Iditarod Skype Talks

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It’s definitely school talk season. And what an awesome day we had at the Anchorage School in Anchorage, Kentucky!

Most of the other schools in the Louisville area were closed due to the sub-zero wind chill, but NOT the Anchorage School!

It was the PERFECT day to learn about dog mushing across Alaska. Now the entire school knows how to stay safe and warm when it’s so frigid your breath flash-freezes mid-air and the snow squeak-squeaks beneath your boots.

Thank you to Robin Bowman, Media Center Specialist, for inviting us! And thanks for making Chloe feel so at home up on the stage with Noggin, the Alaskan husky. It’s not every day my beloved corgi-springer mix (a.k.a. official bed-warmer) gets to share the spotlight with the sled dogs.

Mushing on to our next talk… happy trails from Karen, Noggin, and Chloe!

Yesterday, after sixteen-some adventure-filled years together, it broke our hearts to say goodbye to our beloved Romano.

Romano was a good man! He didn’t have a sneaky bone in his body (which, for an Alaskan husky, is really saying something). He was a saint among dogs. He touched the lives of so many. I like to imagine him in Heaven, hanging with all of the humans who adored him—Dwight, Brenda, Mom, Dad—as well as the long string of dogs leading him to the Heavenly smells and sights—Lolo, Borage, and his brother, Stinky, along with the rest of the Cheese Family… and the many other dogs from both the Gilliland’s pack and my own… the list goes on and on.

Thank you, Romano, for being you. 

We’ll miss you… 

Mush, Romano! Mush!

 

 

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Mrs. Christie Smith’s Second Grade Class

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Karen, Christie Smith, Isaac Smith, and Noggin

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Karen, Keith Grant (ICES Principal), Dr Tim Edsell (Superintendent of Indian Creek Schools), and Noggin

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Karen and Dr. Tim Edsell (somewhere under all of those layers!)

After reminiscing with retired second grade teacher, Judy Misiniec, and current-day second grade teacher, Christie Smith, we figured out that I’ve been visiting Indian Creek Elementary in Trafalgar, Indiana for at least 16 years! Judy was a teacher devoted to bringing outdoor adventure into her classroom through the Last Great Race curriculum, and her passion for the annual Iditarod unit wore off on other great teachers at her school. Every year I look forward to returning to Trafalgar to see my friends and bring a little of that outdoor mushing magic indoors to the students. This is Noggin’s second year visiting Trafalgar but she already considers it home.

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Mason Whipker, a student at Northside Middle School in Columbus, IN, is dressed and ready to hit the 2018 Iditarod Trail. To his right is science teacher, Mike Reed. Thanks for having us back again—twice in one school year! Noggin and I always feel right at home in your lovely library.

MUSH!

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The 1000-mile Yukon Quest is happening RIGHT NOW! Follow the race at www.yukonquest.com. Everyone always asks me if I’ll ever run the Iditarod again—this is the race I’d love to experience at some point in my life. BIG country, great people, and challenging terrain with a “smaller” 14-dog team (Iditarod is a 16-dog team)—I’ve always found the Yukon Quest intriguing. The Quest website has beautiful videos from past races. Click on their Youtube channel to live a little bit of the trail yourself …

The Iditarod starts on March 3, 2018. Follow the race at www.iditarod.com. Teachers click on the EDUCATION page to follow the Teacher on the Trail, watch videos, and access  race resources. Throughout the race, I also frequent the Anchorage Daily News website (www.adn.com) for free daily updates and beautiful photography.

I still have some dates open for Iditarod school or public library talks at your location OR via Skype. Contact me now (mymusher at Yahoo dot com) to set a date!

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Virtually, that is! Thank you to everyone at the American International School in Chennai, India! Romano and I really enjoyed visiting with the class. The 3rd grade students just finished reading the book, “The Stone Fox” by John Reynolds Gardiner, and sent 3 pages of great questions to us in advance. Because of the 9.5 hours time difference, I was worried Romano might sleep through his unusually late night gig but like always he was a true big screen star. He even stayed awake for the entire 45-minute chat (with the help of hot dog treats). Because of a thunderstorm moving through Indy at that exact time, Noggin was “not available” to join us — she spent the evening wearing a Thundershirt and hiding under the kitchen table! Thankfully, I have a dog for every occasion.

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