Castendyk’s slide illustrations Monday showed his team members at work sites, glaciers with crevices bigger than school buses, and moss and other slime-like forms of life that are under research. Freddy appeared in a couple of pictures, and in other photographs, Castendyk’s teammates held postcards sent from Greater Plains pupils.
“We had so much fun looking at these,” Castendyk said. “I can’t tell you how much this made us happy.”
Julie McKee, a sixth-grade science teacher at Greater Plains, said the cards were returned with an official stamp. The students enjoyed following Castendyk’s work, she said, and benefited from connecting with a scientist conducting field research. Pupils were impressed that there were areas in Antarctica without snow, she said, and they no longer imaged that penguins were “everywhere.’’
Catstendyk said the weather was good, with high temperatures of about 40 degrees. While working with the stream water, Castendyk said, he wore special gloves to protect the living organisms from sunscreen and other foreign matter, such as remains from his breakfast or lunch, that might be on his hands.
The research team also checked equipment at remote stations, where data about water levels is collected and is available for reading online, he said.
Castendyk said team members lived in a tent. The sun didn’t set, he said, and to sleep he used an eye mask. But it was easier to adjust to sleeping in the light than to nights the wind blew and made the tent fabric flap noisily, he said.
Kalei Valk, a sixth-grader, said she was impressed by Castendyk and his work in Antarctica.
“It’s just really cool to learn about somebody who went there and studied,’’ the 12-year-old said. “It was just amazing.’’