Annual Report 2007

12 months to 31st March
The Trustees are very pleased to confirm that the Fuchs Foundation Antarctic Expedition (FFAE2007) for science and geography teachers will depart the UK on 3rd November 2007 .  This expedition is especially significant as it celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the departure of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1955-58 (TAE) on the first crossing of the continent from Shackleton Base at the head of the Weddell Sea
Like TAE, FFAE2007 has been planned most importantly as a scientific expedition, but with the expectation that the challenge and adventure will inspire the teachers for the rest of their career.  Selection took place in April 2006, and during the past year four dedicated teachers, two geographers and two biologists, have been, and are being trained to face their new experience.  The team will reach the Patriot Hills base of Antarctic Logistics Expeditions early in November and will spend four to six weeks in the field before returning to Britain before Christmas.  
The teachers have worked up their projects with the help of the Foundation and its associates. As a result of this work the Foundation has formed a partnership agreement with the Scott Polar Research Institute of Cambridge University to publish web based secondary school teaching materials.  Another collaboration agreement with the Human & Allied Physiology Laboratories of Portsmouth University will assist the assessment of the teachersí reactions to the harsh conditions of 80 degrees South in the early astral summer.  Also the Geography Department of Sheffield University will be working in partnership on the study of cryoconite (melt) holes in the Union Glacier.  The biologists will be seeking and studying lichen and tardigrades (water bears) in the exposed rocks around the Union Glacier. On their return the teachers will prepare teaching materials from their projects, which will be published on the Foundationís web site.
FFAE2007 will be led by two experienced leaders from Bull Precise Expeditions, making up the party of six.   
A Public Appeal on behalf of the Foundationís work will be launched at the Royal Geographical Society in October, after the Welsh launch in Cardiff in July.  The 50th Anniversary celebrations of TAE conclude on 1st March 2008 with a fund-raising dinner at St. Johnís   College , Cambridge . Earlier in the day the FFAE2007ís teachers will have made presentations on their work at the Scott Polar Research Institute. 
 The purpose of these events is to seek public and commercial support for the Foundationís intention  to send annual expeditions of teachers to the Polar regions . A regular programme of lectures on many aspects of Antarctica continues to take place to publicise the Foundationís work.




12th months to 31st March
During the early part of the year the trustees had been considering the long term future for the Foundation with a merger with a similar body or the winding up of the charity as two possibilities. This was as a result of the level of income from investments and bank interest rates being modest in comparison with the levels of support being sought by grant applicants.
At the same time a proposal was received by the Trustees for the re-launching of the Foundation involving a change in the emphasis in how young people might be helped. The proposal was that the charity should concentrate on how young science and geography teachers might be supported, and how, by doing so, the teacher might be challenged and inspired, thus becoming a better  teacher, having a greater beneficial influence over their students.
By October 2005 a new Trustee body had been appointed with all but one of the previous trustees resigning.
The trustees now are:
  • Andrew Clarke, Scientist with the British Antarctic Survey  
  • Ann Fuchs, Fundraiser
  • Peter Fuchs, Retired businessman, son of Sir Vivian Fuchs.
  • Richard Harris, Retired businessman, previously with British Antarctic Survey
  • Christopher Henstock, Retired secondary school head teacher
  • John Waite, Solicitor, experienced with charities
The major decision that the new trustees took was that the Foundation should sent its first expedition to the Antarctic in 2007. An expedition leader was appointed; advertisements sought applicants; a demanding selection process was initiated so that by early April 2006 a party of four teachers had been selected with two reserves. The initial booking was made on an early commercial flight into the privately operated base at Patriot Hills in Antarctica for the austral summer season 2007/8.  Before departure over a period of fifteen months training of the teachers will be undertaken, and the teachers themselves will raise their contribution to the £100,000 cost of the expedition, being £10,000 per teacher.
The Trustees are pleased to report that the first Fuchs Foundation Antarctic Expedition will leave the UK at the beginning of November 2007, returning before Christmas, having completed individual scientific projects. From these projects teaching materials will be created which will help meet the requirements of the National Curriculum and these  will be published on the Foundationís web site.

Further Reading

Page last modified: 12th Jun 2008 - 07:44:04