Super Explorer-bound

Minot High School-Central Campus biology teacher Joe Super will spend part of the summer in the Arctic aboard the National Geographic Explorer.

Super is one of 14 teachers nationwide who were selected to receive Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellowships.

Last year, Central Campus biology teacher Julia Koble received the same fellowship and also spent time in the Arctic. Super has heard about Koble’s experiences and expects he will get to go on many excursions and experience different types of landscapes and wildlife, including glaciers, whales and seabirds. He will be able to use those experiences to develop activities in his classroom. Aboard the ship, Super will also develop lessons based on the day’s activities for passengers under 17.

The 12-day voyage will begin from the western coast of Iceland, across the Denmark Strait, and round the southern tip of Greenland. Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic offer educationally oriented voyages that allow guests to interact with leading scientists, naturalists and researchers while aboard. There are two spots aboard each expedition for science teachers who receive the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowships.

Super and other biology teachers at the school have long participated in National Geographic programs and institutes. In 2010, the four teachers in the biology department were selected to participate in the Summer Geography Institute: Ocean in La Jolla, Calif., on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Campus.

The week-long institute, sponsored by National Geographic Education and Oracle, exposed them to research-based teaching techniques and provided them with material to teach ocean science in their classrooms. They were the first teachers to use the curriculum throughout the year and will fine-tune the lessons and provide feedback throughout the year. Super has also been called upon to present at other National Geographic conferences.

“He’s a real ambassador for North Dakota on a national level,” said Marilyn Weiser of the National Geographic Alliance.

Super makes frequent use of those lessons in his classroom and how the ocean affects people living in landlocked North Dakota. Last week, during a lesson on evolution, he talked with students about Lake Winnipeg, which is regarded as one of the most threatened lakes in the world. Some people blame fertilizers used in the Red River Valley for that threat.

Super, a teacher for 15 years, has his students monitor the health of local waterways. His students also assist the North Dakota Game and Fish Department by monitoring dissolved oxygen fish kills under the ice in local rivers and lakes.

Some 500 teachers applied for the fellowships, which are jointly sponsored by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Expedition.