Antarctic Flags Project 2020-2021 Round-up

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.

Sixty years on, the Antarctic Treaty has expanded to include 54 countries and is a rare example of international cooperation. The Treaty governs much of the politics, activities and responsibilities within the Antarctic continent and waters south of 60 degrees latitude. For example, all scientific observations should be made freely available to all researchers, no military bases or weapons testing are allowed, and the dumping or burning of any rubbish is prohibited.

Every year since 2015 we have organised an outreach project – the Antarctica Day Flags Initiative – with the aim to spread the word about this world-wide collaboration and to inspires future generations.

As Antarctica does not have its own official flag, we ask participating schools to design one which they believe symbolises this continent. We at the UKPN (UK Polar Network) then pair the flags 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”. Upon the flags return, schools receive proof of travel with a certificate and photos of their journey.

Alongside designing the flags, we encourage schools to learn about Antarctica, its governance and the Treaty in their lessons. This year we received a diverse range of flag designs, from penguins (by far the most popular!), orcas, icebergs and mountains to designs representing peace and international cooperation.

A selection of flags designed by schools across the globe to celebrate Antarctica. Credit: UK Polar Network

A selection of flags designed by schools across the globe to celebrate Antarctica. Credit: UK Polar Network

 ‘Our student was so chuffed to see their flag in Antarctica, they are now researching how to become an Antarctic Scientist’! (Danielle Bate, Worcestershire Secondary School teacher)

It is truly great to see how the unique environment of Antarctica is inspiring the flag makers and the next generation of polar researchers!

This year presented its own challenges, with Covid-19 meaning Antarctic research programs reduced the number of scientists and staff heading South. We were nevertheless delighted at the involvement in our initiative, and sent 122 flags to Antarctica from 106 schools in 13 countries, including UK, Poland, Ireland, China, Germany, Cyprus, Singapore, Uganda, USA, Abu Dhabi and the Netherlands! Most flags have now made their journey back from Antarctica to the schools eagerly awaiting their return.

Some of the flags in Antarctica with research scientists, field assistants, station staff and research ship crew members!

Watch this space for more beautiful flags and more global connections between science, schools and Antarctica. Look out for details on how to take part in our next Antarctic Flags project in October 2021!

Jenny Arthur and Fiona Old (2020-21 Antarctic Flags project coordinators)

Email: Antarctica-day@polarnetwork.org

Twitter: @UKPolarNetwork, @AntarcticJenny, @fiona_616

ARCTIS 2020: brief review

We are happy to report, that the second Arctic Interdisciplinary Studies 2020, ARCTIS 2020, field course in Khanty-Mansiysk city and vicinity, Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region, West Siberia, Russia was successfully held in February 2020, co-organised by the UKPN and APECS Russia.

As per tradition, the course included various disciplines: Atmosphere, Cryosphere, Terrestrial, Marine (Hydrology) and Social & Humanitarian, which were covered via lectures, practical sessions and fieldwork, including a trip to the Mukhrino research station.

The course also benefited from a stakeholder meeting, trips to local museums and get together events. “The course was a success and everyone, including participants from the UK and Russia, lecturers and organizing committee enjoyed it”, shared Saule Akhmetkaliyeva, Head of UK Arctic – Russia ECR group for UKPN

We are looking forward to receiving more photos and feedback on the course, keep your eyes open for future posts!

Happy Antarctica Day!

Happy Antarctica Day 2019!

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.

For more information about our Antarctic Flags initiative, please visit: https://britishantarcticterritory.org.uk/blog-uk-polar-network-antarctic-flags/ or contact us at antarctica-day@polarnetwork.org

#AntarcticaDay2019_UKPN #PolarOutreach #AntarcticFlags

Seals of Antarctica

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

Check out our Instagram;Twitter and Facebook for more posts and definitely check out @stas_zakharov_photo for more seals! 

Antarctica wildlife photos

Today for  campaign we wanted to share some beautiful images of perhaps most iconic representatives of Antarctic fauna: penguins.

Stay tuned and follow us on Instagram;Twitter and Facebook for more posts, news and photos! 

Chinstrap penguin, Hope point, Antarctic peninsula. Photo credits Dmitry Frey

King penguins and RV Vavilov near South Georgia Island. Photo credits Dmitry Frey