Chosen from a pool of over 150 teachers to journey down the Grand Canyon’s floor, Scott Hatfield is an incredibly accomplished man. Currently a biology teacher in Fresno California, he’s been teaching since the early 90’s, directing the district’s music program and several local choirs. Since joining the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) in 2006, he’s made leaps in fighting for the acceptance of evolution and climate change in Christianity. A Christian man himself, Hatfield has appeared on local television networks and radio shows, debating with creationists and advocating for the acceptance of proven scientific fact. In 2007, he established the Central Valley Café Scientifique, providing a safe and dedicated place for scientists to brainstorm, discuss new research opportunities, and collaborate on presentations. Even today, he emphasizes the importance of evolution and climate change in the classroom, but what does he do outside of the classroom?
A true enthusiast, Hatfield spends his time out of the classroom exploring the world and studying his field in a direct and hands-on way. In 2010, he made his defining journey to the Galapagos Islands, home to many of Charles Darwin’s most important discoveries. Over 10 days, Hatfield joined a group of 16 other scientists and national park officials exploring the island to gather first-hand experience and present new information to his classes and community.
The most memorable things about the island were…
- How incredibly huge everything was
- How untouched and prehistoric the wildlife is
- How approachable and friendly the native animals were
- The sheer number of volcanoes – both active and inactive
- The millions of different species of birds
But that was just one of his many journeys, and his latest will see him Grand Canyon rafting with other members of the scientific community, studying wildlife and some of the oldest exposed rock layers on the planet. The canyon itself is 6,000 feet deep, and Hatfield will be riding along the Colorado River, the very same stretch of water that has created the canyon over millions and millions of years. To this day, the river continues to erode the canyon, revealing new specimens and layers of rock, making the canyon floor one of the most studied geographical sites in the world.
Hatfield is currently preparing for this chance of a lifetime. To be completely immersed in wilderness for a full eight days is no small task, and to brace his body for the icy waters of the Colorado, Hatfield has been taking cold showers every day for over a week. Of course, Hatfield isn’t preparing himself only for the Colorado River. Grand Canyon tours like this require a certain level of preparation, but Hatfield has another ambition beyond the canyon floor: Antarctica. His wife of 20 years, Corine, described his passion for exploration well, saying, “He’d love to go to Antarctica next, he just wants to explore everywhere and everything in the name of science. It’s not so much that he’s getting to go on a trip and it’s going to be fun, which it’s going to be. It’s about the research and finding some way to change the world.”
Would you venture to the 6,000 feet deep floor of the Grand Canyon? What about the Galapagos Islands or even Antarctica? Let us know in the comments section below!