Students on Ice | Natural Heritage Building | 1740 Chemin Pink | Gatineau QC J9J 3N7 | | 1-866-336-6423

Monday, December 26, 2011
SOI Office

Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

Expedition Update

Good morning and welcome to the first update of the Students on Ice Antarctic Youth Expedition 2011!

Today most students are at home reviewing their packing lists and preparing for the upcoming adventure. There are a few students who are already en route and we wish them safe travels as they make their way to one of the gateway cities (Toronto, Miami, or Buenos Aires) to join SOI Meet and Greet team members. These staff members are waiting for students to arrive at the various airport hubs today and tomorrow.

The staff at the SOI office are monitoring the weather and the flight status of the students itineraries. We are available to assist with any travel changes required to get students to destinations on time. Please feel free to contact the SOI office if you have any questions or require assistance:

        • Toll-free (Canada & US): 1-866-336-6423
        • Direct: 1-819-827-3300
        • Email:

Over the next few days, we will be providing updates and status reports on the whereabouts of the expedition team on the 'Daily Journey Updates' pages. By Wednesday evening, the entire expedition team will be together in Ushuaia, Argentina to kick off the education program! Once the team is onboard the ship, we can expect daily updates from Expedition Leader Geoff Green, which include amazing photographs and educational videos. There are occasions (such as poor weather conditions or when the ship is anchored in fjords between mountain ranges) when the team will not be able to establish a strong satellite signal and updates will be delayed. In those cases, we will receive a phone call from the ship and we will update the website accordingly. We try our best throughout this "journey-of-a-lifetime" to give you a front-row seat to this adventure!

...And while you wait for further updates, please feel free to explore the rest of the expedition site, especially our Partners page. This extraordinary adventure could not have happened without their generous support!

In the expedition spirit,

The SOI team

Geoff Green, Tim Straka, Niki Trudeau and Mary-Ellen Connoly are Students on Ice's full-time staff.

American Airlines 777 getting ready to take off.

Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport.

Jessica Emudluk, Student

Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik, Quebec, Canada

Premièrement, je suis vraiment excitée, car on est maintenant à Toronto. Je n’est pas encore mon baggage avec moi, car il n’est pas arrivé avec nous. En pensant de quesqu’on va voir est faire, cela m’excite beaucoup et j’ai hate d’aller sur le bâteau. Je remerci mon professeur de français qui m’a aidé lorsque j’ai inscrit sur ce programme. Après tout le long de préparer, je suis finalement ici avec les autres explorateur(e)s.

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Laurissa Christie, Student

Tara, Ontario, Canada

After 2.5 years of waiting, I am finally on route to my dream destination of Antarctica. I am very excited to meet all of the students and staff members who I will be sharing this expedition with. Despite feeling a bit under the weather last night, I am now much better and ready to set sail. I have been so impressed by the organization and planning SOI has completed to make this journey a success. I am most looking forward to comparing the changes taking place in the Arctic with that of the Antarctic. I have already met some amazing people who I know will turn into my Students on Ice family by the end of the expedition. Antarctica, here we come!!!


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Justine Wild, Student
Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

I am really looking forward to going on the trip; although, the long flights aren't sounding too appealing. Like other students, the whole thing hasn't quite set in yet. Sitting with some other students who are going on this trip and typing this blog post has made it seem a lot more real and exciting.

I look forward to learning about Shackleton, because he is one of the main reasons for becoming involved. I went to a talk, called "Recreating Shackleton's Footsteps". Shackleton and his Antarctic expedition are so interesting to me, and I really wanted to learn more, and witness the Antarctic for myself. Luckily, at the end of the presentation I was told about Students on Ice. I quickly was on the website reading the application, longing to go. I finished the application; although I wasn't old enough to participate, I was only 13 at the time. I waited until I was 14, and then waited for my reference letters. A few weeks after submitting my paperwork l was notified that I accepted to participate in the SOI Antarctic youth expedition 2011!

Other than Shackleton, the main thing I hope to learn more about is the thinning of the ozone layer, and the effects of UV radiation on phytoplankton. The decrease in the phytoplankton population poses risks for the whole food chain above. I would also like to learn more about the ecosystems, the geology, and the oceanography of Antarctica.

I'm excited to meet all the other students and chaperones, visit Point Wild, and hopefully send a postcard from the Antarctic post office. I am nervous and excited to sail the Drake Passage, because of its legendary rough waters. I'm hoping that I will be able to apply what I learn on this expedition to my life and within my community.

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Drew Gibbons, Student

Brisbane, Australia

G’day, my name is Drew Gibbons, an Australian exchange student living in Canada for a year.

Last semester during one of my biology classes I had expressed interest in the environment and the Antarctic - my teacher, Mrs. Nadeau, knew about this program and decided to approach me about the opportunity to apply for Students on Ice.

Basically, I am here to learn and be inspired to make a change. Our generation, and the ones to follow, is the generation who will have to deal with the consequences of climate change due to human impacts. This expedition is an opportunity to expand my knowledge on these consequences and see first hand an area that could, in the future be under the threat. I believe it is going to be interesting to learn about the Antarctic from a number of different perspectives. After this life changing expedition I plan on making a difference in my personal life and attempt to teach others what I have learned. 

I’m looking forward to being able to work with people from all over the world, all different ages, and in different professions working together towards a common goal. Listening to other peoples’ views on the environment and how they believe climate change should be faced will broaden my perspective and personal views.

Seeing the Antarctic wildlife in their natural habitat will be an incredible experience. Being able to observe them and understand how these species are affected by human impacts will have an impact on me I think. I'm quite fond of photography so being able to photograph these animals will also be an amazing experience. – I’ll have memories to keep with me forever. I’m also looking forward to joining the Antarctic swimming team! More on that later. …After I have braved the icy depths.

Knowledge is key! We have a wonderful team of scientists and professionals who have a wide range of knowledge in their particular fields of study. Listening and learning from them is the biggest weapon we have to fight climate change. The more people who are aware of the problems we are facing today the better chance we have at creating a sustainable future.


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All Rights Reserved

Natural Heritage Building
1740 chemin Pink
Gatineau, QC J9J 3N7