Here are some of the many news stories
that have been published related to the expedition!


Morgan Milne's photographs and watercolours from a recent expedition to Antarcticawith Students on Ice will make up her exhibition entitled Antarctica: Photos from the Bottom of the Earth. (Photo: Record news services)


Student’s photos capture enchanted beauty of Antarctica

By Rob O’Flanagan, The Guelph Mercury

March 4, 2011

Morgan Milne’s 15-day adventure to Antarctica was awe-inspiring and memory card-filling.

The best of the 17-year-old Guelph student’s photographic images from the trip make up Antarctica: Photos from the Bottom of the Earth, an exhibition that runs Saturday at the site of the former Alma Gallery, 133 Wyndham St. N., from 2 to 5 p.m.

“It was like having a beautiful backdrop in front of your face all of the time,” said the John F. Ross high school student, speaking of the natural beauty of Antarctica.

She won a Lea Cross Foundation scholarship to participate in the unique Students on Ice, an organization that offers students, educators and scientists educational expeditions to the Antarctic and the Arctic.

“It was a very beautiful, immense, enchanted place,” Milne said, a reality that’s captured in her large-scale photographs and in several watercolour paintings.

“It was really hard to stop looking through the lens of my camera.”

Milne described the trip as an “amazing experiential learning” adventure.

She met people from around the world, including scientists and artists who “were very happy people, doing amazing things with their lives.”

Alanna Mitchell, author of the book Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis, was part of the expedition, as were a number of scientists, historians, explorers and polar experts, she said.

“It was really inspiring, and it helped me grow,” said Milne, who was on the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica for New Year’s Eve.

“The idea behind the Students on Ice expedition is to teach kids about the rest of the planet. Its slogan is ‘Protect the poles, protect the planet.’ The poles are demonstrating the beginnings of climate change, so we were observing that. And we were getting an idea of the beauty of our planet and how interconnected it all is.”

Milne has already begun sharing her experiences with other students, encouraging them to apply to experiential learning programs in high school — programs such as the Da Vinci Arts and Science Environmental Leadership Program, the Community Environmental Leadership Program (CELP), and the Headwaters environmental program. Milne was a part of all three at John F. Ross.

The photographs and paintings in the exhibition will be for sale. Milne has also sold electronic copies of her photography online, in an effort to reduce carbon emissions and raise money for the local high school environmental programs.

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Gaithersburg, Maryland resident Gabi Mayers joined an international team of students who journeyed to Antarctica with Students on Ice in December and January.
(Photo: Lee Narraway, Students on Ice)


Gaithersburg girl goes to Antarctica for winter vacation

By Danielle Gaines
, Maryland Gazette

February 2, 2011


Gaithersburg resident Gabi Mayers is accustomed to the cold, crisp beauty of rock-solid ice. As goalie for the ice hockey team at Holton Arms School in Bethesda, she is on ice almost every day.

But even the pictures didn't prepare her for a trip to the world's largest disc of ice, Antarctica.

"The trip was life-changing. I feel as if I am a new person now," the 15-year-old high school sophomore said.

Gabi traveled to the world's most southern continent from Dec. 27 to Jan. 10 as part of an expedition with Students on Ice, a Canadian non-profit organization that brings groups of high school and college students to the Arctic and Antarctica.

Gabi traveled with 54 other students from 14 countries and lived on a ship, the M/V Ushuaia, leaving daily to visit the continent.

The students were cut off from electronics during the trip, save for a short period each day when they wrote online journal entries for their friends and family back home. "Now I don't even miss technology," Gabi said.

In her first journal message, Gabi told friends and family she hoped to conquer her two fears, birds and stairs, during the trip. In her last entry, Gabi confirmed that she had indeed conquered her fears – by hanging out with penguins at the coast and traversing the ship's steep stairs day after day – and listed her favorite moments as dancing the tango in Buenos Aires and sledding down glaciers.

A typical day included an early breakfast, morning educational lectures and then an afternoon boat ride to Antarctica, where the day's on-land activities started with meditation and reflection. Gabi had never in her life experienced such silence and solitude, she said.

"I feel so small here on this ship, in the middle of this giant ocean, in between islands full of wildlife," she wrote on Jan. 2.

To ring in the New Year, however, the group was decidedly noisy. They made up dances named after Antarctic wildlife and from the ship's deck they sang songs about the environment to Lady Gaga tunes, Gabi said.

"It was great. I spent my New Year's Eve in Antarctica. I don't think many people can say that," she said. "It is something I will never forget."

Since the trip, Gabi has considered changing her career path from psychology to marine biology. She also has an interest in human rights work and aspires to travel to all seven continents during her lifetime.


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Earlier this month Marshfield student Taylor Barth traveled to Antarctica with Students on Ice. (Photo: Lee Narraway, Students on Ice)

No wishing needed for Marshfield student

Hard work makes teen's dream trip to Antarctica come true.


By Juliana Goodwin
, News-Leader

January 28, 2011


There are doers and dreamers in this world.

Taylor Barth is both.

"I've always been interested in dreaming a big dream," the 18-year-old says. "I wouldn't feel fulfilled without living out the dream, so I have to find a way to live (it)."

Barth, a senior at Marshfield High School, recently accomplished his latest goal to visit Antarctica with Students on Ice, a nonprofit that takes 60 high school students a year to Antarctica: 30 international students and 30 Americans.

Barth was the only Missourian on the expedition.

It cost $11,000, which he's been saving for years by working in fast food and forgoing all gifts.

"He would tell everyone no Christmas presents, no birthday, donate to my Antarctica fund. He hasn't had birthday or Christmas for four years," says his mom, Michelle Cheeney.

He did it all while being student council president for three years and vice president this year; thriving in speech and debate; performing in nearly every high school play and musical; president of French club; a preschool teacher at James River Assembly of God; touring Europe in the summer with Missouri Ambassadors of Music and more.

Barth was inspired to visit Antarctica when he saw the movie "March of the Penguins."

"He said, 'I have to see that in person.' As a mom I was like sure, the most remote place on Earth," she says. "He dreams really big, but then he does it. It's pretty neat."

In middle school, Barth wanted to learn how to grow plants in outer space and crafted a science experiment that landed him the grand prize at Missouri State University's Science Fair and an aeronautics award.

He wants to become a pediatric surgeon and start an orphanage in Africa.

To prepare for that venture, he'll spend the summer volunteering in an orphanage in South Africa.

Barth's mother is a seventh-grade teacher in Marshfield and wishes more kids would "grab opportunities that are out there" and set their mind on bigger things.

Says Barth: "Many people stay here all their lives, but I think it doesn't matter where you live, how old you are, everyone has dreams, and I hope my story encourages people to go out and do what they have always dreamed about doing, no matter how old they are or where they live."


Want to learn more?

Students on Ice offers educational expeditions to the Antarctic and the Arctic.
According to the website www.studentsonice.com, the program's goal "is to provide students, educators and scientists from around the world with inspiring educational opportunities at the ends of the Earth and, in doing so, help them foster a new understanding and respect for the planet."

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Five American students pose with Old Glory on the Koerner Pillow Ice Cap, Wauwermans Islands, Antarctica (Photo: Taylor Barth)

Marshfield student returns from Antarctica

By Ryan Richardson
, Marshfield Mail

January 26, 2011

While most Marshfield kids were anxiously counting the days until Christmas break last month, Taylor Barth was double-checking his waterproof gear for a trip of a lifetime – to the frozen reaches of Antarctica.

Barth, along with 55 other students from around the world, traveled with Students on Ice expeditions to Antarctica from Dec. 25 to Jan. 11.

For the Marshfield High School senior, it was a chance to live out a dream he had since grade school.

“There’s nothing that can prepare you for how awe-inspiring it is once you get there,” Barth said.

Barth applied for a spot on the expedition over three years ago. For his dream to come true, he began saving and asked family members to give him money towards the trip, in lieu of Christmas presents.

“I had to get about $12,000 saved up to do this,” Barth said. “Almost every penny I could get from work went to this over three years. It all went towards the waterproof gear I needed and the trip itself.”

After seeing television programs about Antarctica and becoming enthralled with penguins, he made a promise to himself that he would get there one day. His 12,000 mile round-trip journey from Marshfield to the bottom of the Earth and back led him to several points of interest on the world’s most remote continent, including Elephant Island, Heroina Island and through the Drake Passage to the mainland of the frozen desert of Antarctica.

“You’d be crazy not to want to go there to experience it firsthand,” Barth said. “You can see all of this here in zoos and on television, but they (the animals) aren’t afraid of you there. We had humpback whales that came along the ships where we could touch them and we had penguins that would slide right up to us.”

While some parents would have reservations, his mother, Michelle Cheeney, was completely supportive of her son’s dream.

“When he saw ‘March of the Penguins’ at the movies and he said, ‘I’m going to go see that’ I knew he believed it,” Cheeney said. “He’s so driven and when he gets it in his head to do something, he does it.”

Barth’s journey started with a connecting flight from Springfield to New York and then to Argentina, where he met up with the other students and chaperones. Departing from Ushuaia, Argentina, the southern-most city in the world, they boarded small, pontoon-like boats and made their way towards the sub-zero temperatures of Antarctica.

“It was rough on the boats, especially when we got to the building-sized icebergs and the massive falling ice shelves.” Barth said. “When parts of the ice shelf break off, you have to make sure you are prepared for the huge waves that come along with it.”

Far from a sight-seeing trip, the Students on Ice program leads expeditions twice a year to both the Arctic and Antarctic. The company takes students ages 14 - 19 from around the world on these polar expeditions. Upon acceptance to the program, students are required to put in their homework prior to the expedition. The program concentrates on climate change and the natural wildlife of Antarctica.

“We learned a lot about the effects of global warming and climate change,” Barth said. “They showed us pictures of previous expeditions where there were entire shelves that are gone now.”

Barth has become an inspiration to his friends and neighbors since returning to Marshfield on Jan. 11. His mother says that her son shows others what pursuing your dreams can lead to.

“I have people come up to me and tell me what an inspiration he is,” Cheeney said. “They tell me that they hear about him just having a dream to do something this huge and to see him actually do it, then that makes them want to do it.”

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Yoav Balaban is interviewed beside his father by Oded Ben-Ami on Israeli national television's Channel 2 about his experiences on the Students on Ice Antarctic Youth Expedition 2011. (Photo: Channel 2)

Watch the January 20, 2011 interview here.

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Traveller's Tale: Polar scientist and Masterton adventurer Grant Redvers with his first book Tara Arctic – a New Zealander’s Epic Voyage. (Photo: Lynda Feringa)


Chilling tale of captivity on ice

By Nathan Crombie, The Wairarapa Times-Age


January 20, 2011

Polar adventurer Grant Redvers has had his first book - Tara Arctic: A New Zealander's Epic Voyage - shortlisted for a national readers' choice award.

The 300-page volume, which was published by Masterton-based Fraser Books, traces Redvers' historic 500 days locked in Arctic ice as expedition skipper aboard the climate-mapping vessel Tara.

The book was launched at Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History in November and is in the running for the Whitcoulls Travel Book of the Year Award against nine other Kiwi titles.

The competition includes Swimming with Sharks: Tales from the South Pacific Frontline by Michael Field and Tea with the Taleban: Travels in Afghanistan by Ian Robinson.

The winner of the award will be decided by readers' choice and votes may be cast online at www.travelcommunicators.co.nz.

Mr Redvers, 37, has a masters degree in environmental science and is a qualified yacht skipper and divemaster. The former Wairarapa College pupil worked as a hydrologist in Masterton and at Scott Base in Antarctica, before taking up life at sea. Since the Tara expedition, which ran from 2006-08, Mr Redvers has sailed to the coast of Greenland with a team of glaciologists and climate scientists, and early this year he will work with two Students on Ice expeditions to Antarctica.

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Sparta High School freshman John Reinbott, 14, stands on Heroina Island in Antarctica, with Adelie penguins in the background. (Photo: John Reinbott)

Student on ice: Sparta freshman makes trip to Antarctica

By Jeff Sistrunk

A lot of people travel south over the holidays, but few go as far south as one freshman from Sparta High School.

John Reinbott, 14, spent New Year's Eve onboard a ship floating in the waters of Antarctica as part of his two-week expedition with Students on Ice, an organization that brings together students and professionals from around the globe for educational trips to the Antarctic Peninsula and the surrounding Southern Ocean.

Reinbott signed on for the expedition, which spanned from Dec. 27 to Jan. 10 and included nine full days in Antarctica, after one of his friends recommended him as a candidate to participate in People to People International, a Missouri-based non-profit that sends American youth abroad to learn about other cultures. People to People International is affiliated with Students on Ice.

"We saw this as an opportunity for John to connect with people in his job field," said Sue Reinbott, John's mother.

While John Reinbott hasn't pinpointed exactly what he wants to do in the future, he has a strong interest in ocean science -- specifically, the study of whales. To that effect, a few days into the Students on Ice trip, Reinbott got up-close and personal with a group of humpback whales.

But first, he had to get to Antarctica.

Reinbott flew out of John F. Kennedy International Airport the day a snowstorm hit New Jersey, disrupting air traffic into the state for much of the week leading up to the New Year. His two-day jaunt down south of the Equator from JFK to Ushuaia, Argentina -- a city frequently regarded as the southernmost city in the world -- included layovers in Lima, Peru, Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In Ushuaia, Reinbott boarded a former research vessel along with about 60 other students ages 14 to 20 and 30 staff members -- including professors, an oceanographer and a biologist -- representing more than a dozen countries. After disembarking from Argentina, the vessel, also named Ushuaia, made its way down the notoriously treacherous Drake's Passage and into Antarctic waters.

"I didn't know when he signed up for the trip that the Drake Passage is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world," Sue Reinbott said.

John Reinbott said travelers jokingly refer to the passage as either the Drake "Lake" or "Quake" depending on how rough the waters are at a given time. Fortunately, on the way down, it was a "Lake." On the way back to Argentina, though, it was a "Quake," and seasickness abounded.

"There were a lot of barf bags being passed around," Reinbott said.

The Ushuaia is equipped with two-person cabins as well as a library, lounge, research hall and dining hall.

"It was weird at first onboard the ship, because it was a new environment," Reinbott said. "I got used to it after awhile."

Once the vessel passed into Antarctica, temperatures above deck ranged from 20 below zero to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. However, with his array of water- and wind-proof clothes, Reinbott was well-prepared.

"It's funny -- it was freezing at the airport when John flew back in after the trip, but after being in Antarctica, he said he wasn't cold at all," Sue Reinbott said.

Students on Ice participants weren't allowed to bring electronics onboard, although there was a laptop with a wireless connection on the ship that students and staff used to blog about their day-to-day experiences. In between stops, students attended lectures on the history of Antarctica, wrote songs and painted, as well as engaged in other activities like bird-watching. Students also took ice core samples and tested water quality.

Over the course of the expedition, the Ushuaia visited many locations, including Port Lockroy and the Ukrainian-owned Vernadsky Research Base, where scientists are studying the hole in the ozone above Antarctica. John Reinbott said a stop on penguin-rich Heroina Island stands out in his mind.

"There were millions of penguins, and they weren't scared of us at all," he said. "It was nesting season, so all the females had two chicks with them."

The Students on Ice crew got up at 5 a.m. on another day to hike on an ice cap. Once they reached the top, they observed a moment of near-complete silence.

"It was incredible," Reinbott said. "There were no cars going by, no people talking on phones ... I'd never experienced anything like it."

The same day as the hike, the ship encountered several humpback whales, and Reinbott said he'd never seen a room clear faster.

"Everyone was screaming and running around, trying to be the first to get up on deck to see them," he said.

The trip was a valuable, one-of-a-kind networking experience, Reinbott said.

"I've made lifelong friends from all over the world," he said. "I met students from Israel, Palestine and Japan, and we had instructors from Sweden and England."

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Nicole Labine joined 58 other students from around the world on a ten-day Antarctic journey. (Photo: Nicole Labine)

Antarctica trip leaves Smith student ‘in awe’

By Shawn Bell, Slave River Journal

January 18, 2011

At the moment Nicole Labine sat down on top of an Antarctic mountain, exhausted from climbing, and looked out over the vista of glacier-dotted ocean, she realized what a wonderful, magical experience her trip to the south of the world had become.
"There are really no words to describe the moment," she said, just days after returning home to Fort Smith. "Antarctica is like the last frontier. It's huge, it's invaluable. Everything is on a grand scale, that you feel so small. It puts your life in perspective, makes you realize how small you are, how at the mercy of Mother Nature we are. And yet it's a chance to reconnect with the world, and life itself."

Labine, a young woman from Fort Smith, joined 58 young people from around the world for a ten-day trip throughout the southern continent.

The experience was hosted by Students on Ice, a program offering educational trips for students to the Arctic and Antarctic.

Of ten days on a ship, four were spent on open water travelling across the Drake Passage, two days each way from the southern tip of Argentina to the Antarctic land mass.

Once at the southern continent, the students had the chance to climb glaciers, meet penguins and experience some of what scientists in Antarctica deal with each day, such as taking ice cores from glaciers and examining the hole in the ozone layer at research stations.

The group even visited Shetland Island South, where Ernest Shackleton and his men, some of the first Antarctica explorers, were stranded under two overturned wooden boats for two years in the early 1900s.

Labine said that highlights included swimming in the Antarctic Ocean, visiting the inside of an active volcano and the countless experiences with the continent's wildlife.

Foremost were the penguins, congregating in the thousands on any bare outcrop of rock and intensely curious about the people landing in their midst.

Labine said it was common to have penguins picking at the laces of her shoes throughout the trip.

She laughed that when she arrived home and opened her suitcase, it was the smell of penguins that wafted off of her clothes.

But while Labine raved about the chance to experience penguins and seals in their natural environment, climb glaciers before breakfast and spend ten days with scientists, adventurers and peers from around the world, she emphasized that the trip had a serious focus.

Climate change is wreaking havoc on the world's polar regions, something made abundantly clear by the trip, she said.

For example, two years ago when she visited the Arctic, Labine was told that the Arctic Ocean would be ice-free by 2050. This year's estimates forecast an ice-free Arctic sea by 2020.

"People need to be aware of this," Labine said. "Everybody has a responsibility to pay attention to politicians, what they are doing, and also what we are all doing ourselves, at home. It's going to affect us. We're going to see these changes in the next 20 years."

Yet as she returns home to spread the message of climate change that she witnessed first hand at the southern tip of the world, Labine cannot forget the feeling of sitting on a mountain looking over a landscape so foreign to humanity.

"You gain a new appreciation of the world, and of yourself," she said. "We had five minutes of silence to take it all in, and all you could think was how lucky you were to be having this experience. I felt really priviledged and in awe of the experience."

She also wanted to thank her sponsors, including Northwestern Air, the Royal Canadian Legion, Wally's Drugs, the Town of Fort Smith, Fort Smith Metis Council, Kingland Ford and her friends and family, without whose support she never could have experienced what she called a "life-changing" trip.

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General Brock Elementary School students Batool Yahya, left, Mahwish Khan and Khushali Parikh share their thoughts with Geoff Green who was keynote speaker during a day long program for public school students held at the Ciociaro Club of Windsor, Thursday, January 13, 2011. Green brought his inspiring message to the "G-generation." (Photo, Nick Brancaccio, The Windsor Star)

Windsor's 'Generation G' embraces green philosophy

By Don LaJoie, The Windsor Star

Forget Generations X and Y, renowned Canadian environmentalist Geoff Green, with breathtaking stories of his "Students On Ice" polar expeditions, is inspiring local public school students to sign on for Generation G.

"Generation G stands for green, global, generous, grace, gratitude and good karma," said Green, who has been named one of the nation's 25 Top Transformational Canadians. "This is a concept the kids created. But really it's for all of us here. Generation G should have no age qualification. We're going to need all hands on deck for this. But the kids can spearhead it. We've had generation X, Y and Z. Generation G will be the most important of all."

Standing before a backdrop of spectacular photographs and video from his own recent trips and from other historic polar explorations, Green gave a one-hour address Thursday to 500 students attending the board's EcoSchools Training Day that focused on this generation's destiny to be stewards of the earth.

His talk, which covered the 111 expeditions he has led to Antarctica and the Canadian Arctic with students from around the world and featured National Geographic quality images of orcas, penguins, polar bears and the students who came to study them had his audience transfixed and eager to follow in their snowy footprints.

One particularly poignant image showed a girl from British Columbia playing her violin as the sun set on the undulating Arctic Ocean behind her. Over 10 years, Green has led 1,500 students on such life-changing journeys of personal and academic discovery.

"I thought it would be amazing to have an experience like that," said Batool Yahya, a Grade 6 pupil from General Brock Public School. "I'd like to do it for sure. I've been interested in the environment since Grade 2, When I'm older I want to be part of Students on Ice."

Added classmate Mahwish Khan, "He's lucky to get to go on all those expeditions. It's a great opportunity that kids get to go too. I actually would like to go. I never thought I'd be able to do something like that but, now that he showed us that we can, I really want to go."

And Green stressed that it is possible. He said high school or university students from anywhere can apply to go on a Student's On Ice expedition. In an interview he hinted he would be willing to work with the Greater Essex County District School Board to possibly, "designate five spots" for a future opportunity.

It was a suggestion that board Trustee Dave Taves, who attended the address, would be willing to follow up.

"I don't think we'd have any problem finding kids," he said. "If it's true we'd like to get the information and pass it along to set up some kind of protocol. I think it's something the board would like to do and possibly could do."

Green said "looking into the eye of an orca is something they'll never forget" but added the journey is about more than heroic stories of previous expeditions and beholding awe-inspiring natural beauty. It's about engaging youth with environmental issues to ensure those young people are encouraged to protect that eco system for their children and their children's children.

"No one would disagree that the Arctic is not as healthy as in our grandparent's day," he said, noting the ravages of global warming. "I've seen it first hand. Last summer on a trip to the Arctic we didn't see any ice for the first time in 20 years. We face a drastically different Arctic ... We face a lot of challenges. Are we sleep walking into the future?"

He described himself as an optimist when it comes to the future, adding his mother told him the world doesn't need another pessimist. Green suggested technological advances got the world into the current environmental mess and he believes future technology can help get it our.

That's why, he said, the message the board was sending with its EcoSchools Training Day to promote environmentally sound practises at home and school was so important. He said each student who travels becomes an ambassador of the Arctic or Antarctic, able to touch thousands more with their own stories.

But, he warned, the journey on his "floating classroom," with a team of scientists, educators, musicians and artists as travelling companions, is as daunting as it is rewarding.

"You can accomplish so much," he said. "There's a lot we can learn. It can all be very emotional. There's fear and joy, there's home sickness and sea sickness ... But when you look into the eye of a polar bear or an orca it all becomes personal."

Foundation scholarships are available. Fees are valued at $9,750 or more depending on the pole. Anyone interested in further information can visit studentsonice.com.

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Booker T. Washington students study environment in Antarctica

By Ben Watson, South Memphis Action News

January 13, 2011

Two seniors from Booker T. Washington High School recently returned from the trip of a lifetime, after spending several days in Antarctica as part of a scholarship they won to study the environment.

Shameka Adams and April Geralds visited Pleneau Island with more than 50 other students from around the world, as they studied the effects of global warming along with a team of research scientists.

"We're here to look at the leopard seals and the penguins, and so far this trip been amazing, like, it's a great experience for all of us," Adams said in a video recorded on the island.

The trip was made possible by an organization called Students on Ice Expeditions. Along with lots of help from an organization headed up by former congressman Harold Ford, Jr., the students participated in an intense learning expedition of how climate impacts the area.

"Never would have thought I would ever do something like this before in my life, and I'm very happy that I came on this trip," Geralds said.

Students in the expedition kept journals detailing their experiences, bringing back photos and information about an amazing land few people ever see.

The pair returned home Wednesday, after spending a couple of days stuck in Charlotte due to winter weather.

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Narragansett junior Danielle Budaj, center, slides down the slope of Danco Island, Antarctica. (Photo: Lee Narraway, Students on Ice)

High Schooler Budaj On Her Way Back to the States

The Narragansett High School student has spent more than a week studying on a ship in the waters off South America and Antarctica.

January 11, 2011


By Stephen Greenwell, The Narragansett Patch

After taking the trip of a lifetime to South America and Antarctica, Narragansett High School student Danielle Budaj is due back in Rhode Island this morning.

The junior took part in Students on Ice, a yearly program that allows students to observe aquatic wildlife and climate change in the polar regions. For more information on the program, check out our previous article, or visit the program’s Web site.

As part of the experience, students submit diary entries online, which can be seen on the program’s site. Here is one submitted by Danielle:

Deception Island – January 3

What a busy, wonderful day. We landed at Deception Island after a presentation by Olle and David.

The island was unbelievable. It is a volcano that last erupted in 1970, not that long ago. Covered in glaciers, buried in ash and enormous rocks, Deception Island truly was a breathtaking place. The most unique thing about Deception Island was the fact that you can sail into the middle of the island.

Our first zodiac landing today included walking around and exploring. I explored the epic cliffs of Neptune’s Window, a rocky, sandy ledge that overlooked part of Deception Island and out to the ocean. The hike up was a steep climb but I enjoyed every minute of sweat and excitement.

Later, we did another zodiac landing at Telefon Bay. Here we hiked up a volcano for one hour. At the top ridge, I overlooked two craters and I felt so small. It finally hit me that this volcano I was standing on erupted only 40 years ago. I can honestly say that this was best hike I have ever been on in my life.

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Marshfield MO student calls the Ozarks from Antarctica

By Jay Scherder, KY3 News

January 11, 2011

A Marshfield High School student got the trip of a lifetime. Taylor Barth is traveling to Antarctica with 60 other students from around the world. He called KY3 News from a glacier to talk about his adventure.

"Right now we just stepped foot on to the actual continent," Taylor said. It will be a christmas break to remember for Marshfield High School student Taylor Barth. "We first stopped at Elephant Island," he said, "one of the places where '[famous explorer] Ernest Shackleton lived on his journey in his expedition on Antarctica."

Taylor's trip has taken him to a lot of places -- from Missouri to New York, from New York to South America, and from South America to the Antarctic. "We went to Danger Island," he said, "also known as Heroina island, and it's got a massive rookery of penguins. We just climbed to the top of a glacier and that's where I'm doing the interview from."

The next stop was Deception island. "It's an old volcano that's still active," he said.

It's a place where seeing people isn't very common. "The wildlife that lives here, he said, "they dont' know us and they are as curious about us as we are about them."

It's a trip that started as a dream. It's a dream that became a reality through lots of hard work. "There was a part where we were just riding around in a zodiac boat and were looking at the scenery. It's indescribable what we're seeing and the beauty down here."

One of the most important things he needs every day that most people may not think about is sun screen. The ozone layer is thin over Antarctica and it is very easy to get a sunburn.

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It obviously gets very cold on Danco Island, Antarctica.
(Photo of Faith "FeFe" Malton by Lee Narraway, Students on Ice)

New Year’s Eve on Antarctic Ice

January 7, 2011

By Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart

Faith "FeFe" Malton, celebrated her New Year in a most unusual place - on a ship heading toward Antarctica. FeFe went on the trip as part of part of People to People Ambassadors in conjunction with the Students on Ice Antarctic Youth Expedition 2010. According to the website, the "expedition is a unique opportunity for participating youth to expand their knowledge of the Antarctic and to gain new global perspective of the planet, its wonders, and its present and future challenges."

This trip was FeFe's second with People to People Ambassadors. She went on her first trip the summer she was twelve, traveling to Italy, Greece, and France. Afterwards, she immediately began applying for the Antarctica voyage, hoping that her 100 hours of experience as part of the Houston Zoo Crew would help her snag a sailing spot with 55 other international students.

FeFe left on December 27 and will return on January 10. She flew down to Buenos Aires and transferred to the ice-class expedition vessel, Ushuaia, formerly an oceanographic research ship. She has already been exploring South America, the Antarctic Peninsula and the Southern Ocean, guided by an international staff that includes scientists, educators, and polar experts. According to blogs on the SOI website, the students have sighted humpback whales, penguins, and lots of ice. FeFe and her student group will leave the Antarctic waters on Thursday, January 6, taking with them incredible memories along with first-hand experience about earth's global ecosystem.

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CBC 12:00 PM NEWS, Whitehorse, Yukon

January 5, 2011

Two Yukoners are helping scientists gather research into polar climate change.
17 year old Shawna Yeomans Lindstrom is a grade 11 student at PCSS. She and environmental educator Remy Rodden are taking part in the Students on Ice program. It pairs students from around the world with scientists who conduct polar research into climate change. The expedition is quartered on a large ship near Antarctica with excursions onto the land and the ice flows. Rodden says the experience is life changing for the students. (Rodden) “It’s a real privilege to be here with them and see them learn and learn myself and be in this incredible part of the world. Definitely worth protecting. Protect the poles, protect the planet, that’s the slogan of Students on Ice and I believe arguably young people will be able to do that.” Rodden says so far the group has seen calving glaciers at Elephant Island, millions of penguins with a healthy population of chicks as well as whales and sea leopards.

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VIEW FROM THE SHIP – (TOP) This treat was typical of the views from the Students on Ice expedition ship as it journeyed to Antarctica shortly after Christmas.

THE WILDLIFE – (BOTTOM) The team aboard the Students on Ice expedition took in these Adelie penguins as part of their Antarctic voyage.

(Photos: Lee Narraway, Students on Ice)

Yukoners touring pristine part of the world

By Stephanie Waddell, The Whitehorse Daily Star

January 5, 2011

A local educator is again taking his teaching to a wider audience of international students.

Longtime Yukoner Remy Rodden, manager of environmental education and youth programs for the territorial government, has a couple of weeks off his day job.

Rather than spend it relaxing and enjoying the time away from his work in education, Rodden has journeyed to the Antarctic as part of the Students On Ice field staff to introduce close to 60 students from around the world to the Antarctic from Dec. 27 until next Monday.

They include Whitehorse student Shauna Yeomans-Lindstrom.

Such expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic have been happening since 2000 through Students On Ice.

The organization has a mandate to “provide students, educators and scientists from around the world with inspiring educational opportunities at the ends of the Earth and, in doing so, help them foster a new understanding and respect for the planet.”

Over the course of the journey, educators like Rodden facilitate workshops and field expeditions for groups of students.

Workshops can range from the more scientific topics that come from observing the landscape and wildlife to the more artistic endeavours with instruction from the likes of Rodden and other artistic field staff.

Rodden not only brings with him his educational background, but also a musical gift.

Along with overseeing wilderness experiential youth programs in the territory and supporting environmental literacy in schools, Rodden is well-known as an eco-singer with songs like What’s That Habitat recorded for the Think About the Planet compilation album.

As Students On Ice operations manager Reina Lahtinen said in an interview from her Gatinau, Que. office Tuesday, Rodden’s work in music helps give students a way to express what they’re seeing and experiencing on the expedition.

“It’s always that sense of awe and feeling humbled by the environment,” she said when questioned what students typically get out of the expedition.

For many, she said, it’s their first experience in the Arctic or, in this case the Antarctic, and the trip often fuels the students’ passion for the environment. They then often end up sharing what they’ve learned and experienced with others upon their return.

Choosing the nearly 60 students to be part of the expedition team comes down to an application process that doesn’t seem that different from a college application in some ways.

Prospective students are asked a series of short essay questions designed to show why they are a good candidate for the program. Leadership skills and extra curricular activities are also considered.

A brief biographical statement on the Students On Ice website (http://www.studentsonice.com) notes that Yeomans-Lindstrom’s interests come in being outside and learning about the environment “and the way things work throughout the land and with animals.”

With hobbies in photography and travelling, Yeomans-Lindstrom loves capturing photographs of the world as she sees it and recording her journeys.

“Doing this helps me to re-live the experiences I have had throughout my life,” wrote the Porter Creek Secondary School student.

Along with the Students On Ice application criteria, there can be individual circumstances looked at where scholarships are being considered for those who can’t fund their own trip.

In this case, costs were set at $13,500 Cdn for those travelling from Toronto, $12,500 for those travelling from Miami, Florida and $11,000 for those leaving from Santiago, Chile.

Lahtinen pointed out a number of donors have scholarships aimed at students with differing circumstances. One donor, for example, offers a scholarship for young women without a means to pay for the expedition, while others aim their dollars at students living in particular areas.

Meanwhile, field staff like Rodden are selected for a variety of reasons. In most cases, they have met and perhaps worked with Geoff Green, Students On Ice’s founder and executive director.

Rodden’s involvement with the International Polar Year outreach and other efforts on the environmental front brought him to Green’s attention and has seen him be part of the field staff for two other expeditions – one to the Arctic and one to the Antarctic.

His background in education and music allow him to bring a number of skills to the expeditions, Lahtinen said.

Along with his experience, a brief biographical statement on the web site notes Rodden often tells his audience: “We all have gifts to share, to help make the world a better place.”

He works to assist people in recognizing and using their gifts and support them in moving from awareness to action.

“Rodden’s life and music is influenced by his daily contact with the relatively pristine natural Yukon environment,” reads the statement.

Lahtinen said the journey from Argentina, the meeting point for all members, aboard the ship has gone very well.

Participants have enjoyed clear weather, which has allowed students and staff to take in whales swimming close by the ship, including one with her calf.

They’ve also seen numerous penguins and the vast Antarctic landscape, taking in a number of workshops and other events, such as New Year’s celebrations and onboard entertainment.

Day-by-day updates are being provided on the Students On Ice website over the course of the expedition.

“It’s been a pretty busy program for them,” Lahtinen said.

As the expedition draws to an end, the group is set to explore the numerous islands, harbours and sites such as an old British Antarctic Survey cabin – hiking, ice core gathering and continuing with a number of other activities until next Sunday.

At that point, they will disembark in Argentina and begin journeys to their respective homes.

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Marshfield MO student explores in Antarctica

By Jay Scherder, KY3 News

January 4, 2011

A high school student is on a trip of a lifetime, but not to where you might expect. Taylor Barth left Christmas morning for a place that only a few people have braved to go: Antarctica.

Almost 98 percent of it is covered by ice, which averages at least a mile in thickness. It's not exactly the place that most kids his age would want to go, but Taylor isn't your ordinary high schooler.

"He sets his mind to something and he does it," said Taylor's mother, Michelle Cheeney.

Most kids dream about going to some tropical island or maybe even some ancient ruins, but not Taylor.

"It's always been my dream to go to Antarctica," Taylor said.

It's no longer a dream.

"There was only space for 60 people, 30 from the United States," he said.

"We watched a movie about penguins several years ago," Cheeney said," and he said, 'I'm going to go see that.'"

Taylor is traveling with Students on Ice. Sixty students from around the world are exploring a place to which few people have been.

"Every day we have a new program, a new class to learn different things," Taylor said.

"Probably a normal child, I would be nervous, but not with Taylor," said Cheeney.

The road leading to Antarctica wasn't an easy one.

"Just the expedition was around $11,000," Taylor said.

After saving every dollar he could, with a little help from friends and family, Taylor gets to live his dream.

"Who doesn't like penguins? Who wouldn't want to see a penguin in real life? I know we can go to zoos and see penguins but it's not really like their habitat," Taylor said.

"It's strange. People don't believe you. Getting off work and school, they don't believe him," said Cheeney.

"You don't see a million penguins on a cliff jumping down into the water and catching their food. It's a whole new experience," Taylor said.

It's an experience that few have had and one he will always remember.

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Narragansett High School junior Danielle Budaj is on the far left of the observation deck as her ship the M/V Ushuaia leav best hike I have ever been on in my life.es the port in Ushuaia. (Photo: Lee Narraway, Students on Ice)

Narragansett Junior Budaj Traveling to Antarctica

The Narragansett High School junior and swimmer is headed to the world’s southernmost continent for an educational journey.

January 3, 2011


By Stephen Greenwel, The Narragansett Patch

Danielle Budaj, a junior at Narragansett High School, has battled through last week's blizzard and is on her way to Antarctica as part of an expedition of high school students and educators that will study that frozen continent and South America.

Students on Ice is a yearly program, lasting from Dec. 27 to Jan. 10, that allows students to observe aquatic wildlife, to learn about the effects of climate change and to visit several research stations. This year, 55 students and 30 professional staff members are taking part.

Danielle's mother, Lyn, said that her daughter first heard of the program from Kathleen Couchon, a Narragansett teacher who took it several years ago. After passing the application process, Danielle was on her way to the Antarctic.

As part of the process, students write journal entries, and staff take photos and video to document the event. You can keep track of her progress at the Web site for Students on Ice here.

Below, here are some entries from Students on Ice:

Danielle Budaj – Crossing the Drake Passage – December 31

Happy New Year's Eve! Our plane landed in Ushuaia last night around 8 p.m. The Andes Mountains surrounded the airport runway. The Andes looked amazing, jagged peaks cut the horizon in every direction. From the plane, we took a bus to the ship. Finally, a salty, fishy smell filled the air and I felt like I was home. We boarded the ship and quickly set sail.

Last night the Drake Passage was calm and I was able to sleep wonderfully. I awoke to breakfast quickly followed by a journey to the deck. My dream came true: I was surrounded by ocean on every side, no land to be seen. The boat is swaying and rolling with the waves. Our day was filled with activities, lectures, and now we will be doing workshops. It was amazing to watch Albatross' soar around the boat. I cannot wait to see Antarctica.

Razan Anabtawi - Drake Passage – December 31

It's New Year's Eve! Today was our first full day on our super awesome ship, Ushuaia, and so far we have been extremely busy. It was so exciting waking up this morning to the ship swaying and Jeff announcing that breakfast was in half an hour.

As we walked out of bed we could barely walk straight. My roommate Danielle and I were practically sliding around our room's floor. The minute I got dressed, I hurried to the deck to see the beautiful ocean and it was fascinating.

I stood by the railing to take pictures of the beautiful scenery in front of me and I was still in shock. The air here is so clear and refreshing, I could stand outside for hours just listening to the ocean and breathing this fresh, clean air.

So far, the weather hasn't been too cold but rather refreshing. The biggest setback today was that I got extremely seasick and had to miss the first two workshops. However, after a good rest and some help by the ship's doctor, I was able to join the third workshop, which was photography.

Lee led the workshop and shared some of her wonderful work with us. She showed us some of the different methods of taking pictures, different styles and different perspectives. That workshop was definitely interesting because I learned so much about how to take good pictures, which is something I am really interested in.

The ship we're on is extremely beautiful, and everyone here is super friendly and nice. Before coming here I was scared I won't be able to fall asleep with the ship's movement and all but yesterday I slept like a baby.

So far we have had one dinner, one breakfast and one lunch on this ship and their food is really good. The ship staff is super friendly and is always greeting us with smiles. It is much easier to reflect on this ship and feel more connected to mother earth as there are not distractions around us.

The more we talk about Antarctica, the more excited I get about getting there. Yesterday morning when we were still in Panamericano hotel in Buenos Aires, Dave made a presentation about the Antarctic and from then on my excitement started to get bigger and bigger.

One of the events that happened yesterday that I can't get out of my head is the music session. Remy shared some of his music with us and its all very interesting, deep and meaningful. One of his songs said: "Respect all the life, take only what you need, and for the plant's sake, use all that you take."

These words are so meaningful and true, and I can't seem to get that tune out of my head. I think everyone should read these words and really think them through and think about what they mean and what possibilities they hold.

That's all for now. Bye!

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Mt. Hope High School student, Victoria Pereira, will spend Christmas in Antarctica with Students on Ice Expeditions. (Photo: East Bay Newspapers)

South Pole bound
Mt. Hope student chooses science study instead of vacation

December 23, 2010


By
Eric Dickervitz, East Bay Newspapers

When school dismisses for Christmas vacation, 17-year-old Victoria Pereira will be getting away from the wintery weather.

Although she says it’ll be summertime where she’s heading, she’s preparing for the climate change by packing plenty of thermal, wool, polar fleece, a heavy jacket, insulated boots and warm gloves — unusual clothing for a trip south. But Victoria’s trip is anything but typical.

Instead of palm trees and beaches, the Mt. Hope High School senior hopes that for 15 days over winter break she’ll come face-to-face with hatching penguins while observing and studying the effects of global warming in the Antarctic.

Victoria is one of two students from Rhode Island who will embark on an educational journey with Students on Ice Expedition, a hands-on program that offers educational experiences in the polar regions of the world. The mission of the program is for the students to “develop knowledge, skills, perspectives and practices that will help them to be Antarctic (and Arctic) ambassadors and environmentally responsible citizens.”

After hearing about the program from a friend, Brooke Cotta, who had traveled to the Arctic, Victoria’s curiosity was piqued. She had already begun researching global warming effects, after volunteering with Save Bristol Harbor, where water testing and observation gave her a first-hand look at how humans affect the natural environment. She learned that adult seals will leave their pups on ice ridges while they hunt for food, and that sometimes the ice will break off due to warming temperatures, causing the stranded pups to float away. Reading about this tragedy renewed her interest in the polar program. She researched the Students on Ice Expedition organization through the Internet, and sent in an application.

Victoria stood out among candidates applying for the program.

She answered questions about global warming and the effects it has on glaciers and wildlife in the polar region she’d be visiting. And she’s a high achiever: a member of the Rhode Island Honor Society, class treasurer the past four years, made the state championships in cross country, and is an active parishioner of St. Elizabeth Church.

Her journey, however, began with initial disappointment.

“I applied months ago to go to the Arctic, but I didn’t get it,” she said. When the Antarctic trip was offered, she jumped at the chance. “This was something different. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be with scientists and professors from all over the world.”

Adventure-lover

On Dec. 27, Victoria flies from Providence to New York, and then takes a 13-hour flight from New York to Argentina. From Argentina, she will board a ship along with 75 other students from around the world, bound for Antarctica. Once there, they will live aboard the ship, making excursions by inflatable boat to the glaciers for research and study, along with a team of world-renowned scientists, historians, artists, explorers, educators and polar experts. Participants will focus on the history, geography, flora and fauna of the Antarctic. She returns to Bristol on Jan. 10.

The opportunity, said Joseph Koger, who teaches Victoria in an advanced biomedical science class, should not be taken lightly.

“She’s going to be walking where very few people have walked,” Mr. Koger said. “That in itself is an experience.” And if anyone will reap the benefits of such a trip, he said, it is Victoria. “The classes that she’s taking, you need to be an independent learner. She always gives 100 percent in what she does. Her interest is in bio-science. That’s the place to see it.”

Although she’ll be miles away, Victoria will still participate in the school science fair. “She’s going to take pictures and make a pamphlet about the trip that she’ll present to the class, instead of the science fair project,” Mr. Koger said.

While the trip is paid for by Students on Ice, Victoria needs to outfit herself against the Antarctic’s sub-freezing summer temperatures. To help defray the expected $1,000 in clothing costs, she began selling frames to teachers and others at school that she’ll fill with a photo from her trip.

Her mother, Lori Pereira, says her daughter’s love for the ocean and the environment likely comes from her childhood experiences traveling to the Açores.

“She’d go by herself to stay with her grandparents every year since she was 8 years old,” Mrs. Pereira said. “She always enjoyed the ocean there. This is where she gets her adventure.”

Although her mother knows it’ll be a great experience, there are still parental concerns. “I have a knot in my stomach. If something happens she’d have to get helicoptered out. I’d just like to know what’s going on.”

The Antarctic summer, Victoria says, is when the area comes to life with penguins, killer whales, seals and other wildlife. But, polar bears won’t be a problem, she said. “They live in the Arctic.”

Besides notebooks and a camera, she does plan to take some comforts of home with her. “I’ll take my pillow and a blanket, because they’re nice and warm.”

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(Photo: Corinne Pomerleau, UQAR)

Students on Ice : Corinne Pomerleau participe à une mission en Antarctique

December 21, 2010

By Mario Bélanger, UQAR Info

Du 27 décembre au 10 janvier, Corinne Pomerleau, étudiante en 3e année au doctorat en Océanographie à l’ISMER-UQAR, participe à une mission en Antarctique.

Elle travaillera à bord du navire Ushuaia en tant que scientifique en biologie marine. Au cours de cette mission sur ce grand continent situé complètement au sud de la planète, Corinne sera en contact avec plus de 55 étudiants de 14 à 18 ans, en provenance de plusieurs pays. Tous sont inscrits au projet Students On Ice.

Corinne été sélectionnée pour cette mission car elle a déjà complété plusieurs expéditions en Arctique dans le cadre de sa maîtrise et de son doctorat. En plus, elle a été auxiliaire d'enseignement à l'UQAR à deux occasions.

En bref, le programme de Students On Ice relève d’une organisation qui offre une occasion unique d'éducation aux réalités polaires (Arctique et Antarctique). Le programme s’adresse autant aux jeunes du secondaire et du collégial qu’à ceux qui sont au baccalauréat. Le mandat de l’organisation est de fournir à ces jeunes étudiants une variété de connaissance dans une multitude de domaines. Pour cela, des spécialistes de partout au monde sont recrutés, dont Corinne Pomerleau.

Durant les 18 jours d'expédition, celle-ci sera à bord comme scientifique. Elle devra présenter plusieurs allocutions, par exemple sur le zooplancton, l’océanographie et les changements climatiques.

« Je me sens vraiment privilégiée de pouvoir me rendre en Antarctique et de découvrir le Pôle Sud », affirme l’étudiante.

Il sera possible de suivre Corinne sur le blogue de Students on Ice, à l'adresse suivante : http://www.studentsonice.com/Antarctic2010/.

Bonne chance !

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(Photo: Tony Saxon, Guelph Mercury)

Guelph student to visit Antarctica on scholarship

December 20, 2010

By Drew Halfnight, Guelph Mercury

It’s no exaggeration to say Morgan Milne is about to embark on a voyage to the end of the Earth.

The 17-year-old environmentalist and student at John F. Ross high school has won a scholarship to visit the continent of Antarctica.

Besides, poetic license is merited, since the trip and the destination are, for Milne, the stuff of fantasy.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s true,” she said Friday, two weeks after being selected to join the expedition. “I feel like I’m in a dream state.”

About 14,000 kilometres due south of Guelph in one of the coldest, driest and windiest places on Earth, Milne expects to find “an inhospitable desert, riddled with immense glaciers, penguins, whales, seals and albatross.”

It’s summer there so the sun will be shining 24 hours a day, Milne added. “All the animals will be feeding, the penguins will be hatching, and the great albatross will be soaring over the skies. So lots of wildlife and icebergs.”

Just getting there, however, will be an epic adventure for the downtown Guelph resident who has been to the east and west coasts of Canada but never south of the border.

On Dec. 27, Milne will travel to Toronto and from there catch a flight to Argentina where, after a stopover during which she plans to do some rock-climbing, she will cruise across the Drake Passage to the southernmost land mass on the planet.

Once there, she and 60 other students participating in the Students on Ice Expedition will motor around in Zodiac boats, disembarking to go on “mini adventures” to observe wildlife, Milne said.

They will be joined by artists, historians and climate change experts who will give lectures on such topics as glaciology and the history of exploration, she said, and also lead activities such as measuring pollution in ice-core samples.

Milne said she applied after taking three semester-long environmental education courses offered through the Upper Grand District School Board.

She gave particular credit to her local teachers, the late Mike Elrick as well as her current teacher Katie Gad, who she said inspired her to be more environmentally conscious and “believe in myself and go for what I want.”

Already a volunteer at Guelph music festivals and an environmentalist who hand-makes all her Christmas gifts, Milne said she plans to share her experience upon return by hosting an art show.

“I love art and I love photography, and I thought it would be a great chance to show the beauty of Antarctica and at the same time raise awareness about climate change.”

Among the gear she collected for the trip is a new D-SLR camera, as well as a waterproof jacket and gloves, hiking boots, long underwear and “really dark sunglasses.”

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Mt. Hope senior Victoria Jamiel. Behind her is fellow senior Ben McDonnell.
(Photo: East Bay Newspapers)

Making more productive students: Annual reception recognizes people who offer educational opportunities to Mt. Hope students

December 20, 2010

By Cindy VanSchalkwyk, East Bay Newspapers

Community members who help students at Mt. Hope High School explore new avenues in education gathered in the school library Tuesday morning to be recognized for their work at the annual Partners Reception.

Diane Verdolotti, the school-based coordinator at Mt. Hope, organizes the annual event, which highlights some of the programs at the school and recognizes the work of those who connect students with a larger world.

More than two dozen representatives from local banks, the Bristol Art Museum, Realtors, the R.I. Builders Association, and those who have shown students what opportunities there are in technical fields, attended the event. Each represented a program that encourages students or connects them to employment opportunities.

Among those attending was Paul Williams from the R.I. Department of Education.

“When the smoke clears, what is it we want them to do? We want them to become productive members of society,” Mr. Williams said.

Among the speakers was Tim “the plumber” Gardiner, who taught plumbing at the school for two years, and now is involved with The War Room, a program instituted to mitigate the dropout rate at the high school. The program includes mentors and guidance counselors, social workers and school psychologists. Currently 85.4 percent graduate from Mt. Hope High School. Eight years ago only 75 percent graduated.

“Our enemy here is the dropout rate. I have a certain passion for that, being a dropout myself. I was a wise guy in school, just a tough kid. I felt I wasn’t smart enough and hung around with the wrong people,” Mr. Gardiner said.

Mr. Gardiner earned his GED (General Equivalency Diploma) after joining the military, following his years at Bristol High School, and then went on to learn the plumbing trade.

Mr. Gardiner said one of the most important ways to keep kids in school is forming a connection — he called it “personalization” — between teachers and students. He said a teacher talking to a student for five or 10 minutes while walking down the hallway can make a significant difference in the long run.

Programs in place at the school are always a part of the Partners Reception. Mt. Hope seniors Ben McDonnell and Victoria Jamiel spoke about their experiences with a year-long course in personal finance. A new video production course was also highlighted. While it is not an outreach of the school, Victoria Pereira, a Mt. Hope senior, talked about her upcoming trip to Antarctica with Students on Ice Expeditions (a story about Victoria’s upcoming trip will appear in next week’s Phoenix). Victoria applied to the program and wrote an essay dealing with ecology and won the educational trip. She will begin her travel to Antarctica two days after Christmas.

Michael Almeida, who taught the personal finance course last year, said he wasn’t sure what Ben or Victoria would say when they stepped up to the microphone, but was happy to hear them explain how the class made a real difference to them.

Ben said he learned the most from a section on investing, “and the risk and reward that comes with it,” and he said what he wants mostly for Christmas is money to invest in the stock market.

Victoria said changes included stopping by the bank. “After I took the course, I put money in a savings account instead of a jar in my bedroom. And I plan to put money in a CD (Certificate of Deposit).”

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(Photo: Students on Ice)

Students to Spend New Year's Eve in Antarctica

November 15, 2010

By Brendan Cleary, AOL News

The idea of a hot New Year's Eve seems to be the polar opposite of spending it in cold Antarctica, but that's exactly how 65 high school-age kids from around the world will ring in the new year.

Starting Dec. 27, teenagers from 10 countries will spend two weeks exploring Antarctica via Students on Ice, an award-winning, 10-year-old organization offering educational expeditions to the Arctic and the Antarctic.

Organizer Geoff Green, who has been leading expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctica for a decade, decided a few years back that it was important for the future of the planet that teenagers get to see some of the most desolate and isolated places on Earth.

"I had been leading adults on these expeditions and saw how profoundly impacted they were," Green told AOL News. "I believe giving students the same opportunity is important because Antarctica is a powerful classroom. It is the cornerstone of our global ecosystems."

There's another reason why he thinks students should see the bottom of the Earth.

"Antarctica is unbelievably beautiful," he said. "It's like another planet. It has the biggest icebergs in the world. It's incredible -- the nature sculptures, the wildlife, the mountains."

It costs about $12,000 to send each student to Antarctica, much of it paid through scholarships. For Green, the ideal participant is a student willing to get out of his or her comfort zone.

"We like taking kids from urban areas, that haven't been in nature," he said. "They come back looking at their lives differently."

One of those students is Chrissy McCabe, a 16-year-old living in Bronxville, N.Y. Earlier this year, she went to the Arctic with Students on Ice and now will see the other edge of the Earth on the upcoming Antarctic expedition.

"When I'm at home, I'm reserved, but doing this sort of trip removes barriers," she said. "By the second day, I'm talking with people I otherwise might not ever meet."

Back home, the students may or may not have the opportunity to spend time in the wilderness, but Chrissy says the students she's met all take advantage of the opportunity they've been given for this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

"We're accompanied on the trip by scientists and teachers and, during the Arctic trip, one of them said they had never been asked such informative questions," Chrissy said. "I really liked it because, well, I go to a Catholic school and, there, we're treated like children. But the chaperones treated us like we're adults, whether the subject was glaciers or alcohol."

Chrissy first became interested in Students on Ice three years ago.

"When I was in eighth grade, I told my parents I wanted to spend my vacation with penguins," she said with a laugh. "So we researched it and found Students on Ice."

She didn't get to see the penguins while in the Arctic, but she did see something almost as exciting.

"I saw more polar bears than I expected, but my favorite moment was when we passed Monument Island and saw literally thousands of walruses," she said. "One rolled into the water, and then they all rolled in. It was incredible."

Green hopes that students like Chrissy come away from the trip having a better idea of what they want to do with their own lives and their place in the rest of the world.

"Antarctica is the only continent that has never had a war and, after the trip, we try to provide bridges so the students can digest and absorb what they've seen and put it to work back home," he said.

Part of that begins during the trip with a no-technology policy, save for cameras. That means no iPods, DVDs, iPhones. Green says that forces people to open up to each other.

Another aspect that helps unite people from different cultures is the actual trip.

Everyone will meet in Buenos Aires on Dec. 28 and, from there, travel to the southernmost town in the world, Ushuaia, Argentina, then cross Drake's Passage, which Green says will be a truly bonding experience.

"It's the roughest body of water in the world, so it's a rite of passage," Green said. "If people don't get sea sick, they tend to feel ripped off."

But while Green says the trip is truly one of a lifetime, it's what happens afterward that matters to him.

"I remember one student, Sun Yi, from China," he said. "She was very shy, but smart and having the time of her life. She told me she wanted to write a book in Chinese about climate change.

"I didn't think much of it, but a year later, I got a box and there were 20 copies of the book, which was published by a Chinese scientific press."

Although all the student spots are set for the upcoming trip, chaperone spots can still be purchased for $12,500 each.

Besides having an opportunity to visited the least-visited part of the world, Chrissy hopes interested adults will see the long-term aspect of the trip.

"[The chaperones] are helping to mold and model the next generation," she said. "I would tell anyone interested in coming along that you will be making a difference."

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Polar Scientist and adventurer Grant Redvers with his first book Tara Arctic – a New Zealander’s Epic Voyage. (Photo: Lynda Feringa)

Polar Adventure Hits Print

November 12, 2010

By Nathan Crombie, The Wairarapa Times-Age

Polar adventurer Grant Redvers tonight launches his first book tracing 500 historic days locked in Arctic ice on the frontline of climate change.

The 300-page volume titled Tara Arctic: A New Zealander’s Epic Voyage, which was published by Masterton-based Fraser Books, is launching at Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art & History at 5.30pm alongside the opening of the Polar Night exhibition of photographs taken during the expedition by fellow crew member Vincent Hilaire.

Mr Redvers, 37, who will speak at the launch, has a masters degree in environmental science and is a qualified yacht skipper and divemaster.

The former Wairarapa College pupil worked as a hydrologist in Masterton and at Scott Base in Antarctica before taking up life at sea.

He had, early in his career, sailed from New Zealand to Antarctica and South Georgia Island on a 45ft yacht for mixed climbing and glaciological research expeditions and had joined the Tara after sailing the Pacific to return home.

Aboard the Tara ( formerly the Seamaster of Sir Peter Blake) Mr Redvers completed numerous expeditions to Antarctica, South Georgia and Patagonia on a range of research, natural history and adventure projects, before setting a course for the Arctic.

He was appointed head of the Tara Arctic Expedition from 2006 to 2008 and was the only crew member to remain onboard throughout the 18-month voyage out of a rotating complement of 20 scientists and seamen hailing from France, Estonia, Norway, Russia and the USA.

The expedition, which echoed the Arctic voyage of Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen in 1893 aboard the Fram, was dubbed DAMOCLES (Developing Arctic Modelling and Observing Capabilities for Long-term Environmental Studies) and aimed to observe, understand, and quantify Arctic climate changes.

He said his book features an array of images and both recounts the science of their mission and the “human element of the voyage and what it’s like to be locked in a small space with a crew from around the world during the confines of a long polar night”.

“I shy away from calling myself a polar explorer – more like a polar adventurer and scientist.

And the Tara expedition was certainly an adventure.”

He said some data collected during the voyage had already been incorporated into global climate models. Global warming, in light of his Arctic experiences, is difficult to deny.

“The weather has changed in Masterton over the past 30 years, but that’s just anecdotal. Whereas the Tara took us to the frontline of global warming, so to speak, and after what I’ve seen, and heard, from scientists working in polar regions, it’s real.

“It’s the rate of change that’s most alarming.”

Tara Arctic was published in French last year, winning wide readership, and was written over 10 months once the expedition was completed, he said.

He had hoped the original manuscript would roll off the presses first, but he is pleased it was a Masterton publisher who eventually brought the English edition to print. “What to do next is a good question. The only unexplored frontier is the ocean abyss now. I am a diver, but I’m not that keen on going five kilometres down in a little bubble.”

Mr Redvers has, since the Tara expedition, also sailed to the west coast of Greenland with a team of glaciologists and climate scientists and early next year will work with two Students on Ice expeditions to Antarctica.

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