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Shelly Luke

What makes you an "Explorer"?

An explorer is anyone who reaches outside his or her safety zone and learns something new. I try to stretch myself-this way as much as possible. I like to try new things and always am the first to say of course we can do it. So far that has lead me on many adventures. This is my second time to the rain forest. Last time I went to Belize and studied not only the jungle, but also the coral reefs off the coast. I went scuba diving there with sharks! I am looking forward to meeting the people of Peru and learning about the pink dolphins.

What other people have been role models and/or mentors for you?

I was blessed with two wonderful grandmothers who I was able to know when I was an adult. From them I learned how to make the best of a situation and to see the good in people. They taught me to try hard and to do things right the first time.

When I was teaching I met many students who were role models for me. They were the students who taught me little lessons every day like how to be a good friend, how important it is to take the time to make those around you feel good about themselves, and how wonderful it is to learn new things. I was always learning from the students in my classroom. There is a saying about listening to what comes from the mouths of babes and I have made it a point to listen and have been rewarded every time.

Recently I have had two mentors. They are women who are my friends and supported me in my new projects and ideas. They also gave me chances and opportunities to try new things. I feel lucky that they saw in me something to nurture and I hope to be able to be that nurturer for others someday.

Why have you chosen to participate in this expedition?

I guess since I was one of the ones who came up with this idea I just had to participate. I wouldn't have wanted to miss it for the world. This all started when Susan and I talked about going to the Amazon someday. We were working together and I had just received the brochure from the Oceanic Society. Originally, for about five seconds, we just planned on being participants on the trip. Immediately Susan suggested we could do some sort of Internet project and from that point on there was no stopping me! The next day I called the Oceanic Society and told them about the "great" idea we had for them. They listened and invited me to a meeting where I told them more about the idea and they agreed to give Susan and I a chance.

People think that I am lucky and things come easy to me, but really I just take advantage of opportunities that come up. This is one example of how I make my dreams a reality with a lot of hard work. It is like when I prepare to run a marathon; you set a goal and work on it a little bit each day.

What do you hope to gain from the experience?

I hope to learn about the dolphins, meet new people from around the world through this web page, and experience a little bit of life in another culture. Already I have learned a lot about technology and about myself through the project. I hope to continue learning each step of the way. I am also hoping to see at least one dolphin up close and a cat in the jungle would be nice, but I don't expect to see a jaguar.

What skills are necessary for this journey?

For most people this trip only requires a sense of adventure, money and the ability to work with new people. For Tracy, Susan and me there are a lot of technical skills that we need. We are going to Virginia for a two day training so we know how to use the satellite phone. We also need to be able to research, do some web design, create the lessons and other information found on the web site. I know there will there times that things go wrong so having a sense of humor and good problem-solving skills won't hurt. Good thing we are three smart, funny gals.


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