Mantua –  Crestwood Primary School first-grade teacher Natalie Harr will depart December 26 for a five-to-six week research trip to Antarctica. Harr will join Dr. Richard Lee, Jr., an extreme entomologist from Miami University, to research a unique Antarctic fly.

Lee has traveled to Palmer Station in Antarctica for several years to conduct his research, and each year invites a public school educator to join him as part of his research team. Harr is the first elementary school teacher to make the trip with Lee. She is considered a pioneer in her field because most K-3 educators are not studying this type of bio-science.

The entire project is funded through the National Science Foundation so the district will not incur any costs to send Harr to Antarctica.

“I am thrilled to be going to Antarctica with Dr. Lee and his team,” Harr said. “My primary role is to maximize learning for Crestwood students through lessons and projects that will connect them to the research happening in Antarctica. My goal is to bring together as many people with the project as possible; not just in Crestwood but across the country and the world.”

While in Antarctica, Harr will communicate what she is  learning with students, parents and community members through a blog that can be found at Harr’s blog, lessons and activities will help students, parents and other districts understand what it means to be a scientist in the 21st century. Students will conduct nature investigations in schools and communities in order to compare and contrast local ecosystems with those of Antarctica.

To celebrate Harr and Lee’s departure, Crestwood Primary School will host an Antarctica Community Talk where students, parents and the community can meet Lee and learn about his ongoing research. The Community Talk will be held Monday, December 5 at 7 p.m. That day Lee will also visit the other schools and students at Crestwood. Dr. Lee will also visit students and hold assemblies about his Antarctic research at Twinsburg City Schools, Kent City Schools and Hiram College on December 6.

While in Antarctica, Harr will also have the opportunity to meet former Vice President Al Gore on his visit to Palmer Station.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Natalie,” said Superintendent Joe Iacano. “She is a talented and dedicated educator who I know will make the most of her time in Antarctica. We can’t wait to begin following her on her blog and learning right along with her.”