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? “

Fundraising Push

ARG members are to write to the top companies in the region seeking support or sponsorship to help fund this years’ expedition.  Timed to coincide with a local radio interview and focussed on the Midlands region, the group are looking to secure further expedition sponsors.

Climate change and plastic pollution are increasingly significant problems for humanity.  Unless this generation takes urgent action, they will affect us and each successive generation.

You can be part of the solution too if you’re prepared to support those working as volunteers to carry out scientific research that will help to find it.

Hundreds of letters are to be written

Newest members thoughts

“Being invited on this expedition is a chance that maybe only occurs once in a lifetime and it is a dream come true for me.  Growing up seeing all the photos and maps from my Dad’s various expeditions with the Arctic Research Group during 30 years, I’ve always wanted to go and explore this rare place.

William Shaw

This expedition will not only give me experience with research and exploration, while also looking outstanding on any application for jobs or post-grads.  But it is also a fleeting chance to see the high arctic in its undisturbed state before factors like climate change, pollution and increased shipping traffic begin to damage this rare place even more”.

William Shaw

Training weekend deferred

Responding to a set of circumstances topped off by a forecast of rain showers and strong winds – that would preclude flying the drone – as well as the unexpected unavailability of several members, the decision was taken to defer the training weekend to a later date. The opportunity wasn’t wasted as members focussed on other tasks of planning and fundraising.

Boots remain hanging until another day

Research in Svalbard

Links to Approved Projects provided below

You can check out our approved projects on the Research in Svalbard website. We’ve provided URL links below to make it quick and simple to find them.

Collection & Assessment of macro-plastic and other beach Pollution (CAP)

Early Colonisation of High Arctic Substrates Exposed by glacier retreat (eCHASE)

Geochemical Investigation of warm Springs (GIS)

Collection Of fossilised remains of Devonian Fish (COF)

Search for And Recovery Of Meteorites (SAROM)

Expedition receives approval

The Sysselmann and the Svalbard authorities have given final approval for the planned research of the 2019 ARG Expedition. The programme of research includes five main activities which are studies on plastic pollution, climate change, interstellar geology, terrestrial geology and remote videography by drone.

Expedition plans approved

While expecting the approval, the expedition members have been putting significant efforts and much of their spare time into applications for grants and making approaches to organisations and businesses, to secure the necessary income to fund the 2019 expedition.

“Receiving the go ahead from the Sysselmann is brilliant news” commented ARG group leader Ian Frearson “The hard miles have to be put in now to secure the funding and make the necessary preparations for the expedition”.

Training weekend set for early March

Members of the 2019 expedition will be out in the Peak District National Park putting themselves and their equipment through its paces during a training session set for early March. Whilst fundraising is key to achieving the maximum return out of the expedition research, the team working together on fitness and Arctic capabilities, as well as developing familiarity with the technical equipment that they will be using, is also essential. The session will include in particular, practice flying of the drone to explore the techniques required to deliver the maximum from the extended research scope the drone is expected to help realise.

Drone training for expedition members

Ollie Hartas of Hartas Productions – sports videography – very generously flew to the UK from his home in Sweden recently to spend a day training the expedition members in flight and operation of the Mavic Pro drone that will be used on this years’ expedition. The drone will provide additional input to each of the expedition projects as well as aerial video of the expedition activities and the stunning scenery of the high arctic landscape. “Flying the drone is so intuitive and it is so precisely controllable, with high definition video & still imagery, that it clearly will allow us to add significantly to our research”. Commented expedition leader Steve Staley.

Mavic Pro drone

2019 Expedition Flight Reservations Made

Taking advantage of booking ahead to secure the best value flights, the ARG has made reservations for the seven strong expedition team that will head to Svalbard in late July and return to the UK in August. Whilst the full funding for the expedition is yet to be realised, the ARG is confident of their ability to secure the necessary resources to fulfil the expedition objectives and therefore took the decision at a recent meeting to proceed with making the flight reservations. There is always a significance to the point at which funds begin to be committed to an expedition and this is being celebrated by the team who are excitedly looking forward to tackling their research work in the Arctic in Summer 2019.

Expedition take off is booked

Full steam ahead on fundraising

At the recent meetings of the ARG, members have been focussing on the task of fundraising through making grant applications and targeting key organisations, corporations and high net worth individuals.  The task being to secure funding for the ongoing activities of the ARG, specifically seeking to secure sufficient funds for the expedition later this year.  With a target budget of £50,000 the ARG would have sufficient funds not only for the 2019 expedition, we would also be able to purchase additional equipment that would be available for use for this and future expeditions and allow the delivery of more sophisticated remote research.  There has been some initial success with grants being awarded and we are hopeful of further good news in the coming weeks. If you’re reading this and can offer support, then please use the donation button or contact us to let us know how you can help.

Form filling for funds

ARG supporting Sir Ernest Shackleton in BBC ICONS live final on 5th February.

ARG Members will be in the audience of the BBC ICONS series live final in London to support Sir Ernest Shackleton when viewers will select the winner of the series that has sought to identify the most iconic individual of the twentieth century.  Sir Ernest Shackleton was voted the winner of the Explorers category programme, beating astronaut Neil Armstrong, cartographer Gertrude Bell and primatologist Jane Goodall.  When Shackleton was selected, The Arctic Club was contacted by the TV programme makers to invite members of the club to be in the audience during the live broadcast final which is coming from Indigo at the O2.  If you’re reading this before the programme on 5th February, please make sure to watch BBC2 between 9:00pm and 10:00pm on Tuesday 5th February and vote for Sir Ernest Shackleton.

BBC ICONS Final – Vote for Shackleton

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.