We are happy to announce that the UKPN has an exciting Antarctica Day Quiz running this year!
Antarctica Day has been celebrated since 2010 to commemorate the signing of the Antarctic Treaty on 1st December 1959. So, grab a pint, a penguin, and some pals and join us on 1st Dec at 19:00 GMT on zoom.
Are you studying the frozen planet or the poles? Do you want to learn about the Antarctic Treaty and why we celebrate it on Antarctica Day? The UK Polar Network are offering you the opportunity to learn more about this and to design and send an Antarctic flag out down to Antarctica with a fantastic team of polar researchers!
Why celebrate Antarctica Day?
On December 1st 1959, 12 nations signed the Antarctic Treaty, a document declaring that Antarctica would be off limits to military activity and setting it aside as a place for peace and scientific discoveries. Since 2010, December 1st has been celebrated each year to mark this milestone of peace and to inspire future decisions. We hope to extend the celebrations worldwide through our Antarctic Flags initiative, giving new generations the opportunity to learn about the Antarctic Treaty and to share, interpret and cherish the values associated with Antarctica!
Are you a school teacher/ individual interested in sending a flag to Antarctica?
The aim of this initiative is to inspire new generations about the Antarctic and Antarctica Day. We have many school resources, including a class plan and a PowerPoint on how you can introduce the Antarctic and Antarctica Day to your classroom before having your students send their flags south. (If you would like the sample plan in another language, we have also included translations into Chinese, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch).
The idea is that following a lesson(s) on Antarctica, your students design a flag for the
Researcher Christine Dow and her team display a flag at South Korea’s Jang Bogo Research Station.
Antarctic – as it does not have its own – based on what they have learnt. Given the current Covid-19 situation, we would like to emphasise that we can only accept 1 flag per school or classroom, so you could get your students to design their own flags and then select one or your whole class could design one together. Please ask your students to consider their design/colour choices – to be recognisable from a distance and against lots of bright snow, bright colours and designs work best!
We then ask you to send us a pdf of your flags (ideally scanned in rather than photos) and we will match them up with a researcher or engineer who will take them down to Antarctica. You will receive a photo of your flag in Antarctica together with a certificate letting you know which part of the continent your flag travelled to.
A penguin-themed flag from the British International School in Cairo, Egypt
So far we have had schools and researchers from over 20 countries involved in the Antarctic flag initiative and we would love to have your school join us this year! If you would like to register your interest, please fill in this form by October 31st 2020. Following this, we will match school groups with researchers and provide you details of how you can upload your flags (the deadline for this will be the 22nd November 2020 to ensure as many flags as possible are pictured close to Antarctica Day on December 1st).
We are keen to maintain a relationship with the school after so please do get in touch if you would like to organise a visit/ skype with a scientist. Alternatively, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to send a letter to a Polar Pen Pal who will be able to answer any questions your class may have about research and life in the field!
Are you a researcher travelling to Antarctica this year (2020 – 2021)?
Please help us!
If you are heading to Antarctica or any of the surrounding Antarctic islands this winter (November – January) please get in touch, we would love your help! All we ask is that you take some flags (however many you are willing to take) sent to you as a pdf or jpg and photograph them in Antarctica as proof that they have made it there. How you choose to do this is totally up to you, you can be as creative as you like! We will then ask you to please send them back to your contact on the UKPN committee who will sort out sending these back to the schools.
Today the Antarctic Treaty is celebrating its 60th anniversary.
Every year since 2015 the UKPN have organised an outreach project – the Antarctica Day Flags Initiative – with the aim to spread the word about this success story for world-wide collaboration and to hope its message and values inspires future generations.
We asked participating schools to create a flag for Antarctica (as it is without an official flag) which they believe symbolises this continent.
The flags are then sent to us here at UKPN, who pair flags from schools with researchers and station staff that are heading down to Antarctica for the Austral Summer (November-January). The flags are then transported all the way to Antarctica with these “flag bearers”, and proof of travel with a certificate and photos of their journey will be sent to the schools upon the flag bearers’ return.
It is only two days left before the Antarctica day and today we want to share beautiful pictures of most amusing marine mammals by talented wildlife photographer Stas Zakharov: the Antarctica seals. There are 6 species of seals in Antarctica, including Antarctic Fur Seals, Leopard Seals, Ross Seals, Crabeater Seals and Weddell Seals, and these 6 species apparently make up the majority of all seals on earth.
Weddell seals Leptonychotes weddellii at the Lemaire Channel
Antarctic fur seal Arctocephalus gazella, South Shetland Islands
Today’s #AntarcticaDay2019_UKPNpost features history of exploration of the South Pole – fascinating and dramatic story of rivalry between the two expeditions.
“I am just going outside and I may be some time – he went out into the blizzard and we have not seen him since” From Scott’s diaries, 1912
Amundsen’s South Pole expedition. Image from: https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/8-5_amundsens_group_at_pole_flag_flying1.jpg?quality=80&strip=all&w=780
Beginning of the 20th century was an era of polar exploration also known as Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. One of the key figures in the world’s history of polar exploration undoubtedly is Roald Amundsen who first reached the South Pole by land in 1911 and also led the first expedition that first reached the North Pole by air in 1926 (on-board the airship Norge). Amundsen and Oscar Wisting were the first men to have reached both geographical poles. But behind this simple date stands complicated and dramatic history of numerous attempts to be the first to reach the center of either hemispheres, history that carried away lives of many noble researchers, including Robert Falcon Scott’s entire party who died on their return journey from the South Pole where they found Norwegian flag deployed 34 days before Scott’s expedition arrival. The rivalry between British and Norwegian expeditions, led by Scott and Amundsen respectively, is perhaps one of the most dramatic events in the history of discoveries.
Read more about the race to the pole, details and differences between the two expeditions at:
The Antarctic treaty is an international agreement that sets aside the entire Antarctica continent as a scientific preserve devoted to peace and science “forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes in the interest of mankind”. The treaty ensured freedom of scientific investigation and ban of military activities on the continent. It was the first nuclear-arms agreement and the first institution to govern all human activities in an international region with no sovereign jurisdiction. The treaty remains a unique and inspiring example of international collaboration and implementation of the common heritage of mankind principle.
Signed on December 1, 1959 in Washington, D.C., United States it came into force in 1961 and currently has 54 member parties 29 of which, including all 12 original signatories to the treaty, have voting status(the latest status list as of April 2019 is available via the link). The twelve countries that were the original signatories are: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. All member parties implement the articles of the Treaty through their national laws. The Antarctic Treaty System holds yearly Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM) and has an Antarctic Treaty Secretariat that facilitates and supports the ATCMs.
The treaty consists of 14 Articles and is available in English; French; Russian and Spanish.
Antarctica Day is celebrated on the 1st of December every year since 2010, when it was established to commemorate the signature of the Antarctic Treaty on 1st December 1959.
Antarctica Day was initiated by the Foundation for the Good Governance of International Spaces (www.ourspaces.org.uk) with aims of building global awareness of this landmark institution, and celebrating this milestone of peace in our civilization with hope and inspiration for future generations.
Antarctica Day 2019 will mark the 60th anniversary of the Antarctic treaty. To celebrate this we launch the #AntarcticaDay2019_UKPN media campaign with a series of historic overview posts, photos and insights from current fieldwork in Antarctica.