Claire Flynn, the STEM initiatives program director at the Long Island Children’s Museum, won an all-expense paid National Geographic/Lindblad Expeditions fellowship to Antarctica, and she’ll be sharing that adventure with museum visitors in the coming weeks.
Flynn’s trip also included the island of South Georgia and the Falkland Islands off the coast of Argentina. She saw penguins as far as the eye could see, elephant seals, humpback whales and more. “The point of this fellowship in particular is to give educators experiences in really remote places and to bring our explorer’s mindset back to the students who we work with,” Flynn says. “I feel Antarctica is like nowhere else in the world. It’s not somewhere people typically get to go to.”
On Jan. 11 and 12, during the museum’s STEM-themed weekend, some of the programming will highlight Flynn’s trip. On Feb. 19, two sessions of “Calling Young Scientists” will focus on the expedition, from 11 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Those two sessions will have a fee of $4 per child in addition to museum admission, Flynn says.
Flynn, 29, of Mineola, has been at the museum for four years. She found out in February that she had been chosen as a 2019 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow for National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions, and her 23-day trip was from Nov. 7 to 30. At the time she was notified, the Children’s Museum was featuring a traveling exhibit about sound, part of which included a “Scream Chamber” booth that measured the decibel levels of kids’ voices. “They called me when I was teaching my afterschool program. I went down to the Scream Chamber and I yelled so loudly,” she says.
The trip on a 148-passenger Lindblad Expeditions ship was unlike anything she had ever experienced, she says. “The wildlife that we saw was absolutely incredible,” she says. At a King Penguin colony in South Georgia with 200,000 breeding pairs, it was “penguins as far as the eye could see,” she says. She had worried about being cold on the trip, but she says 29 degrees was the coldest temperature they experienced. “It was very windy, but we had parkas and windbreaker pants and I used those hand warmers you can put in your gloves,” she says. “I didn’t want to leave. I need to figure out a way to get back.”
The Long Island Children’s Museum is at 11 Davis Ave., Garden City. Admission is $14 per person (younger than 1 is free). For more information, call 516-224-5800 or visit licm.org.