RGS-IBG to support UK schools learning about a major international scientific expedition, exploring one of the coldest, harshest and most remote locations in the world, the Weddell Sea off Antarctica.
The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) today launches its new educational programme to encourage schools across the UK to engage with the work of the Weddell Sea Expedition, a major international scientific expedition to Antarctica in January 2019.
With funding from the Flotilla Foundation, the expedition will venture into remote regions of the Weddell Sea and uncover vital new scientific data, to improve our understanding of the area, and use that knowledge to contribute towards the protection of the region, as well as inspiring young people about the importance of this unique environment.
The expedition will investigate the Larsen C Ice Shelf, providing exciting and valuable new insights into the marine environment, surveying the seafloor and under the ice, and documenting the little-studied biological systems that lie beneath the ice shelf. This is now possible with the use of the latest Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) that will be taken on board the expedition vessel, the S.A Agulhas II. The expedition will also undertake research to improve understanding of the oceanography and sea ice conditions of the Weddell Sea, and the implications for climate change and global ocean currents.
Depending on ice conditions, the expedition also hopes to use the AUVs to survey the wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance, crushed by ice and lost in the Weddell Sea in 1915.
Schools, teachers and members of the public can track the expedition’s progress and see live updates from the team on the Weddell Sea Expedition website: weddellseaexpedition.org/the-expedition. Free online educational resources including videos from members of the expedition, animations, and curriculum linked activities are available from rgs.org/wse.
Commenting on the poster campaign, Head of Education and Outdoor Learning at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), Steve Brace commented: “We are incredibly proud to be supporting the Weddell Sea team in their journey to the Antarctic. Given the scale of expedition and potential for collecting new scientific data, the expedition will prove invaluable in connecting young people with this fragile and unique environment and helping to inspire a future generation of aspiring scientists and geographers.”
Polar geographer and environmental scientist Dr John Shears, who is leading the Weddell Sea Expedition, said: “It is a great privilege to be working with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) on their educational programme for the expedition. A key priority for us is to gain new scientific data about what is happening in Antarctica, and enhance the understanding of young people about the region. Through bringing together a group of world-leading glaciologists, marine biologists, oceanographers and marine archaeologists on board the S.A Agulhas II we will have the best team in place to deliver on these key objectives and we look forward to providing regular updates from the vessel to all our followers and supporters throughout January and February.”