July 24, 2012 09:20 ET

Live from the Last Ice Area: An Arctic Voyage

UPERNAVIK, GREENLAND--(Marketwire - July 24, 2012) - Today, Arctic researchers and WWF staff begin a sailboat voyage that will take them to the heart of the High Arctic. Aboard a small ice-strengthened sailboat, the team will spend the next 6 weeks sailing as far north as they can: chasing the receding ice, meeting with community members along the way, and conducting research in a region that will be vital to the Arctic's future. Despite the remoteness of the region, they'll be online - documenting each aspect of the expedition in video, photos and writing at www.lasticearea.org.

The Voyage, supported by Canon Europe, will take researchers and WWF staff through the icy waters between Greenland and Canada's High Arctic. This is the Last Ice Area, where summer sea ice is projected to persist the longest in the face of a rapidly changing Arctic climate. WWF is leading research on the area and discussions about its future. The voyagers will visit communities along the way to consult on the region's future.

The Voyage will take place in three parts:

  • Upernavik to Qaanaq, Greenland (July 24-August 8)
  • Qaanaaq, Greenland, to Grise Fiord, Canada (August 8-18)
  • Grise Fiord to Pond Inlet, Canada (August 18-September 1)

Participants include a photographer whose work has won numerous wildlife photography awards, and researchers looking at the ocean's future capacity to support life, disappearing salt marsh habitats, and the tiny organisms that form the basis of marine Arctic life. Details on all participants can be found at: http://panda.org/lasticearea/bios.


"This area is will be critical for an entire ice-dependent ecosystem within a generation," said Clive Tesar, Last Ice Area lead, WWF's Global Arctic Programme. "This voyage is a unique opportunity for researchers and WWF experts to deepen the world's knowledge about this region to learn from the people that live along its fringes, and to begin a dialogue about its future."


  • Arctic Tern I is a steel 50 ft. expedition sailboat with a stainless steel hull and retractable keel to meet the risks of sailing in ice-bound areas.
  • The researchers on board will add to the knowledge of the area, looking at how the environment is changing, and what those changes may mean for the future of life in the area.
  • The expedition will stop at local communities along the route, allowing WWF to introduce the Last Ice Area project to local people, and inviting their guidance and expertise.

About the Last Ice Area

The Last Ice Area is a new WWF project designed to assess the best future management options for the area of Arctic summer sea ice projected to remain the longest. WWF is helping collate and conduct research in this area, and connecting this research to the question of how this area may best be managed in the future to the benefit of both species and people.

About WWF's Global Arctic Programme

WWF is working with its many partners - governments, business and communities - across the Arctic to combat these threats and preserve the region's rich biodiversity. The WWF Global Arctic Programme has coordinated WWF's work in the Arctic since 1992. We work through offices in six Arctic countries, with experts in circumpolar issues like governance, climate change, fisheries, oil and gas and polar bears. www.panda.org/arctic.

About WWF

WWF is creating solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature thrive. www.wwf.ca.

Contact Information

  • To arrange interviews or request more information
    Riannon John (Toronto, Canada)
    Communications Officer
    1-416-489-4567 x7228 or Mobile: 1-416-347-1894

    Sue Novotny (Ottawa, Canada)
    Communications Officer, WWF Global Arctic Programme
    1-613-232-2508 or Mobile: 1-613-406-0812