Education News – Students study in Antarctica

NANAIMO (CUP) ? L-A Shibish, a Vancouver Island University student, will be joining her peers from around the world in Antarctica next month.

?I’m in disbelief that I am actually going to Antarctica,? said Shibish, who is in her second year of VIU’s Tourism Studies Diploma program. ?I’m ecstatic.?

Shibish is one of 80 students from around the world taking part in an expedition celebrating International Polar Year?a large scientific program focused on the Antarctic and the Arctic that runs from March 2007 to March 2009.

Scientists from over 60 nations are taking part to examine a wide range of physical, biological, and social research topics. IPY includes over 200 projects, such as the student expedition to Antarctica.

?I was attracted to the IPY expedition by the opportunity to work with and learn from an international team of researchers, educators, scientists, and university students, and to see if I can discover a way to meaningfully contribute to raising awareness of the issues confronting Antarctica,? said Shibish.

While the expedition is in Antarctic waters, Shibish and the other students will participate in lectures and lab exercises aboard the main ship.

They will also make frequent trips to the Antarctic mainland to study the positive and negative impact of tourism in this environmentally sensitive area, says Shibish.

Shibish is also looking forward to investigating ?best practice? scenarios in regards to tour operations in remote coastal communities and conducting a survey of the other student participants? perceptions and attitudes towards sustainable tourism and the preservation of fragile eco-systems.

?I hope to learn, first-hand, about the reality of what is happening in the world’s last great wilderness,? said Shibish.

Shibish then wants to use this knowledge to educate others. When she returns, she aims to share her experience through a multi-media presentation.

?I feel an urgent sense of responsibility for the protection of sensitive and fragile environments and their wildlife,? she said. ?I feel humbled and honoured to have this opportunity.?