At twelve years old many of us didn’t embark on many adventures that didn’t involve our imaginations, but Aidan Fong of Sacramento California is about to go on a very real Adventure. Aidan is preparing to be part of the 2041 International Antarctic Expedition 2015. Aidan and his sixth grade teacher at Leonardo da Vinci K-8 School, Kim Williams will be part of the group that heads for the Antarctic peninsula in March.
Most parents would be naturally reticent about sending their twelve year old to the planet’s coldest, driest, and most mountainous continent. The continent is sheathed in thick changing ice, creating perilous crevasses. At the end of the Antarctic summer, when Aidan will arrive, temperatures can dip below freezing and winds can whip at up to 100 miles per hour. Despite these conditions, Aidan’s father is confident that Aidan is ready for the polar adventure. He feels Aidan is up to the task both physically and mentally.
2041, the group that organized the journey Aidan and Ms. Williams will be a part of was founded by Robert Swan, the famed explorer who in 1989 became the first person to walk across both the north and south pole. Swan founded 2041 an organization whose mission is “to build personal leadership skills among people who choose to embrace the challenge of sustaining all forms of life – in their families, communities, organizations and the planet.”
When 2041 expedition guide Jason Flescher spoke to Aidan’s class about Antarctica and sustainability, Aidan already knew about Swan and had been thinking a lot about the planet. Aidan had said previously that “I feel like I kind of need to do something for the environment.” When Aidan completed Swans book, Antarctica 2041: My Quest to Save the Earth’s Last Wilderness, and learned that Swan decided in his head that he would walk across both poles at 11, Aidan was particularly excited.
After the initial spark of interest was kindled in Aidan, Ms. Kim Williams was selected selected to attend the 2041 expedition and arranged to have Swan speak to the students of the school. At that point Mr. Fong, Aidan’s father approached Kim with a “crazy idea.” Williams who had trekked to Antarctica in 2012 with the group then began the process of getting clearance for Aidan to attend the trip. She contacted Mr. Swan and Aidan was cleared to go. Aidan began joint fundraising with Williams to raise the 26,000 dollars necessary to make the journey, Aidan has a created a Facebook page for his journey and funds are being raised through gofundme.com.
The Expedition will meet in Ushuaia Argentina on March 13th and two days later begin the passage across Drakes, Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula. The 2041 expedition will debate, discuss and determine firsthand the effects of global climate change on the 13 day expedition.