Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Arctic Messages: Footprints in the Snow

Arctic Messages

The message postings that I’ve looked at span three years, each time a different expedition. They are mostly “footprint” messages from visitors, wishing the GoNorth! team or an individual well. A few questions are asked, though in general most make a comment about something they have discovered or liked. Though followed by up to 4000 schools, the visitor messages come largely from elementary aged school children from the US; for example, a fourth-grade class from California following the adventures of their grade teacher who has joined the expedition in 2008 and regular postings made by children from the Midwest (mostly Illinois and Minnesota). For the 2009 expedition, messages from high school visitors from Queensland, Australia (who made some postings the year before) feature as part of an IT elective class.

There are adult visitors; some family and friends and other educational professionals – a librarian from Walt Disney Magnet School in Chicago is a repeat poster and well wisher.

Expedition 1: Footprints in the Snow
Feb 2007 - May 2007

This is the shortest of the three message trails. Third, fourth and sixth graders from different schools follow the expedition trail from February through to April. In May most the messages are from people known to the team – often these are personal messages. A key exception is a posting made by a woman on behalf of a Minnesotan fourth grade grandson, whereby she compliments the team on their adventure and her grandson's teacher for being a school partner in the expedition trail. Another posting made to Mille Porsild by a Danish-American child makes the connection between her ancestry and and that of Mille's. Of the 30 postings, 14 are directly or indirectly about the husky dogs. The huskies are popular throughout the three expeditions and feature in many of the postings made by children.

The photo shows the northern lights in Greenland by Nick Russill. The light on the horizon is a fishing boat, and the smaller one behind, the entrance to the fjord into Tasiilaq. This photo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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