The United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust has received an unprecedented number of applications from over 75 countries for four positions in Port Lockroy, for the 2015/16 season.
Antarctica fascinates all ages from all over the world
Each year the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust’s (UKAHT) UK team, based in Cambridge, searches for four committed individuals to spend five months at its flagship site, Port Lockroy, situated on Goudier Island in the Antarctic Peninsula. These unique positions are not necessarily everyone’s idea of the ideal job and ordinarily the team don’t expect demand to be overwhelming. In the past two years they received 82 and 170 applications respectively.
However, this year has seen interest and subsequent applications reach new heights. When the application deadline closed at the end of February the UKAHT had received over 2000 applications spanning over 75 countries! The UK led the way with 481 applicants, followed by the US with 182. Applications from Australia also ranked highly, with 46 individuals submitting their details and applications have also been received from as far afield as Taiwan, Uganda and Peru.
The United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) exists to advance the preservation, enhancement and promotion of Antarctic heritage and to engage, inform and inspire a global audience. A UK based charity, it is dedicated to promoting Antarctic heritage through the care and conservation of historic buildings and artefacts and delivering and supporting a range of innovative programmes. The team chosen to spend the 2015/16 season at Port Lockroy will assist the Base Leader in the efficient running of the post office, maintenance and museum operation.
Camilla Nichol, Chief Executive of UKAHT commented: “We are delighted that our work in Antarctica has stimulated so much interest from around the world. We have a key role to play in this strategically important region, ensuring that both the natural and historical environment is preserved for the benefit of all. Those chosen to fill these roles are there to engage and inspire people of all ages with the history of human endeavour in Antarctica and as such our successful candidates must themselves be passionate about Antarctica’s past, present and future.”
Closer to home the UKAHT is also committed to developing its education and outreach programmes and have created an education pack suitable for Key Stage 2 children (from seven to 11 years of age). The pack, downloadable from the UKAHT website, contains a variety of activities supported by information and teacher’s notes.
There is also an additional opportunity for children to discover more about life in Antarctica with the airing of the My Life programme on CBBC next Wednesday, March 11th at 5.30pm. The programme titled ‘The Penguin Post Office’ follows Amy and Daisy, the daughters of wildlife film-maker Andrew Graham-Brown as they join him down in Antarctica. They chart their journey to Antarctica, with its inevitable bouts of sea sickness, and the time they spend at Port Lockroy, helping to film the penguins, exploring the Museum with its science equipment and old kitchen as well as doing a stint of work experience in the shop selling clothes and working the till.
Andrew commented of the experience: “The 'once in a life time opportunity' for my daughters to sail the infamous Drake Passage in a 54 foot yacht, and spend time exploring the Antarctic, had to be taken. Film trips like this come round very rarely, and I wanted to share this adventure with my family, even if that meant my daughters skipping school for six weeks. At times living conditions were tough. Rough seas, storm force winds, sea-sickness and freezing conditions had to be endured, whilst living together in very cramped conditions. But the delights of ice vistas, leopard seals, and penguins mixed with the experience of making a film for CBBC, work experience at the enchanted Penguin Post Office and Daisy and Amy 'taking the polar plunge', far outweighed the hardships. The volunteers at Port Lockroy were incredibly welcoming and to everyone's surprise, we even discovered that Santa Clause finds the time to venture way down south at Christmas!”
For those for whom a five month trip to the Antarctic isn’t feasible the UKAHT provides other ways of getting involved. Becoming a ‘Friend of Antarctica’ ensures members are kept up to date with the UKAHT’s activities via twice yearly newsletters and invitations to selected events. To find out more about the UKAHT or to become a ‘Friend’ please visit the UKAHT website.
The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust is a UK-based charity dedicated to advancing the preservation, enhancement and promotion of Antarctic heritage in order to engage, inform and inspire a global audience. As well as managing the conservation and preservation of six Historic Sites and Monuments in Antarctica, including our flagship site at Port Lockroy, UKAHT works to promote Antarctic heritage by delivering and promoting a range of innovative programmes both in the UK and internationally.