The first ever TEDx on Antarctica - by youth!

©Garry Donaldson/Students on Ice

I am excited and honored to share with you that right at the start of 2012, TEDx will be experienced for the first time on our most beloved continent, Antarctica! Even more exciting, TEDxYouth@AntarcticPeninsula will be organized by youth — a group of high school students from around the world.

Many enthusiasts in the TEDx community dreamed about a TEDx event on Antarctica for almost a year. They all have given valuable support for TEDxYouth@AntarcticPeninsula, and together with the TED team are as excited as I am to see the result.

16-year-old Selin Jessa — my friend and member of the TEDxKids@BC team — is the event’s licensee. Selin is currently on Antarctica and instead of me trying to translate the experience, I will let her use her own words:

Finally, we’ve set foot on Antarctica. Today was absolutely packed with incredible moments, and many snapshots of life in the Antarctic. I woke up to a sea full of icebergs, big and small, green and blue, always beautiful. It was a bit like sailing through a museum of sculptures carved by the water and ice. We set a course for Heroina Island, and we were all eager to get off the ship after having a taste of Antarctica the day before. My group cruised around the icebergs and the coast of the island before landing. There were massive seals lying on the beach, their heads peeking up now and then. We were able to make a landing right near the vast Adelie penguin rookery and stepped up carefully ashore - our very first step on Antarctica. It was magical - the penguins were squawking and barking, preening and feeding and calling to their mates. They were everywhere and I had a chance to park myself on a rock and watch as some of the penguins came within a few inches of me as I was sketching. Too quickly it was time to head back, but a couple of hours later, Geoff’s voice came over the PA system and we all rushed to the bow of the ship: killer whales had been spotted. And not just a couple either, there must have been 20 or 30 of them in small pods, all lining up in parallel. We felt very lucky to have glimpsed them. After a talk by Olle on a Swedish explorer, we made our second landing of the day in Paulet Island, where we could see the remains of a stone hut where 22 men from that Swedish expedition overwintered. I went out with Grant on a zodiac and we also got to collect some plankton samples to check out under a microscope later. My first day on Antarctica definitely touched my heart, and I’m counting down the hours until our next landing, hopefully on Snow Hill Island.

Planning for TEDxYouth@Antarctica is also well under way, and we’ve started planning our talks and the format and purpose of the event. It will be held sometime in the next couple days in Antarctica, and so far the enthusiasm has been incredible.

Selin Jessa, the TEDxYouth@AntarcticPeninsula organizer planning the event among Adelie penguins

Selin Jessa recording her thoughts surrounded by hundreds of thousands of Adelie Penguins©Garry Donaldson/Students on Ice

This event would not be possible, without the support of the amazing Student on Ice organization that have been taking students on expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctica for 12 years now. Geoff Green, the SOI Founder and Expedition Leader have fully embraced the idea to help Selin put a TEDx event on Antarctica. 

Students on Ice Antarctic Youth Expedition 2011 - group photo on the ice floe

Students on Ice Antarctic Youth Expedition 2011 - group photo on the ice floe.
©Mike Beedell/Students on Ice

Learn more about TEDxYouth@AntarcticPeninsula on their Facebook page

For updates, follow the Students on Ice expedition website, and Organizer Selin Jessa’s personal blog.  

Written by Goran Kimovski, TEDxKids@BC Organizer.

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