Friday, September 30, 2011

FRIDAY, September 30, 2011

Hi kids! Paglagivsignin! That means "We welcome you all!" in the native language of the Inupiat people of Barrow.

Barrow is 4 time zones behind the time zone of east Tennessee. When it is noon in Knoxville and you are getting ready to eat lunch, it is 8:00am in Barrow and I am just finishing my breakfast!

My internal alarm clock went off early this morning and I went for a walk. The sun had not risen and it was still dark. And what do you think I saw? A whale! Well, not one that was alive, but the jawbone of a whale. Bowhead whales are common in the Arctic Ocean and can often be seen off shore. The jawbone in the picture is from a whale that was almost 60 feet long and weighed 120,000 pounds. Even baby whales can be 10 feet long at birth and weigh 1,000 pounds.
Now that you know so much about the bowhead whale, it should be clear why high school students in Barrow are called the Whalers. The Whalers are just like any high school; they even play sports just like students at Karns. They play basketball and football. Their football field is not like the one at the Karns high school. Because of the harsh climate here in Barrow grass would never grow. So the Whalers have artificial turf that they roll out along the beach of the Arctic Ocean and play football with other schools in Alaska. Can you imagine doing this in Tennessee? And if that is not unusual enough, the field is blue! Do you know any other football teams who have a blue field? (Mrs. Roberts - the correct answer is Boise State University). Tonight the Whalers are playing an away game in Seward, Alaska. The Whalers have a winning record this year. I hope they win tonight!

Finally, I wanted to share a couple of pictures of the tundra and one showing where we stayed this week. Snow now covers the tundra and we had a great week in the Arctic. We learned about the ecosystems of Alaska; the plants and animals of the Arctic and how they cope with a harsh climate; and; and how kids in Barrow are a lot like those in Knoxville.

Have a fun weekend!