-grade teacher at the Academy for Global Citizenship on the southwest side of Chicago is teaching her class from an unusual location - Churchill, Manitoba, the edge of the Arctic Circle.

As part of her educator fellowship sponsored by HSBC in the Community, Megan Ellis uses satellite and Internet technology to connect "Live from the Field" to her classroom and community.

Ellis joins Earthwatch Institute's Climate Change at the Arctic's Edge expedition as a member of a research team consisting of scientists and volunteers determined to collect data and answer the most pressing issues related to climate change.

The research team will be led by principal investigator G. Peter Kershaw, Ph.D. of the University of Alberta, Canada. The volunteers will assist the researchers by quantifying snowpack differences in local ecosystems and assessing wildlife use. 

Ellis is looking forward to bringing all that she has learned back into her classroom.

"My goal is for my students to be excited to go out into the world and find answers to their own burning questions. The students are excited about this expedition and have learned a lot about the Arctic to prepare," said Ellis, who is posting stories, pictures, and discussion questions for young grade school children on her expedition blog.

In addition to this fellowship experience, HSBC in the Community is providing a $250 grant to implement a community conservation project to further engage students in their classroom and in their community. 

Ellis stays warm in the Arctic thanks to donations from Patagonia and REI.

The Academy for Global Citizenship is a Chicago Public Contract School, located on the Southwest side of Chicago.

Ellis is a founding teacher who welcomed the first students in August 2008. The mission of the school is to empower all students to positively impact the community and world beyond. In pursuit of this mission, the school is committed to serving the whole child, modeling academic excellence, developing inquirers, cultivating international awareness, fostering environmental stewardship, and facilitating collaboration within the community. The Academy for Global Citizenship is dedicated to educating this generation on the importance of sustainable living practices.

Earthwatch's mission is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. Earthwatch is a world leader in the field of experiential education. Each year, the organization provides field research opportunities for more than 3000 volunteers with a commitment to broaden their understanding of sustainability and conservation research. There is no previous research experience necessary to participate, and there are hundreds of expeditions worldwide that need volunteer support. Visit or call 800-776-0188 for more information.

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