Hawaii science teacher (who’s never seen snow) selected for Arctic expedition

Bring a jacket! Waimanalo science teacher picked for Arctic expedition

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Blade Shepherd-Jones has been teaching his eighth-graders at Waimanalo Intermediate School about polar bears.

For him, the lesson is about to leap off the page.

"To make this more real and bring it back to the classroom you got to get out there and see these unique places," he said.

That's exactly what he's going to do.

Next month, Shepherd-Jones will take part in a National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions research trip to an area just below the North pole called Svalbard.

“I’m very excited to see this different place,” he said.

Svalbard is an archipelago and an important reproductive center for seabirds and marine mammals.

“There’s a high probability of seeing polar bears,” Shepherd-Jones said. “I’ll be seeing snow for the first time ever, and I’m all in for that!”

He was among 45 teachers from across the U.S. selected for various National Geographic expeditions. They’re expected to use the knowledge they gain to help their students.

Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School principal Noel Richardson knows the students will benefit.

“We’re looking always for cutting edge for our students here at the school. That’s going to be one of the things he brings back from this trip and his experience on the trip,” he said.

Shepherd-Jones, 35, is an avid scuba diver and outdoorsman.

“I also love to hike. I like to bodyboard, stand-up paddleboard, and surf,” he said.

In Svalbard, there will be lots of outdoor activities, even though the summertime temperatures will be a little above freezing.

Shepherd-Jones will use a camera to document and chronicle every leg of his 10-day expedition.

"It's going to be the wildlife. It's going to be the geology, the culture, the history. It's going to be everything," he said.

Shepherd-Jones has been researching Svalbard on his own. His students know a little bit about what he’s about to do in in one of the northernmost places on the planet.

He just wishes his wife could join him.

“I’d love to bring her but unfortunately there’s only a seat for one,” he said.

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