At the start of the summer term, students in 8 Beech joined thousands of students around the world in the XL Catlin Arctic Live Research Expedition  field investigation on ocean acidification and microplastics and their impacts on marine life.

Using the interactive ‘YouTubeLive’ platform, Digital Explorer ran 30 webcasts over five days for students between the ages of 7 and 16 to include: live investigations, interviews with scientists and expedition members, and ‘Ask-Me-Anything’ sessions with polar educator, Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop.

Students could see for themselves the vast, white Arctic environment and got the chance to ask the team about their work in Svalbard. Geography students from Colyton were involved in an interview session with Ellie MacKay, an award-winning science communicator and extreme environment filmmaker.

Reflecting on the live interview, student Chloe D said “It was great to have a live link-up to the Arctic Research Base in Svalbard and to have so many of our questions answered about the scientific work that is being undertaken on the importance of our oceans”.

Arctic Live exp May 2018
Photo credit: XL Catlin Arctic Live Research Expedition © May 2018 BAS/Nick Cox

“The geography students involved really enjoyed the whole experience. It has provided them with a much better understanding of the research being undertaken by scientists in the Arctic and will hopefully encourage many to consider a career in this field,”saidHead of Geography, Miss Hickey.

“XL Catlin Arctic Live uses a novel approach to bring to life the latest field science from the Arctic’s fragile ecosystem, to thousands of students,” says Chip Cunliffe, Director of Sustainable Development, XL Catlin. “We aim to ignite curiosity for the natural world and inspire future STEM careers in order to encourage young people to become engaged with the protection and preservation of the environment.”

This integrated programme is a joint effort of XL Catlin, Digital Explorer (DE), the University of Exeter, the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The Arctic Live Research Expedition is a programme that will continue during the next three Arctic springs and is designed to integrate frontline science with outreach to schools around the world.

Over 260 schools signed up to get front row seats to the free XL Catlin Arctic Live education webcasts running from 4 -10 May from Svalbard, a Norwegian island between mainland Norway and the North Pole.


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