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Why Does Antarctica Matter?

In conjunction with:

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Young Geographer of the Year and Rex Walford Award

Young Geographer of the Year 2015

Why does Antarctica matter?

The question for this year’s Young Geographer of the Year competition coincides with the centenary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance expedition, which aimed to complete the first crossing of Antarctica. Despite failing in his original plans and being stranded on pack ice for over a year, Shackleton and his men returned safely and the expedition is recognised as one of the most remarkable feats of leadership and endeavour.

This year’s competition is an opportunity for students to explore why Antarctica still matters today. This may be for a number of reasons, spanning:

  • Antarctica's world-leading science
  • The continent's unique biodiversity and landscapes
  • As a location which still inspires people with awe and wonder of the natural world
  • Antarctica's unique status as the only continent in the world without countries
  • Antarctica's governance by the Antarctic Treaty which promotes science, peaceful purposes, sets aside territorial claims and prevents military activity

In support of the competition, we asked a range of experts who work on issues surrounding Antarctica to tell us why Antarctica matters to them. The videos can be seen on our #WhyDoesAntarcticaMatter? page.

Discovering Antarctica, developed in partnership with the British Antarctic Survey and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, features a wealth of information about the distant, frozen wilderness of Antarctica.

The competition has four categories: Key Stage 2 (students aged 9-11), Key Stage 3 (students aged 11-14), Key Stage 4 or GCSE (students aged 14-16) and Key Stage 5 or A Level (students aged 16-18). The Society encourages schools to run their own local semi-finals before entering their top-placed entries into the national competition.

The deadline for all entries is 5pm on Friday 16th October 2015.

Rex Walford Award 2015 

The Rex Walford Award is for trainees or teachers who have just started their careers, including students enrolled on a PGCE, Teach First and Schools Direct alongside NQTs and colleagues at a similar stage in their careers.

Linked to the Young Geographer of the Year competition, this years’ Rex Walford Award asks entrants to produce a short scheme of work, covering at least three lessons that focuses on the question ‘Why does Antarctica matter?’ The Society welcomes innovative and effective approaches to engaging students with this question and would also be interested to see examples of students’ work that has resulted from the lessons.

The deadline for all entries is 5pm on Friday 16th October 2015.

Thank you to all who entered the Young Geographer of the Year competition and Rex Walford award. All winners have been notified and will be announced on 4 December 2015. 

Young Geographer of the Year 2014 winners

'How can geography help you?' was the question asked of school students from across the UK and abroad as part of last year's competition. In demonstrating the relevance of geography to their own everyday lives, the winning entries considered the significance of both human and physical geography at a variety of levels, highlighting how geography can improve our understanding of the world's people, places and environments. The role of the discipline in preparing students for life beyond school was also explored by several of the entries.

The competition's category winners, as well as three highly commended entries in each category, were invited to a special ceremony at the Society to receive their awards from writer, geographer and broadcaster Nick Crane. The Rex Walford Award was also presented at the same time. Steve Brace, Head of Education and Outdoor Learning, said: 'In answering the question 'How can geography help you?' our winners showed real geographical ability. Their high quality entries demonstrated the relevance of geography to many aspects of their lives, be it at the local or global scale.'

The 2014 winners were:

Key Stage 2 (students aged 9-11)

Winner: Beth Green, St Paulinus Primary Catholic Voluntary Academy | View entry (JPG)

Highly Commended entries:

Key Stage 3 (students aged 11-14)

Winner: Ben Waller, Cardinal Newman Catholic School | View entry (JPG)

Highly Commended entries:

Key Stage 4 or GCSE (students aged 14-16)

Winner: Victoria Synek Herd, Colyton Grammar School | View entry (JPG)

Highly Commended entries:

Key Stage 5 or A Level (students aged 16-18)

Winner: Sophie Catherine Topp, St Helen and St Katharine

Highly Commended entries:

Rex Walford Award 2014

The Society's Rex Walford Award supports PGCE students and newly qualified teachers at the start of their careers. Reflecting the late Rex Walford's passion for training new geography teachers who can inspire their pupils in their subject, it is awarded for the best set of teaching resources, scheme of work or lesson plans developed on the same theme as the Young Geographer of the Year competition.

The winner of the 2014 Rex Walford Award was Becki Quigley, a recently qualified teacher at the McAuley Catholic Voluntary Academy in Doncaster. Her innovative scheme of work encouraged her students to think about the ways geography can help their lives; from keeping up with the news and examining the world's major problems, to helping their school become more environmentally friendly.

Kindly supported by:

Cotswold Outdoor Ordnance Survey Philips

Philip’s World Photography Competition in association with RGS-IBG

It is amazing how much a place can mean to us, be it a favourite country, the local park, or even your back garden. Sometimes, all it takes is a photograph to transport us back to those treasured locations or inspire us to travel to a new destination.

Philip’s and the RGS-IBG are searching for the next top photographer to capture a snapshot on the theme of ‘my favourite place’. Photos can be of any place in the world which is important to you and should be accompanied by a maximum of 100 words on why it is your favourite place.

Email your photograph and accompanying description to us on philipsphotocompetition@octopusbooks.co.uk.

The closing date for entries is 12 noon GMT Friday 27 November 2015. The winners will be announced on the RGS-IBG website and twitter account on or after Friday 4 December 2015.
The winner will receive a copy of Philip’s Essential World Atlas, a Young Geographer Membership of the RGS-IBG and their photograph, along with those shortlisted, will be displayed on the RGS-IBG website and social media.

How to enter

Email your photograph and accompanying description to us on philipsphotocompetition@octopusbooks.co.uk with the subject line ‘My Favourite Place’. The image should be in jpeg format with a minimum size of 1MB and maximum of 8MB. Please include your name and age with your entry. Only one image is allowed per entrant.

The closing date for entries is 12 noon GMT Friday 27 November 2015.

Please click here for full terms and conditions. If you have any queries, please email philipsphotocompetition@octopusbooks.co.uk.

David W.Smith Memorial Prize 2015 supported by Routledge Publishers: Essay Competition 

The Developing Areas Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) annual essay competition in memory of David W. Smith. David W Smith, who also published under the name of David Drakakis Smith, was an outstanding scholar committed to researching on Third World cities. He died in 1999. A2 level students in England and Wales and Advanced Higher students in Scotland are invited to write an essay of up to 1500 words on the following title:
Discuss the challenges faced by cities in the developing world in their efforts to become sustainable.
Essay prize: £100 in book vouchers from Routledge publishers.
We have had over 30 essays from 15 schools of all types.
The winner of the 2015 DWS prize is Jack Rogers from Eton School. 

Two highly commended essays,
Imogen Robinson at The Royal High School, Bath
Lauren Dawe from Mount Kelly, Tavistock

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