Location: 44º58’N 93º14’E
Expedition Basecamp, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Weather Conditions: Sunny, 4°F (-15°C)
Remember when you were told, “Be careful what you wish for, it may actually happen!” Well, that is exactly what has happened to us. The University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment has generously supported a longtime dream of ours, so we are packing our gear and kicking off the first expedition of our dream project, Earthducation — Expedition 1: Burkina Faso. After a successful pilot trip last winter (Expedition 0), the official launch of the Earthducation project is actually happening! Earthducation is one of the premiere projects offered by the new Learning Technologies Media Lab (LTML) at the University of Minnesota. We are so excited to share this project with you!
Expedition 1: Burkina Faso is the first of seven trips to all continents of world focused on exploring the intersection of education and sustainability. As Team Earthducation jets off to interview people from all around the world about their perspectives on these topics, you can also invited to share your opinions within the EnviroNetwork. What does the word, “education” mean to you? What does the word, “sustainability” mean to you? How do you believe education can impact sustainability? Consider this your official invitation to participate in a global conversation about these topics! The world wants to hear your voice!
Burkina Faso to ask these same questions of the Burkinabe so that we can share their responses with the world via the Environetwork. Remember, you are invited to share your opinions, too! No matter if you are a student, teacher, farmer, doctor, artist, grandparent, president, dancer, store clerk or accountant…. everyone is invited to get involved. If you are a K-12 teacher, please make sure to check out the educational activities that you can use within your classrooms as you follow along with the expedition online.
We are off to the landlocked country of Burkina Faso in west Africa for two primary reasons. First, Burkina Faso is a prominent climate hotspot in Africa. Second, we have the good fortune of having Romaric Zongo as one of our team members. Romaric is currently a PhD student in Learning Technologies at the University of Minnesota. Romaric is a former resident of Sabou, Burkina Faso, which makes him the perfect person to serve as the team’s Continent Expert. In fact, at the last team meeting, Romaric picked up his cell phone and called directly to the embassy in Washington DC! He is one connected individual!
Burkina Faso is a country that is approximately 274,200 square kilometers (105,870 sq mi), which is slightly larger than the state of Colorado, with an estimated population of 16.3 million people. We are looking forward to an amazing experience in this beautiful country as we visit its cities and villages via motorcycle, bike, SUV, and foot.
To prepare for any adventure learning program, a heroic team effort is required. The Expedition 1: Burkina Faso team has been working around the clock due to the field team’s swiftly approaching departure date, Friday, January 7th, 2011.
The Earthducation team is actually much larger than the core group from the University of Minnesota. This project’s team also includes our amazing sponsors and YOU!
Sherpa Adventure Gear is our clothing sponsor. Sherpa’s clothing is top-of-the-line, and we are THRILLED to be working with them! After Aaron and Charlie, LTML co-directors and lead explorers, selected the gear needed for this expedition, within 24 hours of placing the order, they were trying gear on at Charlie’s home to make sure everything was going to fit …and it did! Arctic trips and he was very excited for the change! Immediately after the clothes arrived, our lighting sponsor, Fenix Lights, shipped us its phenomenal products – high quality, ultra durable headlamps and flashlights! We can’t wait to use them in Africa!
While Charlie and Aaron were going through the gear, other team members were hard at work with their specific tasks. Justin, LTML’s in-house photographer/videographer (he just started this position three days ago ☺), has been carefully preparing all of the photography and video equipment for the trip.
We cannot afford to have a photo missed or a video not captured correctly – these media artifacts are at the heart of Earthducation! Gifted in working with all facets of media, Justin is editing interviews for the EnviroNetwork as we type!
Patrick, LTML’s in-house technology technician (we refer to him as our tech guru), has been making sure all computers, servers, satellite technologies, solar panels, cords and phones, are located, charged, working and ready to go! Patrick has been testing, testing, testing, and testing. We need all technologies working at all times.
Brad, LTML’s in-house media developer, have been working tirelessly on Earthducation’s website and videowall. Not to worry, Brad and Charlie are extraordinary designers – you are experiencing their amazing work right here! From this website to the EnviroNetwork, they have created environments that engage and motivate! Not to toot our own horn, but Earthducation’s environments are one-of-a-kind -– we have built them to support a global narrative around education and sustainability that will be viewed and contributed to from people around the world.
Jeni, one of LTML’s top graduate students, and Cassie, LTML co-director and Education Coordinator, have been researching and writing and editing around the clock to make it all happen. Make sure you get your school involved with the educational activitites!
Earthducation is going to be an amazing journey as we explore all seven continents over the next four years. As we depart this week for Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, we are excited to have YOU as part of our team! So, start sharing your thoughts on the EnviroNetwork and stay tuned for the biweekly updates from Africa.
Go Team Burkina Faso!