The Odyssey Institute

The Odyssey Institute for Advanced and International Studies honors biology and diploma program teacher Jessica Sabo, who was awarded a Project Kindle Program Fellowship, and will study flammulated owls in Tucson this summer. (Photo courtesy The Branding Habitat)

Buckeye charter school teacher Jessica Sabo has been awarded a Project Kindle Program fellowship, and will head to Tucson to study flammulated owls this summer.

Sabo – who teaches honors biology and heads up the diploma program at The Odyssey Institute for Advanced and International Studies – will join 15 other U.S. educators on the Earthwatch Institute expedition.

“This is great because we as teachers are able to go on these excursions with scientists and collect data for them,” she said.

During the summertime expedition, she will observe how the dwindling cacti and tree structures are affecting the owls’ habitat. Boxes that mimic birdhouses are being installed across the country with the hope that over time, it will help increase the owls’ population.

The nonprofit international organization Earthwatch annually recruits teachers whose students engage in hands-on scientific field expeditions. The educators who are chosen will then assist scientists in collecting data and help with the experimental research from June 27 to July 3.

The fellowship allows the participating teachers to gather ideas they can eventually incorporate into their curriculum. The Odyssey Institute students are given the opportunity to go on a trip each year to help further their education.

“After I do the experience, I get to set up my own adventure,” said Sabo, who studied zoology and education in college. “We could go anywhere. We could go to Iceland and collect data, or we could go to Costa Rica and collect data on butterflies. We can go to Europe or Africa. There are Earthwatch Scientist and Data Research Stations all over the globe.”

The school is part of the International Baccalaureate program, and it is thriving with passionate students and teachers.

“What we are really focused on at Odyssey is the international part of education,” Sabo said. “Allowing our scholars to be global learners and not just about what is happening here but what is happening in other places and how we can make a change in the future and create one global community.”

Awards are nothing new to Sabo. She won the 2005 Toyota Tapestry Award by National Science Teachers Association for administering scientist-trained, cutting-edge biotechnology in her high school classroom. She was Odyssey’s Teacher of the Year in 2016 and 2017.