Martin Freeman and Kelvin Floyd work for Indigena Biosecurity International (http://www.indigena.co.nz/), an ecological management company committed to the conservation and restoration of the world’s natural areas. These two New Zealanders spent this summer working on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia in the South Atlantic.
Indigena Biosecurity International was contracted by the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) to implement a non-native plant management strategy. This involves working around the island surveying and controlling invasive plant species. They also undertook field work in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for the Darwin Initiative funded project Securing South Georgia’s native habitats. This work involved monitoring vegetation changes, sampling the soil seed bank, and assessing seed dispersal to inform native plant and habitat management.
South Georgia has an area of 3,528 square kilometres, with mountains up to 3000m and with two thirds covered in permanent ice with many glaciers ending in the sea. All work around the island is done on foot, with boats used to access the areas separated by the glaciers. Much of the time they were based out of the King Edward Point research station, which is operated by the British Antarctic Survey. To get to many more remote sites however, meant staying in small field huts or working from a working from the GSGSSI fisheries patrol vessel.
South Georgia is well known for its extreme weather, so you need to be prepared for katabatic winds strong enough to take you off your feet, snow at any time or foehn winds taking the temperature into the twenties. They approached Mike from Earth Sea Sky for some decent gear for this year’s field season. Having good quality gear is essential to keep yourselves comfortable while working somewhere it can change so quickly.
Martin and Kelvin were both thoroughly satisfied with what they received from Earth Sea Sky. The Turbo Guide softshell jacket was worn every 2 out of 3 days (for 3 months straight) in all the different weather conditions South Georgia can throw at you. They were impressed with the range of temperature and conditions that the jacket was suitable for. In addition, it was perfectly compact and could easily fit into a bag during those rare hot days. Having all those pockets was a bonus as well for keeping gloves, hats, phone, GPS unit, notebooks, and all other essentials easily accessible when working in the field.
Other Earth Sea Sky products used by Martin and Kelvin during their time in South Georgia, were the Power Wool base layers and Stealth pullover top, all of which were perfect for everyday use. Indigena Biosecurity International appreciates the products supplied by Earth Sea Sky and we are so pleased that our staff were able to have such quality gear to keep them comfortable in such extreme working conditions.