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New Zealand Polar Contest winners announced


In order to share their enthusiasm for the IPY with other young people, a group of NZ young polar researchers (the NZ Youth Steering Committee for the IPY) ran a contest for secondary schools this year. Students were asked to design digital interactive educational materials that can be used to communicate the international importance of the Polar Regions to other people of their age group.

The winners were officially announced last week at a ceremony held at Gateway Antarctica at Canterbury University. Second prize was awarded to Carina Donald from Middleton Grange School in Christchurch who received a $1000 scholarship for first-year Antarctic Studies courses at the University of Canterbury. Her creative entry was in two parts: a slideshow presentation on “Climate Change and the Poles”, and a board game to learn about the topic in a fun way called “Poles Apart”. It made good comparisons between the Poles and was judge to have “high impact”.

The ultimate prize for any young person fascinated by the Polar Regions has to be the chance to visit these unique environments in person. The first prize for the contest was a place on an expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula with Students on Ice, an award-winning organisation offering unique learning expeditions to the Antarctic and Arctic. First prize was awarded to Charlotte Taylor from St Cuthberts School, Auckland, for her entry “Ice Base”. This interactive presentation leads the viewer through the decision-making process involved in establishing a base in Antarctica.

Her entry displayed exceptional knowledge and understanding of the political and environmental concerns, as well as the practicalities of running an Antarctic research base. Charlotte is delighted to be able to join the expedition this December, where she will meet the winners of similar contests that were held for the IPY in Portugal and Canada. This contest has been made possible thanks to support from the University of Otago Polar Environments Research Theme, Gateway Antarctica at Canterbury University and Antarctica New Zealand.

Photo caption: Winners on the NZ polar contests: Carina Donald (left) and Charlotte Taylor (right). Photo courtesy of Eve Welch.

Submitted by Melianie Raymond, PhD student, Department of Zoology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

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