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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 19, Number 4, January/February 2007

From Amazon to the Antarctic

Recreation land management instructor Dan Catt, is taking a journey of sustainability through South America and Antarctica. Catt will take the next four months to promote sustainability on a global scale, and he will be communicating with interested students through the Internet.

"You can watch a video, you can have a lecture, and you can read a book. But I want to make this as real as possible for as many people as possible," says Catt. Using the latest Internet technology, Catt will provide online experiences that make the trip as real as possible for students who track his adventure. Catt-Trax2, Antarctic to the Amazon, as this global enterprise is known, "will give students the chance to see the challenges of different areas of the world, and to share some sustainability issues. We hear the old saying, think globally and act locally, and that’s what I want to promote."

There’s no curriculum and no homework. What there is, is the opportunity for secondary school and college students to follow Catt and his experiences through two very different continents. Catt’s web site, www.catt-trax2.bcit.ca, offers students the chance to explore endangered habitats, lets them talk shop with conservationists, and shows them the global connections that affect us all.

Catt is using this experience to educate his own students, as well as potential future students. "My own students have helped research topics for the web site, so whoever wants to learn can participate. There will be a series of pages where experts are invited to write their personal thoughts on global connections and how, in BC and in Canada, we’re all connected to the outside world and southern continents." Catt says Catt-Trax2 is not just about science or ecology, "I want people to realize that when you think globally, there are so many different angles to it. We’re connected through the whole planet through the biosphere."

One key element of the Internet experiences will be an essay contest for secondary students and prizes will include a $1,000 BCIT scholarship.

This is not the first time Catt has launched such an ambitious venture. Five years ago there was Catt-Trax, Journey for Sustainability, which involved a lengthy trip through Africa. Catt says, "it worked out very well, even though the interactive tools on the Internet were very different than they are today. This time it’s going to be better, and we hope to be even more successful and connect with even more kids across the province."

Catt doesn’t know how many students and teachers or supporters and friends will log on to come along for the ride, but he’s confident Catt-Trax2 will be big.

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