We have sent books and been in contact with youth and educators on five continents and seven countries – in Brazil, the United States, Canada, Belgium, England, China, and Tanzania. Many exciting projects are still underway, ranging from curriculum design to conservation efforts and awareness-building activities.
60 students in Brazil created polar-themed artwork for Antarctica Day and 23 students learned about the Arctic and turned the lights off for an hour to raise awareness about energy conservation. Their teacher, CM Jefersson de Campo, is working to start a Brazilian version of the Act for Antarctica project. At the end of the month, he will also hold a lecture for two schools about the Antarctic Treaty and the environmental policies that are in place to protect the continent.
Around 15 students in an English class at The Philadelphia School are creating a unit around exploration. They are analyzing the Antarctica: To Be Inspired book from a literary perspective, reading a book about Shackleton, writing stories about expeditions and explorations of other parts of the world, and presenting their knowledge to other classes.
120 Lower School students at Girard College collected bags of trash to celebrate Antarctica Day and hope to continue in the future.
14 students from Huey School in Philadelphia took personal lifestyle challenges. A few of the acts proposed: 13-year-old Jamesha pledged to pick up trash, 14-year-old Ryan pledged to take shorter showers, and 12-year-old Grace pledged to recycle and do creative projects with recyclable materials. 15 students also took out the school’s recycling, made recycling bins to ensure that every class has one, and created signs to put near light switches to remind people to save energy.
25 students from the Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School ECO Club in Moraga, California had a “March of the Penguins” documentary screening for 30-45 students and shared facts that they learned about Antarctica. They are also trying to incorporate Antarctica into their water-themed “Earth Week” activities.
15 students from North Hatley Elementary School in Quebec started an environmental club, began recycling lunch packaging, and completed educational worksheets about the Antarctic.
24 students from AMY at James Martin School wrote critical essays about Antarctica.
15 students from China are working on group or individual proposals for Act for Antarctica. Led by Yerong Tang, five students from the Qingzhuhuxiangyi Foreign Language School planned a lesson about global warming and carbon emission, and taught in two primary schools (3 classes in total) in Changsha, Hunan Province, China.
9 students from Grosse Ile School on the Magdalen Islands in Quebec undertook individual conservation projects. One student has been eating by candlelight all week to save electricity. Other students are walking to school and trying to use less water in their daily activities.
50 students at the Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, MA read Antarctica Treaty documents and Antarctica: To Be Inspired in celebration of Antarctica Day. This introduced a polar science/climate change project that they will be working on in the coming months.
The Tanzania Youth Environmental Network (TAYEN) incorporated the Act for Antarctica campaign into their project activities, giving out ten copies of Antarctica: To Be Inspired to schools in Tanzania. As their Act for Antarctica, they engaged around 200 youth in tree-planting activities.
62 students at Hope Partnership School in Philadelphia are working on three projects: 1) A bake sale fundraiser to raise money for endangered animal species, 2) A neighborhood cleanup/beautification effort , and 3) A “Lights Out” hour to save energy.
40 7th graders at Greenfield Home and School did a research project on the plants and animals in Antarctica, the animals’ adaptations to the environment, the treaty articles, and the types of scientific research that are taking place. They also plan to create an educational exhibit in the classroom about Antarctica with facts and pictures.
15 students at KIPP Dubois Collegiate Academy in Philadelphia incorporated Antarctica into their unit test. Around 15-20 students in McCall’s 5th grade class learned about Antarctica before Leah’s presentation and compiled an elaborate list of questions related to alternative energy in Antarctica.
20 7th and 8th graders from McCall have formed a recycling team dedicated to collecting, sorting, and managing the recycling for the whole school. So far, they have collected 75+ bags of recycling that would otherwise be landfilled.
The Edison Youth Environment Society, a 300-person strong organization based in Edison, New Jersey, has committed to raising awareness about Antarctica by sharing artwork, a blog entry, and paintings related to Antarctica via their website, newsletter, and social media channels. They are also looking into the possibility of creating a video series about Antarctica.
Regina Brinker, who will work in the Arctic as a PolarTrec teacher later this year, engaged around 250 youth in her school district science fair exhibit on the polar regions. She used Antarctica: To Be Inspired in the display and had maps, charts, and extreme weather clothing for kids to try on. She also collected acts from student visitors about what they would do to combat climate change. One of the most popular responses was walking or biking instead of riding in the car.
Around 100 students at the School of the Future conducted research on different species of Antarctic animals and created PowerPoint presentations.
Around 30 students participated in Jayden Rae’s “Act for Antarctica” workshop at the Beyond Green Summit and made commitments to lead greener lifestyles.
Derek Fernandes, grade 12, planted 330 trees with the Whitby Environmental Youth Alliance.
Kali Emberley, Amy Czuczman, and Dan Zhao, grade 12 and 11 students from the Whitby Environmental Youth Alliance, used reusable water bottles.
Rebecca, a member of the Whitby Environmental Youth Alliance, pledged to walk to school every day.
20 students, grades 9-12 from State College Area High School, taught three lesson plans to 125 seventh graders:
1) The Amazing Race (a lesson about how scientists get to Palmer Station with information about the Drake Passage and oceanographic factors that make travel to the Western Antarctic Peninsula complicated).
2) Ocean Ecosystems with a focus on the Southern Ocean food web and the importance of krill. We made krill t-shirts for the students for this activity, which we gave them as gifts.
3) A Skype session with a Ph.D. student from Rutgers University. She is studying oceanography and collects data with Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV’s) to see how the ocean around the Western Antarctic Peninsula is changing. (Data is being collected about ocean chemistry, phytoplankton distribution and abundance).
Over 55 students in grades 10 and 12 from Freire Charter School made environmental pledges after listening to presentations on Antarctica. Here are some of their ideas:
Khyreese White said that she “would ask her family to stop the use of plastic bags for as long as possible unless needed.”
Brielle Pierce said, “To help Antarctica, I will take shorter showers to preserve water.”
Tiffy Brown and Elijah Elam said, “I will turn off the lights every time I leave a room.”
Davon Mandy said, “I will take public transportation to and from school every day.”
Cornell Simms said, “I will close the refrigerator right after I take out what I need and turn off the faucet while I’m using it.”
Tierra Mosley suggested creating a group in college called The Environmentalist Initiative (TEI).
Five students from the Mecatina School in Quebec, Canada made environmental pledges. Blaire pledged to bring a waste-free snack to school every day for a week, Brooklyn and Ethan pledged to turn off the lights when not in use, Amy pledged to take shorter showers, and Dawson pledged to unplug his devices and recycle bottles and cans.
Jeannae de Peiza, a grade 12 student from All Saints CSS, pledged to use reusable water bottles.
Yi Zhong from Thomas Jefferson High School bought and used refills for mechanical pencils instead of buying more pencils.
The teachers at the Russell Byers Charter School in Philadelphia have decided to engage 75 third graders in a geography unit on Antarctica.
15 student from the environmental club at Wood River High School in Hailey, Idaho collected individual environmental acts and kept track of their day-to-day progress for a week.
Brian Cross, a teacher from Pontiac High School in Shawville, QC, is incorporating Antarctica into the lesson plans for his class of 25 students to “make them aware of the fragility and beauty of Antarctica.”
Emma Kerr, a teacher from Cornwall in the UK, has done a whole term’s worth of work around Antarctica and Shackleton’s Endurance expedition with 51 primary school children. They are spending two months looking at the landscape, the explorers of the past and how to protect this fragile ecosystem.
-Parkway City Center in Philadelphia (late March-early April)
-Gesu School in Philadelphia (late March)
-St. Peter’s School in Philadelphia