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IAATO Celebrates Inaugural Antarctic Ambassadorship Day

by Oceanwide Expeditions Blog

As much as we love Antarctica, we love taking our guests there even more. And one of the things we love most about that is seeing their eyes light up as Antarctica works its magic, proving yet again its uncanny power to transform first-time visitors into lifelong ambassadors.

Regions: Antarctica

Ambassadorship Day promotes core aspect of Antarctic conservation

As much as we love Antarctica, we love taking our guests there even more. And one of the things we love most about that is seeing their eyes light up as Antarctica works its magic, proving yet again its uncanny power to transform first-time visitors into lifelong ambassadors.

For this reason and many others, we’re pleased to join IAATO in celebrating its first Antarctic Ambassadorship Day on April 25.

As the name suggests, Antarctic Ambassadorship Day is dedicated to those special polar advocates who (as IAATO defines via the acronym LEAP) do the following:

  • Love and respect the Antarctic region
  • Educate others by sharing their experiences in Antarctica
  • Advocate for the Antarctic when opportunities arise
  • Protect Antarctica by making positive changes at home

Ambassadorship has never been formalized as a concept until now, but IAATO took advantage of the pandemic’s travel hiatus to do just that. The association turned ambassadorship into a measurable program that is open to a wider audience, while also creating a more structured and visual way of showcasing what ambassadors do.

Antarctic Ambassadorship Day aims to highlight ambassadors while inspiring others to join their cause. Current ambassadors include scientists, PhD students, field staff, students, community service advocates, and everyday polar travelers.

Ambassadorship has been a fundamental aspect of IAATO since 1991, when the association as well as the Antarctic Treaty’s Environmental Protocol were created, expanding on the standards of natural conservation drafted in the Antarctic Treaty of 1959.

IAATO ambassadors are important because they represent not only a global network of people who love Antarctica but also a positive force for educating those who have not yet had the chance to go to Antarctica themselves. To encourage the growth of ambassadorship in 2022, IAATO will release a number of educational resources for both individuals and schools.

Not surprisingly, most people who visit Antarctica are moved to become ambassadors on their own, making lifestyle changes that support planetary health as well as encouraging others to do the same. Antarctic Ambassadorship celebrates just this sort of grassroots action.

“We wanted to create a focal point to celebrate Antarctic Ambassadors as well as seek to inspire others to advocate for this precious place,” said IAATO Executive Director Gina Greer. “We invite everyone from the polar community and beyond to join us.”

In the spirit of advancing polar awareness, we at Oceanwide have our own Oceanwide Development Program that offers new guides ongoing training in IAATO / AECO guidelines and regulations in polar areas, environmental best practices, and polar expedition safety. These efforts help ensure our expedition staff continue to be exemplars of polar ambassadorship in their own right. 

IAATO was formed out of seven companies operating expeditions in Antarctica. Oceanwide Expeditions joined shortly after and has been a proud member for over 25 years. A global non-profit alliance, IAATO now has a membership of more than 100 companies working to preserve, protect, and communicate the importance of Antarctica.

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