Meet the 11th and 12th grade students from Hudson High School who are part of the Earthwatch research team exploring Brazil's Pantanal and the giant river otter. The students share a common goal: they want to experience what it is like to do real field research science, working with biologists to conserve an endangered ecosystem.
Peter V. is a ninth grade physics and environmental science teacher at Hudson High School. He is accompanying the students along with Susan Rauchwerk, Director of Education at Earthwatch Institute. Peter loves being a teacher, and has taught science from grades 612 for more than 20 years in many different states and countries, including Italy, Mexico, England, and Brazil. "Teaching," he says, "has opened my eyes to the world around me. I have learned to speak Portuguese, Spanish, and even a little Italian." For Peter, an important goal for the Hudson Earthwatch team is to bridge cultures and develop relations with Brazilian teachers and students around common environmental concerns.
- Lyssa: "As a senior, I want to major in environmental science in college, and this is a good experience because it gives me a chance to work with people who have similar interests and plans for their future. The skills we learn help us with the river habitat here in Hudson."
- Melissa: "My childhood fantasy is now real life . Ever since I was a little
girl I've wanted to study mammals in their natural environments."
- Nick: "This is a golden opportunity to explore what a scientist does and find out what I'd like to do in my life, and where I want to go."
- Phil: I not only enjoy science and nature, but I see environmental science as a way to help people. I want to do something to help, not only the researchers, but perhaps the work we are doing will sustain a species or an entire ecosystem."
Helen Waldemarin is a Brazilian citizen. She is also the lead scientist for the Brazilian River Otter Project. She received her B.A. in oceanography, an M.Sc. in ecology, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in ecology at the State University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. She has been studying neotropical otters for over seven years.
You can read a bulletin board discussion with the Hudson High students and Pantanal scientists about river otters and the endangered ecosystems from 2003.