Talented teens voyage in Sir Peter’s footsteps

Luke Parker
Talented teens voyage in Sir Peter’s footsteps

A group of 14 students departed today on board the New Zealand Defence Force’s offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Otago for the remote Auckland Islands in New Zealand’s Sub Antarctic.

The islands are known for their rugged beauty, pristine environment and abundant wildlife and sit 465 km’s south of Bluff.

The Sir Peter Blake Trust has chosen the group of ‘exceptional’ young people to join the Young Blake Expedition voyage, continuing Sir Peter Blake’s legacy.

The year 11-13 students departed from the Devonport Naval Base today and immediately rolled up their sleeves to take part in ship life.

Hannah Prior, Environmental Programme Director at the Sir Peter Blake Trust, says it’s an “extraordinary experience for these young people‘” who have all shown a passion for science, the environment and conservation.

“They’ll be swapping their cell phones and comfortable beds for wet weather gear and ship bunk beds. They’ll leave their teenage lives behind for two weeks and work alongside leading scientists and experts in an area that is hugely rich in biodiversity,” says Prior.

“We know the environmental issues of the future will be vast. We need to build young people who don’t just understand the science and conservation issues but can lead, inspire and motivate a team, just as Sir Peter did,” she says.

The group will spend five days working with scientists on terrestrial and marine ecology and geology projects that will inform the proposed Blake Station. 

Activities include:

• Exploring the Auckland Islands and understanding the unique environment, history and human endeavor

• Working on conservation projects that will help inform the proposed Blake Station

• Riding in small boats with a ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) looking at the sea floor

• Repairing the weather station that records rain fall and temperature at the proposed Blake Station site

• Taking soil samples to understand the historical development of plants and wildlife on the island

• Taking sediment cores to understand the geology of the area

• Lectures and the opportunity to talk with scientists, experts and other leaders onboard as well as working with a filmmaker

 This voyage continues the legacy of Sir Peter’s own ‘Blakexpeditions’, which sailed to Antarctica, the Tierra del Fuego and the Amazon to inspire and motivate people to care for our natural environment and to understand the issues it faces.

Students who attended the Sir Peter Blake Trust’s annual Young EnviroLeaders’ Forum (YELF) were eligible to apply for the expedition. Applications for this year’s YELF are now closed.

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