Vanessa's Blog

Vanessa Miller is from New York City by way of a small town (Bluff City) in East Tennessee.  She teaches 4th/5th grade at Central Park East 2 (CPE 2) located in East Harlem.  In her spare time, Vanessa enjoys dinners and movies with her friends, hiking and back packing, international travel, and knitting.  While in Antarctica, Vanessa leaves behind her husband to take care of their rehabilitated pet starling, Shakespeare.

Here's what you said...

In my last blog, I gave you some questions to think about.  Here were a few of your responses…

benMy friend Benjamin, who currently resides in Los Angles, California, wrote in and said the following..

(He also said that he really enjoys cake!) =)


4.  I guess I've had good friends in Taiwan and Brazil.  Unfortunately, I quickly lost touch with my Taiwan friends (this was when I was younger and didn't know yet how precious good friends are).

5. If I could make a friend in any country it would be in Benjaminland, so he/she could tell me how to get there.

6. The Lord of the Rings movies were filmed in New Zealand.

7. So many species of plants and animals in California are threatened by interlopers.  Non-native red foxes have easily adapted and threaten native rodents, rabbits, reptiles, and ground-nesting birds.

Here’s what some of the students from my class had to say…

•    You were traveling 62.14 miles per hour.  We found this by using a conversion chart (Kamri).

•    17 degrees Celsius is 63 degrees Fahrenheit (we used the computer and found a conversion

       chart) (Kamri).

Metric Conversions


1 km = 0.62 miles


°C = (°F – 32) / 1.8

°F = (°C x 1.8) + 32

•    This is what LUCY wrote about her friend from another country.  “She was from Italy and she spoke Italian, she was shy, short and very polite.”

•    For the invasive species question, Brianna wrote,  “The pigeons are making this city disgusting because there are too many of them.  Pigeons poop too much over everything and that's nasty.”

I’m not sure if Pigeons are invasive, but they sure are annoying!!

For question #2 there were a couple of different conjectures.

Benjamin thought…

Is it because of the blue-green algae?  Or is it the depth and clarity, which scatter the longer wavelength colors and allow only blue to scatter back to the surface?

Kamri thought…

We think there is nothing in the water (like animals and plants) and that is why it is so turquoise (Kamri).

Scientists come up with many conjectures and/or hypothesis in their work.  They often find out that their original thoughts need revision and further testing, so they go back to the drawing board and try again.  This is a natural part of the scientific process.

The lake featured in my photo acquires its beautiful turquoise from the rock flour (sediment) in the water.  “This so called flour was created when the lake’s basin was gouged out by a stony bottomed glacier moving across the land’s surface, with the rock-on-rock action grinding out fine particles that ended up being suspended in glacial melt water.  This sediment gives the water a milky quality and refracts the sunlight beating down, hence the color.”

-From The Lonely Planet Guide to New Zealand

Oct. 18, 2006 - CDC, Christchurch, NZ

A Foreign Language. 

Today we went to the USAP’s CDC to receive our ECW gear, which included a Yazoo, a pair of Gauntlets, and boots of either F-DX or Bunny. 

Confused?  So was I. 

cdc signThis was my second trip to the United State’s Antarctic Program’s (USAP) Clothing Distribution Center (CDC), and I can’t say that I felt all the more experienced for having watched the introductory video twice.  The two fluorescent orange bags oforange bags Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) lying in front of me were extremely intimidating in their own right.  Since my acceptance into the ANDRILL/ARISE program, the ECW gear has been a reoccurring conversation topic.  Every individual who has traveled to Antarctica has been issued the same standard set of gear, yet each of these individuals seems to have a different piece of advice regarding the clothing.  However, above all else, everyone agrees that ECW is, at the very least, essential for a comfortable existence in Antarctica.  

On the other end of the spectrum, ECW can become essential for survival in Antarctica.  Given the extreme variability of the weather, and given that those weather changes can occur quickly and with little warning, no one is allowed to travel away from McMurdo Station without a complete set of ECW clothing. 

The clothing you are issued in Christchurch is the clothing you live with for your entire stay in Antarctica.  Therefore you must try on every single piece.  You must make sure every piece zips, buckles or velcros properly.  And then each piece must be repacked back into its designated orange bag.  One bag is designated “hand carry,” which means that it goes onto the plane with you, and they won’t let you onto the plane without it. 

As far as Acronyms go, there is a complete appendix to ANDRILL acronyms listed on pgs 66 and 67 of the “Guide to Participation fro the ANDRILL McMurdo Ice Shelf Project.”  I counted 101 acronyms.   It’s a foreign language to me.

What's Inside the Bags?

wall of gloves

How Many Pairs of Gloves?



An acronym is a word formed from the initials or other parts of several words, for example, “NATO,” from the initial letters of “North Atlanticme in big red Treaty Organization”

Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

    Find as many acronyms and what they represent and email them back to me.  I’ll post a few in my next blog.

Question to think about:

    What does the acronym “ANDRILL” represent?

  The Big Red Parka


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