The winners of ‘Young Geographer of the Year 2015’ were announced today at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). To celebrate the centenary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition, pupils nationwide were asked to respond to the question ‘Why does Antarctica matter?’
2015 marks 100 years since Shackleton’s ship, Endurance, sank beneath the ice of the Weddell Sea. Shackleton’s expedition is recognised today as an incredible feat of endurance, and is credited with increasing public fascination with Antarctica.
This year’s Young Geographer of the Year competition was an opportunity for geography pupils to explore why Antarctica matters. Today also saw the re-launch of the Discovering Antarctica website5, produced jointly by the Society, the British Antarctic Survey, the British Antarctic Territory and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which includes primary, secondary and A Level resources on Antarctica.
Dr Rita Gardner CBE, Director of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), said:
“Shackleton’s amazing story of leadership and survival is part of the UK’s great Antarctic heritage and tradition of scientific endeavours. And Antarctica is still vitally important today, not least for its role in helping us understand climate change. We asked school children to consider the importance of Antarctica and have had a fantastic response. Thousands of pupils from over 300 schools submitted entries to the competition recognising the importance of the world’s last great wilderness.”
Minister for the Polar Regions, James Duddridge, said:
“Antarctica matters a great deal to the United Kingdom. From the early heroic age of exploration, to our world-class scientific programme today, Britain has been at the forefront of understanding and protecting this unique continent.
“I am delighted the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) selected Antarctica for this year’s Young Geographer of the Year competition and congratulate all those who entered. I am also very pleased to see the newly modernised educational website which reflects the excellent partnership between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the British Antarctic Territory, the British Antarctic Survey and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) on promoting Antarctic educational matters”.
The Society’s Young Geographer of the Year competition recognises the top school geography pupils across four categories: Key Stage 2 (students aged 9-11); Key Stage 3 (11-14); Key Stage 4 or GCSE (14-16); and Key Stage 5 or A Level (16-18). Pupils in the first three categories were asked to submit an annotated diagram or poster, while A Level pupils were asked to submit a 1,500 essay, which could include illustrations, maps or graphs.
In support of the competition, the Society 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.
The awards were presented to pupils by Jane Rumble (Deputy Commissioner of the British Antarctic Territory), and Dr John Shears (Scott Polar Research Institute) in a ceremony at the Society’s headquarters in Kensington, London. The overall category winners are:
Steve Brace, Head of Education and Outdoor Learning at the Society, said:
“The competition winners have really underscored why Antarctica is still so important today. Some have focused on its world-leading science, or its unique biodiversity and landscapes, while others have explored its fascinating history and modern governance. It’s truly a location that inspires people with wonder at the natural world and that’s why it’s so good to see the next generation of geographers recognising its value.”
The Young Geographer of the Year competition is run by the Society in conjunction with Geographical Magazine and is kindly supported by the British Antarctic Territory, Esri UK, Ordnance Survey, Stanfords, Philip’s and Cotswold Outdoors. The 2015 competition coincides with the Society’s major new exhibition6 on the Endurance Expedition, which features newly digitised images of the crew’s struggle for survival both before and after their ship was lost.
1. For further media enquiries, including images of individual winners and interview requests, please contact the RGS-IBG’s Communications and Media Officer, Scott Edwards, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7591 3019.
2. The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) is the learned society and professional body for geography. Formed in 1830 for 'the advancement of geographical science', today we deliver this objective through developing, supporting and promoting geographical research, expeditions and fieldwork, education, public engagement, and geography input to policy. We aim to foster an understanding and informed enjoyment of our world. We hold the world's largest private geographical collection and provide public access to it. We have a thriving Fellowship and membership and offer the professional accreditation 'Chartered Geographer’ www.rgs.org
3. Young Geographer of the Year is run by The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and Geographical Magazine. The competition began in 2000 and has become a regular feature on many schools' calendars. Announced in the July edition of the magazine, the competition is open to young geographers throughout the UK and Europe under the age of 19 years. The prizes were kindly sponsored by Geographical Magazine, Esri UK, British Antarctic Territory, Ordnance Survey, Philip’s, Stanfords and Cotswold Outdoor.
4. Winning and highly commended entries to Young Geographer of the Year 2015 can be viewed at www.rgs.org/ygoty20155.
KS2 (9-11 years)
9-11 years Winner
The Lady Eleanor Holles School
9-11 years Highly Commended
The Study Preparatory School
British School Muscat
KS3 (11-14 years)
11-14 years Winner
11-14 years Highly Commended
St Helen and St Katharine
Royal High School Bath
Watford Grammar School for Girls
KS4 (GCSE) (14-16 years)
14-16 years Winner
14-16 years Highly Commended
Nottingham High School
Bedford Girls' School
Cheadle Hulme High School
KS5 (A Level) (16-18 years)
16-18 years Winner
Colyton Grammar School
16-18 years Highly Commended
Nottingham Girls’ High School
Magdalen College School
Rex Walford Award Winner
Windsor Girls' School
5. Discovering Antarctica (www.discoveringantarctica.org.uk), developed jointly by the Society, the British Antarctic Survey, the British Antarctic Territory and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, features a wealth of information for schools on Antarctica.
6. The Society opened its Enduring Eye exhibition to the public on Saturday 21 November to mark the centenary of Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition. It runs in London until 28 February 2016. Honouring the achievements of Shackleton and his men, newly digitised images reveal previously unseen details of the crew’s epic struggle for survival both before and after their ship was destroyed. Exhibition images available on request. www.rgs.org/enduringeye
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