Tags: student travel, student programs, environmental programs, teen travel
Expedition News editor, Jeff Blumenfeld, participated in a roughly-two-week-long-trip of breathing what he considers “the freshest air on the planet.” Where was he? Antarctica.
Jeff was one of 20 chaperones for 64 kids ages 14-19 in a program called Students on Ice. This company’s mission is “to provide students, educators and scientists from around the world with inspiring educational opportunities at the ends of the Earth and, in doing so, help them foster a new understanding and respect for the planet.”
Jeff shares some of his reflections from the trip with Farewell Travels (FT).
FT: What was one of the highlights?
Jeff: Being with the students. They are some of the brightest kids in North America. They had to apply for the privilege of going and several of them were on scholarship. One girl had been saving for years to go. These are the environmental leaders of the future.
FT: What about the scenery?
Jeff: It was like Jackson Hole with an ocean, next to penguins. Seriously, the most awe-inspiring scenery I’ve ever seen. It was amazing, too. You could be surrounded by 100,000 penguins and they could care less that you were there.
FT: What most impressed you (besides the kids and the scenery)?
How tourism is handled there. There’s very strict protocol when visiting the penguin colonies for example. You can’t feed them, touch them, threaten, approach their nests, even bend down to pick up a stone. They also do not allow two tour boats at the same location at any time.
FT: Would you go again?
Jeff: No. Too far. Too expensive and I was lucky. The weather cooperated. It can be very bad.
FT: All said and done, are you glad you went?
Jeff: It’s a life-altering experience to visit Antarctica. I was incredibly privileged to go there, especially when you consider that out of the world’s population of about 7 billion people, less than 40,000 of them travel there each year. That’s a very small number.
Photos: Jeff Blumenfeld