Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Antarctic Youth Ambassador Scheme


By international agreement, Antarctica is designated as a natural reserve devoted to peace and science. New Zealand has a long history of involvement dating back to early last century, and an important ongoing role in the region. New Zealand's responsibilities in Antarctica extend across thousands of square kilometres of the Antarctic continent, Ice-shelf, the Southern Ocean and sub-Antarctic Islands. These responsibilities are undertaken by Antarctica New Zealand.

Antarctica New Zealand's head office is at the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, which also houses the United States and Italian Antarctic programmes. New Zealand's centre for operations in Antarctica is Scott Base, which was established in 1957.

Under the provisions of the Antarctic Treaty and its Environmental Protocol, Antarctica (10 percent of the planet's land surface area) is the most heavily protected continent on earth. Antarctica New Zealand has an important role in managing and protecting the Antarctic environment. All scientific and other activities are carefully managed to minimise impacts and allow Antarctica to continue to be used for peaceful and scientific purposes, now and by future generations.

Environmental Programmes of Antarctica New Zealand

Environmental protection work is an important component of Antarctica New Zealand's responsibilities. Key environmental initiatives include: effective waste management systems and the clean-up of sites of past activity; high-quality environmental assessments of all activities including monitoring and reporting of environmental impacts; co-operative work with United States and Italian colleagues on protected area management; energy efficiency; and co-operation with the Antarctic Heritage Trust on the conservation of the Historic Huts.

The Antarctic Youth Ambassador Scheme

In association with the 50th anniversary of Scott Base in January 2007, Antarctica New Zealand and the Sir Peter Blake Trust have launched a programme that will select a young New Zealander to participate in and contribute to the environmental work in Antarctica. In doing so, this programme invests in the future of the Antarctic environment by building capability and understanding in young New Zealanders.

The principal aim of this programme is to engage young New Zealanders in Antarctic environmental issues (for example: environmental monitoring and reporting, protected areas, protected species, climate change, environmental impact assessments) through the New Zealand Antarctic Programme. The individual selected each year will be expected to contribute to Antarctica New Zealand's environmental programme and to act as an ambassador helping to educate others through their experiences.

The Antarctic Youth Ambassador will be placed with Antarctica New Zealand during the summer months and will work as part of the environmental team. This may include work based at the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, at Scott Base in Antarctica or in other Antarctic locations for which Antarctica New Zealand has responsibility.

Sir Peter Blake and Antarctica

More about this image
Sir Peter Blake developed a love for the Southern Ocean and the Polar Regions during his six circumnavigations of the globe under sail. The wildlife enthralled him and the quality of the natural environment became his passion. During 2001, Sir Peter led an expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula where he eventually traveled further south than any sailing vessel before him.

Sir Peter recognised the significance of the Antarctic natural environment for all life, and became a strong advocate for its continued protection. He was appointed as a United Nations Environment Programme special envoy and took on a role as an ambassador for the Antarctic environment. Sir Peter said that he found Antarctica "an extraordinary place and one where, if you are fortunate enough to be here even for a brief time, it suddenly hits home how important this extraordinary continent is to the well-being of the rest of the world. You realize that you are part of something far greater, more magnificent and intricate - and more fragile - than you had ever imagined."

Sir Peter also strongly identified and admired the early Antarctic explorers such as Scott and Shackleton and had great respect for Sir Edmund Hillary, who pioneered New Zealand's permanent presence in Antarctica at Scott Base.

The Sir Peter Blake Trust is a registered charitable organisation dedicated to environmental education and leadership development. It partners Antarctica New Zealand in administering the Antarctic Youth Ambassador scheme.

What the programme covers

The Antarctic Youth Ambassador will, for the duration of their award, have all expenses met relating to:

Travel to and from Christchurch;
Travel to and from Scott Base (if the award includes an "on ice" component);
Accommodation in Christchurch;
Accommodation, food and clothing at Scott Base (if the award includes an "on ice" component);
All training.
The Antarctic Youth Ambassador must meet his/her own expenses for:

Medical clearances and examinations;
Personal equipment such as cameras and lap-tops;
Food whilst in Christchurch.
For further information on the Antarctic Youth Ambassador programme contact either:

Dr Neil Gilbert
Manager Environment and Outreach
Antarctica New Zealand
Private Bag 4745
Tel: +64(3) 358 0219


Laura Fayerman
Sir Peter Blake Trust
PO Box 106-955
Customs Street
Auckland 1143
Tel: +64(9) 307 8875

1 comment:

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