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District 47 teacher part of a first in Antarctic

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 5:31 a.m. CDT
(Photo provided)
Betty Trummel, a teacher at District 47's Husmann Elementary School, is on a sabatical in Antarctica with the WISSARD Project.

McMURDO STATION, Antarctica – Fourth-grade teacher and Crystal Lake resident Betty Trummel was part of a scientific breakthrough this weekend.

Trummel, 56, took a monthslong sabbatical from teaching at Husmann Elementary School for a research trip with WISSARD scientists in Antarctica. WISSARD stands for Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling.

The team of scientists successfully drilled through 2,600 feet of Antarctic ice to reach a subglacial lake and retrieved water and sediment samples that have been isolated for thousands of years.

It’s a first for the science community and “marks the beginning of a new era in polar science,” WISSARD said in a news release announcing the achievement.

The samples will be used to study subglacial microbial life, climate history and contemporary ice sheet dynamics.

Drilling began over the weekend and the announcement was made Monday.

“We did indeed break through to the lake two days ago, but it’s official as of early this morning,” Trummel said Monday in an email to the Northwest Herald. “[It is] so exciting to be a part of the big scientific breakthrough.”

Trummel, who was featured in the Northwest Herald article Monday, has been maintaining a blog to record the progress of the scientists and conduct Skype video chats with students and teachers around the world about what’s happening with WISSARD.

“What I get out of this experience is the chance to learn and do science as it’s happening, real time, and to convey that to everyone I can through my blogs and presentations. ... It’s an incredible opportunity for me to learn and grow as an educator,” Trummel said in Monday’s story.

On the Net

To follow Betty Trummel’s Antarctic adventures, visit

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