Pull on a pair of galoshes and be transported on an exciting adventure exploring the mysteries and marvels of Louisiana’s disappearing wetlands.

Starting Monday, Jan. 31, and continuing through Friday, Feb. 4, 2005, the main auditorium at NASA Ames Research Center, located in California’s Silicon Valley, will be ‘transformed’ into the Mississippi River Delta and Louisiana’s Cajun country to host 5,200 Bay area students and teachers scheduled to participate in the 2005 JASON Expedition: Disappearing Wetlands. The students will interact with Dr. Robert Ballard, a team of scientists and student and teacher ‘Argonauts’ via 20 live, interactive broadcasts.

“The JASON project is a rare and exciting experience for the students,” said Wendy Holforty, JASON project manager at NASA Ames. “They have the opportunity to interact with scientists in the field via the live broadcast and run experiments of their own in JASON City.”

After the broadcast, the students will move to JASON City, situated in NASA Ames’ Hangar 211, where the students can participate in more than 16 enrichment activities ranging from art, live demonstrations and animal exhibits to hands-on science experiments custom-designed to enhance the broadcast content and classroom curriculum.

“While we realize that most of the learning happens in the classroom, a visit to Ames during the JASON project is inspiring and fun for our students,” said Will Shaw, JASON project coordinator for NASA Ames.

Wetlands are critical, life-supporting ecosystems that provide a habitat for an incredible diversity of plants and animals. These ecosystems are ‘nurseries’ for countless species of fish and shellfish. Wetlands also protect the vulnerable coastlines from storm surges and help filter and purify fresh water. Many of the local JASON students and teachers have been studying the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project to learn about local ecosystems.

Now in its 16th year, the JASON project is a multi-disciplinary education program designed to spark the imagination of students and enhance the classroom experience. Previous JASON expeditions have highlighted the Earth’s polar regions, active volcanoes, ocean depths and dense tropical rain forests.

NASA is a major partner of the JASON project. NASA scientists who work in the areas of Earth science and remote sensing routinely participate in live JASON broadcasts. For this expedition, Marco Giardino, from NASA Stennis Space Center, located near Bay St. Louis, Miss., will discuss the wealth of information about the health of the Louisiana wetlands and coastline, which is available from satellite imagery.

NASA Ames Research center has hosted the JASON broadcasts and JASON City for the past 11 years.

For more information about the 2005 JASON Expedition: Disappearing Wetlands, visit:




News media representatives are invited to attend the 2005 JASON Expedition: Disappearing Wetlands media day at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., on Feb. 3, 2005 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PST. Join as many as 200 Bay area teachers and 5,000 students as they learn about the vital role wetlands play in the health and biodiversity of the Earth with live broadcasts from the Mississippi Delta and Louisiana’s Cajun country. Students will watch broadcasts from Ames’ main auditorium and another location. After each broadcast, students will participate in hands-on activities at JASON City, located in Hangar N-211. To reach Ames, take the Moffett Field exit from Highway 101, drive east to the main gate and the visitor badging office to obtain a map and directions to the events. U.S. media representatives must have valid, government-issued picture ID, such as a driver’s license or ‘press pass’ IN ADDITION TO a company picture ID or other news media picture ID in order to enter Ames.