Posts from Jessica Burdett

Arctic Blues

By Jessica // Wednesday 26 Sep // 14:59:10 // View

Been back in London for three days now and it seems like such a long time ago that i had to say goodbye to all the wonderful people that I had the pleaseure of working with over the two weeks of the Cape Farewell youth expedition. I am really missing the quiet, majestic, awesome landscape of Svalbard, particularly Ny Alesund. It really was the most amazing experience of my life, everybody worked so well together and resolved differences quickly and amenably, without hidden agendas or resentment – just goes to show how fantastic the human race can be when it tries. I learned so much about so many things and experienced so much including many challenges, and I am proud of what i accomplished. I am also aware of the fact there is so much more to be done and that is the start of a big journey that is going to be hard work, but worth it if we can get people to significantly reduce their imapct on climate chaos.

I have some absolutely wonderful memeories that Iwill cherish for the rest of my life, thank you to everyone involved, I will never forget you. From Polar Bear pawprints to the graphs being moved their were so many highs (and lows) I can’t believe we experienced so much in so little time. i never believed I could fall in love with a place, but now a little bit of my heart will always belong to Svalbard.

Keep the faith,

Jess x

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Swimming at 79 degrees North

By Jessica // Friday 21 Sep // 07:55:53 // 3 Comments // View

Oh my word!!!

Keith started a very mad trend yesterday by runnning into the sea with his shorts on, he stayed in for a few seconds and then ran out straight into a bundle of towels to warm up. We all followed suit in groups and it was absolutely freezing, you went numb in seconds, I don’t think I have ever been that cold in my life, at the same time it was very exhilarating!! WOW!!! Apparently the beach we ran into the sea from is called Palm Beach, as the scientists set up trees on the bach in the summer! Will blog more later!

Cheers, Jess xxx

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Bowsprit Blues

By Jessica // Thursday 20 Sep // 15:30:12 // View


Hello all,

 Captain Blackeye here, eye is getting much better, going red and yellow!!! Went sailing around Blomstrand islan yesterday and I climebd onto the bowsprit (the long wooden arm at the front of the boat) – had to be hooked onto a harness, it was amazing, especially as we were hitting iceburgs and the boat was being rocked about, it was like surfing on a supersized surfboard. We saw a bearded seal lying on the ice and the captain (Gert pronounced Hert) took us as close as possible, it was great and I took some good photos with my new lens (thanks Mum and Dad!!!!). The guide (who is a total DUDE!!!) went up the mast to the crows nest and took some great photos! I got jealous so I went up to the crows nest this morning, took some good photos, got some good ones taken of me too!!! – whilst we were moored up, far less rocky, Christian (guide) went up whilst we were rocking about in the ice!!! It is really amazing here, everytime you turn around something new is in view, the sun changes the shapes and textures of the ice and mountains, sunrise this morning was absolutely fabulous!

Have set camera up on the dock taking timelapse of the sky and artists Dan Harvey making a sculpture from ice – I started at 7, Dan got up a wee bit later, it’s looking good so far – kids are helping out whilst I am at the Sverdrup institute writing this. Everyone in the Cape Farewell Youth expedition – including the Noorderlicht crew- are fantastic, so inspiring and amazing, I am having such a great time, I really do not wan to leave, it feels like we have been here for ages but also that time has flown by sooooooo quickly! I would love to say I have missed people, but it’s been to eventful and fantastic to have had time!!!

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Blood on the ice

By Jessica // Wednesday 19 Sep // 09:51:28 // 8 Comments // View

Hello all,

It’s been a while as we have mainly been on the boat or a glacier and no where near a computer, let alone internet connections! Mobiles don’t work up here as their are no masts, which is good as they would interfere with the research scientists satellite uplinks and other equipment. A LOT has happened since I last wrote anything on my blog, we arrived at Ny Alesund on Saturday afternoon, and spent the evening getting ourselves sorted out. On sunday we went to the Kinsfjord glacier for a reccy and to experiment with makiing artworks from natural materials. As we were walking up the glacier, which was very slippy, I fell backwards, which was quite funny fr about two seconds until my camera fell onto my eyebrow and split open, blod was dripping in my eye and all over the ice, which looked quite cool once I had got over the shock. Christain, the guide who protects us from Polar Bears and provides us with fascinating info and facts about Svalbard (he is a DUDE!!) rushed over and checked my injury out, he says I’ll probably have a scar. Currently have a very nice black eye!!! The kids were great and they were all really concerned, they are such a great bunch of people who are working so well together and doing so much great stuff, it is an inspiration to work with them!

I am soooooooooooooo glad I bought the Arctic weather boots as they have kept my feet seriously warm, wellies just would not have done the job. It is pretty cold here, though today it’s not so bad, I think it’s about 2 degrees celcius, has been minus 5 and with the wind chill factor it gets really cold!!!! We saw a reindeer yersterday, in London, we visited an island called Blomstrand which used to be part of the peninsular when it was attached to the mainland by glacier, however because that has now retreated it is no longer part of the mainland. London was a small mining community, on Blomstrand, that didn’t fare too well and is now just rusting ruins. The reindeer was casually grazing on the sparse foliage and was not that bothered by our presence, we also saw a seal last night, it was in the water so I not sure what type it was. Lots of birds – gulls, guillemots, sandpipers and types of finches. It is really beautiful and peaceful here, I don’t want to come back to smelly, crowded London!

Being here has really brought home the impact we are having on the planet and how fragile life is, we are doing so much damage and not that many people seem to care, it makes me really sad and scared for the future!!

Gotta get off now as live blogs are happening, will try and speak soon!!!

Jess xx

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Sculpting ice

By Jessica // Monday 17 Sep // 18:06:42 // View


Jessica Burdett sculpting ice.

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Two puffins and a polar bear!

By Jessica // Saturday 15 Sep // 16:35:40 // 1 Comment // View

Two puffins and a polar bear! We set sail last evening, at about 6, having had to get all the luggage – including camera, media and scientific equipment, on board by carrying it through another ship! We sailed out of Longyearbyen for a few hours and moored up in a bay called Trygghamna, which is Norwegian for “safe harbour,” very beautiful place, surrounded on all three sides by snow capped mountains. We ate a very welcome dinner of salmon and pasta, followed by grapes and cheese! Anna, the cook, is fantastic and keeps making us all lovely food to keep us going as it is rather cold!!!!

It’s around about zero degrees and getting colder as we travel north. Yesterday we went to visit the school in Longyearbyen and met some of the teachers and students, they showed us around there school, as there are a lot less students there than at Kidbrooke they teach them as a year group and the teachers teach lots of different subjects, though they have specialist rooms for gym, art and tech. The students made us a lovely soup from vegetables and sausages and one of the students played their guitar for us, apparently he taught himself how to play and has played for the King of Norway, he was very impressive!!

Woke early this morning and rushed onto deck as an arctic fox had apparently been spotted, except it was a reindeer!! Just goes to show how distance and scale are very hard to judge here, especially because there are no trees. That woke us up bright and early and after breakfast we were ready to go for a long trek, Christian the guide had to give us a safety lecture on how to behave if we saw a polar bear and he showed us what he would do with his flare gun and rifle if a bear came too close. However, he said, it was unlikely we would see a bear in that area at this time of year so we were not to worry. Off we set, walking along the shoreline and spotting whale bones and different varieties of lichens and vegetation.

As Christian guided us up a rather steep slope at the bottom of a mountain one of the students spotted the carcass of an arctic fox, most of the body had been eaten but its tail and paws were still intact. A few metres on we came across the carcass of a reindeer, Christian thought that it had probably fallen down the scree and broken it’s neck, it was rather sad looking! We walked under a mountain called Bird Ledge where hundreds of seabirds nest – very noisy! After walking for two and a half hours the Noorderlicht sailed to us and sent the zodiac to come and pick us up from the shore.

On our return we had to raise the sails, which took a lot of organisation and effort – need strong arms to raise sails, and we were taught how to tie nautical knots – very useful!! We then sat down to lunch, at which point the Captain came in to say he could see a polar bear on the shore!!! We think had been attracted by our scent! It was an amazing sight and though it was far away I managed to get some really good shots, everyone was on deck capturing the bear in as many forms as possible! As we were staring in awe at the bear a pair of puffins flew by!! I am sooooo happy now, I really wanted to see a polar bear and some puffins and I got see both at once!! WOW!!!!!!





My team were on watch for the next two hours and we hoisted sails and tied knots and steered and learned a lot about how to sail a ship! Whilst keeping an eye on the polar bear until he decided to toddle off over the mountains! We also saw some guillemots and some arctic gulls, it really is amazing experiencing all this wildlife! Jethro is now strumming on his guitar whilst we are blogging, writing diaries, making tea and chilling after a hard days work – team 4 have just raised the mainsail! Having such a fantastic experience so far, hard work but well worth it!! Speak soon, Jess x

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Sailing up the Svalbard!!

By Jessica // Friday 14 Sep // 18:02:00 // 4 Comments // View

We’re about to sail off to Ny Alesund, the Noorderlicht is in the harbour and we’re just packing up at Base Camp, I just bought some really brilliant boots, rubber moulded soles, waterproof and really really warm! !!! Everyone says they’re “awesome”!!

We have been at the Longyearbyen Skole all morning, the students showed us around the site, they have a gym and a pool and some very well equipped classrooms, they are taught in years and have one base room for each year, and the teachers teach lots of different subjects, they have specialist rooms for tech and art ! It was a very well designed ålace, very clean and the students were very proud of their environment. We did some climate change workshops with them and I think they learned some very different ways of expressing themselves compared to what they are used to!

I cannot believe how much we have done so far, and I am sooooo excited about getting on the ship. Hope everyone back home isn’t missing me too much!!

See you soon,

Jess x

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Swinging in Svalbard

By Jessica // Thursday 13 Sep // 18:09:02 // View

Hey guys,

We have finally arrived in Svalbard, currently in Longyearben, will be setting sail for Ny Alesund tomorrow, it’s not as cold as I thought it would be, it’s only zero degrees celcius, but apparently it’s going to get down to minus 10 at some point soon. Had a very long journey to get here but saw some amazing sights on the way, saw the sunrise at 5 this morning in Stockholm!

Longyearben is quite a mixture of beauty and barreness depending on where you look, the mountains and the glacier are wondrous but the coal mining really scars the landscape, however it is what the economy here is based around – though tourism now contributes a lot to that!!

We are setting sail on the Nooderlicht (Northern Light) tomorrow afternoon and will be sailing via aplace called Trygghamma!! Sounds v interesting! Hope everyone at Kidbrooke’s having fun and not missing me at all! I have already learned so much and have so many stories and pictures to share with you. T4 have been filming us and so have BBC London so look out for Hayley and I on a tv/internet news site near you!

Will write soon! Hopefully will be able to post pics soon!

ØÆŤ are just some of the Norwegian symbols on this computer!!

Lotsa love and hugs,

Jess xxxx

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Ideas and activities for schools

By Cape Farewell // Thursday 13 Sep // 09:10:30 // View

New materials now available with ideas for ways your school can take part and be involved during the Youth Expedition. Click to view lesson ideas written by Jessica Burdett, Head of Art at Kidbrooke High School, who will be on-board the Noorderlicht during the voyage. Also find lesson plans by science teacher Keith Brindle, from Frome Community College, adapted from the OCR Scheme of Work, for the first GCSE Chemistry Module C1: Air Quality
Get lesson ideas and resources »

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We’re on our way!!

By Jessica // Tuesday 11 Sep // 18:04:53 // 4 Comments // View

Hello all,

 We’re nearly on our way, it’s been an intense four days so far, we’v had lots of workshops about working as a scientist, thinking like an artist, using media and interview techniques and team building exercises. We’ve taken part in the launch event on Sunday, and there are many photos on the site of that, a great event where all the stduents did a performance and then went down to the pier and got into inflatable ribs (big dinghies) and rode up and down the river, including going under Tower Bridge – awesome!! I have met some really inspirational people, most of whom are the students going on the voyage, they are a really intelligent, creative and lively bunch of students who are already working really well together as a team, I am proud to be working with them.

We leave for the Arctic tomorrow and I am sooooo excited!! Probably won’t get much sleep tonight. Will miss everyone I know in the UK, thanks to everyone who has suppoerted me on this wonderful adventure and I will see you all soon!!


Jessica x

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