A look back at Antarctica Day 2013

Antarctica Day flags at Princess Elisabeth Station Antarctica

Antarctica Day flags at Princess Elisabeth Station Antarctica

© International Polar Foundation

Antarctica Day (December 1st) celebrates the Antarctic Treaty, originally agreed in 1959 and now signed by 50 nations.  This year the IPF Education Team, in partnership with OurSpaces, set up some activities to highlight that Antarctica is a special place for international cooperation and good governance.

Several schools were invited to make flags for Antarctica Day. A selection of flags from around the world was taken to Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Station (PEA). While the flags were flying at the station, four live Skype calls – two in Belgium and two in UK - were organised between schoolchildren and members of the station science and technical teams.

Eleven and 12 year old pupils pupils at Ecole du Centre in Brussels spoke directly with Jaques Richon, doctor and guide at PEA. At VLS Paal, a Flemish school in Beringen, a class of 10-11 year old children spoke with station mechanic Walter Cumps.  Children from Bosworth Academy secondary school near Leicester, UK had a live link with Alexander Mangold, one of the scientists working on measurements of aerosols, ozone and UV radiation. Alexander also spoke to Class 3 at Pilsley C of E Primary School in Derbyshire, UK and teacher Katie Forster summed up the experience:

“We cannot thank you enough for this whole wonderful project that has so inspired and thrilled the children and staff at the school. We have had such fun looking for our flags and following all the links you have sent. Talking to Alexander by Skype was magical - he was very thorough but very child friendly in his answers and he really engaged every child in the room, whether they were asking a question or not. I've never had such a quiet classroom!!”

A photograph of the flags in Antarctica and a signed certificate from the station was sent to the participating schools.

The Education team at IPF would like to thank Jacques Richon, Walter Cumps, Alexander Mangold, Kristof Soete, Alain Hubert in Antarctica Michel de Wouters in Cape Town and Marie Willamette and Myriam Dielemans in Brussels for making this Antarctica Day a wonderful experience. See you next year and don't forget to look at the photo gallery too!

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