With only two days left until the first of members of the expedition team meet up in Toronto, we’d like to introduce you to yet another incredible team member, Beth Ann Smith, an attorney, active scouter, and mother of five!
How did you get involved with Students on Ice?
I initially heard about the Students on Ice program through my eldest son’s membership in The Explorers Club. The SOI program has an amazing reputation for helping to develop the spirit of scientific exploration in young people. Based on this recommendation, I am very excited to be involved with the program and it is really an honor and a privilege to be included in this expedition.
Beth Ann Smith
What makes Antarctica such an interesting place, to you?
Antarctica has always been a place which for me signifies the ultimate wilderness destination and a place of unimaginable beauty and importance. I have wanted to visit Antarctica since I was a child and it is amazing that all of these young people will have the opportunity to become acquainted with the continent so early in their lives. The beauty of Antarctica is truly without parallel when one considers the ever changing ice sculptures and the endless beauty of its landscape. However, the importance of Antarctica goes so far beyond its beauty and I think that it is important for all of us to share in its preservation.
Tell me about your role as an adult scout leader?
I have been an adult scout leader since my three eldest children were in primary school. For more than a decade I have been involved in helping young people learn to appreciate the outdoors and in working to develop their own wilderness survival skills. As a Venture Crew Advisor and boyscout leader, I have been able to become friends with and learn from youth and their adult leaders from dozens of countries and to have participated in events throughout Europe, Africa, Central, and South America. In a few months I will be headed to Japan for the next World Scout Jamboree in July, 2015. World Scouting allows young men and women from all over the world to come together for common goals and to develop deep friendships without regard to the political relationships of their respective countries. I truly believe that scouts can change the world and that peace can be achieved through the friendship and understanding made through the program.
What are your thoughts on environmental education?
I personally think that environmental education is essential for every young person. No only should we each have responsibility for learning how to preserve our environments close to our homes, but we each need to have knowledge of the global environment and work to preserve assets like Antarctica which are important all of us on the planet. Further, we each need to learn how to enjoy the environment without harming it – so that it may be preserved and enjoyed for all future generations. It will be wonderful to see all of the new Antarctic Ambassadors return to their homes and spread the knowledge that they have gained on Antarctica and how it may be protected…
What are you looking forward to most during the expedition?
I am looking forward to every aspect of this trip. I hope that I will have the honor of meeting and helping all of the young explorers that are participating on this amazing expedition. I am not a scientist, but I am ready to help anyone whenever and wherever needed. Personally, I cannot wait to see the penguins and the blue ice…I will simply have to pinch myself when we get there as I cannot believe that I am REALLY going to Antarctica!!
Follow the 2014 Antarctic Expedition!
The Students on Ice Antarctic Expedition is taking place December 26th, 2014 to January 8th, 2015. To learn more and follow the expedition through photos, videos and student journals visit the expedition website and follow journey updates on Facebook and Twitter.