Exeter schools join Polar explorers to decide future of Antarctica

School pupils from across Exeter joined Polar explorers and University of Exeter geographers on Wednesday 21 April to decide what they think the future of Antarctica should be. The 55 year-9 students (aged 13 and 14) will decide whether they would exploit this last wilderness for its oil or press for its conservation.

Held at the University of Exeter, the event was run by a team led by Dr Chris Fogwill of the University’s School of Geography, Joan England, SLL Geography at St Peter's CoE Aided School and Polar explorer Paul Mattin of Wilderness Solutions.

 Dr Chris Fogwill is a senior lecturer who specialises in ice sheets and environmental change. He has worked in Antarctica, Greenland and Patagonia, studying the effects of long-term climate change on glaciers and ice sheets.

Paul Mattin is Director of Wilderness Solutions Ltd. As a Royal Marine Major, Paul was a member of the Polar Quest Expedition to the South Pole in 2007 when he skied to the pole using giant traction kites.  Paul is now a film-maker and organises survival training packages.

During the visit, the students had a tour of the University of Exeter’s School of Geography which included The Sediment Research Facility, Environmental Change Laboratory and The Experimental Hall.

Dr Chris Fogwill of the University of Exeter said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the students to meet research scientists and Polar explorers. We hope it will open their eyes to the incredible and precious wilderness that is Antarctica. I also hope it will encourage them to see the relevance of a Geography degree to the big issues of our day, particularly climate change and sustainability.”

Date: 23 May 2010

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