Day 10 (Wednesday 21st February): King George Island, South Shetland Islands.Carlini Research Station, Argentinian Base.
"Overnight we travelled northeast, along the South Shetland Islands and into Maxwell Bay in King George Island. Maxwell Bay is the most populated place in Antarctica and during the next few days we will get a glimpse into its complexity and geopolitical importance."
07:00 - 08:00 Breakfast is served
08:15 - 08:45 Presentation by Justine Shaw "Antarctic Protection and Governance"
Dr Justine Shaw is a Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions. Justine's research focuses on the conservation decision-making in the terrestrial Antarctic and in sub-Antarctica. In particular, she looks at how species interact in the absence of humans (wilderness) and the impact of this.
A few facts from Justine's talk:
Antarctica, is the last true wilderness, with approx. 90 percent of the Earth's ice, 70 percent of the Earth's fresh water and 10 percent of Earth's land. The Antarctic Treaty system is a protocol on environmental protection for the Antarctic Treaty (1951), which designates Antarctica as a "natural reserve devoted to peace and science". It has 29 signatories (countries) involved in the decision-making about Antarctica plus a further 21 consultations (which take part but do not vote at the treaty). The treaty oversees all conservation and science in Antarctica and includes a committee for environmental protection (Madrid protocol, 1993).
Justine also talked about the threats to biodiversity in this continent, including pollution, invasive species and climate change. There are approx. 30-40,000 Antarctic tourist visits per year. That's more visits than the from scientists, however the scientists stay for longer. Most tourists stay about a week.
With only a staggering 0.3 percent of Antarctica being ice-free, the tourists are often concentrated to these areas for landings, which can potentially affect the these biodiversity hotspots (due to it being ice free). The Madrid protocol is responsible for environmental impact assessments including the flora and fauna, waste disposal and waste management, the prevention of marine pollution and the management of protected areas in Antarctica. Currently there are 75 Antarctic specifically protected areas (ASPAs) and 7 Antarctic specifically managed areas (ASMAs).
09:00 Visit to the important Argentinian scientific station of Carlini
13:00 Lunch is served
14:30 - 17:30 HB sessions
19:00 Dinner is served
Inside the labs we were greeted with a selection of early career scientists, who are currently researching on site. They were telling us about their research, from parasitic worms, to fish ecology. We also got a chance to ask them questions. One opened up the microbiology lab for me (pictured above) - including a biosafety cabinet and autoclave.
Inside the recreation building, we were given cured meat, biscuits and cake with apple juice. This is where the staff have meals, relax and also talk to people outside of Antarctica on a video link up (as was happening at one end when we visited).
Following lunch the HB leadership program was focussed on peer coaching session 1 (set up and practice). The purpose of this was to enable us to constructively support each other on the journey, to ensure we are equipped to encourage and guide, not tell each other how to manage. This is a crucial and frequently undervalued leadership capability. Helping others to help themselves, instead of mentoring (sharing wisdom, often relevant), in some cases, coaching (catalysing insight, reflection, awareness, not showing the way) is more relevant.
First addressing aspects like what was the cost of coaching not taking place (negative), what was the benefit (positive) and what is / could become possible that was not possible before?
Being aware of "task needs" - agreeing purpose of feedback, focus on topic or issue, exchange information and reaching agreeable decisions and "emotional needs" - 'respectful', 'listened to and understood', 'engaged and involved', 'trust and trusted'.
This involved triads (groups of 3) and putting "GROW" into practice, Goal, Reality, Options, Wrap Up.
To learn to reduce mentoring and increase coaching - a bit more challenging than I thought (especially as I'm such a problem solver!)
Open questions, a whole toolkit for each of the "GROW" model - and then feedback for each of our triads (one coach, one coachee, one observer), this is going to take practice. Surprised at how the HB ground rules mean that we all feel we can really share and enable each other to provide a safe space to do so, what a great community we have built over the last 11 months.