Heading into a new year…

It is hard to believe that this time in 2018 I was weeks away from heading to Antarctica.


Now almost two years on I’m still amazed by the many opportunities that it has brought my way. I finished last year in a primary school with 9yr olds sharing stories about polar exploration and so far this year I’ve talks lined up with undergraduate primary science teachers and private business to share both my experience in Antarctica and work on Learning for Sustainability.


Learning for Sustainability, Scotland’s approach to sustainability education, is arguably one of the most progressive in the world and it is fairly unique internationally in the way it brings Global Citizenship, Sustainable Development Education and Outdoor Learning together whilst aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It emphasises transformative action-oriented approaches that aim to engage communities whilst developing kinship with one another and the natural world. In essence it is an approach to life and learning, across all levels, focused on nurturing the values, skills and knowledges needed to develop a more socially-just, equitable and flourishing community, country and world for all.


Given current global events this values-driven approach to education is needed now more than ever and I’m privileged to be part of pushing this forward in 2020.

Learn more about Learning for Sustainability.

Climate justice education book chapter published…

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I’m delighted to see our co-authored chapter ‘Climate Justice Education: From social movement learning to schooling’  published in the Routledge Handbook of Climate Justice.

This chapter was an important one for Callum McGregor and I to write together as it fed into the development of a joint Principal Teaching Award Scheme grant application, which saw us awarded funding for a two-year project focusing on climate justice education.

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Our subsequent research project considers the issue of climate justice education in more detail. Specifically it considers the potential of a curriculum for climate justice through a collaborative investigation of the challenges and opportunities for climate change education with a particular focus on social justice.  This project is being developed with fantastic research support from Mary Collacott.  You can read more about it here.

Routledge Handbook of Climate Justice book details are available here – please contact me if you wish to know more about the chapter or the research project.

Mapping the Voyage

When I’m asked to talk about Antarctica, a common question is ‘what will you actually do when you’re out there?’. So with only 78 days to go I’m turning my attention to the detail of the actual expedition.

Before we go I’ve an ever increasing list of tasks from insurance, travel clinic appointments, kit checks to sponsorship meetings that I need to keep up with. This is balanced alongside the research preparation, reflective work and the early morning/late night whole group online meetings which are core to the larger 12 month project we’re all part of.

To illustrate what we’ll do when we’re there I’ve created (read edited, thanks Nina(@NINjAitsu)!) a map to highlight my route to and within Antarctica. There are a number of landing sites plotted, these are just proposed for now as our final route is subject to the changing sea-ice and weather conditions. Throughout the 3-week expedition in Antarctica (and in Ushuaia both pre and post) we’ve a mix of off-ship work and on-ship research meetings and discussions – all with the aim of building upon and developing the knowledge and collaborations our HB2018 team have been crafting since March of this year.

Getting close now… #78days #teamHB2018 🇦🇶😊❄️ 

You can view the full interactive map here.






Growing a network…

One of the draws that pulled me into Homeward Bound and the Antarctica expedition was the prospect of meeting  like-minded women.  Often (too often) in my career I have found that I am the only female in the room, whether that be, for example, at team meetings, as part of a seminar discussion panel or as one of the keynote speakers at a conference.  So the opportunity to join an established and growing network of women, who work in related fields and understand this isolation, was welcomed… with open arms!

This network is slowly coming to life and I’m beginning to meet some of the women face to face.  Whilst we meet regularly online, it is even better when our worlds align and we get the chance to meet in the same time zone, in person and share our experiences and thinking.


So far I’ve managed to catch Paola Tello Guerrero (@pateguerrero) a physicist from Columbia when she happened to be up in Aberdeen for a conference. Paolo came down to Arbroath and we took a walk along the cliffs (pic right). Her commitment to creating opportunities for young people is truly inspiring. She has been active, giving time to develop and establish the Colombian Women Geo-Networking initiative, which brings women together to support one another to promote and exchange geoscientific information, and she is also sharing her Antarctica story with schoolchildren and community groups in Columbia.

I’ve also caught a coffee with Meredith Nash, Senior lecturer in Sociology and Deputy Director of Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of Tasmania when she was in Glasgow as part of her European lecture/study tour – What is it like to be a woman in STEMM? Gender bias, sexual harassment, and the myth of meritocracy. Meredith went on the inaugural expedition to Antarctica in 2016 so her post-adventure perspective, her sociological insights and her practical tips for surviving a month in the frozen South were all equally helpful! These chance meetings are invaluable and never dull, no awkward silences. It actually amazes me how we dive straight into conversations, tear through topics and part ways reassured, enriched and inspired.

23507342_380856685687936_7862568965455740928_nThis week I caught up with Catherine (@cauffiebean), from Canada and living in Cambridge, when she came to Dundee.  It was great to learn more about her work at Cheeky Scientist (https://cheekyscientist.com/), which helps academics transition into industry, and even better to meet her family and talk seasickness and travel plans!

Next time I see Catherine face-to-face, now in less than three months… we’ll be in Buenos Aries ready to travel South to Ushuaia to meet the rest of the team, the full network!! 😊 

Chasing a childhood dream…

FullSizeRender 4I’ve been looking through my old school jotters, I’m amazed at the amount of stories I have written about exploring in the snowy wastes, venturing to Antarctica, surviving in the Arctic, climbing in the Alps, avoiding avalanches, polar bears and more.  I’m delighted my parents kept all of this stuff as it is really interesting to look back and see what I was thinking, drawing and writing about whilst in primary school.

Even at 6 years old I was hooked on snow and adventure, and at 8 I was writing about escaping avalanches in the Swiss Alps!

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It seems I’ve always been chasing a dream to get to Antarctica and thanks to another generous sponsor I’m a step closer to getting there! Please make contact (bethchristie@ed.ac.uk) if you want to sponsor me and help me realise my ambition as part of Homeward Bound 2018. Thank you

#214daystogo #teamhb2018 #antarctica #womenleaders #sustainability #leadership




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Today I met the team of women I’m heading to Antarctica with. What a line-up… I’m overwhelmed!  #TEAMHB2018

We’ve had two online meetings so far and more are scheduled for the coming months. These calls are a great way to meet everyone and bring the project to life but the release of the participant details this week has been the biggest milestone for me, so far. Now I have a feel for the full team and I am truly astounded by the calibre of these individuals. Their biographies are testament to the courage, intelligence, commitment, passion and enthusiasm that each and everyone of these 70 women possess.

These inspirational women come from 13 countries including Spain, Venezuela, Kenya, France, Italy, Norway, Australia and China and their expertise is vast; we’ve veterinarians, marine ecologists, engineers, researchers, academics, chemists, science communicators, doctors and more. Most importantly, these women are united around the need for females to be part of decision making for the future of our world.

I am truly honoured to be part of this project and more excited than ever to be sailing with this amazing team in 292 days…!

#HB2018 https://homewardboundprojects.com.au/2017/04/27/meet-teamhb2018/

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Book: Women and Outdoor Learning


I’m delighted to be part of this milestone publication. It was an honour to be invited to contribute and I’m pleased to have my story included alongside such a diverse range of inspirational women.

Whilst these international collections can never include every female voice, they do offer a starting point for further conversation and inclusion. This handbook provides a critical analysis and stimulates discourse about the status of women in outdoor learning environments, including contributions from, for example, the UK, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, America, and the Netherlands.

Thanks to  the Editors, Tonia Gray and Denise Mitten, for your vision and hard work and well done to all the wonderful contributors – what an achievement!!

The Palgrave International Handbook of Women and Outdoor Learning will be available later this year – check this link for more details.

#beboldforchange #IWD2017

Antarctica bound…

img_8351-2I’ve been selected to join an all-female expedition to Antarctica in February 2018!

The expedition forms one part of a year long climate science and leadership programme.

The aim is to bring women together, from a range of fields (science and engineering, arts and humanities, business…), to increase female visibility and start an interdisciplinary conversation about global change and female leadership.

Looking forward to meeting the team of inspirational women, securing sponsorship to fund this project… and starting this adventure!!

More to follow…

#teamhb2018  #homewardbound18  

Book chapter published

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Delighted to have a co-authored chapter in the 2nd edition of Sue Waite’s book – Children Learning Outside the Classroom from Birth to Eleven.

The chapter, titled ‘Developing whole school approaches to integrated outdoor/indoor teaching’ was written by my colleague Simon Beames, myself and Ian Blackwell.

More info here.