It’s cool of the wild for teacher

PUBLISHED: 13:06 31 May 2007 | UPDATED: 15:06 12 May 2010

Ian Richardson is preparing for his trip - 2114DW5

Ian Richardson is preparing for his trip - 2114DW5

A SCIENCE teacher has started training for an expedition to Antarctica. Ian Richardson, head of biology at Freman College Buntingford, will begin training exercises in the Peak District and will also be taking part in scientific tests at Portsmouoth Unive

A SCIENCE teacher has started training for an expedition to Antarctica.

Ian Richardson, head of biology at Freman College Buntingford, will begin training exercises in the Peak District and will also be taking part in scientific tests at Portsmouoth University this week.

Mr Richardson, who was one of sixty teachers to apply for the expedition said: "We will be looking at our individual projects closely, and then we will be involved in a barrage of physiological tests."

The individual project that Mr Richardson will be looking at involves microscopic organisms that survive in Antarctica called tardigrades (water bears).

Mr Richardson added: "There is very little that can survive on the island. These organisms have eight clawed feet, and there are about three species that can't be found anywhere else. They can only be seen under a microscope."

The teachers will spend two days at the human and allied physiology laboratories of Portsmouth University where they will be exercising in freezers and immersing themselves in freezing cold water to time how long it will take to start shivering.

The tests will study how humans cope psychologically with extreme cold and the stress of expeditions.

Former research scientist Mr Richardson, who has a degree in genetics, has to raise £10,000 to fund his part of the expedition, and as a donation to the Fuchs Foundation, which has to raise £70,000 a year.

So far he has raised £5,000-6,000 which included a 70-mile sponsored walk on the Isle of Wight.

"The school children have been very supportive and are interested in what I am doing," said Mr Richardson.

"They come up and ask questions about when I'm going and what I'll be doing."

The expedition, which is to start in November, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first successful crossing of the Antarctic by Sir Vivian Fuchs.

The teachers will be heading to the glaciers of Norway in August for more intense training.

Once on the expedition they will be sending back information back through video links.

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