The Polar Science Express

Published 8:25 am Thursday, January 10, 2019

Three young inquiring minds took a trip to The Arctic on Sunday afternoon without even leaving Farmville, courtesy of a Polar Science program administered by High Bridge Trail State Park Education Specialist Hallie Robinson.

The action unfolded in a room at the Barbara Rose Johns Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library.

“We’re going to play with blubber,” Robinson announced to 10-year-old Alan Coro, 8-year-old Rachel Coro and 3-year-old August McCraw.

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“Who likes polar bears?” Robinson asked.

A little voice replied, “I do.”

“Who likes penguins?” Robinson asked.

A little voice provided an exuberant, “I do!”

“Who likes swimming when it’s -5 degrees outside and there’s ice all around?” Robinson asked.

“If I have a coat on,” a little voice replied.

Robinson used a bowl of ice water and ziplock bags full of a mixture featuring Crisco to help illustrate how polar bears have blubber that helps them withstand low temperatures of the water.

She later used salt with the ice water and a string to help illustrate how even when it is cold, all of the water does not freeze, allowing fish to stay alive.

At the end of the session, when asked what she learned, Rachel Coro said, “About blubber.”

Identifying the benefit of it, she said, “To keep your hands — well, for polar bears your paws, as warm.”

Robinson said that as part of her job, she administers programs and education initiatives for all age groups, “and some of that includes science experiments and letting kids figure out how the world works.”

She noted being pleased with having a trio of pupils.

“Even if one kid comes, I still have fun, and I think it’s totally worthwhile,” she said. “I was really happy with today.”

And though she was packing up, she said she had noticed a boy who had been looking into the room with curiosity and figured she might get one more pupil to take the trip to The Arctic.