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Sea Women depart for the Arctic on an ocean change expedition

Press Conference: Sea Women depart for the Arctic on an ocean change expedition

Where: Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium

Date: July 10, 2014 at 10:00am

St. John’s: The 2014-2016 Sedna Epic Expedition officially kicks off at the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium, on July 10, 2014, with a press conference followed by a demonstration of technology required to study disappearing sea ice in the Arctic.

During its July 10-27 expedition to Labrador, Nunavut and Greenland, the 2014-2016 Sedna Epic Expedition—which is sponsored by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society—will deliver the Mini Aquarium’s innovative and successful model of catch-and-release marine education to northern communities who are already experiencing the impacts of global climate change.

The all-female Sedna Expedition is made up of ten multi-talented sea women, age 26 to 56 from Canada, the US, Mexico and New Zealand. This extraordinary team of scientists, dive professionals, explorers, journalists and underwater movie makers also includes a National Geographic Young Explorer who is a submersible pilot.

Team Sedna departs for Labrador on July 11, where it will commence a multi-faceted and ambitious expedition, which combines scientific ocean research and educational outreach to Inuit communities with a special focus on women and girls. The Sedna Expedition will involve extreme physical challenges associated with snorkeling—with the aid of drysuits and diver propulsion vehicles—in icy Arctic waters.

In 2016, Team Sedna will mount a snorkel relay of the Northwest Passage from Pond Inlet, Nunavut, to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, scouting, documenting and recording data about disappearing sea ice in the Arctic. But, before tackling this epic snorkel relay, the team will conduct a proof-of-concept expedition from July 10-27. The expedition will depart on July 14 from Nain, aboard the 116-foot MV Cape Race. The sea women will head up the Labrador coast to southern Baffin Island and, across the gnarly waters of the Davis Strait, to Western Greenland, conducting sea trials and snorkel relays. The Expedition concludes on July 27 in Ilulissat, Greenland.

“Using touch tank mobile aquariums aboard our expedition vessel, we’ll build upon the ocean outreach work developed by our partner, the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium,” said Susan R. Eaton, Calgary-based leader and founder of the 2014-2016 Sedna Epic Expedition. “We’ll bring the Arctic ocean to eye level, delivering a positive message of ocean protection and sustainability to the youth of Labrador, Baffin Island and Greenland, while empowering them to become the stewards of their marine ecosystems.”

“It is an epic journey that these ten women are undertaking, and we are proud to support their endeavour.” said Keith Moore, Executive Director, Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium. “Team Sedna will help us further our goal of fostering curiosity and inspiring action towards ocean conservation, by bringing the message beyond the Mini Aquarium walls. Their work over the next month will engage youth that we might otherwise not have the opportunity to reach.”

Working with its partners, the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium and the Women in Science and Engineering Newfoundland and Labrador (WISE NL), Team Sedna will deliver two public presentations on July 10 on arctic exploration and science.

During the press conference, Team Sedna will present the concept of ocean change, including the warming and acidification of the world’s oceans. Team members will demonstrate the use of their arctic-rated equipment, including the operation of an underwater robot and underwater film-making equipment.

Later the same day, Team Sedna will deliver a lecture at 1:00pm at the Bruneau Centre for Innovation and Research (IIC) at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). The audience will include the young women (aged 16 and 17) who are enrolled in the WISE NL, Student Summer Employment Program (SSEP). The young women are working in paid research assistant positions at MUN and organizations in St. John’s and surrounding areas. In addition to their work placements, participants of WISE SSEP benefit from networking opportunities, personal development activities, workplace tours and training. The presentation will be a fitting way to launch the all-female expedition.

“Listening to Team Sedna speak about their incredible adventure and personal stories will be an inspiration to all WISE SSEP participants and a motivational event for the first full week of the Program,” said Maggie Sutherland, WISE SSEP Program Manager.

As role models, Team Sedna hopes to empower young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math. As real life explorers, the sea women will inspire young women to follow their dreams, no matter how out-of-the-box they may be.

The general public is invited to come along to these events and support the Expedition and meet the team.

Media contacts:

Contact: Susan R. Eaton, 2014-2016 Sedna Epic Expedition Leader, susan@sednaepic.com; www.sednaepic.com, (403)605-0159

Contact: Keith Moore, Executive Director, Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium, keith@miniaqua.org, www.miniaqua.org, (709)730-3507

Contact: Maggie Sutherland, WISE SSEP Program Manager, WISE NL, maggie.sutherland@wisenl.ca, www.wisenl.com, (709)864-2484

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