eXXpedition: Voyage to study plastic pollution

Thanks for all of your support. Due to Covid19 eXXpedition had to end at Leg 8. While I did not get to sail to Australia, I get to Participate in the Virtual Voyages. I will use all the money donated in my community in clean-ups and pay back my community and donors who are in need. Please visit  https://exxpedition.com/voyage/virtual-voyage-australia/ to learn more about the Virtual Voyage and my journy to become an eXXpedition Ambassador.

My name is Julie Sommer. I am from Omaha, Nebraska and I am so honored to have been chosen as one of 300 women participating in eXXpedition Round the World.
eXXpedition is an all-female sailing voyage and scientific research mission. With 38,000 nautical miles and 30 legs starting and ending in the United Kingdom, the diverse eXXpedition crews will explore plastics in our ocean and contribute to innovative solutions-based thinking to reduce toxins not only in the ocean but also in our bodies.

On board S.V. TravelEdge, each eXXpedition crew is carefully selected for the combination of skills and life experiences that we collectively offer. They believe that this provides the greatest potential for interdisciplinary collaboration and the opportunity to look at complex challenges from different perspectives.

I was chosen for Leg 13: Vanuatu, Oceania to Cairns, Australia  from June 2021. All dates are still Tentative due to COVID19 . Starting in Vanuatu, a guest crew of 10 with 4 eXXpedition crew members on each leg, will work with a local community group to find out more about the plastic pollution issues on the islands. Vanuatu is a mountainous archipelago and will provide a stunning backdrop to our onshore activities. We will sail West 1500 nautical miles to Cairns, Australia and continue our scientific research while at sea, deploying the manta trawl to collect and process samples on board. When we reach land we will head into Cairns to share tales from our crossing and raise awareness about the impact that plastic pollution is having on our oceans and on us.

To make the eXXpedition possible, each crew member must contribute to the cost of the voyage. I need to contribute to my time on the ship, including all travel and supplies needed to get there. In addition, I have added travel to London in September 2019 for the eXXpedition Summit to attend a sea survival course, meet past crew members to learn what education they brought back to their communities, and get inaugurated into the crew. 

Here is an estimate of my budget:
Deposit June 2019: $1980
London September 2019 (flights, hotel, ground transport 4 nights): $2880
Crew contribution payment #1 due 11/01/2019: $2650
Crew contribution payment #2 due 02/01/2020: $2650
Misc supplies, travel insurance, and visa fees: $800
Flight to Vanuatu, Oceania (w/ 4 nights hotel & ground transportation) June 2021: $2500
Flight home  from Australia need a cushion in case boat is late to port (w/ 3 nights hotel & ground transportation) June 2021: $1500

I am trying to raise $15,000

11/21/19 - with fundraisers and other sponsorship not on GoFundMe, I have decreased the amount to $12,000
02/04/2020 - With generous donors, I have decreased the amount to $10,000
UPDATE: Due to COVID19, eXXpedition has paused Round The World. I will be sailing next summer on Leg 13. More info as it becomes available!
Update 03/05/2021 - eXXpedition is officially cancelled

The crew directory  is updated, if you are interested in having your logo on my personal biography please consider a $500 donation. 

I was compelled to apply for the voyage to learn about the effects of plastics on our earth  and our bodies , and the innovative science  behind the round the world sampling. Collecting samples from some of the planet’s most important and diverse marine environments will build a picture of the state of the seas. The Round the World trip will cover the Arctic, the Galapagos Islands, the South Pacific islands and central ocean areas where plastic accumulates because of circulating currents . 

I want to help explore the issue of plastics, chemicals, endocrine disruptors and carcinogens in our personal and global environment that can cause disease. We constantly see the affects it has on wildlife like the picture below. In our oceans alone, plastic debris outweighs zooplankton by a ratio of 36-to-1. Americans discard more than 30 million tons of plastic a year. Only 8 percent gets recycled. The rest ends up in landfills, is burned or becomes litter. These toxins leach into our own groundwater from the landfills and cause a major public health issue. Statistics like these, backed up by science are hard to ignore.

Seeing the impact of plastics in the ocean and on land around the world will help inform me how I want to bring awareness back to my community. I want to be a role model as a female scientist, mother, and Nebraskan. I intend to impact meaningful change regarding plastic pollution solutions in my community.  I hope to to make partnerships with several local organizations like my educational partner, Keep Omaha Beautiful.

Learn more about eXXpedition here  and my  website for more information.
Also follow my Instagram page for my journey to the voyage! @ban_voyage
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Julie Sommer
Omaha, NE

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