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Bozeman students get a first hand look at science and exploration on Mount Everest

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By Katie Smith Contributor

BOZEMAN – Tuesday morning students from Paul Andersen’s AP science class at Bozeman High School had the opportunity to converse with adventurers on Mount Everest right from their classroom.

During a special session of Expedition to the Classroom, a program created by Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation that streams live media from science-based expeditions directly into classrooms, the explorer team of Willie and Damian Benegas spoke with students from Everest Basecamp about their expedition and the scientific data they are collecting while climbing the world’s highest peak.

ASC’s founder, Gregg Treinish, explains the importance of such a unique science experience, “This provides a direct opportunity to make science ‘cool.’ If children can see tangible ways they can interact with the outdoors and simultaneously learn, contribute, and challenge themselves, there is no doubt that the impact will be lasting and profound.”

The video chat with the Everest team lasted about 45 minutes, during which time the students asked questions about life on the mountain, heard how the adventurers plan to look for samples of plant life during the ascent, and learn what it was like to discover the highest known plant sample in the world last year at 22,000 feet.

By exposing the teens to the exciting side of science, Expedition to the Classroom has been monumental in cultivating a love of science and the outdoors, Andersen said.

“I try to instill a deep understanding of science in my classroom. Unfortunately many students will never get to experience the excitement of discovery found in a science career. Programs like Expedition to the Classroom allow us to bring this exciting world into the classroom. The students can interact with scientists and adventurers rather than just reading about them in a book or a magazine.”

This will be ASC’s second installation of Expedition to the Classroom. Last year
Andersen’s class and a sixth grade class from Asheville, N.C. spoke with adventurers collecting data on the Antarctic Peninsula for an ASC scientist studying penguin colonies.

ASC’s student programs will extend beyond classroom video streams this summer to include a Grizzly tracking expedition for at-risk youth in Missoula and another tracking expedition in the Sierras with under-served youth from West Oakland, Calif.

These youth programs give students an opportunity to see firsthand a unique and remote landscape, and also to be inspired by a vivid interaction with groundbreaking science and exploration.

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