for National Geographic News
A group of students and teachers sponsored in part by the National Geographic Society went to the Channel Islands in April for a marine workshop that was originally scheduled for last September but had to be postponed because of the terrorist attacks on the United States.
Organizers said the make-up workshop was held this spring to carry on the mission and honor the memory of two long-time National Geographic employees who died in the September 11 attacks.
Ann Judge, director of the National Geographic Society's travel office, and Joe Ferguson, assistant director of the Geography Education Outreach program, had been aboard Flight 77 accompanying three pairs of students and teachers from Washington, D.C., to the Channel Island National Marine Sanctuary.
They were planning to participate in a field study organized under the Sustainable Seas Expeditions program, which is sponsored by the National Geographic Society (NGS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The group was among the victims killed when their plane was hijacked and flown into the Pentagon.
Friends and colleagues of Ferguson and Judge said they believed the two would have wanted the study program to continue.
Nancee Hunter, a program manager for the NGS Education Foundation, said she "felt honored and humbled" to follow in their footsteps by organizing the workshop this time around. Hunter said she hoped "to make this field trip an extraordinary experience for the teachers and young student participants, as Joe and Ann always did."
Hunter recalled waiting in California last September for Ferguson and Judge to arrive with the D.C. students and teachers, when she saw the terrorist attacks on television. "I can still remember seeing the surreal explosions on TV, and the shock I felt when they announced that one of the flights was 'Number 77 from Washington to Los Angeles' and realized they were on that plane," she said.
The National Geographic Society established a fund in honor of Ferguson and Judge to recognize their commitment to the Society's mission of education, exploration, research, and conservation.
Mark Longo, director of development operations for the Society, said contributions now exceed $200,000, a figure that the Society is matching dollar for dollar. "There have been more than 550 individual donors, and it's been great to see such an outpouring," he said, adding: "Each week we still get checks."
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