The COVID-19 global pandemic has impacted the Trust’s Antarctic operations for the upcoming 2020-2021 season. This has meant work has either been deferred or there is a reduced programme.
The Trust’s Programme Manager (Artefacts), Lizzie Meek, was due to re-join the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) conservation team on the Antarctic Peninsula for a third season under the ongoing partnership between the two Trusts. In light of the pandemic, this season the Trust’s programme managers will continue to work with UKAHT developing conservation and implementation plans and analysing the survey data collected to date, however will not be travelling to site.
Due to COVID-19 impacts, a reduced team will now travel to Ross Island this season to undertake the annual monitoring and maintenance programme for the historic huts as part of the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project. The team will quarantine in New Zealand for two weeks, along with other programme participants, before deploying to Antarctica. Antarctica New Zealand staff will then support our team undertake essential work over a shortened period on Scott’s, Shackleton’s and Hillary’s huts.
Over the past few seasons, the Trust’s conservation team has worked hard to establish the on-Ice camp at remote Cape Adare (the site of the first base established in Antarctica), to support their conservation efforts over successive work programmes. This season’s focus was to conserve the stores hut, one of two small huts established by Borchgrevink. Due to logistical constraints caused by COVID-19, this work has been deferred until next season.
Window into Cape Adare
It is universally acknowledged that Cape Adare is one of the coldest, windiest (and smelliest) places in Antarctica – built in the middle of the world’s largest Adelie penguin colony. The Trust’s new augmented reality (AR) app being developed with Staples VR, will soon make it possible to take a unique view of some of the items left behind by Borchgrevink’s Southern Cross and Scott’s Northern Party expeditions. The app is launching later in 2020.