The Story

Lost Seal Cover

The Lost Seal is the true story of a group of scientists discovering a young weddell seal lost in the remote McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica. is the true story of a group of scientists discovering a young weddell seal lost in the remote McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica. Created as an illustrated educational narrative as part of the Long Term Ecological Research Network's Schoolyard Series of ecosystem books, young readers can explore the geography, history, and field research conducted in one of the world's most extreme deserts as they follow the seal's adventure home.

On this site you can learn more about the unique Dry Valleys ecosystem, read what real scientists are doing in the field, search for artwork from classrooms who helped to illustrate the story, and watch the video of the real lost seal.




The Art Collection

Antarctica has a rich history of collaborative research, and The Lost Seal has been translated into multiple languages in order to represent the historic and present involvement of many countries in its exploration. In celebration of the International Polar Year in 2008-9 and the successive translations of the Lost Seal, children in participating classrooms across the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Chile created original artwork based on the book while learning about their country's history of Antarctic exploration. Select artwork was included in the final publication of the book, and on this website students can search through the entire database of drawings, find their artwork, and explore the variety from classrooms across the globe.

How do I find my artwork?

Click on the blue "Search for Art" button at the navigation bar of this page. You may also use the "Browse for Art" menu links and choose your school from a drop-down list.
Next, you'll see a list of artwork with the artist's name and description of their work, and can narrow your results by first name. Simply click the thumbnail to see a high-resolution downloadable image.

Summary and Reviews of The Lost Seal

"Research scientists camped at the desolate McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica studying the local lakes and streams are one day surprised to find a young Weddell seal in their midst. Tired and hungry, and perhaps lured by the smell of the groupâs cheeseburger dinner, the young male is a long way from his natural habitat on the sea ice of McMurdo Sound. Bound by the Antarctic Conservation Act, the scientists know they cannot provide it with sustenance, but instead contact seal scientists who, after some thought, decide they can provide assistance so the seal can return to the sea ice. The seal gets the ride of its life back to its natural habitat, and the scientists name one of the streams they have been studying to commemorate their unlikely campmate." --The Lost Seal


"A naturally interesting story line... gives McKnight the opportunity to explore a range of scientific fields from the microscopic to global scale. The book opens a window into a world that very few people know exist and even fewer understand." -Amy Leventer, Nature Geoscience

"This book is a great introduction for 8-12 year-olds to environmental science in one of the coolest spots on Earth - Antarctica's Dry Valleys. Great artwork from real kids and the illustrations are beautiful. Clear information, and a story about compassion and cooperation. I recommend it for third through fifth grade classroom teachers, middle school science teachers, families and kids who love animals." -Amazon customer review