Alan Chambers, MBE and Peter Herbert will be posting daily ‘explorers blogs’ and images direct from their tents as The Crossing of Greenland 2008 progresses and they make the icy 400-mile (600km) journey across this remote and inhospitable country in May, dragging 200lb sledges carrying everything required for the 40-day expedition.
Alan Chambers MBE
Dr Richard Hale
Alan and Peter will also be answering questions and queries online during the trek and, in the weeks before they set off, running regular competitions and visiting schools to discuss their work. These entries will form the focal point for discussion and curriculum-based classroom work and projects in schools across the country.
There will be an interactive map of the expedition, allowing people in the UK to follow the progress of the ice team, and afterwards Shoots of Green – The Book: a publication based on online contributions made by schools and pupils which expresses views and shares initiatives related to sustainability and environmental protection. This book will be published post-expedition and will champion the views of the younger generation as leaders of the future.
This project is the first of what its organisers, Feet of Green, expect to become an annual challenge aimed at raising interest in environmental issues among young people, and motivating by example as well as demonstrating practically how determination, commitment, training and ability can lead to achievement in the field of sports and adventure, and indeed other aspects of life.
The two-man ice-team will be using laptops to record each day’s progress and send daily images, blogs and updates back from the ice to the www.feetofgreen.com website. Through this they will interact with children, young people and teachers across the country as they make their journey in some of the most extreme weather conditions known to man – the ice-cap’s prevailing winds can plummet to temperatures as low as -50°C. There will be no opportunities to re-supply, no aid from dogs or machines or any outside assistance.
Alan, a former Royal Marine with many years polar experience, was awarded an MBE after leading the first British team to walk unsupported to the Geographic North Pole from Canada in 2000. Since leaving the Marines he is much in demand as a motivational and leadership speaker and facilitator. This is, however, his first major project with an educational objective for primary and secondary school children. He commented today: “I am personally very motivated by the thought of reaching and inspiring young people, and helping them to become better informed about key issues facing the world we live in today, such as climate change and environmental issues.”
Peter Herbert lists amongst his many achievements the founding of Expedition Technical Support, the design and development facility dedicated to supporting Arctic and Antarctic exploration. In revealing that he and Alan were planning to complete this trek without any supply drops or air support, he added that they would be collecting valuable scientific data en route: “We will be measuring ice samples to support scientific research as well as studying the impact of climate change. And we will, of course, be acting sustainably as individuals in terms of how we treat the environment that we are in during the trek.”
The expedition takes its inspiration from Alfred Wegener (1880-1930), the German explorer who today is widely recognised as a founding father of ‘continental drift theory’, the belief that the continents were once one great land mass and drifted apart millions of years ago. Wegener made four journeys across Greenland, culminating in the longest-ever crossing of the icecap, on foot with dogs.
The expedition is the brainchild of the Bristol-based Feet of Green project team, led by Education and Business Director, Dr Richard Hale. Feet of Green is an exciting new initiative which seeks to inspire school children and focus on positive cross-curricular projects which relate to environmental issues. It has already partnered with national and regional educational organisations, and is working with teachers across curricular themes embracing geography, history, technology and science as well as environmental awareness. It also links the world of business with education via sponsorship and collaborative ventures.
Richard commented today: “The response from schools and young people so far has been magnificent. Alan and Peter are great role models, working to broaden the horizons of young people and helping them to realise what they can achieve.”
Schools and young people’s organisations are encouraged to register their interest and receive regular updates by contacting Feet of Green through its website www.feetofgreen.com or by tel: 0117 310 1262. Links to other relevant websites, resources and ideas for projects are also available via this website.
The Feet of Green Crossing of Greenland 2008 expedition is generously sponsored by The Great British Mobility Group.
photos Janos Schmidt