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AIRBNB & OCEAN CONSERVANCY PRESENT

The Antarctic Sabbatical

A research expedition to the most
isolated place on Earth

Be one of 5 volunteers to join environmental scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams on a first-of-its-kind scientific expedition investigating the presence of microplastics on the most isolated continent on Earth–Antarctica. Apply by 11:59pm EDT on 8 October 2019. Terms apply.

Be one of 5 volunteers to join environmental scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams on a first-of-its-kind scientific expedition investigating the presence of microplastics on the most isolated continent on Earth–Antarctica. Apply by 11:59pm EDT on 8 October 2019. Terms apply.

Expedition Itinerary

Week 1-2

Train in Chile: You’ll start by meeting your teammates and expedition leader, Kirstie Jones-Williams. After introductions, you’ll spend two weeks training, both physically and mentally, so you’re prepared to conduct research in Antarctica’s harsh environment. Here you’ll get used to scientific language, check your gear, meet local partners, and explore the wild Chilean outdoors.

Week 1-2

Train in Chile: You’ll start by meeting your teammates and expedition leader, Kirstie Jones-Williams. After introductions, you’ll spend two weeks training, both physically and mentally, so you’re prepared to conduct research in Antarctica’s harsh environment. Here you’ll get used to scientific language, check your gear, meet local partners, and explore the wild Chilean outdoors.

Week 3

Research in Antarctica: Once you hit the ground in Union Glacier Camp, you’ll spend ten days filled with long hours of work and exploration. You’ll get the chance to visit the South Pole and explore the beauty of Antarctic sites like the Drake Icefall, Charles Peak Windscoop, and Elephant's Head. Then, in between riding snowmobiles and fat bikes, much of your time will be spent hand in hand with your team, collecting snow samples to be studied in the lab, and building your research to see if microplastics are present in Antarctica's interior.

Week 3

Research in Antarctica: Once you hit the ground in Union Glacier Camp, you’ll spend ten days filled with long hours of work and exploration. You’ll get the chance to visit the South Pole and explore the beauty of Antarctic sites like the Drake Icefall, Charles Peak Windscoop, and Elephant's Head. Then, in between riding snowmobiles and fat bikes, much of your time will be spent hand in hand with your team, collecting snow samples to be studied in the lab, and building your research to see if microplastics are present in Antarctica's interior.

Week 4

Prepare your findings: After your time on the ground, you and your team will return to Chile to spend a few days processing your learnings, in order to show the impact humans have had on the most remote region on Earth. You’ll work with Ocean Conservancy to become ambassadors for protecting the oceans, sharing with the world how others can help minimise their collective plastic footprint and act as stewards to our planet.

Week 4

Prepare your findings: After your time on the ground, you and your team will return to Chile to spend a few days processing your learnings, in order to show the impact humans have had on the most remote region on Earth. You’ll work with Ocean Conservancy to become ambassadors for protecting the oceans, sharing with the world how others can help minimise their collective plastic footprint and act as stewards to our planet.

Go with a purpose

As a Citizen Scientist, you’ll have the opportunity to contribute to real scientific research on the impact humans have on the environment. Over the span of a month, you’ll work as a team, collecting and analysing snow core samples to determine if microplastics have made their way into the interior of the continent. These findings could help change public policy surrounding how we use plastic and how to properly dispose of it. If it’s a success, this expedition could lead to more studies on how to better protect this unique ecosystem and our planet as a whole.

As a Citizen Scientist, you’ll have the opportunity to contribute to real scientific research on the impact humans have on the environment. Over the span of a month, you’ll work as a team, collecting and analysing snow core samples to determine if microplastics have made their way into the interior of the continent. These findings could help change public policy surrounding how we use plastic and how to properly dispose of it. If it’s a success, this expedition could lead to more studies on how to better protect this unique ecosystem and our planet as a whole.

Meet your expedition leader

Kirstie Jones-Williams is an environmental scientist passionate about understanding and protecting the Earth from human stresses. She has a BSc in Environmental Geoscience, a Master's in Marine Science and Policy, and is currently pursuing a PhD investigating the impact of microplastics on polar marine zooplankton in Antarctica at the University of Exeter, funded by the GW4+ doctoral training partnership. As the leader of this expedition, Kirstie will help us understand the pathways of microplastics to remote regions such as Antarctica and highlight our responsibility to protect our natural world.

Kirstie Jones-Williams is an environmental scientist passionate about understanding and protecting the Earth from human stresses. She has a BSc in Environmental Geoscience, a Master's in Marine Science and Policy, and is currently pursuing a PhD investigating the impact of microplastics on polar marine zooplankton in Antarctica at the University of Exeter, funded by the GW4+ doctoral training partnership. As the leader of this expedition, Kirstie will help us understand the pathways of microplastics to remote regions such as Antarctica and highlight our responsibility to protect our natural world.

“I am looking for passionate individuals who are excited to partake in the work and return home eager to share our findings with the world.” – Kirstie Jones-Williams

“I am looking for passionate individuals who are excited to partake in the work and return home eager to share our findings with the world.” – Kirstie Jones-Williams

In partnership with Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy works to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. One of the keys to success is joining forces with those who feel the same responsibility. Airbnb is committed to providing the option for sustainable travel to its community at every point of the trip and this is why Ocean Conservancy is so excited to partner on the Antarctic Sabbatical. Together Airbnb and Ocean Conservancy will use the research findings from this expedition to inform educational and advocacy efforts, shining a light on the issue of plastic pollution, how it affects us all, and what we can do about it.

In partnership with Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy works to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. One of the keys to success is joining forces with those who feel the same responsibility. Airbnb is committed to providing the option for sustainable travel to its community at every point of the trip and this is why Ocean Conservancy is so excited to partner on the Antarctic Sabbatical. Together Airbnb and Ocean Conservancy will use the research findings from this expedition to inform educational and advocacy efforts, shining a light on the issue of plastic pollution, how it affects us all, and what we can do about it.

Airbnb Sabbaticals

The Sabbatical Programme provides eye-opening opportunities for people around the world to travel with purpose and do good. Keep an eye out for Sabbaticals in the future.

The Sabbatical Programme provides eye-opening opportunities for people around the world to travel with purpose and do good. Keep an eye out for Sabbaticals in the future.

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Various images and footage courtesy of Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions and Studiocanoe.

Various images and footage courtesy of Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions and Studiocanoe.