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2019 Antarctic Lecture Series announced.

The speakers for our annual Antarctic lecture series has been announced. 

A fascinating variety of speakers will be on show at Gilbert White & The Oates Collection’s 2019 series of Oates Antarctic Lectures, starting in January. The popularity of last year’s series of talks has encouraged the Museum to extend this year’s series to four lectures. Themes range from the story of the world’s largest rodent extermination programme, to how to avoid catching a cold (go to Antarctica where it is so cold it kills germs), to the impact on Antarctica of a tourism boom. Speakers are all leading authorities on their subjects and the series is sponsored by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust.

Thursday 24th January 2019: Sophie Rowe  

Spuds, sledges and sovereignty: Preserving historic sites in the British Antarctic Territories.

Sophie Rowe, Conservator, Scott Polar Research Museum. What happened in Antarctica after the heroic age of Scott and Shackleton? Why and how are we preserving the legacy of exploration and science in the Antarctic Peninsula? This talk focuses on Base Y at Horseshoe Island. Sophie Rowe was part of a small field team which studied the site extensively in 2017, as preparation for major conservation work. She will present the story of the hut and its occupants, and how it fits into the wider history of the Antarctic Peninsula, right up to the present day.

Sophie trained as a conservator at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. She specialised in the conservation of organic artefacts while working at the British Museum. In early 2017 she spent a field season on Horseshoe Island in Antarctica cataloguing artefacts in the historic 1950s base there.

Thursday 28th February 2019: Dickie Hall 

The Tale of the Ratman of South Georgia

Dickie Hall ran the South Georgia Habitat Restoration Project – the world’s largest rodent eradication programme. In 2018, the South Georgia Heritage Trust declared the Sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia rodent free for the first time in over 200 years. A globally important nesting site for seabirds, South Georgia’s bird species were being pushed towards extinction by the rodent invaders. SGHT, a tiny charity from Scotland, spent seven years undertaking rodent eradication. Thanks to this mammoth undertaking, the island is now returning to its natural state. Dickie Hall, Project Director, will speak about the eradication and the challenges encountered.

Dickie has spent many years working in Antarctica. He spent several years at Rothera Research Station, including being Base Commander for British Antarctic Survey. He was Field Assistant for Phase Two of the SGHT’s Habitat Restoration and was promoted to Project Director to run Phase 4, the final return to South Georgia to carry out intensive monitoring which demonstrated that the island was indeed free of rodents. Dickie believes that the restoration of island habitats is a crucial step towards turning back the tide of man’s negative influences on our fragile ecosystems.

Thursday 21st March 2019: Kim Crosbie 

The Pull of the Poles

Kim Crosbie has been working in the polar regions for over 25 years including several years as Executive Director of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). Ship based tourism to the Antarctic has grown in recent years with 43,691 people visiting the continent in 2016/17. IAATO is dedicated to promoting safe and sustainable tourism. Kim will explore the challenges and opportunities brought about by tourism in Antarctica.

She now chairs Noble Caledonia Ltd. and is a Trustee of the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT). Kim started as a post graduate researcher at the Scott Polar Research Institute where she gained an M.Phil in environmental management in the Arctic. She has extensive experience of leading expeditions to the Arctic and the Antarctic, primarily onboard expedition vessels, supporting groups of students, film makers, authors, artists and other visitors. While working for IAATO she developed a strong framework of visitor management practices. She was awarded the Queen’s Polar Medal in 2016 for her contributions to environmental management in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

Thursday 25th April 2019: Iain Grant 

Polar Medicine

Iain Grant is now a consultant at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. From 1997-2012 he was Chief Medical Officer to British Antarctic Survey. He started his career in medicine in the Royal Navy where he rapidly gained experience in practising in remote situations far from help and support. He trained as an orthopaedic surgeon and moved to the emerging speciality of emergency medicine, becoming the first military consultant in that speciality. His staff also provided 24 hour medical advice by radio for ships at sea worldwide.

The Medical Unit provides all aspects of healthcare for BAS, developing medical policy, recruiting and training the doctors and undertaking specialised first aid training for all personnel, providing all medical and pharmaceutical supplies, and perhaps most critically of all, offering support for the doctors and other personnel via telemedicine links. He will explain the challenges of Polar Medicine, the unusual healthcare issues which arise, and how doctors meet these challenges in Antarctica.