Canadian students get a bird's eye view of Whatcom, Okanogan counties (w/video)

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDFebruary 3, 2014 

Students at school in British Columbia got an eye-popping view from space of the lower mainland and eastern Whatcom County late last year when they launched a weather balloon with a video camera attached.

The brainchild of Bruce Watts, a video production teacher at Dr. Knox Middle School in Kelowna, B.C., the project launched a weather balloon fixed with a GoPro camera and GPS tracking device on Oct. 28.

The craft reached 94,000 feet before the balloon popped and the camera came back to earth, landing on Dollarwatch Mountain in the Okanogan National Forest, between Winthrop and the U.S.-Canada border, according to Watts. Two faculty members hiked overnight through snow-covered backcountry to recover the camera.

Along its flight, the video camera provided great views for the Earth-bound students, as seen in this YouTube video posted Jan. 10:

WATCH VIDEO

Payton Berrigan, a ninth-grader at the school, said the biggest challenge the students faced was getting several groups to work together - but it was worth it in the end.

Students had to estimate how high and how far the balloon would go, based on weather conditions on the day it was launched.

"I think the most valuable lesson we learned is that you can't get any where without putting work into it," Berrigan said in an email. "If you don't try, you won't succeed."

More student videos are available at youtube.com/user/knoxspaceballoon.

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