Flags of Artek, Camp Lesnoi and the Russian Geographical Society (RGS) will soon travel to Antarctica. Members of the World of Discoveries program of the Russian Geographical Society have presented the flags to polar explorers who will hoist them above Progress, the Russian Antarctic station, before the end of this year.
“Delivering Artek’s flag to Antarctica is a very important mission,” said Nikita Kuprikov, PhD, director of the Polar Initiative scientific center, who came up with the idea. “This is a place where you can only pursue science. Artek’s principles and the positive Artek movement are consistent with the main provisions of the international Antarctic Treaty. It is logical that children, future students of leading Russian universities, see these good traditions and what they should aspire to,” he added.
He spoke to children at Artek about the harsh climate in the polar areas and research conducted in the Arctic and Antarctica. “Here at Artek, children can see the state takes an interest in their advancement. A couple of years from now, they will attend my university lectures and those of my Polar Initiative colleagues. Artek was always like a different planet for me. Everything is so beautiful and well-conceived here. This is how camp should be for smart and responsible children who can take pride in belonging to Artek and being citizens of Russia,” he said.
According to Dmitry Mamadaliyev, head of the RGS expedition center and captain of drifting stations in the Arctic, participants in the camp session at Artek sponsored by the Russian Geographical Society have every opportunity to reach new goals and heights. He has been in charge of a fascinating Artek-based educational program, Young Polar Explorer, for two years and is sure “the flags which are about to travel to Antarctica will make the children proud of being involved in this project. We will help them to reach great heights.”
Nikita Kuprikov and his scientific team will set sail on the Akademik Frolov expedition ship from St. Petersburg on October 26 as part of the 63rd Russian Antarctic expedition. They plan to reach the sixth continent by the New Year and to hoist the flags at Progress, where they will engage in research for several months. In 2018, the flags will travel back to Artek to open the next RGS-sponsored session at one of the camps.
The organizers of World of Discoveries say that initiatives of this kind last longer than a 21-day Artek session: “RGS-Artek cooperation is something for the history books. Artek’s partners call the RGS session the best geography school in Russia.
Artek is a unique venue and the only children’s camp to operate a real polar station inhabited by real polar explorers. On top of that, there are meetings with travelers, speleologists, scientists, alpinists, ecologists and others, who show by their example what makes their fields so interesting. They have the latest equipment used in geodesy, ecology, geology, meteorology or climatology. The participants in the program have a chance to become skilled in using this equipment.
Every young participant in the RGS session has been presented with a unique Discoverer’s Diary based on real travelogues from the RGS archives. Children are supposed to continue writing after their famous predecessors, recording every day’s discoveries, important events, and meetings with interesting people. Sending flags to Antarctica is certainly one such significant occasion. After all, children have gained a sense of belonging to Russia’s great undertaking in Antarctica and to the accomplishments of outstanding explorers.
“It’s interesting to participate in this event. The Artek and RGS flags will travel across the world and return to Artek. I will certainly write about this in my explorer’s diary. There were many important events like this. I visited the Meteorology module, where we learned how to operate meteorological instruments. Today I can work with a computer-controlled station and measure the amount of light, humidity, temperature and pressure,” Georgy Sakharov of Stavropol said.
He has also prepared a virtual Delphi tour of Artek all by himself: “It’s the fastest and easiest option and makes it possible for people who never visited Artek, or are just planning to come here, to see Camp Lesnoi.”
“We are trying to help children discover the wondrous world of the RGS, which includes different activities. We screen the latest documentaries and popular science films about Russia, historical figures, discoveries, travels, and natural areas to enable children to learn more about our country and the RGS’ unique activities over the last 170 years. A few years from now, the participants in the RGS-sponsored sessions will grow up to become courageous captains, discoverers, prominent scientists, and civic leaders. They are the ones who will bring glory to our homeland and make a contribution to the preservation and expansion of our country’s natural, historical and cultural heritage,” head of the RGS-sponsored sessions Ivana Chaika said.