With the support of the Australian Government, two Tasmanian teachers will join an Antarctic marine science voyage departing Hobart early next month, the Assistant Minister for the Environment and Water Resources John Cobb said today.

The Teachers Experiencing Antarctica project will contribute to the International Polar Year, whose aim is to increase knowledge of polar regions and attract and develop the next generation of polar scientists.

Jane Dobson from Claremont College in Hobart and Caroline Lapworth from Geeveston District School will travel on board Australia’s icebreaking research vessel Aurora Australis, accompanying scientists on a six-week expedition to explore the sea ice zone around Antarctica.

“Ms Dobson and Ms Lapworth will communicate their experiences back to students in classrooms around Australia and internationally via a web site, writing daily updates on the voyage and the work of the scientists.

“They will also be generating classroom activities for teachers and answering questions from students as well as developing a range of educational and curriculum resources,” Mr Cobb said.

The project is a cooperative venture of the Australian Antarctic Division, the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre and the Tasmanian Department of Education, which are working together on a range of International Polar Year education and outreach projects.

“The Australian Government has provided berths on a joint Antarctic Division/Antarctic CRC research voyage whose aim is a deeper understanding of the connection between Antarctic sea ice and the ecosystems that depend on it for their survival,” Mr Cobb said.

“This fantastic opportunity gives students direct access to the work of expeditioners at sea. I am thrilled that the science and use of technology taking place on this voyage will be transmitted to classrooms around the world, and hope it will lead to similar future education projects as part of the Australian Antarctic programme.