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Teacher's travels bring the world to Sandy High

Sandy High science teacher Jeremy Magee brings a world of experience to his students - literally.

Magee spent March 17 through 25 completing an Earthwatch Institute Fellowship in Mexico's mangroves and has studied worldwide environmental issues in his previous travels to Costa Rica, Canada, Ireland, Mauritius and Madagascar. Through the use of Internet technology, he was able to turn his recent adventure into a learning experience for his Sandy High 10th-grade students, and many fifth-through-eighth-grade students across the community.

While in La Manzanilla, Mexico, Magee worked with a national research team, fellow Earthwatch volunteers, college students and local citizens to restore the mangrove habitat, monitor its success and educate local citizens and policy makers about the importance of the mangroves. Team members also were expected to reach out to the local community and spent time planting trees in a local playground and refurbishing a school library.

During his expedition, Magee communicated with Sandy High students daily through a Web blog, creating a virtual classroom - and much to the chagrin of his students - class assignments. One such assignment required his 10th-graders to 'consider global problems that can affect the mangroves, and brainstorm ways that global atmospheric temperature change, oceanic temperature changes and changes in sea level could affect the mangroves.'

In an effort to reach out to the Sandy community, a team of Sandy High advanced biology students is designing lesson plans, related to the mangrove project, that they may present to local fifth-grade students.

The Earthwatch Fellowship, funded by National Geographic Education Foundation, paid partial costs for Magee to participate in the project. The Oregon Trail Education Foundation and the Sandy High Booster Club also contributed.

Earthwatch Institute is a world leader in the field of experiential education providing opportunities in the field and online for volunteers to broaden their understanding of sustainability and support conservation research. There is no experience necessary to be involved, and hundreds of teams worldwide that need support. Visit www.earthwatch.org or call 800-776-0188 for more information.

Julia Monteith is the spokeswoman for the Oregon Trail School District.