PHOENIX College students have their eyes on a big prize – a trip to Antarctica.
As part of their extension studies about the frozen continent, the year eights will enter a national competition to name Australia’s new Antarctic icebreaker ship.
And the prize for the winning entry is not only a ship bearing the name they chose, but a trip to Antarctica for a small group of students and teachers.
Uluru, Matilda, Emperor and the names of famous Antarctic explorers were among the names suggested, along with something a little more tongue-twisting with Acacia pycnantha – the scientific name for Australia’s national floral emblem the Golden Wattle.
Colleen Filippa, who visited Antarctica in December on a women-only expedition, further stoked their imaginations yesterday with tales of her trip and inspired them to help fight climate change.
“We saw rain, which I didn’t expect because usually it’s too cold, but the temperature is rising and now they’ve got rain in Antarctica,” she said.
“We also saw research stations with no snow that are normally under 2m of snow, and lots of penguins and evidence of penguin colonies dying off or migrating further south to follow their food source.”
Ms Filippa said the competition was a wonderful way to engage students with Antarctic studies.
Teacher Elizabeth Bath said the students had studied Antarctica for three weeks, concentrating on landscape, landforms and the issues surrounding climate change.