Sunday, January 25, 2009

Life after Antarctica

I am back in the real world. It’s been around ten days since I got back to New Zealand. Right now, my time in Antarctica feels like a dream, a strange time warp in my life. I always find an important or influential experience in my life feels longer on reflection, and the events remain vivid in my mind. I could easily recount my time in Antarctica, but not the events since coming home. It was straight back to work for me at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research (NIWA) in Bream Bay, Northland. It’s by no means bad work, but it’s not Antarctica.

This is not the end of my Antarctic experience though. I am going to continue to carry my Antarctic adventures, from this trip and the one before, with me throughout my term as the Antarctic Youth Ambassador and beyond. My role as the Antarctic Youth Ambassador is to share these experiences and my passion for the environment with you! The coming months will see me finishing off my environmental monitoring project on the Crater Hill windfarm for Antarctica New Zealand. I will also be getting involved in environmental and education events… wherever I can be of help to young New Zealanders, Antarctica, the environment and our future.

On Wednesday, January 21, I took part in a Marine Youth Mentoring initiative organised by the Auckland Regional Council and the Department of Conservation. Myself, ~25 highshool students (aged 13-17) and ~20 marine experts went on a whale and dolphin safari on the Hauraki Gulf. The aim was to engage the young emerging environmentalists in the marine environment and expose them to a range of marine experts including scientists, technicians, managers and business people from a range of disciplines, from conservation to the utilization of the sea. In my opinion, the day was a great success. I met many clever and enthusiastic youths with a lot of questions for me. It was great for them to have the opportunity to ask all sorts of questions of the right people in such a fun environment.

I learnt as much as the students! I was excited and inspired to meet these youths who are already contributing to all sorts of environmental initiatives within our schools and communities, and to get familiar with the issues as they saw them. Thank you to all those involved - our future environment is in great hands!

The day was also a great success as we tracked down a pod of common dolphins. Everyone was thrilled! There was ~30 dolphins in the pod including a considerably smaller baby one (the favourite). I trust the programme continued to be successful over Thursday and Friday when the students and some of the adults stayed on Motutapu at the Outdoor Recreation Camp. On the island they were scheduled to do confidence courses, snorkeling, sailing, beach clean ups, learn about the intertidal zone and put plans together for Seaweek 2009 (1-8 March).

Seaweek aims to raise awareness of what lies beneath the surface of our oceans (read more here It offers a number of opportunities to get involved, get educated and get proactive, so that each and everyone of us can take responsibility for the seas around us. The group of future marine leaders aboard the boat on Wednesday will be leading the Auckland Conservancy into Seaweek 2009 in ways that they determine themselves. I look forward to hearing their ideas and seeing the results!


Anonymous said...
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Alex said...

Lib, Very informative and interesting blog! Wow! Your bud, Alex.

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