Arctic Tern I is a polar expedition vessel operated by the Students on Ice Foundation, a pioneer and leader in polar education since 1999. Students on Ice was formed and is led by Geoff Green – Member of the Order of Canada, Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, and member of the international Explorers Club.


Acquired by the Students on Ice in 2009, Arctic Tern I is a unique platform for Arctic education, custom writing service science, film and media. At 47 feet and with a retractable and shoal draft keel, she is versatile, cost-effective, nimble and flexible – able to access coastal areas that are hazardous to the navigation of traditional Arctic expedition craft.

She was designed and built specifically for polar work and has been safely voyaging in high latitudes since 1995. Arctic Tern I is designed and built by the same yard behind Eric Brossier’s “Vagabond” sailing vessel that completed the first Arctic circumnavigation (via the North-East and North-West passage) in 2002. Her steel hull and full complement of modern navigation and telecommunications gear make her a tough, reliable, and safe platform for collaborative research, education and media projects.

Registered in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, Arctic Tern I is named in honour of the legendary glaciologist Dr. Fritz Koerner. Fritz was nicknamed Imiqutailaq (Arctic Tern in Inuktitut) by his Inuit friends in Grise Fjord because just like that extraordinary seabird Fritz would annually migrate from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back.

The mission for Arctic Tern I is to provide a safe, environmentally friendly, cost effective, and versatile platform for education, research and media projects in the Arctic. Between 2013 and 2018, Arctic Tern I will be on expedition in the eastern Canadian Arctic.

Students on Ice

Students on Ice is an award-winning organization offering unique educational expeditions to the Antarctic and the Arctic. Its mandate is to provide students, educators and scientists from around the world with inspiring educational opportunities at the ends of the Earth and, in doing so, help them foster a new understanding and respect for the planet.

Crew of Arctic Tern I

  • Grant Redvers

    Captain

    Grant is an RYA Ocean YachtMaster and a uniquely qualified polar sailor. He was the Captain of Arctic Tern I in 2012, 2013 and 2014. He is currently back home in New Zealand trying life on shore for a while with his wife Pascale.

    From 2006 to 2008 Grant led the Tara Arctic Expedition – an ice-locked polar drift in the schooner TARA. Echoing the 1893 Arctic voyage of Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen in 1893, the expedition had rotating complement of 20 scientists from France, Estonia, Norway, Russia and the USA. Data collected during the voyage has since been incorporated into global climate models. Grant’s book Tara Arctic: A New Zealander’s Epic Voyage (Fraser Books) was released to excellent reviews in 2010.

    Since the early 2000s, Grant has devoted himself to polar sailing and exploration. These projects have ranged from Antarctica to the Arctic and have included climbing, glaciology, science, research, natural history and adventure. Grant holds a Master’s degree in environmental science and has worked as a scientist in New Zealand and at Scott Base in Antarctica.

  • Pascale Otis

    First Mate & Communications Manager

    Her goal as a biologist is to share knowledge by making science accessible to the general public. She has participated on many expeditions to both the Arctic and Antarctic.

    Pascale Otis was the first mate and media manager onboard Arctic Tern I in 2012, 2013 and 2014. She produced a series of videos for websites, the Canadian Museum of Nature and film festivals around the world. Since “retiring” from Arctic Tern I, she now enjoys life on shore in New Zealand with her husband Grant. 

    Pascale first started working in the Polar regions in 2000, when she was a masters student at Laval University studying cold adaptations in Greater Snow Geese. After graduating, she continued her research on polar species in Antarctica before returning to Canada to study the physiological response of humans exposed to extreme environments. Her passion for adventure led her to many adventures on the seas: she spend 15 months on a sailboat that wintered on the Antarctic Peninsula (Antarctic Mission – Sedna IV, 2005-2006). Upon returning from the Ice, she then crossed the South Pacific Ocean on a smaller sailboat where she filmed and documented the impacts of environmental changes on many tropical islands.

  • Samuel Richard

    Crew & Seabird Researcher

    Samuel is a talented biologist and keen traveler. He joined Arctic Tern I in 2013 to do pelagic seabird surveys
    for the Canadian Wildlife Service, and again in 2014 as a second mate and field assistant.

    Samuel enjoys discovering new cultures and sceneries. He has been on several trips to South America, west United-State and Mexico. Passionate of outdoors sport and wild regions,
    he loves taking on new challenges. Samuel has previously done fieldwork in Biology and
    Forestry in James Bay, Temiscamingue and Les Laurentides.

  • Valentine Ribadeau Dumas

    Second Mate, Logistics & Science Manager

    After graduating with a Master’s degree in International Affairs, and after two years as an auditor for a major financial company, Valentine changed course in the direction of her true passion. For the past ten years she has been running logistics for scientific and exploratory expeditions on land and sea around the world.

    Valentine was second mate onboard Arctic Tern I in 2012 and 2013. She has contributed to other important expeditions around the world in a variety of roles: expedition logistics manager, sailing crew, and research captain at the Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS), among others.

    Valentine began exploring the Arctic as co-first-mate in Svalbard aboard a polar sailboat. She then worked as a logistics manager for an Arctic diving mission (“Deepsea Under the Pole”) in Nunavut and for the “Catlin Arctic Survey” scientific expedition. Her desire to continue assisting research in polar regions continues to grow, especially given the increasing pressures of global climate change.

  • Scott McDougall

    Program Director

    Scott is an advisor, writer, and speaker in the environmental, sustainability, social investment, and business communities. A biologist by education, Scott has devoted his career to management and marketing in the fields of environment and sustainability.

    Until 2012 when he sold the company, Scott was President and CEO of TerraChoice Group Inc., a firm specializing in sustainability certification and marketing. TerraChoice combined science and business expertise to help genuine environmental leaders build market share and accelerate progress towards sustainability.

    In recent years, Scott completed a 60+ stop speaking circuit including two tours in Australia and has been featured as an expert commentator in mass media including TV appearances on Canada AM, Business Week, CBC, CNBC, and print coverage in publications such as The New York Times, The Economist, Newsweek, Marketing Magazine, The National Post, The Gazette, USA Today, The Sacramento Bee, and Fast Company as well as the UK’s The Guardian, Daily Mail and BBC. Today, through his firm Brentwood SRI Inc., Scott helps social entrepreneurs deliver business solutions to pressing environmental, sustainability, and social challenges.

    As a sailor, Scott has completed a two-handed trans-Atlantic aboard a 30 foot, and many ocean deliveries of vessels large and small. In 2012 he was part of a two man expedition that was the first sail circumnavigation of the Manicouagan – the Eye of Québec.

  • Fritz Koerner

    Imiqutailaq

    Arctic Tern I is named in honour of the legendary glaciologist Dr. Fritz Koerner (1932-2008). It will help build on the incredible legacy of Fritz’s work, spirit and passion.

    The Inuktitut word for Arctic Tern is Imiqutailaq, a tiny seabird that, like Fritz, remarkably travels from the Arctic to the Antarctic each year, a distance of 24,000 miles round trip, which is the longest migration of any animal on the planet. The people of Grise Fiord, Nunavut gave Fritz the name “Imiqutailaq” after his many years working on the glacier behind their community. He was greatly respected by the Inuit and had a special bond with this northernmost community in Canada.

    Students on Ice is immensely indebted to Fritz, one of its founding educators, who participated in the organization’s very first Antarctic expedition and in almost every subsequent Arctic and Antarctic expedition afterwards.

    Recipient of two Polar Medals, Dr. Koerner travelled back and forth between the Arctic and Antarctic each summer and winter for over fifty years as one of the world’s leading experts on glaciers. One of his greatest gifts was his ability to inspire youth. Expedition after expedition, year after year, he inspired thousands and could ignite both laughter and learning instantaneously.

  • Geoff Green

    C.M. Founder and President, Students on Ice

    Educator, social entrepreneur and adventurer, Geoff made his first expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic in 1994.  He was profoundly inspired by these cornerstones of our global ecosystem and has since led over 120 expeditions to the polar regions, as well as we dozens of journeys to the most remote corners of Planet Earth.

    Geoff is the founder of Students on Ice, an award-winning educational program that has taken over 2,000 students, teachers, scientists, artists, musician and leaders from around the world on educational expeditions to the Arctic and the Antarctic since 1999. The goal of the pioneering project is to “pass the torch” and give the world’s youth a heightened understanding and respect for our Planet, and the inspiration, knowledge and motivation to protect it.

    Geoff has received numerous awards and recognitions including: Special Congressional Recognition from the U.S. Congress for his work with youth and the environment; Canada’s “Top 40 under 40” – an annual national event saluting Canada’s top young leaders; one of the Top 25 Transformational Canadians; and the Citation of Merit for outstanding feats of exploration and service by the prestigious Explorers Club in New York City. One of his greatest honours was being given the Inuktitut name “Pitsiulak” by the Commissioner of Nunavut Ann Hanson at a 2010 naming ceremony in the Nunavut Legislature in Iqaluit. Most recently, Geoff was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and was appointed to the Order of Canada.

Previous Expeditions

  • 2012 - Sailing to Siku, for the World Wildlife Fund

    During the summer of 2012, the Arctic Tern I supported a WWF expedition to the heart of the Arctic where summer sea ice is projected to last the longest. Scientists, journalists, and WWF experts explored the Last Ice Area — the northwest coast of Greenland and Canada’s High Arctic Islands. Along the way, they conducted research and spoke with local communities to fill in the knowledge gaps about this remote area. This 6,000 nautical mile, four month expedition was a great success!

  • 2009 - Across the North Atlantic

    During the Spring of 2009, Arctic Tern I crossed the North Atlantic Ocean on a 25-day non-stop journey from Nieuwpoort, Belgium to Sept Iles, Quebec. The crew of four included…

  • 2007/2008 - In the Wake of the Belgica

    Exactly, 110 years after Adrien de Gerlache’s famous voyage to Antarctica, Belgian polar explorer Dixie Dansercoer and his team set off to Antarctica, with Arctic Tern I following in de Gerlache’s “footsteps” and the original route he took step by step. A documentary and book tracking the journey were published.