Do you know a young person from a disadvantaged background who would benefit from this unique opportunity to visit Antarctica?
Former Wanderlust editor Phoebe Smith has, with her team-mate Dwayne Fields, successfully raised enough funds for their #WeTwo Foundation to take a group of ten, underprivileged, 16–18-year-olds, to the Antarctic Peninsula by expedition ship in February 2022.
The pair formed Team #WeTwo several years ago after meeting at Countryfile Live where they were took part in a panel discussing barriers to getting into the outdoors and having adventures. “We realised there that – for different reasons - we had similar experiences with people telling us how we couldn't/shouldn't/wouldn't be able to it,” says Dwayne.
They decide to join forces to find a way to inspire and support young people. “We want to encourage the next generation from all walks of life to fall in love with the outdoors and look after our planet,” adds Phoebe. “For us it’s not about planting flags, it’s about planting seeds.”
The aim of the Antarctica expedition is to use responsible adventuring as a force for good by taking a group of young people who would never otherwise get the opportunity: “We want to boost their confidence and show that we believe in them enough to take them somewhere they never thought they'd go,” says Dwayne. “We want them to fall in love with nature and wilderness and understand the relationship between what we do here in the UK and how it affects Antarctica (and vice versa) so that they will fight to protect it.”
Phoebe adds that, “We want them to see other career paths that they may never have considered before. On board will be biologists, ornithologists, geologists, mountain guides and people that they will never have had the confidence or opportunity to chat with before.”
Before the young people join the expedition they will 'pay it forward' - not with cash but by committing to take part in initiatives close to home to improve their local area. This will include rewilding projects, removing plastics from saplings, and helping clean rivers, beaches and green spaces. They will also share with others (through talks and social media) the incredible nature and environment that's on their doorstep, becoming local ambassadors for the environment.
The team have secured places on the Hurtigruten’s MS Fridtjof Nansen, one of the world's first hybrid expedition vessels. Once on board the team will be assisting with a number of citizen science projects including Seabird Distribution with the Antarctic Site Inventory, tracking individual whales and leopard seals and studying phytoplankton to better understand how they respond to water temperature changes in the polar regions, providing a key to help mitigate future environmental impacts.
Gear company Craghoppers is also supporting the expedition by kitting out the whole team, as well as sponsoring four of the places.
“Raising the money was challenging, especially during a pandemic,” says Phoebe, “but perhaps even more challenging is going to be finding the young people to take with us. That’s why we’re appealing to the public to help us out.”
The team has launched a nomination form on their website where teachers, social workers, parents, guardians and friends from across Britain can nominate a young person from a disadvantaged background to take part. “We are looking for people who are driven, passionate, and who want to make a difference, not just in their own lives but for the communities in which they live,” says Dwayne.
Love travel quizzes, events and competitions? Then sign up today for free so you don’t miss out!