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Local Teacher talks about her experience in Antarctica with National Geographic

A Madison School District teacher has returned from a trip of a lifetime to Antarctica. Sharee Barton is a coordinator for the district and taught in the middle school in the Alternative Instructional Model or AIM program. 

Last year, Barton received the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship, a program for teachers to apply and get a lifetime experience to go somewhere in the world with National Geographic Researchers. She was chosen to go to Antarctica.  

“I wanted to see a part of the world that could be as pristine as it possibly could be and maybe looked the way the earth did when God first created it,” she said. 

She said her experience in Antarctica was incredible in that sense. She never saw a candy wrapper on the floor or a trash bag in the air.  

She said while in Antarctica she was in constant awe. BYU-Idaho Radio asked her what her biggest takeaway from her trip was. 

“I just feel like I need a brand-new vocabulary when people ask me that question,” she said with a giant smile on her face. 

One of the things she found fascinating were all the colors under the water. If you think of Antarctica, people don’t usually know there are many colorful creatures under the water. 

In order to get to Antarctica, Barton and the other researchers flew to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and spent a day there. They later flew to Ushuaia, Argentina, which is in the south tip of the country and got on the National Geographic Explorer, which a Lindblad Expedition ship. They traveled through the Drakes passage. 

“One of my first thoughts when we arrived, honestly, was, ‘Oh good, the ship will quit rocking so much!’” she said.  

Barton had the chance to go with two other teachers and they were both sick and lying in bed the day before they arrived to Antarctica, so they were all happy that they were feeling better the day they arrived.  

“That first step on Antarctica, it felt like the most beautiful place to be on New Year’s Day,” she said.   

They spent eight days in Antarctica and had opportunities to do scientific research.  Some of that research was about penguins and climate change.  

Barton said this opportunity has changed her life and said her students are enthusiastic to learn more about what she learned. She’s sharing her knowledge with the AIM classes at Madison Middle School. 

Get information about the National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship.