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 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.
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 <email@example.com> 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.
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.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Jenny Turton <email@example.com> or Julie Berkman <firstname.lastname@example.org> if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing your Antarctic Flags!
TJ Young and Jenny Turton