Local students invited to apply to set sail on Arctic research ship

CCGS Amundsen, a research vessel and icebreaker that is expected to take aboard one lucky local student in September - Submitted
CCGS Amundsen, a research vessel and icebreaker that is expected to take aboard one lucky local student in September
— image credit: Submitted

After tragedy scuttled the opportunity last fall, a local student will again be given the chance to spend part of September aboard an Arctic icebreaker.

The Okanagan Skaha School District has been invited to send one student to spend up to 10 days aboard the CCGS Amundsen, a floating laboratory used to study the effects of climate change in the north.

Students from across Canada are periodically offered a chance to go aboard the vessel and work with  scientists conducting research in the field.

Jennifer Wingham, vice-principal at KVR Middle School in Penticton, said the district has already done the legwork necessary to secure a place for one of its students aboard the boat, and now has until May 1 to select the traveller.

“Because we have a spot, as soon as they know a trip is going they let us know and we quickly put the wheels in motion,” said Wingham.

“It’s very quick, and it goes very quick because the program doesn’t know if there are spots on board for a student until the Amundsen submits their course log and how many staff are going to be on board.”

To be eligible to go, students must be in Grade 10, 11 or 12 in September, maintain a B average in academic  courses, and be in good physical condition.

Additionally, the prospective travellers will have to demonstrate an interest in science and volunteerism, plus prove an ability to commit to such a project and share details of the experience afterwards.

The application deadline is April 26 and anyone interested should contact Wingham for details. A panel of judges will choose the lucky student.

A local student had been selected to go last September, but the trip was cancelled when the vessel’s helicopter crashed and killed the ship’s captain and two others. Wingham said the chosen student graduates this spring, so she will not be eligible to travel this September.

The Canadian Coast Guard uses the Amundsen as an icebreaker in the Gulf of St. Lawrence during winter months, and also crews the vessel while it’s used for scientific purposes the rest of the year.

The ship is featured on the back of the new $50 bill.



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