A local vice-principal is will be setting sail to the Galapagos Islands for an expedition under the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship.
Cheryl Sheffield, vice-principal at Parry Sound High School, is one of 50 educators, only six of which Canadians, who are able to participate in the fellowship after the pandemic put the expedition on hold for two years.
She will travel aboard National Geographic Endeavour II, a Lindblad Expeditions ship along with naturalists, scientists, explorers and National Geographic photographers, for the ten-day expedition.
The fellowship is a professional development opportunity for pre-K-Grade 12 educators and is supported by Lindblad Expeditions and the National Geographic Society.
“I’m hoping to follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin and come to know more about his theory of evolution, by exploring the incredible archipelago famed for its unique flora and fauna,” says Sheffield. She adds she’s looking forward to encountering giant tortoises, bluefooted boobies, marine iguanas, playful penguins, and curious sea lions in their natural habitats among the Galapagos Islands.
Sheffield adds that she hopes to be able to connect live with classrooms and other learners through live feeds and other online applications. “I would love student enquiry to guide my exploration of Galapagos, and I look forward to interacting with classrooms in our board to answer student questions and respond to wonderings they may have about this unique part of the world,” she says.
Sheffield says she is committed to returning home with an experience that will translate into reimagined curricula that will inspire students, colleagues and communities to care more deeply about the planet and act on global issues. Upon her return, the Near North District School board says she will take on a two-year leadership commitment to support National Geographic’s education initiatives.
The vice-principal is also hoping to better understand the conservation efforts in place within Galapagos to protect its wild spaces and wildlife, and how they might be similar to or align with that of the Georgian Bay Biosphere and other environmental efforts in our area.
The NNDSB says interested class teachers and individuals can connect with Sheffield on her expedition and learning journey via a Google form available here, with more updates and events to come once she returns.