Thinking about taking a gap year but not sure what to do or where to go? The South Antarctic region is one of the last truly pristine regions on earth and the British Schools Exploring Society (BSES Expeditions) is looking for budding explorers aged 18-23 to take part in a once in a lifetime expedition at the end of the year, travelling aboard HMS Endurance. The expedition is perfect for young people who find themselves at the end of their college studies. those wishing to take a Gap Year or for those with practical skills whose dream is to visit some of the most remote parts of the world, as there will be the opportunity to discover the Antarctic landscapes of South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. The national charity is urging young explorers who are available to join the intrepid team from November 2008 to January 2009 to apply before 29 August 2008. Some previous outdoors experience is required and a thirst for science and seeking new challenges is essential. Following the footsteps of Ernest Shackleton, the lucky team will camp out on the ice, trek up the glaciers, climb rugged snow-covered mountains, conduct vital scientific fieldwork and even climb some of the peaks that Shackleton ascended – as well as a few that are still unclimbed. Louisa Peaver, Expeditions Co-ordinator for BSES Expeditions said “We are looking for young people to join our specialist team of explorers and scientists who are ready to experience the Antarctic region’s variety of wildlife, scenery, geology and history.” BSES Expeditions has a unique five year scientific programme in partnership with the UK ice breaker patrol vessel, HMS Endurance, which will be ‘home’ for the lucky team for approximately seven weeks. Louisa Peaver continues, “The research will focus on climate change and conservation of the delicate ecosystem. Penguins are a characteristic feature of the Southern environment, and the group will play an important role in surveying remote penguin colonies on South Georgia. “The team will also visit the enormous rookeries of King Penguins and Chinstraps, as featured on David Attenborough’s ‘Life in Freezer’ series. They will also conduct environment surveys on one of the Falklands’ outlying islands and environmental conservation projects which include tussock planting to re-establish the natural habitat.”The expedition ‘Sea legs’ are a must as travel will be onboard the ice breaker, visiting South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, with training taking place onboard. Leaders will also run sessions sharing their specialist knowledge, which will give the team the opportunity to debate issues surrounding the Antarctic and the world in general. Volunteers will be encouraged to keep their eyes peeled to see Humpback and Minke whales feeding near the surface, as well as the possibility of the Killer whale and the Southern Tight whale – which was once hunted almost to extinction. South Georgia This spectacular expedition’s itinerary takes full advantage of the vibrant early season on South Georgia when few other ships are at sea. Ski mountaineering, trekking and discovering peaks, are just some of the adventures that the 12 volunteers will experience. Since Shackleton put it on the map, very few people have had the privilege of exploring South Georgia because of its extreme isolation and its strict environment controls.Falklands There will be time for adventure on the Falkland Islands, with a training programme that teaches essential skills required for safe travel in the mountains, the islands and surrounding seas. Young Explorers will retrace the footsteps of British Forces made during the Falklands War.Funding The cost for the expedition is £5,000, plus flight costs of £1,500. BSES Expeditions offers each Young Explorer fundraising support from the very beginning. “We realise that the expedition represents a significant investment, but BSES is offering fundraising help every step of the way, plus the opportunity of a personal mentor and bursary funding. Without question, this is a chance of a lifetime,” Louisa Peaver said.Selection procedure BSES Expeditions is looking to select from a wide range of people, from all over the country. All prospective young explorers need to do is email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the website at www.bses.org.uk or call 020 7591 3141. If an application is successful, there will be an invitation to an informal interview held locally. Professor David Bellamy praises the BSES Expeditions as they are a way to “discover yourself and help save the world’s most important places”. The British Schools Exploring Society (BSES Expeditions) is a non-profit UK-based charity which last year celebrated its 75th anniversary. Founded in 1932 by the late Surgeon Commander G Murray Levick, a member of Scott’s Antarctic Expedition of 1910-13, the BSES is one of the longest running organisations of its type. Over the past 75 years, the BSES has: · Discovered one new site of bushman artwork and artefacts in Africa. · Trekked 57.6 times around the world. (That’s 2,303,840 km!) · Measured 133 glacier snouts in the Arctic. · Recorded 13,860 blood pressures in high altitude physiology studies. · Protected 30,000 turtle eggs. Based at The Royal Geographical Society in London, BSES Expeditions has provided opportunities for young people of all abilities between the ages of 16 and 23 to take part in adventure projects that involve science research in wilderness areas. Recently honoured by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) at their annual awards ceremony, BSES Expeditions received The Geographical Award for ‘engaging young people with scientific fieldwork through expeditions’ for the past 75 years. The BSES 75th Anniversary Appeal has been launched with the aim providing the funding to encourage and enable more young people from all sectors of society to join these worthwhile expeditions.