March 20, 2018

Land of the Midnight Sun

What is a 5th grade teacher from Virginia doing in Alaska 15 hours after waving goodbye to her sweet students on the last day of school? I’m here to represent and inspire teachers all over the world, beginning my 2018 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ adventure! It will be an honor to have you join me for the ride!

After waving goodbye to my students on Friday, I rushed to catch the flight toward Alaska. I landed in Oregon in darkness, but two hours into the flight toward Anchorage, I glanced out a window and the sky was light! The horizon above the clouds looked like a sunrise in the east. We landed, and while awaiting my ride at 1:00 am, the sky was light with a bluish tinge.

Summer solstice is June 20, when Earth’s North Pole is tilted toward the sun. There is definitely a midnight sun, or 24-hour daylight here. For those of us from the lower 48, we don’t get to experience this phenomenon. However, it is very familiar to Alaskans whose children can play outside all night!

The first thing I wondered is how the midnight sun affects dogs at the kennel where we’re staying. My thought was if it’s difficult for me to fall asleep and stay asleep in daylight, does it affect the sled dogs? So, I decided to consult musher Vern Halter here at Dream A Dream Dog Farm where we’re enjoying Iditarod Teacher Summer Camp. He laughingly informed me that the 24-hour light in summer does affect the dogs. Because it’s so light, they can see every rabbit that decides to pop out of the woods. They start their noisy excitement around 2 or 3 AM each morning, which isn’t appreciated.

Please come along as I post daily about the Iditarod, Alaska, the dogs, and so much more that can be woven into your required curriculum to engage your students!