Cenla graduate returns home from Antarctica research expedition
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - From Central Louisiana to Eastern Antarctica, a 2019 graduate of Jena High School recently returned home from a research expedition, studying the biology of marine invertebrates.
Will Farris grew up in Georgetown, a village in Grant Parish with a population of about 300 people. After graduating high school, Farris attended the University of Alabama and his on-campus job led to a once in a lifetime opportunity, a six-week voyage aboard the ‘Nathaniel B. Palmer,’ a research vessel that measures about the size of a football field.
There is a lot of scientific research taking place in Antarctica. On this particular expedition, 60 scientists, including Farris, were studying the genetics and evolution of animals and microbes to get a better understanding of the region’s biodiversity.
“The ecosystem is very important down there,” said Farris. “It is very pristine and mostly untouched. So, being able to conserve those, and possibly be able to help save ecosystems that would otherwise be glossed over and be lost.”
Farris spent 12 hours a day immersed in research and although he was fulfilling a once in a lifetime opportunity, Farris missed some comforts.
“Life on the ship was tough,” said Farris. “It was cold. I think the coldest it got on the ship was minus 40, which is way below what I am used to. And it was loud breaking through the ice.”
Farris said he is not sure what is next but wants his experience to challenge kids to explore new things.
“You can even just go hiking,” explained Farris. “Go to your local forest, go for a day hike in Kisatchie. Get out of your comfort zone and try and experience new things. If you try new things and they are not for you cool at least you tried them.”
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