YOUNG EXPLORERS RETURN FROM THE ARCTIC

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15 Young Explorers, aged between 18-23 years old, and 7 Leaders returned on 16th June 2009 after spending 10 weeks pushing themselves to their physical and mental limits on expedition in Arctic Svalbard. The explorers lived, camped, researched and adventured in Europe’s last true wilderness, the far flung snowy archipelago of Svalbard on the edge of the Arctic Ocean, just 600 miles from the North Pole. Offering unrivalled opportunities for exploration and adventure, there are few roads or tracks, just range after range of high mountains and endless expanses of snow, ice, glaciers and fjords. Students worked alongside highly qualified scientists to conduct glacial geomorphology and phenology studies, contributing to long-term projects concerning the measurement of key leading indicators of climate change. An ornithological survey was also undertaken, gathering and collating data on some of the species indigenous to the region. Will Taunton-Burnet, BSES Expeditions Executive Director explains further: “Svalbard is 600 miles away from the North Pole, and over 60% of the island is covered by glaciers, making it a scientists and explorers paradise. The lucky team cross-country skied across remote and stunning landscapes, lived and camped in the Arctic wilderness, as well as working alongside qualified scientists to complete hands-on fieldwork projects with the aim of gaining a more personal appreciation for this unique environment and the issues facing it today. “It is only through engaging the next generation that we can hope to protect the environment in the long term. The explorers also needed to be on the look out for Polar Bears, as the Arctic is home to these endangered species.” Any inspired young people keen to experience the adventure of a lifetime and brave enough to take on the challenge in 2010 should see www.bses.org.uk or the Facebook Group ‘BSES Expeditions’ for more information. More information at http://extremearctic.blogspot.com/ The British Schools Exploring Society (BSES Expeditions) is a non-profit UK-based charity which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2007. Founded in 1932 by the late Surgeon Commander G Murray Levick, a member of Scott’s final Antarctic Expedition of 1910-13, the BSES is one of the longest running organisations of its type. 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. The aim of BSES Expeditions is to help the personal and social development of young people, through the challenge of living and working in remote and demanding areas of the world. Over the past 77 years, the BSES have: * Discovered one new site of bushman artwork and artefacts in Africa. * Trekked 57.6 times around the world (that’s 2,303,840km)! * Measured 133 glacier snouts in the Arctic. * Recorded 13,860 blood pressures in high altitude physiology studies. * Protected 30,000 turtle eggs. ‘BSES gives those young people with a dream the chance to explore some of the world's most remote regions. With that exploration, I have found, so often comes a sense of pride and achievement - and that is the real magic of BSES. It builds the champions and explorers of the future.’ —Bear Grylls, British explorer and face behind Channel 4’s Born Survivor series ‘Scientific exploration is essential if we are to continue to develop our understanding of science. That is why the British Schools Exploring Society is vital for equipping young people with the skills, knowledge and inspiration to become tomorrow's scientists.' —Professor Sir David King, Chief Scientific Advisor to H.M. Government and Head of the Office of Science and Innovation