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Iditarod musher visits Carnation Elementary

  • Written by Leanne Christensen, Riverview School District
Woodinville resident and Iditarod musher Scott White visited students at Carnation Elementary School recently to share the real life experiences of Iditarod racing. Not only was the presentation full of amazing facts and experiences, it also included a visit with Jasmine, one of Scott’s best racing dogs.

This exciting event began when students in Julie Eppenberg’s class began reading the book "Balto," which is the tale of a sled dog who led his team on the final stretch of a run in 1925 Nome, Alaska, in which the dogs were responsible for carrying valuable medicine needed for an outbreak of diphtheria in the area.

"Reading this book filled with tales of snow, dogs and racing is a wonderful way to get students exciting about reading," said Eppenberg. "The students also read biographies of other mushers, newspaper articles and researched the history of the race on the Web."

Eppenberger contacted White earlier in the year, but due to his vigorous training schedule they agreed to have him share his presentation after the race. This gave the students the opportunity to follow his progress — mapping their musher — on a daily basis throughout the race this year and make some predictions of their own.

It was very exciting for the students when White and Jasmine arrived at their school. During his presentation White explained that during the race the temperatures are extremely low and the amount of snow can be very challenging.

At times the dogs must run through four feet of snow.

"It’s almost like swimming," said White.

His dogs are very well trained, which is important as there are 16 dogs running together during the race. Six of the dogs are considered the leaders; they are the fastest and the smartest.

White described to the students the extreme care the dogs receive during the race. There are many check points. All mushers must sign in and all dogs are given mandatory rests and check- ups.

Each check point has three veterinarians on staff to ensure the health and safety of the dogs. This program brought Balto to life for the students — not to mention what they learned by their reading, writing, research, math and history.

If you would like to know more about the life and adventures of Scott White and his dogs, log onto his Web site at 222.lostlakeracing.org.

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