Explorer and educator Mark Wood recently returned from the Arctic after his Race Against Time expedition. We caught up with him to learn more about what he experienced and how he’ll be sharing his learnings with students around the world, over Skype.
But before he takes us back to the Arctic, here are the 10 lucky classrooms that won a Skype call with him.
Welcome back Mark! The expedition plans changed at the last minute—can you tell us why?
Due to the state of the ice on the Arctic ocean it was difficult for helicopters to insert our team. The unstable ice was why we were out there in the first place but it was also preventing us from heading out on the expedition.
What was the biggest challenge of the expedition?
The unpredictability of the whole event. Even before we set off we had problems with shifting sea ice that delayed our start date. Once on the ground it was like we were in a constantly moving scenery as the great sheets of ice shifted below us. The sound of the ocean at times was deafening.
Did anything unexpected happen while you were on the ice?
Open cracks appeared near the pole itself which is unusual—so to actually do the last 100 meters we were crossing open water. We also found polar bear prints near our tent meaning something had passed in the night, over 600 miles from a land mass.
Did you notice a difference in conditions compared to the last time you were in the Arctic?
I did a solo expedition of 100 km to the pole in 2012 which, though tough in so many ways, wasn’t as challenging through the sheer size of the ice rubble and obstacles.
Did the team get on OK during the expedition?
This was the key to reaching the pole. As professionals who deal in long range polar expeditions, our routine and team work began as we hit sea ice. Humor is a big part of survival in the extremes and this, combined with an understanding of each other, became key to our journey’s success.
How will you be sharing what you saw and learnt on the expedition?
I will be delivering talks on Skype to schools around the world. I find this to be an extraordinary way to connect my experiences with students. We also aim to do a documentary and publish a book using the photographs we took.
How can we make a difference and stop climate change?
I believe that change comes from the individual to begin with. Just as a parent would lead their children by example, in turn we all have a responsibility to lead by example regarding climate change. The simple act of recycling will encourage your friends and family and then your town, city and country to do the same. Change comes from yourself.
What is your next adventure?
Project 8848 where we aim to take over 1 million students around the globe on a virtual mission to Mount Everest. How awesome is that!
Awesome indeed! Watch this space for more information on how you can take part.
Teachers: You can get involved with Skype in the Classroom by registering on our website.
Parents: Why not ask your school to get involved with Skype in the Classroom so your kids can experience the world live from their classrooms?