From University to the South Pole | Henry Evans
Henry Evans is a 25 year old who is currently studying for a Masters degree in Climate Change Science at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. He shares his passions, his work and why skiing to the South Pole in Antarctica in a penguin costume was an incredible, but bone-chilling experience
Figure 1 - Henry Evans of Magnificent Ocean
— Since a young age I’ve been fascinated by the world’s oceans, which cover 70% of the earth’s surface. I would constantly be asking myself “what lives in these murky depths?” and “how do I get myself there to find out?”. After a long winding path, this interest eventually led me to a 3 year undergraduate course in Marine Biology at Plymouth University, UK. After spending months in a laboratory analysing the stomach contents of the common cuttlefish Sepia officinalis (crustacean, echinoderms and other cuttlefish before you ask) I was ready for a new challenge after graduating in 2012. The new challenge came in the form of a 2-man skiing expedition to the South Pole in Antarctica to commemorate the centenary of British explorer Captain Scott’s expedition in 1912. Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest place on Planet Earth and has always been a source of fascination for myself. My journey to participation started back in 2010, by entering a national Daily Telegraph competition, with 300 applicants being whittled down to the final 10. After a year of Royal Navy led selection events, including a 2-week expedition in Northern Norway, I was announced as the selected candidate. This led me to writing articles for the Daily Telegraph
'Pulling 2 sledges of a combined weight of 70kg, in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius, battling 24 hour sunlight, at an altitude of 9,000 feet, all while wearing a penguin costume'
Figure 2 - The Two Man Expedition Team
The expedition experience changed me as a person (Fig. 2), showing that I can achieve anything I put my mind to, with mental strength, physical power and determination. The 120 nautical mile ski tested my abilities and pushed the boundaries of what I thought could be possible. Pulling 2 sledges of a combined weight of 70kg, in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius, battling 24 hour sunlight, at an altitude of 9,000 feet, all while wearing a penguin costume. The Scott-Amundsen South Pole base is an incredible scientific base, which I was amazed to find has a gym, library and a tourist shop! Not bad facilities for one of the most isolated places on the planet… This new mental strength has since led me to running 7 marathons in 7 different countries around the world, wearing a variety of costumes such as a banana, a beer bottle and in November later this year at the Athens marathon, dressed as a hotdog.
”These incredible experiences and my growing passion for science education, led to the formation of my own company, Magnificent Ocean”
On our return to the UK after the expedition back in early 2013, a media furore awaited which I had to deal with, with very limited media training or experience. I enjoyed every minute and began to think to the future of what I really wanted to achieve. I was named as the Global Ambassador of Plymouth University, and took part in trips to the US and China to promote the University and conduct talks to interested students.
These incredible experiences and my growing passion for science education, led to the formation of my own company, Magnificent Ocean, with the aim of inspiring and educating students from all over the world.
Over the past 2 years, I have conducted workshops on the subjects of the Antarctica expedition, marine biology and climate change in over 200 international schools across 5 different continents in the world (Fig. 3). This has included a variety of audiences, ranging from ten Primary school students in a small international school in Germany, to an audience of 700 Secondary students in a large international school in Thailand.
Science education and communication is critically important for students of all ages, and through my recent work this has been proved to me even more. From dressing up as an Antarctic explorer, to learning about that a blue whale’s tongue weighs as much as an elephant, what a blowfish is, all about global warming and how the earth’s climate is changing and its global and regional impacts.
Figure 3 - Henry after an engaging talk in Tanzania
After spending the past 3 years travelling the world, since August 2015 I have been studying a Masters in Climate Change Science at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Planet Earth is under severe increasing stress due to anthropogenic means and I study and learn about how to mitigate and adapt to future climate change. With the UN COP21 meeting for all the world’s politicians taking place in only a few months’ time, in December 2015 in Paris, climate change has never been more important on the world agenda. — Henry plans to continue to conduct science workshops into the future and his dream is to now ski to the North Pole, possibly in a polar bear outfit? Henry has written an inspirational book about his Antarctic expedition titled “From University To The South Pole”, including about the national competition, the training, the expedition and his work in schools across the globe. Copies are available to order on Amazon. To contact Henry, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org