At 20-years-old I read The Endurance, an epic about Ernest Shackleton's journey to Antarctica and the amazing leadership and team spirit that kept him and his entire crew alive for over 15 months after they had to abandon ship. This tale resonated with my yearning to explore the unknown and most of all, to be a part of the kind of team that could manage to bring every crew member home. Even though Antarctica is the least altered continent since Shackleton's time, it will probably still be a very different place.
I am heading out on a scientific vessel called the M/V Ushuaia and will spend 12 days on board. Along with about 60 other students I will study how climate change is affecting Antarctica and many other environmental issues. After crossing the Drake passage from Ushaia, Argentina, we will make several zodiak trips each day to different islands and parts of the Antarctic Peninsula. There will be lectures and interactive learning activities while we take geographical and biological surveys.
Excited does not encompass the emotions that I feel looking forward to this trip. I have so many people to thank for their support along my journey to this point. Maeva Gauthier, who inspired my scientific direction at school, who actually informed me about this opportunity, and who is a constant inspiration in her conservation and educational pursuits, Francoise Gervais, one of the bravest women I know who's passion for everything in nature is infectious, Robert Dowdall, my Dad, without whom I would never have made it this far in school and on my gypsy journey, my partner in life and in crime, Travis Quinn who has helped me in believing that anything can be accomplished, and so many other wonderful people!
When I return to Canada I plan to offer guest lectures at my school to share what I have gleaned from Antarctica. I will take as many pictures as I can and share them all with you. I think that this experience will help me connect with everyone I meet at the conservation level as I delve into the world of environmental activism. Stay tuned for my project about waste awareness.
Thank you everyone! Even if you can't donate, you read my spiel this far and are hopefully now a little curious about Antarctica too.
- Woogie Kracht
- Travis Quinn
- Jessica Lyford
- Maeva Gauthier
- Amanda Wooden
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