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Sycamore Teacher Returns From Nat Geo Expedition

Beth Quinones in Galápagos Islands A Sycamore High School teacher just returned from embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime expedition with National Geographic Society and Lindblad Expeditions. 

Beth Quinones is one of 45 educators from the United States and Canada to be selected for the 13th annual Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship Class. Last week, she went on an expedition to the Galápagos Islands on board the Lindblad Expedition ship National Geographic Endeavour II to explore the landscapes, culture, and wildlife unique to the region. She was accompanied by Lindblad-National Geographic expedition experts, who range from undersea specialists to National Geographic photographers. Quinones says her job on the expedition was to collect data to bring back to the classroom, to promote conservation and geographical awareness.

Among the highlights of her expedition were swimming with sea lions, sharks, turtles and penguins, searching for land iguanas, and capturing images of the immense bird population on the islands.

“I’ve never seen flamingos fly before, I didn’t even realize that they could fly until I saw them,” said Quinones. “It was really eye-opening how ecologically naive the organisms are there because they’ve been protected for so long that they don’t perceive us as a threat,” said Quinones

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The hands-on, field-based experience helped her bring back invaluable knowledge to the Sycamore High School, where she teaches biology and forensics. 

“Human impact, ecologically naivety, and place and space, those are the three things that I’m excited to bring back to my classroom and to the community,” Quinones said.

Her future plans include creating a permanent exhibit in the science lobby at the high school with some of the thousands of photos she took. Quinones also plans to present at the public library for a travel log.

To prepare for her voyage, Quinones along with other Fellows participated in a multi-day, hands-on, pre-expedition workshop at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., where she learned a range of skills from photography and video editing to outreach planning and public speaking. Lindblad Expeditions’ staff and naturalists, as well as past Fellows, also participate in the workshop, serving as mentors to the new class now and when the new Fellows return to their classrooms and communities after their expeditions. Fellows agree to a two-year commitment when they are accepted to the program, serving as program ambassadors before, during and after their expeditions.

“It was an amazing experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat,” said Quinones. 

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