The Antarctic Experience is an exciting environmental education and youth leadership opportunity for Kingborough secondary students and offers an unforgettable flight over Antarctica.
This unique program is a way of creating youth awareness of environmental issues, especially climate change and science, and furthering a commitment to environmental and youth leadership.
Secondary schools in Kingborough were provided with the opportunity to each nominate two students. The following students were selected as finalists in the program for 2012:
Students each attended an interview and delivered a presentation to the selection panel focussing on the following:
The selection panel consisted of Council’s Senior Environmental Health Officer, Abyilene McGuire, Council’s Youth Development Officer, Carol Swards, and Dr Glenn Johnstone, a marine biologist with the Australian Antarctic Division.
Damian Mazur of Kingston High School was awarded the ‘Antarctic Experience’ at a presentation in December 2012.
Lewis Johnson of Taroona High School received a High Commendation.
Antarctic Experience finalists
Damian's Antarctic Experience
Damian completed the program from 16-18 February 2013 and provides an overview of his experience below.
It’s not every day you can say that you're spending your weekend in Antarctica. I don’t think I fully realised what I was about to do until I reached the airport in Hobart. The accommodation is great, no complaints there. The other students from Calvin are great fun, easy to get on with.
After we dropped our gear off at Trinity College, we caught a tram to Federation Square. This seemed like it would be an easy enough task, but it turned out that the Myki cards aren’t really designed for tourists. We visited the ACMI and looked at the technology gallery. It was a great gallery, with Matrix machines, smoke and lights, the history of television and much more.
It’s early. Very early. I am so glad I had a fan in my room, the others didn’t. Today I am travelling to Antarctica, something I never thought I’d be able to say whilst still in high school.
The flight was fantastic. The sky was clear as soon as we came close to the continent. I will never forget the reaction of everybody when the captain announced the first bit of sea ice was visible; the sudden rush of people swarming the windows was overwhelming. We flew over the Balleny Islands, something the pilot, who was been over twenty times, has never seen.
The pancake ice stretched on for miles, but when I saw the continent itself, I knew I was truly lucky. To see the rocky slope rise out from the icy water surrounding it made me truly appreciate just how barren Antarctica is. Yet, although it is plain, there is this incredible sense of beauty that can only be understood by visiting.
The Trans-Antarctic mountain ranges were spectacular. To see the near-endless ridges and valleys was amazing. The Dry Valleys were my favourite part. The snow was piled up around the valleys, as if it was afraid to go any further. Seeing everything covered in snow and then suddenly seeing these bare rocky slopes was another part of Antarctica that has left me blown away.
We flew around Mount Terror and Mount Erebus. We had picked the perfect day; Mount Erebus was smoking when we flew past it. We flew over American, French and New Zealand bases, and seeing these small settlements in the middle of an isolated continent made me realise just how remote Antarctica is.
I will never forget Antarctica.
It was hard to wake up this morning, knowing that the day wasn’t going to be as great as yesterday. Still, it was pretty fun. After a hot breakfast at the college, we went to the museum. I enjoyed the psychology section, and learning about my mind; however this may be because they had comfortable beds that you could lie down on, whilst they showed you your dreams.
We went back to Federation Square hoping to look at the art gallery, but it was unfortunately closed. We decided to go back to the ACMI, to look at the displays we missed.
When we landed back in Hobart, I had mixed emotions. I was happy to be home, as you always are after travelling, but sad to leave Antarctica. When we landed back in Hobart, I realised just how far away we really are from Antarctica, and that I may not ever go back there. The trip has given me a strong passion to return there, or at least help protect the continent. The value of the trip can’t be determined by how much money it costed; I don’t think it can be evaluated.