And Here is the News

Two recent interviews on BBC Local Radio have meant the forthcoming ARG expedition is now better publicised and the projects more widely known and understood.

Arctic Tern entangled

On Tuesday, Steve Staley and Chris Searston both gave a live interview for BBC Radio Nottingham and discussed the challenges of research work in the Arctic, including attack from Polar Bear, the need to raise funds as a charity and the plans for the 2019 expedition, then Wednesday saw Ian Frearson delivering an account to BBC Radio Derby on the background and make up of the ARG together with details of the 2019 expedition projects. Ian described the projects and highlighted the dramatic effects of pollution on wildlife in the Arctic.

Solid Support

Without a firm foundation the best of plans will almost certainly struggle and most will fail. It is not surprising that the smallest of elements may prove to be most important so it is with great delight that the Tarpaulins Direct company have agreed to help us with a much needed tarpaulin sheet for our Base Camp tent.

Click on the image

A spokesperson today agreed the donation that will provide a sound and comfortable base on the frozen tundra and on which the members will sleep.

Rachel McGuigan, Customer Service Manager said ” We’re happy to help. Can you just confirm exactly what size you need? We have something like a 5m x 5m, would that suffice? “

2019 Expedition members named

At last the final group that will form the 2019 Expedition to Bockfjord North Spitsbergen has been named.

Leading the Expedition will be Dr Steve Staley, a founder member and veteran of several ARG expeditions.  His scientific role will be looking at the geological elements surrounding the warm springs that are to be visited and the supervising of sampling.  It is also planned to look for ancient fossilised fish remains and log all findings with a view to recording locations and attitudes within the rocks.  Steve will be heading the whole team when they are locating, recording, collecting and disposing of beach pollution, particularly plastic, that is now an unsightly and dangerous feature of Arctic shores.  This work is being undertaken in partnership with two other international organisations and data and results will be shared to provide maximum input to the understanding of this global problem.

Professor Graeme Shaw, another veteran of the ARG will be undertaking research into the vascular plant species present and their species distribution around and remote from the springs, as well as investigating the climate change balance of early colonisation of recently exposed ground due to glacial ice retreat.

Mike Haynes, founder member and a member of several previous ARG expeditions is to explore the use of drones in increasing the data collection possibilities for Arctic research.  This will allow less physical damage to be caused to the delicate Arctic environment by exploration physical visits for data collection.

Chris Searston, another ARG previous expedition member and very experienced Svalbard traveller will be undertaking a search for meteorites at suitable locations where glacial ice retreat provides the best opportunities for success.

Dan Clarke rejoins the Group following his previous trip as Joint Expedition Leader in 1996 as logistical planner and Safety Officer.  He will also be running the day to day operations of the pollution programme.  Dan is in charge of the First Aid provision.

Two first time expeditioners join the make up the full compliment.  Henry Staley, a fourth year medical student in Dentistry joins in a general assistant category and to undertake some human physiological experiments on the rest of the team.

William Shaw, a second year student of Computer Science completes the seven man team and brings his expertise in computing to help log and record the whole of the research information in anticipation of the papers and reports that will be generated.

ARG join International Group on Pollution

A spokesman for SALT recently acknowledged the ARG as one of its partners. 

The ARG has now joined forces with other similar minded groups to undertake research into pollution by plastic and other elements on beaches in the High Arctic.  One of the Group’s projects planned for 2019 will be the systematic collection logging and examination of pollution on  stretches of beach in Svalbard as part of an international Group who are also undertaking this valuable work.  A spokesman for SALT recently acknowledged the ARG as one of its partners.   The following statement was received by the ARG during the past few days.

Letter of Support
We are writing this letter in support of the Arctic Research Group (“ARG”) for their
proposed research work on macro beach litter in Svalbard during the summer of 2019.
We are providing advice to the ARG on the design and execution of this work, which we
understand will include the clearing of rubbish from one or more beaches in northwestern
Spitsbergen and its in-depth description and cataloguing. The ARG have
indicated that they will share the results of their work with us, all interested
organisations in Svalbard and with the wider scientific community.
SALT is an independent consultant company with knowledge about and for the coast
and the sea delivering services within research, consultancy and outreach. Marine litter
is one of our core areas of work. SALT consists of high professional competence on
marine ecosystems, coastal industries and entrepreneurship, particularly concerning
northern issues.
Tromsø, 04.11.2018

Photograph courtesy of Steppes Travel

Bear amongst pollution

 

Freight at last

Phew I can relax again for a day or two, the freight is on its’ way. 

So long in preparing & getting a price, the freight has at last been taken to Immingham and accepted by our shipping line, Bring International. They have been so good today in helping sort it all out & get paperwork done, so well done Scott & staff, we will not be seeing it again until Svalbard hopefully.

New Grant

The ARG is pleased and proud to announce that they have been given a grant by the Gino Watkins Memorial fund that will cover the outbound freight to Svalbard, a vital element in the overall scheme.  packing of all the goods to be sent from UK is now underway and we expect it to leave for Svalbard by the end of this month.  Our grateful thanks to our referees who gave us such good references to help secure the grant.

Coming to a head

At last things seem to be coming to a head, With the collaboration between the ARG and Professor Andrew Hodson we now have a robust and well planned revised proposal that will see us marrying up with another group, all studying some facet of the Warm Springs of Jotun & Kjell.  In order to minimise the effect on the environment we have now combined our resources regarding transport so we go out on Lance and return on a ship chartered by another group. this will reduce our overall footprint considerably, something with which we are very pleased to be a part.

Charity Boost for 2017 Research Expedition

Only weeks after being registered as a charity the ARG has received a bonus in the form of a gift of shares in a leading UK company that will help fund not only the forthcoming reconnaissance but also the 2017 Expedition.  The Group are delighted with this early response to their recent status update and will be offering an evening of photographs to their latest supporters by way of thanks.

Collaboration between groups guarantees better chance of success

Base camp 96         Flow measuring

1996 Base Camp Bellsund                                             Andy Hodson gauging a sub glacial outflow

The ARG has pleasure in confirming that it will be combining forces with Professor Andrew J Hodson of Sheffield University England for its latest expedition to Svalbard.  Andy is no stranger to the Group, having previously worked with Ian Frearson as part of an international research project in Van-Keulenfjord during the Summer of 1994 and with the ARG 1996 Expedition to Bellsund.  Andy is a Glacial Hydrologist and an Associate with UNIS, the University of Svalbard, based in Longyearbyen.  He has led many research trips into areas of Svalbard and is a well known and respected scientist.  Andy will be co-ordinating with us on our work with the warm springs as well as looking into the hydrology of two pingos.  It is hoped that some of Andy’s students and staff will join and work alongside ARG members on site during 2017.  The Recce, due to take place during August 2016 is well planned with more on site collaboration also programmed to take place.  Photographic and Video referencing is to be undertaken along with preliminary sampling from various sites to allow a better start to be made on the science during the main Expedition in 2017.

Much of the credit for this goes to Prof Hodson for his foresight and desire to be practical as well as well prepared, traits for which he is well known.

FINAL EXPEDITION MEMBER CHOSEN

Haddon makes light of a snow gulley on the ascent of another new peak

Haddon makes light of a snow gulley on the ascent of another new peak in Peru

The Group has now accepted its final member for the Svalbard expedition to take place in 2017.  George Haddon Winter is an undergraduate at Keele University currently studying Environment and Sustainability.  He is from Aston on Trent and a keen outdoor person.  He left traditional school in the UK to study at an expeditionary-based high school in Colorado, from where he visited mountainous areas in a variety of countries from Norway to Peru.  He is a rock climber, a mountaineer, a kayaker and keen camper.  His youth and enthusiasm combine to provide the ideal combination for his first visit to the High Arctic where he will be part of the team looking into colonisation of recently exposed ground and species distribution in proximity of warm springs, all under the project leadership of Professor Graeme Shaw, also known as George, so will be known as Haddon, his second name, to avoid confusion.