We have arrived after days of anticipation and preparation! An amazing team of twenty-five scientists and educators brought together in Panama to search for fossils that may provide clues for the migration of ancient animals between North and South America. From the perspective of an educator I arrive filled with the perfect combination of excitement and questions regarding our experiences, always through the lens of what can be distilled for my students. Having had the honor of participating in Bruce MacFadden’s program three years ago, I have experienced first hand how to translate what I am a part of here to my classroom and how rich a learning experience it has been for 7th grade scientists!
Today is our travel day. Most of our California teachers are slated to fly out of San Jose. I think it would be interesting to have us GPSed as we make the journey to the airport in the wee hours of the morning. Many of us know each other from our work as teachers but there are new members to our group. So we search faces and somehow there is a spark of recognition as we tentatively ask, “Panama?”. Huge smiles erupt as we assemble. Hugs and conversation ensues with the telling of each person’s adventure in getting to our flight gate! We navigate Dallas and arrive in Panama about twelve some odd hours after setting out. The last leg of this travel day is to have our trusty driver Daniel load us in vans, in groups of eight or so and take us safely to our field camp also know as the Country Inn. More joyful greetings as the team comes together over a very late dinner. We are now official. We are cohort five of GABI-RET, already a team and ready to begin this palentology field adventure over the next ten days. Honestly I am too excited to settle in and get to sleep!