100 Days to Antarctica Day!

Today marks the 100-day countdown to Antarctica Day! We at UK Polar Network will be working with Our Spaces this year to lead the Antarctica Day festivities--you'll be hearing a lot from us over the next couple of months. As part of this initiative, we invite individuals, classrooms and schools to participate in the festivities by sending us their renditions of Antarctic flags. The flags will then hitch a ride all the way to Antarctica, and we will send proof of travel with a certificate and photos of their journey!
Antarctica flag activity in Cape Town South Africa

Antarctica Day Flag event with the International Polar Foundation, in Cape Town, South Africa

What's so important about Antarctica Day and our Flags event? After almost fifty-five years, the Antarctic Treaty continues to shine as a rare beacon of international cooperation. To celebrate this milestone of peace in our civilisation with hope and inspiration for future generations – Antarctica Day is recognised to be December 1st -the day when the Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959. As an annual event, Antarctica Day encourages participation from around the world. Our aim is to continue expanding Antarctica Day through our Flags initiative as a globally-accessible platform to share, interpret and cherish the values associated with Antarctica for the benefit of present and future generations.

For researchers travelling to Antarctica

You can help!

Are you heading down to Antarctica or any of the surrounding Antarctic Islands this Winter (November - January)? If so, please let us know! All we ask is for you to help bring down some of these flags, which will be sent to you in pdf or jpg format (however many you are willing to help with!) and photograph them on Antarctica as proof of them having made the journey down south. However you do so is completely up to you--you can be as creative as you want. The photos in this post show various ways that past Antarctic teams have showcased these flags.

Rothera Station Antarctica Day

Staff at Rothera Research Station celebrate 55 years of the Antarctica Treaty with Antarctic flags

For teachers and classrooms:

We've uploaded many school resources, including class plans and PowerPoints on how you, as an educator, can introduce Antarctica and Antarctica Day into your classroom, and have your students create flags to be sent down to Antarctica. We would like to emphasise that submissions to us can only be up to 5 flags per school or classroom--if you would like to submit your flags to us, please contact Julie Berkman <jberkman@ourspaces.org.uk> where she will provide you a DropBox link on reply. The idea is for your students to design flags for the Antarctic. You can either get all students to design flags, and then chose your 'top five' or you could design a couple of flags as a whole class/year group. Digital pictures of the flags are sent to us, and we then print off these picture and send them down to the Antarctic with our scientists and engineers in November and December. A picture of your flags will then be taken within the Antarctic, and the student/classroom will receive a certificate to say where their flag was displayed. There is also a chance that a competition will be run for the best flags to be hung up around the British Antarctic Survey and Scott Polar Museum. We can provide a large number of resources and lesson ideas. We would also like to maintain a relationship with the school afterwards, either by a visit to the school from a scientist, or an online Q&A session for your students with a scientist. This is an international activity, and so far we have schools from over 20 countries taking part. The UKPN would love to have your school participate in this exciting event. To help you implement this activity within your classroom, we've attached a sample class plan for Antarctica Flags that has been most popular over the last couple of years! If you would like this class plan in another language, please let us know by replying to this email.
Antarctic Day - Escuela Rural 110, Soriano, URUGUAY

A classroom at the Escuela Rural 110, in Soriano, Uruguay, displays their renditions of the Antarctica Flag

This year, our deadline for submission of Antarctica Day flags will be slightly earlier, on the 1st November (exactly 1 month before Antarctica Day!), because we'd like to get your flags to be photographed in Antarctica on the 1st December. 

Windless Bight_Gateway PCAS students w Antarctic Flags

Staff and students on the Gateway Antarctica expedition with Antarctica New Zealand display Antarctica flags on Christmas Day

Lastly, to keep updated and involved in the Antarctica Day festivities, please follow us on Facebook (UKPN and Antarctica Day) and Twitter, where we will be regularly posting your flag submissions and other relevant items counting down the days to December 1st.

Please get in touch with either me <tj.young@polarnetwork.org>, Jenny Turton <jenny.turton@polarnetwork.org> or Julie Berkman <jberkman@ourspaces.org.uk> if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing your Antarctic Flags!

 TJ Young and Jenny Turton

A-level students inspired by Polar Outreach day at Loughborough University 12th June 2013

loughborough polar outreachThe day involved A2 geography students and staff taking part in a range of interactive experiments designed to teach them about the complex processes that drive climate change and the level of the sea. The students also got the opportunity to dress in polar clothing, to get a feel what it would be like to work in these inhospitable regions. This day really highlighted the benefits of inspiring young people about Geography and Science, which is vital to ensure that we can continue to understand the intricate processes of our global climate system. The experiments were run in association with the International Polar Foundation’s Class Zero Emission project and the UK Polar Network. Simon Holland, Geography teacher at Bilborough College said: “It was an excellent and stimulating day which really brought home the issues to students but also the complex science behind the issues in a tangible and enjoyable way. “The experiments looked at crucial parts of the climate change picture which together create a real issue for us all to address now and in the future, bringing home the message about the potentially devastating impact of climate change on our lives and planet. “Huge thanks must go to the University for organising, coordinating and sponsoring such a useful and motivational event for all involved.” The event was organised by PhD Student Eleanor Darlington, with help from Loughborough University staff and students Morna Simpson, Dr. Richard Hodgkins, Matthew Standell, Joni Cook, Catherine Waite, and Alexis Alamel. More photos available here.

Software & Polar Research Workshop

 

The UK Polar Network are running a Software & Polar Research Workshop at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge: Tuesday 17th September 2013. Although we are currently still in the planning process, please save this date in your diaries and check back regularly for updates! Where:  Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge Lensfield Road Cambridge CB2 1ER  When: 17 September, 2013 (immediately preceding the UK Arctic Science Workshop) What: We want to bring together a group of 20-30 early career polar researchers for a day filled with topics on how software has and will play an important role in polar research and your research in particular. Session ideas right now include talks on how software has enabled unique and exciting polar research (whether controlling autonomous vehicles, or fusing large amounts of satellite data over Antarctica and Greenland, for example), a presentation on becoming ready to share your code, resources for software development best practice, tips on choosing the best computing tools for your research, and a collaborative session between workshop attendees. The event will also include a networking reception to allow participants to get to know each other and the presenters. Some funds will be available for travel to Cambridge and accommodation for the workshop, as well as possibly for the duration of the Arctic Science Conference, depending on demand. What Next: Over the next few months we’ll be forming the programme, confirming speakers, and setting up the registration process. To express interest in attending the workshop and receive updates, email allen.pope@polarnetwork.org. If you have any ideas for what you’d like to see as part of the workshop, we’d love to hear that, too. The UKPN is always looking for volunteers who want to get involved, so let us know if you’d like to help organize this event (or a future one), even in a small role. How: This workshop is sponsored by the Software Sustainability Institute. Find out more about how they can help you do your research better at http://www.software.ac.uk/.  Look out for their resources as well as their fellowship scheme, which provides researchers at all career levels with funds to attend conferences, run events, and further the aims of the SSI.

School outreach opportunities in India!

In November 2011, UKPN member and Sheffield-based PhD student Sonal Choudhary visited her native India to enlighten young people at three different schools about the opportunities in polar science. Sonal’s inspiring campaign reached several hundred Indian schoolchildren, their teachers and representatives from Indian media organisations. Sonal informed her audiences in presentations on her research work and the broader importance of polar science, entertained with stories of living and working in polar regions, and answered questions from many newly-inspired polar enthusiasts about how to take up a polar science career, her motivation for choosing an unusual career and how she travelled from their small town, via the UK, to the high Arctic. We thank the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office for funding these school visits. If you would like to run a schools visit, get in touch!

UKPN and APECS at AGU Fall 2011

Prior to the American Geophysical Union Fall meeting held in San Francisco at the beginning of December 2011, APECS and POLARTREC (http://www.polartrec.com/) hosted a Polar Information Station as part of the public engagement session undertaken at the conference. UKPN representatives Matthias Kunz, Sian Henley, Aisling Dolan and Allen Pope all helped out at the Polar Station. There was a display of Arctic tundra, a demonstration of how to make your own ice core and the gear so that children could feel what it would be like to become the next generation of Polar explorers! Over 250 people visited our Polar Station and much fun was had by all!  

Enthusing the next generation in San Francisco at AGU Fall

 

Polar outreach day in Leeds

On Monday 28th November 2011, UKPN member and University of Leeds PhD student Chris Williams educated and enthralled sixty children aged 7-8 about science and exploration in the Arctic region. Chris treated the budding polar enthusiasts to a fascinating photo presentation, lively discussions, real-life displays and interactive exercises to show the wonder and challenge of living and working in the Arctic environment. Feedback from the children and teachers was excellent and all participants went away with an appreciation of and fascination for the polar regions, and many future explorers were inspired!

ISAES XI and Outreach at Our Dynamic Earth

The 11th International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences in Edinburgh, UK, was a resounding success for the UK Polar Network, APECS, all those in attendance and polar science as a whole!

A record number of delegates attended ISAES XI, with over 500 registrations for the five-day conference. This conference was such a success for early career researchers as we made up almost a quarter of all participants and represented over 30 countries!

ISAES awarded partial funding to over 40 early career scientists to enable them to attend the conference. Enormous thanks to SCAR and the ISAES XI Steering Committee for this generous financial support.

Alongside the impressive and varied ground-breaking science at the ISAES XI conference, there was an exciting programme of events for early career scientists…

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UKPN at the British Science Festival 2010

Members of the UKPN spent last week at the British Science Festival teaching 8-10 year olds about glaciers, from how they form to their impact on the world and us. We had a great team, with Antarctic scientists, postgraduate students, lecturers and recent graduates taking on the role of education. We all managed to bring something different to the classroom and our wide range of backgrounds gave the students a variation of knowledge from the fields of glaciology, biology, meteorology and paleoclimatology! Held in Birmingham at Aston University, the festival was a chance to teach potential future scientists about the research that is being undertaken in the Polar Regions, excite them, and inspire them to choose a future in science. During the week our workshop “The Polar Meltdown” was visited by over 350 pupils, many of whom had never heard of a glacier before but we hope they left informed and inspired about the Polar Regions! We also managed to speak to many people involved in education, and get the UKPN better known in these fields. It was great to see not only children, but also adults interested in current Polar research. A big thanks to all the team; Allen, Martin, Tamsin, Nicola and Iestyn, and also the event organizers. And a massive thanks to all the schools that attended and made our week so enjoyable!