A teenager from Seychelles has left the sunny island nation to join 129 other young people taking part in 'Students on Ice' 2019 Arctic Expedition, a platform that fosters collaboration on key issues faced as a global society.
Kelsy Gill said she is happy to have been selected for the expedition to the eastern Canadian Arctic and Western Greenland taking place from July 23 to August 7.
'Students on Ice' is an annual educational expedition for school and university students organised by the Student on Ice Foundation, a Canadian charitable organisation.
Established in 2000, the foundation aims to educate the world's youth about the importance of the Polar Regions, to support their continued growth and to inspire initiatives that contribute to global sustainability.
"I feel privileged and honoured to be the only Seychellois in the group and I am really looking forward to this great journey of discovery where I know I will see and learn a lot," said Gill.
The 18-year-old learned about the expedition through the Sids Youth Aims Hub (SYAH) Seychelles which launched a competition earlier this year. Applicants had to write a letter of between 500 to 850 words to the UN Secretary-General expressing their concerns about climate change.
"In the letter, you were asked to express your concerns about climate change, what you are doing, what you believe should be done and what you think the UN should do to address the issue," said Gill.
The journey starts in the Canadian capital, Ottawa. From there the group, headed by a global team of scientists, artists, experts, educators, and visionary leaders, will be flown to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. In these areas temperature can drop to - 58 degrees Celsius compared to 23 degrees Celcius in Seychelles.
Boarding the expedition vessel, the team will explore the communities, coasts and fjords (a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by a glacier) of western Greenland before crossing the Davis Strait to Canada's High Arctic and the Northwest Passage.
Exploring the land, gaining cultural and historical knowledge from Inuit Elders - part of the Eskimo-Aleut family who lives throughout most of Northern Canada in the territory of Nunavut - are a few activities the group will be involved in.
The team will also have the chance to hike across tundra and glaciers in Sirmilik National Park, observe wildlife and engage with climate scientists to understand the drastic changes being seen in the Polar regions and their impacts.
The expedition will end in Resolute Bay, Nunavut where the participants will board chartered flights back to Ottawa. Gill is expected back in Seychelles - 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean - on August 9.
After the expeditions, participants receive support in their lifelong journey of growth and global citizenship. The foundation keeps the youth connected with each other, through its large and integrated network of educators, mentors, experts, and partners. It also provides opportunities for further education, training, and career advancement.
Having recently graduated from the School of Advanced Level Studies, Gill is set to start her course in environmental science at the University of Seychelles in September.