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Evolution up close

Brown said mingling with other teachers is one of the most exciting aspects of the trip.

"[I am excited] about sharing ideas back and forth and working with people from different parts of the country," he said.

In addition to being able to share ideas, Brown said, he's excited to be able to bring students beyond the text books.

"For me, it's going to be firsthand seeing this place and to be able to add more than just that of a textbook."

Superintendent of Schools in the South Colonie Central School District Jonathan Buhner said he hopes Brown is able to send photos and possibly even video back to the district while he is away so that students can see what he is seeing.

"It connects science to real life, and the kids say, 'Well, here's a person doing research about different genetics and biology,'" he said.

Buhner said this realism in Brown's trip could show students that what they are learning in Brown's class are real-life issues.

Buhner said he is excited that a teacher in the district has made it so far through the program.

"It's very prestigious, and there aren't a lot of teachers of that competition to go," he said. "He's a terrific teacher " I haven't been here long, but he just loves what he does. We're looking forward to getting information back."

Brown said he also hopes that his experiences in the Galapagos will help him once he is back in the classrooms and teaching students about Darwinism.

"For the sixth grade here, we teach about animal adaptation," he said. "I hope to make a PowerPoint video from photos I take."

While education of the students is an obvious benefit from teachers taking part in the program, Parker said it helps Toyota promote energy conservation by promoting awareness.

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