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Conservation Ambassador

The Conservation Ambassador initiative offers conservators or other heritage experts in the early stages of their career the opportunity to work on the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project in Antarctica, the world’s largest cold-climate heritage conservation project.

To apply for the Conservation Ambassador role keep an eye on the Trust’s website or social media channels to see the next opportunity available.

Conservation Ambassador Mike Gillies in front of Mount Erebus
Conservation Ambassador Mike Gillies in front of Mount Erebus
Antarctic Heritage Trust - Scott Base
Mike Gillies on arrival at Scott Base

2018 Conservation Ambassador Mike Gillies

Congratulations to Mike Gillies, who has been selected as the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s 2018/2019 season Conservation Ambassador. A keen heritage carpentry hobbyist, Mike is a Recreation/Historic Ranger for the Department of Conservation (DOC) and resides in Murchison, where he regularly works in remote locations in the Nelson Lakes National Park.
This year AHT partnered with DOC to find a Conservation Ambassador to work alongside our experts, and develop their skills in a unique and challenging environment.

With a Bachelor of Recreation Management (Parks) from Lincoln University and nine years working as a Ranger for DOC, heritage conservation is both a profession and passion for Mike, who has a fascination for traditional building techniques, particularly historic hut building in New Zealand.

As Conservation Ambassador, Mike will support AHT to implement the ongoing maintenance and monitoring of Hillary’s, Shackleton’s and Scott’s Huts on Ross Island.

Along with his backcountry skills, Mike’s expertise includes hewing and dressing timber using axe and adze, making wooden roofing shingles, and traditional timber joinery. He is an avid collector of historic wood working hand tools, as well as traditional carpentry and woodworking publications.
Mike says he couldn’t believe his luck when the Conservation Ambassador role came up, as although he’d long been captivated by stories and images of Antarctica, he’d never foreseen an opportunity to actually get there.

“I am incredibly keen to participate in this programme and view heritage conservation in the toughest climate in the world.”

2017 Conservation Ambassador Diana McCormack

Diana McCormack, a senior conservator in the Historic Ships team at The National Museum of the Royal Navy, based in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, UK, was chosen from applicants from around the world to be the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s first Conservation Ambassador. The initiative was launched to provide an emerging conservation professional (within five years of graduating) to join the team in Antarctica for part of the season.

Diana, who is from Belfast, Northern Ireland, spent six weeks on the ice with the Trust’s team, conserving artefacts in the huts, including cod liver oil, cocoa and table salt. She also helped to remove and clean mould build-up at Scott’s Hut, Cape Evans. Diana says she was struck by how much work has already gone into the huts and the enormous achievements of everyone involved in the conservation team over the years. It has inspired her to approach conservation challenges in her job with a fresh perspective.

Her day job involves conserving some of the world’s most famous historic ships, including HMS Victory. As part of the Conservation Ambassador’s role, Diana delivered a dedicated outreach programme including writing blogs, giving presentations to schools and working with local Scout groups who were completing their Antarctic Explorer badge.

Diana McCormack & Chris Ansin
Diana McCormack and Chris Ansin as they arrive in Antarctica