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Antarctic Diary: 22nd March – Gold Harbour & Sandebugten

Position at 0700 on 22nd March
Latitude: 54°37’5” S
Longitude: 035°50’5” W
Course: 242°
Speed: 7.7 kts
Barometer: 1012 hpa
Air temp: 0° C
Sea temp: 1.5° C
Wind Speed: SSE 7
Penguin count: countless!
Whale count: also countless!!

The morning brings us gorgeous weather and more golden opportunities to record educational content for Upschool! The Zodiacs take us to the aptly named Gold Harbour. The beach is absolutely crowded with King penguins, their vibrant golden beaks and crowns glinting at us in the morning sunlight. The King penguin colony here is the largest in South Georgia with an estimated 120,000 breeding couples. In the distance we could see 2196m high Mt Patterson with its icy caps, fed by the Bertrab Glacier. Like many glaciers in the region, this on is on the retreat due to climate change.

Basking in the sun, with their huge bodies taking up quite a major proportion of the shoreline, are a wallow of elephant seals. Occasionally they slowly open an eye or two to track our movements, but mostly they lay lazily, preferring to conserve their energy. These elephant seals are considered one of the greatest divers on earth – in pursuit of food, they can dive up to 2km whilst holding their breath for up to two hours at a time. Further along, we do see a couple of juvenile elephant seals play-fighting in preparation to becoming a beach master in their older age.

The King penguins casually stroll by, and we set up nearby, careful to keep some distance. With the waves crashing on the left of us and the seals lounging around behind us, we record a video for Young Art USA. Jordan chats with Gavin about the migration of elephant seals and how this can be mapped using tea-stained paper.

The penguins seem to show genuine curiosity in our recordings and so Gavin takes out the first children’s book he wrote – ‘Are These Your Glasses?’, a story about Sergio, a bullied penguin from Antarctica. A class of penguins gather around him, listening intently to the tale and trying to get a sneak peek of their penguin pals on the page.

Back on board, the afternoon begins with an informative lecture from Pat about evolution and physiology – how marine mammals have evolved over time. As evening approaches, the Captain takes us on a ship cruise past Sandebugten and Nordenskjold Glacier while we reminisce over the day and prepare for tomorrow’s journey to one of the largest King penguin colonies on Earth.

See you tomorrow and thanks for reading!

Tanya, Gavin, Graeme, Jordan & Matt

Antarctic Diary: 21st March – Drygalski & Cooper Bay

Position at 0700 on 21st March
Latitude: 54°54’9” S
Longitude: 036°01’3” W
Course: 060°
Speed: 6.5 kts
Barometer: 994 hpa
Air temp: 0° C
Sea temp: 1° C
Wind Speed: NE 4
Penguin count: countless!
Whale count: also countless!!

It’s a beautiful morning when we arrive in South Georgia. The Captain of the Greg Mortimer, Vadym, and the expedition leader, Christian, make a special announcement! We’re going to slowly cruise through the Drygalski Fjord to take in the magnificent sights; the towering rock walls sprinkled with waterfalls, the soaring ice cliffs and the palatial Risting Glacier ahead of us. Drygalski Fjord is 14km long, named after Eric von Drygalski – the leader of the 1901-03 German Antarctic expedition. The mountains on the southern side are basalt and lava originating from underwater volcanic activity, and the other side is the ancient remains of the super continent named Gondwana. This is one of the only places in the world where these two distinct types of rock formation can be found.

Captain Vadym manoeuvres the ship 360 degrees and as we turn, the Upschool team record a lesson on the Ozone layers with environmental scientist Ella. Gavin and Ella talked about the Montreal protocol from 1987 where the whole world worked together to tackle the global problem of climate change, the mountains slowly receding behind us. In a moment of absolute serendipity, as Ella spoke about the threats of climate change, a distant crack sounds, and we capture the moment a glacier calves into the sea.

The afternoon takes us to Cooper Bay and another breathtaking Zodiac cruise! We snag Bia as our Zodiac driver and zoom over to a beautiful enclave surrounded by rocks with streams of bull kelp clinging onto them. Behind us looms some dark and cavernous rock cliffs, which makes the backdrop to our next recording on designing a kelp sanctuary in your school’s library, with Jordan from Young Art USA. We create a lesson on kelp and how it helps us to balance our climate whilst providing a safe haven for the creatures that live in this area. Seaweed stores a lot of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, hence curbing climate change, and also provides a sanctuary for seal pups to hide from leopard seals.

Bia takes us around the bay of rocks filled with four types of penguins; Macaroni, Gentoo, Chinstrap and King. As we round the corner, we all gasp in awe – swimming, playing and dancing in the bay beside us are hundreds of young fur seals, cautious yet curious about us as we slowly approach. It is an indescribable feeling as we coast by quietly, careful not to disturb the serenity of the moment. Time stands still as we watch them twirl and spiral through the water. Further along on the shoreline, we see Macaroni penguins, more fur seals, and giant Petrels. We record a lesson with Bia on Macaroni penguins and how they hunt, breed and feed.

See you tomorrow and thanks for reading!

Tanya, Gavin, Graeme, Jordan & Matt

Antarctic Diary: 18th-20th March – Penguin Island, Elephant Island, Crossing the Scotia Sea!

Positions at 0700 between 18th-20th March
Latitude: 62°06’8” S to 57°10’9” S
Longitude: 057°53’9” W to 042°15’8” W
Course: 008° to 061°
Speed: 9 kts to 13.4 kts
Barometer: 1007 hpa to 992 hpa
Air temp: -3°C to -2°C
Sea temp: Around 1°C
Wind Speed: W 7
Penguin count: countless!
Whale count: also countless!!

We had an interesting day on the 18th, with the weather deciding most of the day’s activities! The initial plan was to go ashore at Penguin Island, the giant stratovolcano that looms above the surface of the ocean. This volcano was estimated to be last active about 300 years ago. On the east side of the island is ‘Petrel Crater’, estimated to have erupted in or around 1905. Unfortunately, due to the weather conditions – large swells and winds up to 48 knots – we weren’t able to get close enough while maintaining safety for all involved. A heavy mist was rolling in as well, affecting our viewing abilities.

So instead, we decided to take care of the South Georgia biosecurity requirements. These are in place to ensure the safety of the flora and fauna in South Georgia, to protect the ecosystem of the area, and for other general biosecurity reasons. To ensure we are compliant with the protocols, we spend the morning carefully checking our exterior clothing, our gloves, our hiking gear, and anything that would be touching the South Georgian ground. In the lead up to our first landing at South Georgia, in a few days, we will continue to have the occasional biosecurity parties, as we’ve been calling them, to ensure we meet the strict requirements of the area.

We spend the afternoon attending some interesting lectures – Bia speaks on the life of a humpback whale with a talk titled ‘From tropics to ice and back again, and Jeff gives us a history of polar exploration and ‘Shackleton’s Endurance’. As the ship cruises past Elephant Island, we are lucky enough to have a brief window of sun shine down around us – the sky clears up just enough for us to catch a sight of Elephant Island.

We head east across the Scotia Sea and as we travel, fin whales cruise alongside us, seemingly guiding us onwards, in what can only be described as a magical experience. We say our goodbyes to Antarctica and look ahead towards South Georgia.

The 19th and 20th of March were spent crossing the Scotia Sea and as such we made use of our time on board to listen to lectures and record educational content for Upschool. Jeff delivered a lecture on Otto van Nordenskjold’s Swedish Antarctic expedition, Pat delivered one on Antarctic weather, the cyclonic storms of the area and how the weather in the Antarctic region influences the climate of the whole planet. The Upschool team met up with Pat, the marine biologist, to discuss recording the video on wild weather as they anticipated a large storm heading into the Scotia Sea on the 20th March.

The morning of the 20th March took us further across the Scotia Sea towards South Georgia. We enjoy another day of fascinating history and knowledge with a lecture about the seals of the Southern Ocean by Hannah, our naturalist and wildlife specialist on board, and one on whaling and its effects by Bia, a marine biologist. The afternoon brought on the snow storms we were hoping for and we quickly utilised the weather to create the educational lesson with Pat.

As the seas calmed and the winds settled, it was time to get ready for South Georgia and the beauty that we would behold.

See you tomorrow and thanks for reading!

Tanya, Gavin, Graeme, Jordan & Matt

Antarctic Diary: 17th March – Hydrurga Rocks, Cierva Cove

Position at 0700 on 17th March
Latitude: 64°08’ S
Longitude: 61°39’ W
Course: 084°
Speed: 5.9 kts
Barometer: 1002hpa
Air temp: -1° C
Sea temp: 1° C
Wind Speed: LT AIR
Penguin count: countless!
Whale count: also countless!!

We’ve had another fun-filled day of activities, today! Christian, the expedition leader, wakes us up early with a gentle call over the tannoy – breakfast will be served from 7:00am. Before we know it, we’re heading to the mudroom, pulling on our muckboots, and carefully stepping into the awaiting Zodiac. We’re taken towards Hydrurga Rocks and we all fall silent in awe as we approach the rugged shoreline filled with penguins and seals. The penguins we see around us are called Chinstrap penguins – they get their name from the distinctive black line along their chin, which resembles a chinstrap. They clamber about the rocks around us, making their way in and out of the water. These are the most common penguins in the Antarctic, they are amazing swimmers and can swim up to 25km per hour.

We approach the land and climb out, careful to avoid the fighting fur seals nearby. In a small enclosure, surrounded by rocks, two fur seals approach each other and begin play fighting. They are fairly young and the fighting isn’t so serious, but it is crucial as preparation for becoming an adult in a very competitive world. Matt Iuliano of Wildhearts Creative Media sets up his recording gear and we record a short video with Pat, Aurora Expedition’s marine biologist, about the life cycle of a fur seal. With the seals providing the perfect backdrop, Gavin McCormack and Jordan C Brun also record a video about using animals as the inspiration to designing a book cover.

In the afternoon, we explore Cierva Cove on a Zodiac, taking in the wondrous and epic ice sculptures as they float on the water. Gavin McCormack and Jordan C Brun film a few more educational videos with John, the ornithologist, about the importance of sea ice, the humpback whale and orcas. Jordan C Brun spoke on landscapes, tone and colouration and we finish the day watching the sun sink into the horizon.

As an after dinner treat, Dr Karl speaks on the subject of ‘Weird Science’ and after much fun and laughter, it’s time for Team Frosty Five to rest, ahead of the voyage towards South Georgia across the Scotia Sea.

See you tomorrow and thanks for reading!

Tanya, Gavin, Graeme, Jordan & Matt

Antarctic Diary: 16th March – Port Lockroy, Jougla Point, Orne Harbour

Position at 0700 on 16th March
Latitude: 64°34’5” S
Longitude: 063°34’9” W
Course: 084°
Speed: 5.9 kts
Barometer: 1003hpa
Air temp: -1° C
Sea temp: 1° C
Wind Speed: LT AIR
Penguin count: countless!
Whale count: also countless!!

Each day we awaken early to a new adventure awaiting us and a wonder within us, as we await the day’s activities. Today, planned for us, is a visit to Port Lockroy, Jougla Point and Orne Harbour.

First up, we head to the mudroom to suit up for our first outing on the Zodiac boats to cruise around the calm waters of Port Lockroy. Within the port is Goudier Island, and we make a landing there to check out the colony of penguins that live there, and some buildings and structures known as Base A.

Base A was set up in 1944 by the British, as part of an operation to survey German activities on the peninsula. Scientific staff took over the base in 1948, until 1962 when it was decommissioned and maintained as a museum, operated by the Antarctic Heritage Trust.

On Goudier Island is also Bransfield House, one of the Base A buildings, filled with relics from times past – including old food stores, ancient sealer memorabilia & paintings of early 20th century explorers.

Outside, with the backdrop of the buildings, the Gentoo penguin colony pottered around – the perfect backdrop for our next Young Art USA recording. Matt Iuliano directed Gavin McCormack and Jordan C Brun into position to begin recording as Graeme Myburgh snapped pictures from the sidelines. The penguins in the background were very cooperative in demonstrating the techniques we were attempting to convey through art –  how to create caricatures from the animals around us, that they will then incorporate into later lessons on fictionalising these characters into stories. We also learned about how baby penguins shed their feathers before entering the ocean for the first time.
A little further around the corner, past the penguins, we ran across juvenile blue whale skeleton bones – remnants of the 1900s whaling past of the area, when whalers used to haul the whales onto the land to strip them of their blubber, which was used as oil for lanterns, grease for machinery, and even wax for candles. Bia, the marine biologist on board with Aurora Expeditions, showed us the eye cavity, and we filmed a lesson on the history of whaling.

And now… the time has finally arrived… it’s the polar plunge!! All through the morning, we had been buzzing with excitement and anticipation. Would it be colder than the Arctic waters of July 2022?! Yesterday we passed through many a cloud, the snow and hail softly falling on the decks, picking up with the wind. But today we’ve got beautiful, clear skies, the sun occasionally peeking through the clouds.

Over the tannoy, we get the call. Polar plunge time. We rush to ‘suit up’ in our swimwear and head down to the lower deck. Team Frosty Five cautiously step onto the mat and approach the edge, where the water laps, lining up to take the plunge together. Above us, from the sidelines of the ship, we’re cheered on, camera’s at the ready. We countdown…three…two…one…JUMP!

Photo by Renato Granieri

It’s all over in a matter of seconds and we’re scrambling back onto the mat! The shock of the cold doesn’t really register till we’re half-running towards the sauna, to thaw out our frozen toes! Antarctic plunge, done and dusted!

The afternoon’s activity took us to Orne Harbour, where we were given the opportunity to make a real continental landing! We approached the icy continent and as the Zodiac pulled up, the Upschool team felt an extreme moment of elation as we realised how fortunate we were to have this opportunity to deliver lessons across the world from one of the most remote locations on the planet. We stepped out onto the land – one of only about 400,000 people to do so.

In Orne Harbour cruising around we did a lesson on how warm and cool colours are incorporated in art, under a cliff filled with shags – the birds that help guide sailors towards land, because they are never more than 50km from shore. We also recorded a lesson with Jeff, the historian, on bubble net feeding techniques of humpback whales.

When we got back to the ship, we were greeted with the smell of a delicious BBQ, enticing us up onto the level 8 deck, where we enjoyed a beautiful evening of food, fun and festivities. Beautiful moments surrounded us as we enjoyed our BBQ, with humpback whales joining us alongside the ship to enjoy their own feed; we witnessed the beauty and magic of the bubble net feeding technique, that we had just learned from Jeff! It was such an amazing sight to behold and we can hardly wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

See you tomorrow and thanks for reading!

Love from the Frosty Five!

Tanya, Gavin, Graeme, Jordan & Matt

Antarctic Diary: March 15th – Lemaire Channel, Yalour Islands, Petermann Island

Position at 0600 on 15th March
Latitude: 64°59’1” S
Longitude: 063°46’1” W
Course: 225°
Speed: 7.4 kts
Barometer: 1004hpa
Air temp: -1° C
Sea temp: 1° C
Wind Speed: LT AIR
Penguin count: Countless
Whale count: Also countless!

Today we were up bright and early, with the expedition leader, Christian, making a special call over the tannoy at 5:45am to hustle us out of our beds and onto the upper viewing deck. From there, we watched on as the Captain carefully manoeuvred us through the Lemaire Channel. With our steaming hot cups of coffee warming our hands, we took in the sights as we sailed by, marvelling at the towering basalt mountains and glaciers as the sun slowly rose behind them, casting a rosy hue across the sky. What a beautiful way to start the day.

After breakfast, it was straight into the activities for us. The Frosty Five geared up and headed out onto the Zodiac for a cruise around Yalour Island. We managed to snag the lovely Hannah as our Zodiac driver, and utilised our time with her to record an absolute gem of a lesson on leopard seals. We started recording and in a moment that seemed straight out of a movie, as Gavin spoke the words “…and here we have one of the apex predators of this region, the mighty leopard seal…” – a giant 3.5 metre leopard seal leapt out of the water, as if responding to his cue!!

The morning was off to a brilliant start, and we managed to record a couple more videos, including one with Young Art USA’s Jordan C Brun about the colour contrast between black and white: recorded in front of a colony of Adelie penguins. We also got to spend some time on Yalour Island where we saw several thousand more Adelie penguins (I’ve given up counting) and our photographer Graeme Myburgh took some absolutely stunning close-ups of the penguins, showing off their unique-seeming personalities.

After lunch we were back again at the ready, for another outing to another island – Petermann Island. Here, we trekked up the snowy mountainside and found ourselves in front of an Adelie penguin creche, where our videographer, Matt Iuliano of Wildhearts Creative Media, recorded a lesson with Upschool’s Gavin McCormack on how leadership within penguin colonies reflects what we can be doing within our own communities to make a more sustainable world. We spent the remainder of the afternoon with Dr Karl, recording lessons for about the layers of the Earth.

With such an eventful day, it was great to be back aboard the ship to finish up with a lecture from Ella on the restoration of the ozone layer. We learned so much from her, including that since the 1987 release of the Montreal Protocol, the world has worked together to restore the hole that sits directly over the Antarctic continent.

It was an early night for all and we headed off to bed, looking forward to the next day and the next adventure.

See you tomorrow and thanks for reading!

Love from the Frosty Five!

Tanya, Gavin, Graeme, Jordan & Matt

Antarctic Diary: March 14th – Cuverville & Paradise Harbour

Position at 0700 on 14th March
Latitude: 64°36’5” S
Longitude: 062°34’5” W
Course: 197°
Speed: 10.1 kts
Barometer: 1003hpa
Air temp: -1° C
Sea temp: 1° C
Wind Speed: NW 4
Penguin count: 749?!?
Whale count: Dozens!

Unbelievably, it’s only day four of our Antarctic Adventure, though it feels like we’ve experienced a lifetime of wonder already! It’s another beautiful morning and today there are some amazing things planned for us by the Aurora Expeditions team on board. First up, though, is a delicious buffet breakfast, bright and early at 8am.

The ship, Greg Mortimer, named after the first Australian to climb Mount Everest without the use of oxygen tanks, cruised down the Gerlache Strait and we got to see even more whales! Humpback whales slowly cruised by and surfaced as we watched from above – it was a sight to behold.

Yesterday afternoon, before dinner, we had the honour and privilege of being able to interview Dr Karl Kruszelnicki for the first of a series of ten educational videos about ‘Space from the Edge of the World’. It was a short and sweet intro to the solar system and we were all in awe as we listened to him speak on the topic.

As the days go by, we’ll be taking every opportunity to pick his brain on topics as far and wide as the universe and beyond – his knowledge seems to know no bounds and we appreciate every minute we spend with him.

After brekky on the 14th, we got to do our first landing! It was a place called Cuverville Island and we saw our first colony of penguins!! I’d been planning on doing a penguin count for this trip but there were so many! Matt has jokingly estimated that there were 749 penguins there, and Gavin, ever the teacher, informs us that it is the largest Gentoo penguin colony on Earth.

The landing and surrounds were the perfect location for getting the next few educational video recordings. We found a cute group of penguins and set up in front of them, at a respectable distance for Gavin to deliver a lesson on the Gentoo penguin’s first journey into the ocean.
In a different spot, we set up again for Jordan, our art curriculum writer cohort from Young Art USA, to deliver a lesson on depth perception – with penguins in the foreground and background.

The afternoon took us cruising through the Errera Channel, filled with even more whales surfing the waters alongside us. We are almost at the point where the whale count is going to be countless, too! We were treated to a Zodiac cruise around Paradise Harbour, anchoring near the Argentinian Antarctic Base Brown. We spotted even more whales, penguins swimming through the waters from island to island, cormorants nesting on cliff faces, and some very cool – in more ways than one – glaciers and icebergs.

What a day!! With so much that we’ve already seen, we can hardly believe it’s only still early days! What else is there?! Let’s see what tomorrow brings …

See you then and thanks for reading!

Love from the Frosty Five!

Tanya, Gavin, Graeme, Jordan & Matt

Antarctic Diary: March 13th – Crossing Drake Passage, Land Ahoy, Whale Ahoy!!

Position at 0700 on 12th/13th March
Latitude: 61°12’0” S
Longitude: 059°44’2” W
Course: 177°
Speed: 14.2 kts
Barometer: 998hpa
Air temp: 0° C
Sea temp: 8.1° C
Wind Speed: W 6
Penguin count: 0
Whale count: 1

It’s Day Two! We’re all up early because the excitement of this trip is keeping us energised! We can hardly believe it, but we’ve already spotted our first whale, and basically… there’s no words to describe these wonders unfolding before us and as always we feel so honoured and privileged to be here on this journey, representing and sponsored by the wonderful team at Aurora Expeditions.

Last night, before we settled in for dinner, we got to meet some of the amazing crew that are on board the Greg Mortimer with us on this trip – and what a lovely, experienced & knowledgeable bunch they are! With luck on our side, we’re hoping for the chance to spend some time with each and every one of them, so we can tap into their expertise, and mine their minds for the nuggets of knowledge to enrich our Upschool lessons.

In the lecture hall, each crew member introduced themselves and spoke a few words on their particular expertise.

Eduardo is the kayak guide and also a biologist.

Anna is on board as assistance.

Eloisa is also a kayak guide and a marine biologist.

Serge is the zodiac master – zodiacs being the little boats we head out on to cruise around to and from shore.

Pete is a kayak guide and also seal whisperer!

Hannah is a naturalist and expert on wildlife and seals.

Pia is a marine biologist.

Ella is a snorkelling guide and environmental scientist.

Staz is a snorkel guide.

Renato is the ship photographer.

Jeff is a historian.

Reba is the onboard expedition manager.

Linda is the expedition medic.

Matt is a kayak guide.

Pat is a marine biologist and oceanographer.

Isabelle is the assistant expedition leader.

Dan is a kayak guide.

John is a marine biologist and zodiac master.

Christian is the expedition leader and ornithologist.

For much of the rest of the 12th and 13th, we familiarised ourselves with the ship and crew members, caught up with some of the staff who we remembered from our previous Arctic expedition, and readied/steadied ourselves for the cruise down the notorious Drake Passage!

See you tomorrow and thanks for reading!

Love from the Frosty Five!

Tanya, Gavin, Graeme, Jordan & Matt

Antarctic Diary: March 11th – Ushuaia & Drake’s Passage

Position at 0700 on 11th March
Latitude: 56°18’6” S
Longitude: 068°24’8” W
Course: 130°
Speed: 15 kts
Barometer: 1002hpa
Air temp: 4° C
Sea temp: 1° C
Wind Speed: NW 6
Penguin count: 0
Whale count: 0

Hello everyone, and welcome to Upschool’s daily journal as we travel through Antarctica to create free inspiring educational programs for children around the world! It’s Day One and we’re already on board and on our way so let me get you up to speed. It’s time to meet the team!

As of last year in July 2022 when we went to the Arctic, this year I’ll be assisting with editing the written materials involved in the production of the educational videos, as well as writing this daily journal of our adventures in Antarctica! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Tanya Natalie. I own and operate a second-hand bookshop in Hornsby, NSW, Australia and I am also a professional editor, working with local and international writers on their manuscripts, be it fiction, fantasy, biography … or any form of writing, really!

Tanya Natalie

This year, our trip to Antarctica includes a team of FIVE! Apart from myself, we have Graeme Myburgh from Sydney, NSW, Australia – who you might remember also joined us on the Arctic trip last year. Two newbies joining us are Jordan Brun from Ogden, Utah, USA and Matt Iuliano from Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Finally, bringing together the team, we’ve got Upschool’s very own, very inspiring, Gavin McCormack from Sydney, NSW, Australia.

The Frosty Five!

Graeme is back on board with us as our photographer, capturing the vast, pristine beauty of the environment, and integrating his images into the lessons to inspire the children into action. Graeme and Jordan will be working together, using the photos to draw out artistic opportunities and inspiring children to create their own art from references around them. He is most excited “to photograph the plethora of Antarctic penguins that thrive in this icy region, especially the gigantic King Penguin”.

Jordan is our illustrator and visual arts curriculum coordinator, on board to create cross-curricula learning opportunities for the children, blending Visual Arts lessons with core curriculum to help reinforce and encourage academic growth. He’s on loan from the amazing people at Young Art, who promote visual arts education to underserved communities throughout the world, including, most recently, Costa Rica, Afghanistan and Nepal. He sees Antarctica as “an opportunity of a lifetime to be inspired by the wide vistas of this most unique continent”.

Matt is our videographer and he has been in the industry for over ten years, working in everything from documentary, to studio tv, to music videos. Matt will be working closely with Gavin and all of our guest speakers, producing and directing the cinematography to bring the wonders of the Antarctic into the classroom. To Matt, “Antarctica is a filmmaker’s dream, where every shot captures the raw beauty of nature’s unfiltered magnificence. It’s a place where the camera lens brings to life the majesty of icebergs, penguins and whales, and the awe-inspiring vastness of a world untouched by civilisation”.

Gavin, from Upschool, rounds out our team and brings 20+ years of educational training to the effort. He is the ambassador to Montessori Education in Australia, holding conferences around the world on purposeful education. In his spare time, if there is any, he writes children’s books, builds schools in Nepal and India, and occasionally runs a charity marathon or two. Antarctica, to Gavin, is “a place that reminds us of our responsibility to cherish and preserve this fragile planet we call home”.

So, that’s us! The Frosty Five!

I’m writing to you from Ushuaia, Argentina, where we are about to head off on this grand Antarctic adventure involving penguins, whales, leopard seals, elephant seals, and the albatross. If all goes to plan, we’ll be seeing at least one of each – please!

We’re so excited to be here, on behalf of, and to be creating educational programs for children all around the world to access for free – sponsored by the amazing Aurora Expeditions team! Through this Antarctic opportunity, we are hoping to be able to produce four purposeful educational programs;

  1. The Solar System and Beyond. This is an education journey from Earth to deep space.
  2. The Power of One. Through this program, we learn life’s greatest lessons from the natural world of Antarctica.
  3. Young Art USA. In this cross-curriculum program, we use nature as the backdrop for creativity and artistic expression.
  4. Animal Stories. This program involves seeing life through the eyes of the Antarctic animals.

At the moment, we’re on board the ship Greg Mortimer and soon, we’ll be heading towards the Drake Passage. For now, though, it’s time to go meet the crew and do a few essential emergency, health & training drills.

See you tomorrow and thanks for reading!

Love from the Frosty Five!

Tanya, Gavin, Graeme, Jordan & Matt

Story Train Narrative Writing Activity

Choo choo! All aboard the story train!

Creating a story is a lot like taking your reader on a train journey through your writing. As you travel further into your tale, take time along the way to describe the setting, the characters, and the important events. We are trying to take your readers on a journey towards your story’s final lesson.

Download the worksheet below to help your students begin brainstorming the important parts of their story! We encourage them to refer to the example for inspiration if needed.

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