Antarctic Climate Adventure with The Nature Conservancy

October 26, 2017

Below, please find a transcript of our Antarctic Climate Adventure webinar.

To learn more about the trip itself, click here.


SLIDE Discovering the 7th continent: Antarctic Climate Adventure, with The Nature Conservancy and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund

DT: Good afternoon everyone and welcome to today's webinar hosted by Quark Expeditions, The Leader in Polar Adventures. Today, you'll learn about a specially-themed Antarctica trip you could join us for next winter. We're calling it the Antarctic Climate Adventure, and it’s taking place in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

It will be a chance for you to explore one of the most remote and fragile regions on the planet and deepen your understanding of the seventh continent, while fully immersed in its beauty.

You’ll get to participate in a climate change and conservation-focused education program and learn from some fascinating globally-renowned experts, all the while winding through icy blue waters dotted with majestic icebergs, watching nesting penguins and sunbathing walruses.

SLIDE Climate Change and the Polar Regions

  • We've been noticing that climate change is coming up more and more as a dinner table topic. And no wonder--its effects seem to be increasing in intensity. Many scientists agree that climate change worsened the impact of recent hurricanes.
  • For the last 30 years, climate change has been impacting sea ice levels, leading to decreases in penguin populations in Antarctica. But with compelling recent evidence of how climate change can impact communities and ecosystems in our backyard, many are looking deeper for answers around what's happening and what we can do to slow it down.
  • What you may not know, is that climate change is occurring on the Arctic and Antarctic poles faster than anywhere else. And the reality is that what happens at the poles will eventually affect what happens in the rest of the world.
  • Wild and untamed as it is, Antarctica may seem indomitable, but in fact, it has a sensitive environment that relies on a delicate balance of natural forces. And it's now facing radical change.

SLIDE New Perspectives on Polar Conservation

  • Part of the challenge for many of us is finding good sources of education on strategies for mitigating the effects of climate change. A better understanding of global policy. And how this is all affecting the business community and our economy.
  • That's why I'm so excited to announce that on this cruise, we'll be joined by a wildly-renowned climate policy expert, a climate-changed focus business leader, and a world-class climate scientist.
  • This means that this voyage offers not only the chance to explore one of the most remote and fragile regions on the planet--but also to learn more about the challenges they face.
  • Through lectures, interpretive insights and engaging with these climate change experts onboard the ship, you'll deepen your understanding of Antarctica, while enjoying its pristine beauty. And you'll come home with a newfound perspective on conservation, having experienced the 7th continent first-hand.

SLIDE Partnering to Protect our Planet

  • It's only possible for Quark Expeditions to offer this incredible education program through our partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Together, we’re uniting in protecting our planet by familiarizing travelers with the wonders and value of nature conservation.

SLIDE David Tanguay, Account Manager, Expedition Experience: Antarctica Explorer, Epic High Arctic, Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge.

Meg Murgatroyd, Global Partnerships Director, Quark Expeditions

DT: Before we get into the webinar content, I’ll start by introducing myself: I’m David and I have been travelling the world for over 15 years. For the last five years, I have been working at Quark Expeditions as an Account Manager and was privileged to discover a whole new world of destinations to travel to: The Polar Regions. During those 5 years, I had the opportunity to visit the ultimate 7th continent, Antarctica as well as the Arctic Circle. And these experiences have changed me like no other.

And joining me today, I’d also like to introduce Meg Murgatroyd, our Global Partnerships Director, and also my boss :)

Meg: Hello everyone!

I’m Meg and am excited to speak with you all today. I have a diverse background in leisure travel, with more than 20 years in supplier management and retail marketing in the travel sector. I’ve held positions in travel marketing, product development, account management and global sales. I’m really passionate about travel and been fortunate enough to turn that passion into a career.

SLIDE Introducing The Nature Conservancy, Glenn Prickett, Chief External Affairs Officer

Meg:

  • Our first partner is the Nature Conservancy (or TNC)
  • They’re the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.
  • They believe that addressing climate change will require innovation in all facets of human life—in how we produce and use energy, design buildings and cities, and conserve land.
  • And so, with a long history of tackling the world’s toughest environmental challenges, TNC is uniquely positioned to lead the way to a more stable climate.
  • You also know that if you end up traveling with us, a portion of trip proceeds will go towards support the Conservancy.
  • On the voyage, Glenn Prickett from TNC will be joining us as a special guest. Glenn is their Chief External Affairs Officer and having led climate change initiatives at Conservation International and the United Nations Foundation, he's played a crucial role in shaping an effective global response to climate change.

SLIDE Introducing Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Stephen Heintz, President

Meg:

  • Our second partner on this voyage is the Rockefeller Brothers Fund: a private, family foundation helping to advance social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world.
  • Under the leadership of Stephen Heintz--a business leader in both nonprofit and public sectors--the RBF has made climate change the primary focus of its work in the U.S., China and elsewhere around the globe.
  • We are so fortunate to have Stephen join us on this voyage.

SLIDE Introducing Dr. Rosina Bierbaum, Climate Science Expert

Meg: And last but not least, Dr. Rosina Bierbaum will be joining us from the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment, where she currently serves as a professor. She served on President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and is the current Chair of the Global Environment Facility's Science and Technical Advisory Panel. Her research interests looks at the interplay between science and policy, related to climate change adaptation issues and mitigation.

SLIDE Poll

Meg: Now that you have an idea of who will be joining us on this climate adventure...let’s get to know a little about the people we have with us today. Which option best describes you?

  • Climate change advocate
  • Wildlife conservation advocate
  • Professional interest in ecology and/or sustainability
  • Personal interest in ecology and/or sustainability
  • Interested in Antarctica, want to learn more about climate change

During this webinar, we are going to talk through what types of travelers will be most likely to enjoy this unique Antarctica climate adventure and then take you through some of the most common climate-cruise related questions that may come up. Next, we’ll give some background insight on what type of travelers tend to really enjoy visiting Antarctica, and some tips on identifying your own travel style!

SLIDE Why join the Antarctic Climate Adventure?

DT:

  • You’ve traveled everywhere and are seeking a new experience
  • You want to check off "the 7th continent" from your bucket list
  • You want to see iconic wildlife like penguins, seals, and whales
  • You’re looking forward to the immersive climate change learning experience

If you’ve attended one of our previous Antarctica webinars,  you'll have a good understanding of what typically motivates people to travel to the polar regions, and if you possess those same motivations. We'll recap a few quick insights that we've observed, that should help you figure out if a climate-change focused expedition to Antarctica might fit with your travel style.

Antarctica might be perfect for you if …

  • You're a world traveler and love the thrill of experiencing an entirely new and unfamiliar environment.
  • You've always wanted to check off the seventh continent from your "bucket list."
  • You enjoy seeing wildlife in its natural habitat. Maybe you’ve been on a safari or another type of land-based expedition and are particularly excited to meet penguins, seals, and whales.
  • And of course--you're enthused about the prospect of learning more about climate change from international government, academic and business leaders.

Beyond this profile though, it's important to think about your travel style when booking an expedition like this...

SLIDE What’s my travel style? Learners, Checklisters, Adventurers, and Escapists

DT: Most of our polar traveler tend to relate to one of these four travel styles: Learners, Checklisters, Adventurers, and Escapists. If you haven't heard of these personas on a previous webinar,  I'll give you a brief overview, and you can start to figure out which one (or two!) resonate with you.

SLIDE Learners

DT: Our first traveler type is Learner. You might be a Learner if...

  • You enjoy quality travel experiences with experts and like-minded people.
  • You appreciate the opportunities to connect with and learn from others in the more intimate setting of a small cruise ship.
  • Learners will be especially interested to hear that our three climate change experts will be delivering lectures onboard and interacting with passengers day-to-day. This will give you lots of chances to gain interpretive insights about the fascinating polar environment you'll be immersed in.

Next, I wanted to share with you a few details on the incredible learning experiences we have lined up onboard this expedition.

SLIDE Climate Change Learning at its Finest

DT: Between lectures and interactive discussions over the course of the voyage, you’ll have an opportunity to learn and ask questions on the problem of climate change and its possible solutions.

  • During an introductory session, you'll be invited to help set the agenda by proposing topics of interest to be addressed.
  • During the first lecture, Dr. Bierbaum will provide a foundation on the science of climate change. She’ll share insights on the direction and pace of change and about various strategies of mitigation and what they might achieve.
  • Stephen Heintz will facilitate a lecture on Technology Solutions and the Global Policy Response to climate change. He'll share an interactive simulation that will allow the audience to test and compare the impacts of various possible mitigations.
  • Glenn Prickett will deliver a lecture on the role of business and markets and their relationship to climate policy.
  • And all three experts will participate in a Q and A discussion, to delve further into the implications of climate change.

As you can probably tell, for those who travel to learn or deepen their knowledge, this trip offers an immersive life-changing learning experience.

SLIDE Checklisters

DT: Our next traveler type you may identify with are Checklisters.  This might be you if...

  • You've seen a lot of the world, and are motivated to visit the seventh continent because it's the last one on your bucket list.
  • You tend to enjoy sightseeing and cultural activities.
  • You're retired.
  • This is an excellent trip for checklisters, because, first and foremost you'll be setting foot on the seventh continent! 
  • You'll get to experience landscapes and encounter animals, unlike anything you've ever seen anywhere else.
  • You'll also cross the dramatic and notorious Drake Passage by ship--one of the roughest patches of ocean in the world. This will give you real world-traveler bragging rights!

SLIDE Escapists

Meg: Or maybe you’re an escapist traveler.

● Escapists are those travelers who are looking to get away from it all and reconnect with themselves, coming back to their everyday life rejuvenated.

● You might be an Escapist if you work in a fairly absorbing job, and prefer to pamper yourself with luxurious accommodations and excellent food when you're away.

● Now, I haven’t yet told you how you’re getting to Antarctica...you’ll be traveling aboard a small expedition ship called the Island Sky. We only operate small expedition ships--we feel it delivers a more authentic, boots-on-the-ground adventure--but each one of our ships offers a different experience.

● The Island Sky offers luxurious suites for all passengers and is our first all-inclusive ship. So this means that all pre-voyage domestic flights, as well as all gratuities, meals, and drinks on your voyage,  are included.

● Plus, ship capacity is set at a maximum of 108 passengers, so escapists will be happy to hear that a comfortable, intimate experience awaits.

SLIDE Adventurers

Meg:

● Our final traveler type are the Adventurers. As you can probably guess from the name, if you’re an adventurer, you’re more inclined than others to seek out active outdoor experiences that get your pulse pumping.

● Maybe you’re still working, and you may be more open to roughing it a bit more than our Escapists.

● On this trip, you'll have the chance to go hiking and exploring (different levels of intensity are offered), stand-up paddleboarding or you could go for a polar plunge in the frigid Antarctic waters! That last one is not for the faint of heart.

So, as you can see, this climate expedition holds great appeal for all types of travelers!

Before we move on, let’s do another poll:

SLIDE Poll

Meg: What’s your travel style? [Poll the audience]

  • Learners
  • Checklisters
  • Escapists
  • Adventurers

SLIDE 3 Key Questions: What areas will I visit on the Antarctic Climate Cruise? What can I see on the Climate Adventure? What can I do?

DT: So next, we’re going to answer some of the key questions that are probably running through your head, like…

  • What areas will I visit on the Antarctic Climate Cruise?
  • What can I see on the Climate Adventure?
  • What can I do?

SLIDE What areas will I visit on the Antarctic Climate Cruise?

DT:

Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands

  • Obviously, Antarctica! More specifically, the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Island.
  • Antarctica is a land mass surrounded by water and is the Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean.
  • It’s the fifth-largest continent--about twice the size of Australia. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula.
  • Most travelers keen on setting foot on the seventh continent will start here, at the Antarctic Peninsula. The Peninsula itself is a string of bedrock islands spanning 800 miles and covered in a grounded ice sheet about a mile thick. The landscape here truly is stunning, with snow and ice-covered mountain peaks up to 9,200 feet in height.
  • The South Shetland Islands—an archipelago of about 20 islands--will usually be the first stop en route to the Peninsula.  If you're a photography buff, you'll love the South Shetlands, as you can encounter many species of wildlife (seals, whales, and birds), but also a few active volcanoes! King George is the largest of the South Shetland Islands and is primarily occupied by scientists working at some temporary and permanent research stations.

SLIDE What can I see on the Antarctic Climate Adventure?

DT:

  • Pack ice recedes
  • Penguin teenagers
  • Breaching whales
  • Weathered icebergs and glaciers
  • Average high temperature 28F
  • This expedition takes place late February to early March. At this point in the season, the pack ice is receding, and we can explore further south. The days are beginning to shorten again, and the sunsets are incredible.
  • Penguin teenagers:
    • On the Antarctic Peninsula, the beaches are littered with wildlife, as penguin chicks are quickly becoming "teenagers."
  • Breaching whales:
    • The sightings of humpback, minke and killer whales are more plentiful. As well, travelers could encounter blue, fine, southern right and sperm whales.
  • Glaciers, icebergs, beaches and landing sites are all weathered, each a fascinating study in the toll the sun and heat take even in a climate where the temperature remains at or below freezing most of the time.
  • The temperature continues to drop from February, with March’s average high temperature around 28 degrees F.

SLIDE What can I do on Antarctic Climate Adventure?

DT:

  • Immersive Climate Change Learning
  • Outdoor Adventures
  • Photographers Paradise

Next, we’re going to talk through some of the highlights of what you’ll get to do on this voyage.

SLIDE What can I do on Antarctic Climate Adventure? Immersive Climate Change Learning

DT:

As we mentioned earlier, between Dr. Bierbaum, Stephen Heintz, and Glenn Prickett, we have an incredible lecture series lined up.You'll learn about the science of climate change, its impact on nature and people, and the innovative solutions being championed by governments, business, and community leaders.

So, on the ship you can attend lectures and discussions with our onboard experts. But what about getting off the ship for some exploring in the wilds of Antarctica?

SLIDE What can I do on Antarctic Climate Adventure? Outdoor Adventures

DT:

  • Zodiac Cruising
  • Exploring Landing Sites
  • Hiking
  • Polar Plunge
  • Stand-up Paddleboarding

During the day, depending on the itinerary and condition, travelers can participate in a variety of activities. Most of the activities are included and available to everyone, like Zodiac cruising, hiking, exploring the landing sites or the polar plunge. Yes, that's right, for free, every passenger will have the chance to jump into the cold polar waters [this is a joke :)]!

We offer hiking on every Antarctic voyage, and there is a range of excursions to suit all fitness levels. Those looking for a more active experience can participate in the more challenging hikes to the tops of the lookouts. And those looking for a more contemplative pace can enjoy a leisurely Antarctic stroll. Morning and afternoon Zodiac cruising excursions are also offered (and free) on every voyage.

Other activities are offered for an additional fee, like stand-paddleboarding. If you haven’t tried it before, stand-up paddle-boarding combines canoeing with surfing and lets you get up close and personal with the marine life in Antarctica. We run this activity in small groups of people (7 or less) on calm bays or harbors. If you’re interested, you can secure our spot by making a reservation when you book your trip. Other opportunities may be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

SLIDE  What can I do on Antarctic Climate Adventure?  Photographers Paradise

DT:

  • Penguin Colonies
  • Stunning Icebergs
  • Snow-capped Islands

Whether you're an amateur or a professional photographer, you've probably been picturing all the incredible vistas we've been describing in your mind's eye! Documenting your experience through photos and videos is such a key part of bringing back stories to your friends and loved ones back home, and helping them visualize this otherworldly experience you had in Antarctica.

Maybe you want to come home with playful (or predatory) shots of wildlife. Or perhaps you prefer to capture surreal, dramatic Antarctic vistas like soaring ice-covered mountains and peacefully floating icebergs.

Either way: capturing these once in a lifetime moments in this truly unique corner of the world literally yields the caliber of photography that wins contests.

So if you’re a photographer, be sure to pack your lens AND check out our blog post on the art of polar photography. It includes some special tips from Acacia Johnson--one of the professional photographers on our expedition team, who has won international awards for her photography work in the polar regions.

POLL

DT: Our product team is always curious to get customer feedback on what type of activities we should recommend to incorporate in our itineraries. So maybe we'll do another poll and you can share with us--based on what you've just learned…what activities are you most excited about--on off the ship?

  • Immersive Climate Change Learning
  • Hiking and Zodiac Cruising
  • Stand-up Paddleboarding
  • Photographers Paradise

Ah, I see [comment on results]. Well, we’re on the homestretch, so to wind up our webinar, I’m going to pass it back to Meg to go over a few frequently asked questions that come up with many of our travelers.

SLIDE FAQs

Meg

Can you give me an overview of the itinerary?

How likely is it that I’ll see wildlife?

How do I get there?

What’s included in the price?

Who will be leading the expedition?

Do you offer post-trip travel packages?

What is Quark Expedition’s commitment to sustainability?

SLIDE Can you give me an overview of the itinerary?

Meg:

  • Meet in Buenos Aires and transfer to Ushuaia [Day 1]
  • Enjoy exploring Ushuaia, embark on Island Sky late afternoon [Day 2]
  • At sea, crossing the notorious Drake Passage Day [3-4]
  • Adventures on South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula (as time and weather permit) enjoying wildlife sightings and shore landings [Days 5-7]
  • Spend last few days-at-sea sharing photos and stories, relaxing and attending lectures [Days 8-9]
  • Disembark in Ushuaia and fly to Buenos Aires [Day 10]
  • You also have the opportunity to extend the adventure with post-trip options. I’ll explain a bit more about these in a moment.

SLIDE How likely is it that I’ll see wildlife?

Meg:

Very, very likely! Antarctica is literally teeming with wildlife. If you keep your eyes open, you'll see breaching whales, lazy seals, playful penguins and much, much more. The penguins really are the stars of the show, as they waddle about their lives, practically oblivious to you and your camera.

SLIDE What is the onboard experience like?All- suites, all-inclusive Island Sky

Meg:

As we mentioned before--we don't operate traditional cruise ships, but rather small expedition ships. The ship for this voyage--the all-inclusive Island Sky-- delivers a very elegant experience. She offers an abundance of public space for wildlife viewing, relaxation and taking in lectures and briefings. Every suite has private bathroom facilities and an exterior view, while some suites include a private balcony.

And let’s not forget to eat! While on the Island you’ll enjoy chef-prepared meals, snacks, coffee and tea around the clock. There are a lounge and bar staffed by a bartender as well.

The ship is serviced by a professional chef and catering company and you’ll enjoy a great variety of menus including healthier options and vegetarian meals. We will try to always cater to any mentioned dietary restrictions--but please make sure to notify us during booking.

SLIDE How do I get there (embarkation points)?

Meg:

  • Your domestic flight is included from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia.
  • Ushuaia, a small but bustling port town at the tip of South America
  • This Argentine hot spot is the ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia while preparing for your adventure ahead.

SLIDE What’s included in the price?

Meg:

  • Domestic flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia (embarkation point)
  • Gratuities
  • Complimentary beer, wine, and spirits at dinner
  • Donation to support The Nature Conservancy

Here's the comprehensive list of everything included in the expedition price..domestic flights from Buenos Aires to the embarkation point, all gratuities, complimentary beer, wine, and spirits.

Plus, a portion of your fare will go towards supporting global conservation efforts through the Nature Conservancy.

Next question...

SLIDE Who will be leading the expedition?

Meg:

Solan Jensen

Another question that may come up is “just who will be leading us on this epic adventure?”

Solan Jensen will be your fearless Expedition leader. Born and raised in Alaska, Solan has worked as a wilderness ranger, expedition leader, kayak guide, boat builder and marine mammal emergency responder. He has led numerous trips to both the Arctic and Antarctic regions and his experience building the South Pole station underscores Solan’s distinct polar pedigree.

SLIDE Do you offer post-trip travel packages?

DT:

  • Iguazu
  • Santiago
  • Buenos Aires
  • Easter Island

Absolutely--we have some great options for exploring South America while you're in that neck of the woods. You can check in with one of our Polar Travel Advisors for pricing and more details.

SLIDE What is Quark Expedition’s commitment to sustainability?

DT:

  • As a long-time, active member of both the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), we adhere to stringent guidelines designed to ensure the Polar Regions remain pristine for generations to come.
  • Our commitment to conserving land and sea are also why we partner with and support the Nature Conservancy’s global efforts.
  • Additionally, we often support the work of wildlife and ecology researchers who are studying the effects of climate change on the polar regions. One example of such is Dr. Tom Hart, a globally recognized penguinologist who frequently travels with us to Antarctica to monitor the effects of climate change on sea ice, and ultimately, on the penguin populations.

All this to say, as the leader in polar expeditions, we are profoundly committed to environmentally responsible tourism.

Well, that just about concludes our webinar. Whether you’re ready to book now or still need to answer a few outstanding questions, we’re going to share a few resources that you can lean on to help you do so.

SLIDE Special offers

DT:

I should mention--we currently have a special offer on this voyage, until October 31st. So if you purchase now, you can save a bit of money!

And as a Quark passenger on this trip, we will automatically contribute a portion of your expedition fare to The Nature Conservancy to support its work in over 35 countries.

For this contribution, you will also receive a complimentary one-year membership to the Conservancy.

As a member, you will enjoy:

-Six issues of the Nature Conservancy magazine, an award-winning publication filled with stunning photos & conservation success stories

-An opportunity to sign up for Great Places monthly e-newsletter with inspiring nature photography, tips for living an eco-friendly life, and conservation news

-Updates on conservation innovations in your state

-Invitations to special events & local volunteer opportunities

All this for traveling with us on this incredible history-making climate change adventure!

SLIDE Account Managers and Polar Travel Advisers 888.892.0073

DT:

As you’re navigating through research and booking this expedition (or others),

Our PTAs are always here to support you, whether you have specific questions on itineraries or would like to learn more about a destination. We’ve all been to the polar regions (and we are extremely passionate about them) and can provide tips and advice to help you find the perfect polar expedition.

SLIDE Website

DT:

Our website- is a great resource to understand the itineraries we offer across all the destinations we talked about today. We also have a trip finder accessible from our homepage that makes it even easier to find the right polar expeditions.

Also, you should check out our blog, where you’ll find great stories, photos, videos and interviews with past passengers who have traveled with us to Antarctica.

That and our blog are accessible from our homepage if you head to our website and hit the “blog” button in the header.

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