Oakridge Elementary Teacher Named National Geographic Fellow

The honor included a trip to the Galapagos for Jennifer Burgin.

Jennifer Burgin in the Galapagos

“I grew up as an indoor cat kind of girl,” says Jennifer Burgin, a second-grade teacher at Oakridge Elementary School in Arlington. So when she was selected by National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions to become a 2017 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, an honor that included a trip to the Galapagos to learn about science and species, “I did a lot of things that really stretched me,” she says.

Soon Burgin found herself hiking up volcanoes, snorkeling with four-foot sharks and coming face-to-face with a Galapagos penguin. The curious bird was so fearless that it jumped off its rock and swam over for a closer look. (A funny coincidence given that Burgin, a life-long penguin lover, had even worn a penguin-print shirt in the video essay she submitted with her program application.)

Still, her biggest takeaway from the trip wasn’t the animals she met. She says she was impressed by how the expedition’s naturalists taught ecology by telling stories. It’s a technique she’s planning to use this year in the classroom.

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