Education Program

Students on Ice Antarctic University Expedition:
December 28, 2013-January 9, 2014

On expedition, several different learning formats are used to support course instruction and the overall educational experience. These learning formats include: lectures, seminars, workshops, participatory presentations and hands-on research activities that will be shore, Zodiac, and ship-based in setting. We also incorporate time for small group discussion and reflection opportunities into our days. Each participating student will have enrolled in or be auditing one of the credit-courses being offered in conjunction with the Students on Ice Antarctic University Expedition 2013. Each of these courses will come with their own specific pre-expedition, expedition, and post-expedition requirements and activities. See information on Credit Courses below.

Educational Philosophy

Students on Ice believes in providing University student participants with a unique educational experience that will challenge the way in which they perceive the world. Our aim is not to simply provide students with a 'trip' to a unique destination, but rather to give students an opportunity to have an aesthetic experience in some of the most wild and awe-inspiring ecosystems in the world. We do not want students to just pass through a place with camera in hand, but rather to listen to the land; to feel these natural places and in turn, explore how humans feel when immersed in such places. Ultimately, our goal is for students to experience a transformative connection with nature - a connection that changes the way they understand and act in the world.


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Educational Approach

Our approach to education weaves together elements of experiential, expeditionary, and problem-based learning. In starting with a very hands-on approach, active participation and critical thinking are important elements in the SOI learning process. Through posing questions, experimenting and constructing meaning, the learning becomes personal, relational and exploratory in nature. Our expedition will become a symbolic learning journey from the initial development of ideas, to addressing problems and possible solutions, to final reflections. We recognize that the journey will be unique for each student, as will the manner in which each student effects positive change in his/her individual life following the expedition.

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Educational Format

In addition to the credit-courses being offered in conjunction with the expedition and shared expedition course pack, there will be a general education program for all participating students. The following are some examples of the lectures, workshops, participatory presentations, hands-on activities and topics that will take place on the expedition:

  1. i) Lectures:
    • Geological, geopolitical, social and cultural history of the region to the present day
    • Terrestrial ecology (including flora and fauna)
    • Marine biology (from micro-organisms to cetaceans)
    • Glaciology, ice and the cryosphere
    • Oceanography and hydrology (including limnology)
    • Atmospheric sciences
    • Ornithology and seabirds
    • History of exploration in the region
    • Environmental issues facing the region
  2. ii) Workshops and Hands-On Activities (on-ship, on-shore):
    • Wildlife identification and observation
    • Working with education team members on ongoing scientific research (i.e. wildlife surveys, measuring pollution levels in ice-core samples, plankton tows focusing on marine diversity, Conductivity-Temperature-Depth instrument casts and analysis)
    • Nature interpretation through various activities (i.e. photography, art, journal writing, music)
    • Technology and Nature (i.e. cetacean vocalization, geographic information system mapping)
    • Youth forums on leadership, sustainable living and informed decision-making
    • Hiking and shore walks
    • Ecological footprint and expedition footprint
  3. iii) Peer teaching seminars:
    • Reflection on expedition experiences through journaling, dialogue
    • Mentored discussions aligning educators with students interests, and students with peers with similar interests

A combination of the above learning formats are used on each day throughout our expedition.

The educational benefits of the Students on Ice Antarctic University Expedition 2013 will be shared with youth and the general public around the world via the expedition website, presentations, media attention, conferences and research workshops. Partnerships with various Universities and other educational organizations will bring the expedition directly to classrooms and other educational gatherings around the world.

Educational Theme:
Environmental Leadership

Woven into the expedition is an overarching theme: Environmental Leadership. The world is a global ecosystem in which all natural and human systems are interconnected. Humans are part of nature and bound by the laws of the natural world. However, in today's mechanistic, consumer-oriented world our lifestyles have led to a disconnection with nature. We are often unaware or apathetic to where our most basic needs come from - food, clothing, shelter. Our over-consumptive practices have led to resource depletion, atmospheric pollution, diminishing biodiversity, and most commonly discussed in the media, climate change. As an increasingly interconnected global society, we need to move towards living more sustainably. Today's youth have the opportunity to lead the way.

Arctic Penguins

From an environmental perspective, we focus our expedition's lectures, discussions, and activities on current environmental issues facing the region we are travelling through. Climate change is a particular focus on this expeditions.

From a leadership perspective, we will explore how youth are effective agents of change and how their efforts contribute to positive societal action. Youth have an opportunity to establish sustainable livelihoods and make informed, ecologically-mindful choices early in their lives. The choices they make have a ripple effect and the actions youth take make a difference. In developing the leadership component of our expedition we facilitate ongoing group discussions on ways to get involved in environmental, social and research initiatives upon returning home.

The theme of Environmental Leadership weaves itself through our education program in conjunction with our ongoing exploration of the history, culture, polar sciences, and politics of Antarctica.

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Credit Courses

  • Undergraduate students and graduate students from Universities around the world may register in one of several University courses while they participate in the expedition.
  • Time on the ship will be divided between:
    1. (a) general lectures, presentations and activities that all students will undertake together to provide a general background to Antarctica; and
    2. (b) specialized workshops, seminars, research and activities focused on the topics outlined below, and led by the individual professor(s) in charge of each course.
  • All students must be committed to enroll in or audit an accredited field course through a partner University and/or participate fully in all aspects of the education program.

Current partner Universities on the SOI Antarctic University Expedition 2013 who will offer courses include:

University of Northern British Columbia:

ORTM433 - Practical examination of the impacts and management of Antarctic tourism

Professor: Dr. Patrick Maher


Generally ORTM433 is an advanced course taking outdoor recreation and tourism management theory learned in the classroom and putting it into practice, experientially. Hence it's a perfect fit for the 2013 edition of the Antarctic University Expedition. For this particular ORTM433 students will examine Antarctic tourism in terms of its impacts (postive and negative) across economic, social and environmental realms, while also evaluating the management of such tourism today, as well critiquing what options might be best for the future. Prerequisite and distance students: permission of the instructor.


Carleton University

ERTH 5903, ERTH4807/4808 - Paleogeographic and Paleobiological Evolution of the Antarctic Peninsula

Professor: Dr. Claudia Schroder-Adams


During this expedition we will visit the Antarctic Peninsula by crossing the Drake Passage. As we witness the southern polar climate, fierce ocean and glacial landscape we will study the geological past of this region including the tectonic processes that led to the opening of the Drake Passage and the final isolation of Antarctica over the South Pole. We will visit sites of exposed outcrops that document the volcanic history of the region including a large recently active volcanic crater. During our landings to shore we will find evidence of past Antarctic ecosystems of the Cretaceous and early Tertiary periods that is a testament to warmer climates in high southern latitudes. As new paleoceanographic circulation patterns became established climatic cooling resulted in changing terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems.


This course is an interdisciplinary field-based course that will involve initial introductory lectures at Carleton, field-based studies during the expedition and a student-led science outreach evening inviting Ottawa's public. Prerequisite and distance students: permission of the instructor.


Oregon Health & Science University

EBS 506 - Special Topics in Environmental Systems and Human Health: Antarctic Field Course

Professor: Dr. Joseph Needoba


Since before the industrial revolution, humans have had a dramatic influence on Earth's natural resources, ecosystem services and global biogeochemical cycles. In recent years it has become widely recognized that certain environmental perturbations from human activities may reach a global threshold, resulting in environmental conditions unsuitable for human health and well-being. Climate change, ocean acidification and eutrophication are examples of dramatic perturbations that may have already surpassed the planetary threshold. By travelling across the Southern Ocean and exploring Antarctica, we will experience firsthand the natural world as it exists with minimal human activity and consider what types of perturbations can be detected even in this remote region of the earth. Course materials and activities will examine the biogeochemistry and ecology of Antarctica in the face of environmental change, with an emphasis on understanding planetary boundaries that ultimately control human health and well-being. Prerequisite and distance students: permission of the instructor.



Luleå University of Technology
U0025F Tourism and Polar Destinations (7.5 ECTS Credits)

Professor: Dr. Hans Gelter


The overall aim of U0025F is to provide a theoretical overview and practical hands-on experiential learning of tourism and destination development. This particular course will focus on polar tourism and specifically tourism and its development in Antarctica. Antarctic tourism will be studied theoretically and practically in terms of its positive and negative impact, sustainability, past- and future development and management as well as from an experiential perspective. Hands-on activities will be reflections on personal experiences as well as field observations and measurements on tourist experiences and impacts on the environment conducted on fellow students.


*Courses for the SOI Antarctic University Expedition 2013 will be announced throughout 2012.



Due to the wide range of participant backgrounds, professors who will be instructing expedition courses will put together a general course pack that will be distributed to all students at least a month before the expedition begins. The course pack will provide general introductory information about Antarctica (e.g., depending on courses, about its oceanography, climatology, ice flow patterns, governance, wildlife and geological history), and it is expected that students will read and study this material before the expedition starts. This will ensure that all participants have a good background knowledge of Antarctica before embarking on the expedition, and will provide more time to devote to in-depth material while in Antarctica.


Once your application to join the expedition has been approved, and you have paid the administrative deposit (see Application Form), you are responsible for contacting the professor(s) who are instructing a course you intend to enroll in or audit. Here is the contact information for further information on how to enroll in the courses being offered on the SOI Antarctic University Expedition 2013:


  1. University of Northern British Columbia
    Contact Dr. Patrick Maher (maherp (at) for further information on how to enroll in ORTM443.
  2. Carleton University
    Contact Dr. Claudia Schroder-Adams (csadams (at) for further information on how to enroll in ERTH5903 and ERTH4807/4808.
  3. Oregon Health & Science University
    Contact Dr. Joseph Needoba (needobaj (at) for further information on how to enroll in EBS506.
  4. Lulea University of Technology
    Contact Dr. Hans Gelter (hans.gelter (at) for further information on how to enroll in U0025F


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Students on Ice brought together an international team of scientists, educators, explorers, writers, policy makers, leaders and innovators for the SOI Antarctic University Expedition 2011. Staff for the SOI Antarctic University Expedition 2013 will be announced in the coming months. The Education Team's experience and enthusiasm on every expedition ensures that student participants will develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the Antarctic. These inspiring staff work closely with students to ensure their expedition is an unforgettable educational adventure!

Here is the SOI Antarctic University Expedition 2011 Education Team:

Photo of Geoff GreenGeoff Green
Expedition Leader
Founder & Executive Director, Students on Ice

Canadian adventurer, environmentalist and educator Geoff Green has been leading expeditions and adventures from pole to pole for the past fifteen years. Many notable organizations such as the Discovery Channel, World Wildlife Fund, National Audubon Society and the Smithsonian Institution enlist Geoff to lead their groups into the worlds most remote and exciting regions.

Most recently, Geoff was recognized as one of 25 Transformational Canadians. In 2005, he received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the U.S. Congress for his work with youth and the environment. He was also voted one of Canadas Top 40 under 40 an annual national prize event saluting Canadas top young leaders. In 2004, Outpost Magazine chose Geoff as one of the Top 5 Canadian Explorers to watch. In 2007, Geoff and the Students on Ice program received the prestigious Explorers Club Citation of Merit.

Geoff is the founder and Executive Director of Students on Ice Expeditions, an award-winning educational organization based in Gatineau, Qubec, Canada. The program now in its tenth year has taken over 1,500 students, teachers and scientists from around the world on expeditions to both the Arctic and the Antarctic. The goal of this unique project is to give the worlds youth a heightened understanding and respect for the planets global ecosystem, and the inspiration to protect it.

As expedition leader, Geoff is a veteran of 79 Antarctic expeditions and 36 Arctic expeditions. 

Photo of Olle CarlssonOlle Carlsson
Polar Naturalist

Olle Carlsson was born in Sweden and is currently living there. Formerly a teacher, he left the profession in order to write, photograph, play jazz and travel. He has travelled extensively in the Atlantic sector of the Arctic, including the Northwest Passage, Greenland and Svalbard.

Since 1991, he has spent the northern winter seasons in his favorite area, Antarctica, sharing the migration route of the Arctic Tern, always heading for summer, in the North as in the South. In Antarctica he has been an expedition leader, naturalist and lecturer for various organizations. Olle admits to being infected by the Polar bug, defined by the early explorers as if you have ventured into the ice once, you will always long to come back. Apart from the remote North and South, he has worked as a naturalist guide, lecturer and Zodiac driver along the coasts of Europe, around England and in the Baltic Sea. He has backpacked parts of Asia and participated in a tree planting project in Kenya.

Together with his friend Stefan Lundgren, Olle has published Antarctica - In the interest of all mankind (1990), currently only in Swedish and appointed the Panda Book of 1991 by the Swedish section of World Wildlife Fund. More recently, Olle and Stefan have completed Svalbard - The Land beyond the Northcape (in English). In 1998-99, they completed another book in English, Antarctica - A souvenir book from the 7th continent. He has written several articles for magazines and newspapers, and also lectured and given slide-show presentations on the Polar areas around Sweden, Denmark and in the US.

Photo of Eric Galbraith

Eric Galbraith, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
McGill University

A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Eric worked as a geologist in South America and the Canadian Arctic before becoming an oceanographer. His research looks at how global ocean circulation interacts with the rest of the climate system, what this means for marine life, and how the ocean will respond to future climate change. He is particularly interested in how the Southern Ocean controls atmospheric carbon dioxide, and what its role was during natural climate changes that occurred during the recent ice ages.

Photo of Hans Gelter

Hans Gelter, PhD
Assistant Professor, Senior Lecturer & Education Manager
Division of Media & Experience Production
Luleå University of Technology

Hans Gelter, PhD in Biology, holds a faculty position as Senior lecturer in Biology and education program coordinator for the Master's Program in Professional Experience Production at the Department of Music, Media and Experience Production, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden.

Hans teaches various subjects within the Experience Production Study Program, such as Hospitality, Interpretation, Guiding, Environmental and Outdoor Education, Experience Production, Creativity Management etc. He has previously been teaching Biology, Environmental and Outdoor Education at the Department of Teacher Education at Lule University of Technology, and Genetics, Evolution and Ecology at Uppsala University.

Hans has experience as Nature Interpreter and Guide working with the Swedish company TEMA Resor on safaris in Tanzania, nature trekking in Greece, Madeira, the Austrian Mountains and in Nepal. Hans also runs a nature tourism company - Guide Natura - and is presently engaged in a validation/certification system for nature guides in Sweden.

Hans has participated in scientific expeditions on Greenland and along the Northern Russian Arctic coast as well as private nature tours in Northern Canada, the USA, across Europe, in Central Russia, Australia and New Zealand. He is a keen Mountaineer, having climbed on expeditions in the Alps, the Alai and the Himalayas. Hans is a member of the uArctic Network for Northern Tourism Researchers and the International Network on Polar Tourism Research.

Pat Maher, PhD
Associate Professor, Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management
Ecosystem Science and Management Program
University of Northern British Columbia

Originally from rural Nova Scotia, Pat currently enjoys living and playing with his young family in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Pat's research focuses on the Polar Regions – specifically how people learn from, live in, and become in love with these regions through their experiences with the natural and cultural surroundings.

Pat's doctoral work examined visitor experiences in the Ross Sea region and he has sat on the steering committee of the International Polar Tourism Research Network since its inceptions 5 years ago. Pat is also the University of the Arctic's Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies (N. America) and the Lead for the University of the Arctic Thematic Network on Northern Tourism.



Photo of Joseph Needoba

Joseph Needoba, PhD
Assistant Professor, Division of Environmental and Biomolecular Systems
Oregon Health and Science University

My research interests span disciplines within aquatic biogeochemistry, global nutrient cycles and phytoplankton ecology and physiology. My graduate work at the University of British Columbia introduced me to the fields of stable isotope ecology and the importance of phytoplankton to marine food webs, global climate and coastal water quality. After graduate school, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Institute and participated in a five year project to develop ocean observatory technology with the goal of better understanding the dynamics of coastal and estuarine biogeochemistry. At OHSU I have further developed and combined my interests in oceanography, phytoplankton ecology and nutriend biogeochemistry to study the dynamic aquatic ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest.


Photo of Claudia Schroder-Adams

Claudia Schröder-Adams, PhD
Professor, Department of Earth Sciences
Carleton University

A Professor of Earth Sciences at Carleton University, Claudia Schröder-Adams teaches geology and paleontology courses including Dinosaurs, Earths Paleogeography, Basin Analysis and Field Geology. The Dinosaur course is one of the most popular courses at Carleton and led to the creation of the Vertebrate Paleontology Program in collaboration with the Canadian Museum of Nature. Her research focuses on basin analysis, stratigraphy, paleoceanography, micropaleontology, anoxic basins, estuaries and incised valleys and takes her to western Canada, Canadas west coast, the Arctic and eastern Australia. She has participated in DSDP and ODP expeditions including Leg 119 to Prydz Bay, Antarctica.

As part of the Canadian GEM (Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals) program, Claudia is presently conducting a multi-year geological investigation assessing a number of sedimentary basins in both the Eastern and Western Arctic regions to produce a pan-Arctic biostratigraphic framework. Claudia has just completed a three year term on the National Science and Engineering Research Council Discovery Grant Selection Committee. She served as Chair of Carletons Earth Sciences Department from 2003 to 2006 and is active in several science outreach programs.

Claudia will provide a deep-time perspective of the Antarctic continent and its geological and associated ecological history. Students will review the evidence that has allowed us to infer the history of Antarctica from ancient times, with a focus on the evolution of terrestrial and marine ecosystems of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. Claudia has a passion for field-based teaching and her research and field work is an ideal combination for the SOI program.


A select group of students will be chosen to participate on the 2013 Students on Ice Antarctic University Expedition. Bios and photos of participating students will be posted here.


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