Public Outreach

At 1 June I gave a talk at the Redwood Garden Club. This group was very nice and I learned a lot about roses and other garden matters. Many were really interested in the topic and I was glad to answer all sorts of questions after the talk on living in the Antarctic.

On 14 June I will give another presentation at the Shirley Ladies Club and on 12 July at the Rotary Club (men only). That will be very interesting.


Response to a request

In November 2014 I was able to help an author to find a reference number he needed for his publication. Now the book is out and I got a nice response from him. It is always nice to help someone and it is also nice to get help when needed.

This is his book


Ice Bear. The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon By MICHAEL ENGELHARD  


288 pp., 170 illus., 145 in color, 8 x 10 in. $29.95 paperback, November 2016

Prime Arctic predator and nomad of the sea ice and tundra, the polar bear endures as a source of wonder, terror, and fascination. Humans have seen it
as spirit guide and fanged enemy, as trade good and moral metaphor, as food source and symbol of ecological crisis. Eight thousand years of artifacts attest to its charisma, and to the fraught relationships between our two species. In the White Bear, we acknowledge the magic of wildness: it is both genuinely itself and a screen for our imagination.

Ice Bear traces and illuminates this intertwined history. From Inuit shamans to Jean Harlow lounging on a bearskin rug, from the cubs trained to pull sleds toward the North Pole to cuddly superstar Knut, it all comes to life in these pages. With meticulous research and more than 160 illustrations, the author brings into focus this powerful and elusive animal. Doing so, he delves into the stories we tell about Nature—and about ourselves—hoping for a future in which such tales still matter.

MICHAEL ENGELHARD works as a wilderness guide in Arctic Alaska and holds an MA in cultural anthropology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His books include a recent essay collection, American Wild: Explorations from the Grand Canyon to the Arctic Ocean. His writing has also appeared in Sierra, Outside, Audubon, National Wildlife, National Parks, High Country News, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

some review notes:

“Engelhard’s thought-provoking iconography explores in depth the multitude of cultural roles played by the polar bear.”—David FoxAnchorage Press

“Engelhard weaves together the disparate pieces of our eclectic social and cultural fascination with polar bears. A tapestry of images reveals our complex attachment to this Arctic icon.”—Andrew Derocher, author of Polar Bears: A Complete Guide to their Biology and Behavior

End of an Era

I am not the chair of the Antarctic Society Canterbury Branch anymore since yesterday’s AGM. My two year term is over but I am still in the committee active. I had an interesting time and could achieve some things of my vision and Antarctic interests.

At the AGM we had an interesting presentation by Marcus Arnold. His photographs are spectacular.

Click his name and have a look at his photos.



Antarctic connections to University of Canterbury

At the UC communication website was a link that caught my attention: historic documents of the first engineering lecture at UC

The link between UC and Antarctica lays in the fact that Robert Falcon Scott’s cousin was the writer of these 127 years old historic lecture notes. Robert Julian Scott also helped to found the department of engineering at UC in the 1880s. There is an interesting story behind the notes and how they found their way back to the University of Canterbury.

Image below taken from the article to illustrate the beauty of these notebooks. As lecturer of ANTA 101 and 102 courses it would be a delight to see lecture notes like these today. 🙂 The books were written by Robert Julian Scott in 1889 for the first mechanical engineering courses at the University of ...

Recovery Centre -video

On Wednesday was the premier of the video on the three year Recovery Centre:

Recovery Centre Video

We had a very lovely function at the Wigram Museum (Air Force Museum) here in Christchurch. The video is a bit longer than 8 minutes and shows what the Museum has done for us societies and museums which were homeless after the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. 38 organisations found a home for three years for their collections. The items were  assessed, cleaned, cataloged, restored, and packed. The Recovery Centre gave us all a break even when most of us worked so hard voluntarily to save our collections. We had access to workshops which will help us to look after our artifacts in the future. Many of our organisations have no new home yet, but each day we come a step closer to a new place.

The director of the museum, Therese Angelo, initiated the Recovery Centre and it is the first centre of its kind internationally. Maybe it is a model for the future when a disaster strikes of any kind to save cultural goods and help in that way to keep history alive and our knowledge of our ancestors.

After the presentation we had a discussion how we will proceed further and I think we are in the process of a new development. We want to stay in contact and hope to get further help to look properly after our collections and get trained in skills which many of us have never encountered before.

I personally was involved in two organisations. The NZ Antarctic Society had the collection there and the Lyttelton Historical Museum Society is still working on their collection and it will be stored there for the next few years until our museum is built – hopefully soon.


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Discovery Hut (2016) – historic artifacts restored would be normally be in a museum but is in the hut in the Antarctic where it survived over 100 years