Pink Palace scientist to study in Antarctica

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DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. -- Starting next month, Pink Palace education manager Alex Eilers will spend six weeks in Antarctica.

She’s part of a small team of American scientists that will brave negative 20-degree temperatures and study Weddell Seals through a program called PolarTREC.

“They are at the top of the food chain, the only thing above them is killer whales,” Eilers said.

She told eighth-graders at Hernando Middle School the seals are passive and allow the scientists to get close.

This is Eilers' second expedition. Right now, she’s gearing up for it by talking to students across the area.

Hernando Middle science teacher Tonya Briggs said Eilers' presentations about her work make science real for students. It’s not every day you meet someone who spends time in Antarctica.

“I think it makes them remember. They take ownership of it. It will mean more to them than just memorizing information,” Briggs said.

Anyone can follow the seal study online.

“We’ll be journaling daily, students can actually ask questions while we’re down there,” Eilers said.

You can even get your very own souvenir of the trip just by dropping off a stamped and addressed postcard to the Pink Palace.

“I’ll literally take them down there, take them to the post office and they’ll go back to whoever they are addressed to,” Eilers said.

So far, the Pink Palace has collected more than 1,500 postcards from folks hoping to follow the journey.

Eilers said she is hopeful more Mid-Southerners join in: “I’ve got kindergartners and senior citizens. It’s for everyone.”

You can drop of a stamped postcard to the Pink Palace between now and Dec. 18. You can also buy stamped postcards at the Pink Palace for 50 cents.

Follow the PolarTREC journey here.