Visit the EarthView web site to meet the team and learn about the project.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Row for Water

Katie Spotz is a young Ohioan on a mission that complements one of the major lessons of EarthView. Here she is studying a map of the equatorial portion of the Atlantic as she prepares for a three-month journey rowing from Dakar, Senegal to Cayenne, French Guaina.

EarthView team member Professor James first learned of Katie's project from her interview on NPR's Talk of the Nation program, on which she discussed the importance of timing and location.  Even though her boat and electronic equipment are quite sophisticated, the most important aspect of the journey is that she will be rowing every bit of 2,500 miles. No matter how good the boat is, this feat requires not only extraordinary strength and endurance but also quite careful attention to GEOGRAPHY.

Her route will follow the southern edge of the North Equatorial Current, which itself is the southern portion of the North Atlantic gyre. By leaving Senegal in January, she minimizes the likelihood of major storms (though the boat can handle them) and maximizes the chances that currents will be pushing her in the right direction, toward Cayenne.

Her project is called Row for Water because Katie is traversing salt water as a fund-raiser for a campaign to provide fresh water to 1,000 of the 1,000,000,000 people in the world who do not have a safe and reliable supply. In EarthView, students learn why water can be scarce on a planet that is 70 percent covered by water.

Once Katie departs Dakar, her supporters will be able to track her progress across the Atlantic. Geography students can have classroom contests: How far will she go each day? What will be her fastest day? Her slowest? How close will she get to Cape Verde? When will she arrive in French Guiana? Where will she arrive? What maps can you consult to help you guess some of the answers? What other geographic questions can you think of?

Use the "comment" link below to share the adventure with other EarthView students!

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