The Lost Seal is a children’s book telling the true story of a young Weddell Seal who surprised researchers – including book author and CWEST Director, Diane McKnight – by showing up at their camp in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, some 6 miles inland from the coast. As the researchers try to decide how to handle the arrival of their unexpected visitor, readers learn about the Dry Valleys ecosystem and about life at an Antarctic research camp. The story ultimately leads to an exciting conclusion for the seal pup.
Written for 6 to 12 year olds and published in celebration of the 2007-2008 International Polar Year (IPY), the Lost Seal is part of the LTER Schoolyard Series and is associated with the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site. In the spirit of IPY, 2nd to 4th graders from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, were invited to draw artwork based on the Lost Seal story. Some of the children’s work appears in the book alongside illustrations by artist Dorothy Emerling, and all (nearly 500!) pictures contributed by students appear on the official Lost Seal website. If you'd like to see the actual lost seal that inspired the book, check out the three videos below. Video #1 shows views from around the researchers' camp by Lake Fryxell. In video #2, we are introduced to the Weddell Seal pup. Video #3 shows how the researchers decided to help out the Weddell Seal, which leads to some exciting events for the young seal.