Lewis & Clark Flight of Discovery to Land at Western Historic Trails Center June 5, 2004

For immediate release May 12, 2004



KC Collins Hummel, 712-366-4900
Michael V. Harding, 619-222-9862
Patricia Cooney-Nida, Ph.D. (800) 547-6339

Council Bluffs, Iowa—The Western Historic Trails Center located at 3434 Richard Downing Ave. (Exit 1B off I80/29) will welcome the Flight of Discovery to Council Bluffs June 5 at 10:00 a.m. The Flight of Discovery, a team of general aviation pilot/scientists, will fly the river corridors and overland routes of the Lewis and Clark expedition during the 200th anniversary of the search for the Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean. The expedition will depart from Clarksville, Indiana at the Falls of the Ohio on June 1, 2004 and arrive two weeks later in Astoria, Oregon.

The Flight of Discovery is composed of geologists, agronomists, botanists, ecologists and anthropologists. Corps members will document cultural and environmental changes along the route that have occurred over a two hundred year period by employing scientific method and procedures, with reference to the 200-year old historical record contained in the journals, correspondence, notes and samples assembled from 1804-1806 by the Corps of Discovery.

The purpose of the expedition is to connect people on and off the Trail with established history and their environment through the utilization of familiar and available technology. To achieve this goal, the expedition has donated a "Trunk of Discovery" to a number of school districts and educational institutions along the route of flight including the Western Historic Trails Center.

The Trunk of Discovery, valued at more than $1,000, is used to enrich classroom activities and field work, giving students the opportunity to collect scientific specimens for a national collection commemorating the scientific goals of the Corps of Discovery. Each Trunk contains a variety of educational materials and tools, including a Global Positioning Satellite device (GPS), binoculars, pilot's weather computer, plant press, and mineral test kit. Emphasis is placed on the sciences of ecology, geology, zoology, botany, mathematics, meteorology, biology and the scientific disciplines that President Thomas Jefferson instructed Meriwether Lewis to investigate during the 1804-1805 mission.

Flight of Discovery Expedition Leader and environmental scientist Mike Harding of San Diego, California conceived the trunk program as a way to help students "participate in a modern day voyage of enlightenment." Harding notes, "Real improvements in the quality of life come through education and improving people's awareness of the environment in which they live."

"The challenge of our expedition," adds Carol L. Forrest, P.E., Logistics Director, "is to establish the amount of change from 'baseline' conditions that has occurred since the original Corps of Discovery expedition from 1803-1806. Documenting these changes will constitute an environmental barometer that can aid future decision-makers - today's students - in addressing natural resource conservation/protection strategies and policies."
More information and regular updates on the expedition's progress can be acquired from the expedition's website, www.flightofdiscovery.com.

The program by Flight of Discovery and the Western Historic Trails Center are free and open to the public.


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