eXXpedition - Panama to The Galapagos January 2020

eXXpedition 2019-2021:

eXXpedition Round The World 2019-2021 is an all-female sailing voyage and scientific research mission. Over 38,000 nautical miles and 30 voyage legs, starting and ending in the UK, eXXpedition crews will explore plastics and toxics in our ocean.

Hello! My name is Hilary (that's me with a rescued elephant in Thailand!) ... I'd be so grateful for a moment or two of your time to read my story below.

If you know me at all, you'll have heard me speak passionately about the heartbreaking devastation that single use plastics are wreaking on our oceans and ecosystems.

Did you know that 8 million tonnes of plastic waste find their way into the ocean each year? That we use over one million plastic bags every minute worldwide? Or that toxic chemicals in the ocean, such as pesticides, flame retardants and industrial waste are accumulating in the food chain?

Well, I've been incredibly lucky to be given the opportunity to take part in an amazing scientific project  called 'eXXpedition'. This is an all-female led scientific voyage which travels the oceans carrying out research on the devastating impact of plastic toxics on the ocean environments, and on our own health.

In January 2020 I will be part of a team of 10 enthusiastic women sailing from Panama City to the Galapagos Islands, famous for a wealth of unique plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.

Along the way we will be working with the University of Plymouth in the UK, and the University of Georgia in the US, collecting and analysing scientific samples to feed into large-scale studies exploring the scale of plastic pollution in our environment.

This particular leg of the voyage will be focusing on the fragile habitats around these important volcanic islands that were the source of Darwin’s theory of evolution, and remain a priceless living laboratory  for scientists today.

You may not be aware that my career is in science and medicine, so supporting women and girls to enter STEM * careers is another passion  of mine, and this is also part of the all-women eXXpedition mission. 

In 2017 the percentage of women in STEM represented just 14% of engineering graduates in 2017. In computer science the growth in the number of female graduates was far behind the growth in the number of male graduates. **

But we are also doing so well! The popularity of core STEM subjects is soaring at A-level, and more girls have A levels in Physics, Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Computing than ever before ***.  We need to build on this enthusiasm, and sustain that momentum into the future!
Inspiring and adventurous projects like eXXpedition help to redress the balance, and can encourage more women and girls pursue careers in science and exploration. This is also what I aim to support with my part in this mission. 

To make the expedition possible, each crew member must contribute to the cost of the voyage. I need to contribute £4,400  towards this cost. I will pay all my own flight, travel, kit and training expenses, and I will be working in shifts around the clock crewing the boat while at sea, crossing 1000 nautical miles of the South Pacific Ocean through all types of weather for 11 days!

Given that this is such a wonderful cause, I hope that some of you incredible people may wish to be a part of it, and might like to donate towards the costs of the project itself (e.g. logistics and organisation, the research equipment, food and maintenance of the boat).

Any of your precious donations would be gratefully received, and I'll be sure to acknowledge each donation and give you a shout out in my updates along the way to show my appreciation :)

Thank you for reading and if you want any more information about the mission please click here  http://exxpedition.com/rtw/ 

Love Hilary :) 

*STEM = Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics
** https://www.stemwomen.co.uk/blog/2018/03/useful-statistics-women-in-stem
*** https://www.wisecampaign.org.uk/statistics/analysis-of-a-level-core-stem-entrants-and-results-by-girls-2/
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Hilary Nash 
Brighton, South East England, United Kingdom
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