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Douglas Penn

Head Teacher, K-12
Whittier Community School, Whittier, Alaska


Douglas Penn

Doug Penn and one of his students from the Whittier Community School participate in a two-legged race.
I have a passion for exploration. Since I was young I have devoured articles and books extolling the virtue of travel to the far corners of the world. Whenever I have had the opportunity, I have embarked on excursions of my own. I have organized personal trips all over the world, from African jungles to the Andean Mountains. I have floated remote tributaries to the Amazon, toured isolated islands in the South Pacific, and traced Darwin's footsteps through the Galapagos.

These days, my goal is to extend the benefits of travel to my students. I have organized a three-week cultural exchange trip to Montana for Alaska Native students. I've taken students across the Yukon to study the Alaskan Gold Rush along the Chilkoot Trail. I escorted my entire class to the Catalina Island Marine Reserve Institute off the California Coast, and, very recently, I took my high school students to Washington, D.C. for a first-hand view of government.

As head teacher of the Whittier Community School, I am collaborating with my staff to create an environmental impact study of Prince William Sound Ecosystem. This student project will focus on the current issue of opening the Sound to road traffic, and will include real life applications for all grade levels. I hope that our students will gain an intimate understanding of the Sound, and will then take steps to preserve this precious environment. Travel study does more than simply meet curriculum goals. It heightens our students' interest in the world around them, and motivates them to learn more.

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For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

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