By Tamas Mondovics

A group of Lithia Springs Elementary School (LSES) fifth grade students had a chance to take a virtual field trip to Lake Placid, NY last month, led by world famous adventurer Richard Wiese.

The special journey was made possible by means of a partnership between Microsoft and the Emmy Award-winning educational and informational television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese, which airs weekly on ABC stations.

Transforming exploration—right from the classroom—the partnership takes students across the country on live adventures using Microsoft technology solutions such as: Skype, Surface and Bing.

The Everglades, an active fossil dig, and a live native american dance experience are all on the roster of episode content much appreciated by each student.

According to LSES teacher Melissa Forsythe, the in-the-classroom Skype lesson allowed students to take part in the filming of the episode scheduled to air on ABC on Saturday, April 16.

“Since we are a Project Innovate school, we were given this opportunity,” Forsythe said, adding that Microsoft and Born To Explore created a partnership to showcase computers being used to attend virtual field trips.

Forsythe also emphasized that her students prepared for the filming by studying maps, learning geography, and using Bing, adding that each student was supplied with a Microsoft Surface to use during the taping.

“Our students used maps and asked questions to discover the mystery location where Richard Wiese was located,” she said. “Every student was excited for the opportunity to participate in a national T.V. show and learn the behind-the-scenes taping and lighting.”

The show highlighted a musher and his sled dogs. To spice things up even more, Chimney, a Siberian Husky, visited the LSES classroom as an extra surprise.

In its fifth season, Born to Explore allows adventurer Richard Wiese to guide his viewers on journeys across the world under its mission to seek out unique people, celebrate the diversity of world cultures, explore the animal kingdom and discover the wonders of the planet.

The series, which averages over 1.4 million viewers each week, blends adventure, travel, environmental stewardship and positive cultural messages against a backdrop of exotic locations. The series airs on the American Forces Network and Hulu. Visit www.sdhc.k.12.fl.us.