Indiana School Welcomes Home NOAA ‘Teacher at Sea’ from Arctic Voyage

Teacher Discovers New Seamount

October 20, 2009

Today, students from Carmel Middle School in Carmel, Ind., welcomed home Christine Hedge, a seventh-grade science teacher who spent six weeks in the Arctic Ocean on board the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy as part of a multi-year, multi-agency effort to collect seafloor mapping and oceanographic data along the North American Extended Continental Shelf.

NOAA Teacher at Sea, Chris Hedge, assists in data acquisition aboard the Healy.

NOAA Teacher at Sea, Chris Hedge, assists in data acquisition aboard the Healy.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Hedge’s experience, funded by NOAA’s Teacher at Sea Program and co-sponsored by the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Task Force, gained international attention as she and the Healy crew, along with a second ship from Canada, collected data to update nautical charts and better understand seafloor processes and habitats.

On August 25, Hedge discovered a large seamount, or underwater mountain protruding 1,100 meters from the ocean floor, using multi-beam sonar.

“The discovery of this seamount is a prime example of how little we know about the Arctic Ocean,” said retired NOAA Capt. Andy Armstrong, the mission’s co-chief scientist and co-director of the NOAA-University of New Hampshire Joint Hydrographic Center. “Christine’s keen observations allowed us to react in time to turn the ship and explore this important seafloor feature in closer detail.”

Indiana’s First Lady Cheri Daniels also attended the event at Carmel Middle School, congratulating Hedge on her seamount discovery, while also highlighting the state’s important connection to the ocean.

Illustration of a ship using multibeam sonar to map the seafloor in a swath below the ship as it drives forward.

Illustration of a ship using multibeam sonar to map the seafloor in a swath below the ship as it drives forward.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

"Indiana is the ‘Crossroads of America’ and just like our interstates, Hoosiers depend on sound ocean science to bring us commerce, energy, and jobs,” said Daniels. “Thanks to NOAA’s Teacher at Sea program, Ms. Hedge has an incredible life experience that will inspire future generations of ocean scientists.”

Like many other NOAA Teachers at Sea, Hedge’s students back in Indiana participated in the Arctic voyage by following her online blog from the classroom and their homes. Blog entries are available online.

“When students realize that there are new worlds to be explored and discoveries still to be made, it gets them excited about science and science-related careers,” said Hedge. “I strongly encourage all teachers with a passion for science to get on board a NOAA ship and learn everything they can about the ocean floor and the marine ecosystem.”

NOAA’s Teacher at Sea program was established in 1990 as a way to give kindergarten through college-level instructors hands-on research experience on board NOAA oceanographic, fisheries and coastal mapping vessels. Today, the program has expanded to offer dozens of teachers annually the opportunity to study on board NOAA ships, aircraft and in its world class research facilities.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.