‘Cool Science’ was the theme of the AAD’s first ‘school discovery days’ at its Kingston headquarters, during Tasmania’s Midwinter Festival in June. Over three days, 480 grade 4–6 students from 12 schools in southern Tasmania, participated in demonstrations of Antarctic science and operations and the Antarctic Treaty.
On the science front, students became entangled in the Antarctic food web, tasted water from an ice core, sifted through rubbish washed up on the Antarctic coast and marvelled at the aurora and other atmospheric phenomena.
In Operations, four displays gave the students an insight into the clothing and field equipment needed to survive the extreme cold, communication technology used in the field and on station, and the vehicles needed to traverse ice and snow. The quad bikes, Hägglunds, polar pyramid tent and radios were firm favourites.
Last but not least, the importance of the Antarctic Treaty in maintaining Antarctica as a place of peace and science was briefly discussed by childrens’ author and illustrator Coral Tulloch. Coral visited Antarctica in 1999 as an AAD Arts Fellow. The children were then encouraged to draw pictures of Antarctica and write postcards to the AAD Director about their wish for Antarctica’s future. The pictures will be incorporated into AAD Arts Fellow Alison Lester’s travelling exhibition of childrens’ art (Australian Antarctic Magazine 8: 36), while the postcards will be displayed at AAD headquarters.