Geochemist heads to Antarctica

Geochemist heads to Antarctica

Dr Ellen Moon, who was born and raised in St Helier, is due to embark on a month-long voyage around the Antarctic Peninsula on 15 February, after she was one of 80 high-achieving women to be selected for the Homeward Bound 2018 project from hundreds of applications worldwide.

The project aims to increase the reach and impact of women with a science background so they can better influence the policy and decision-making that shapes the planet.

And the former Jersey College for Girls pupil, who so far has raised close to half the $7,500 (£4,352) she needs to fund her place on the expedition, says she cannot wait to take part.

‘I’m incredibly excited,’ admitted Dr Moon (33), whose parents Peter and Joan still live in Jersey.

‘The biggest issue facing us today in terms of policy is how we respond to climate change and we need to get more female science and policy experts to the decision-making tables – because research constantly shows that diverse groups make better decisions.

‘The skills I’ll learn from Homeward Bound will help me to reach leadership positions within my field and to inspire the next generation of female scientists.’

Dr Moon, who moved to Australia in 2011 and works at Deakin University near Melbourne – where she specialises in research focusing on cleaning up land and water contaminated by heavy metals – will first fly to southern Argentina.

‘We will be boarding the ship MV Ushuaia – a special ‘ice-strengthened’ polar vessel – in Argentina.

‘We’ll sleep on the ship, but every day once we reach the Antarctic we will try to go ashore to take in areas of biodiversity or geological significance, and we will be stopping at some of the scientific bases – including a British, Chinese and US base.’

Dr Moon, who has a PhD in geochemistry from the University of Southampton, successfully applied for the project last year and has been participating in the course’s online tutorials for the past ten months.

‘The project organisers have managed to get really famous scientists like Sylvia Earle and Jane Goodall to film lectures for us which will be broadcast on the ship.

‘It will be very exciting to learn from them. I’m also incredibly excited to see my first iceberg and the amazing wildlife, including penguins and the minke whale – the name always reminds me of Jersey – and I’m hoping to see seals too.

‘And it will be wonderful to walk in some of the same places that the heroic explorers such as Shackleton and Scott did.’

She added: ‘If people would like to sponsor my participation I’d be very grateful, and I will record a video for them from the Antarctic as a way of saying thank you.’

To sponsor Dr Moon, visit her fundraising page:

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