Victorian scientist to make TAKE2 pledge in Antarctica

Victorian scientist, Fern Hames is one of 76 women currently sailing to Antarctica in the largest ever all-female expedition to the frozen continent.


And while she’s there, she’ll make her TAKE2 pledge for the planet, with the Antarctic’s wondrous but fragile beauty as the backdrop.

Fern is part of a ground breaking initiative, called Homeward Bound, which aims to get more women scientists from around the world taking leadership roles in shaping our planet. The goal is to involve 1,000 women. Fern is among the first.

She works in science communications and collaboration for Victoria’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning at the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research in Heidelberg. But she calls Alexandra – or Alex – in Victoria’s north east home.

Here, she can exercise her passion for wild, natural places, skiing Lake Mountain in winter or checking out the local orchids in spring.

She loves the connections living in a small community brings and has established an environment group for young people and a local climate change action network.

Antarctica has long held a fascination for her, so much so that she plans to make her TAKE2 pledge ‘for the planet’ after she arrives at the Antarctic Peninsula. “I’ve yearned to go there - to experience the wildness, the raw and awesome beauty.

“And in recent years I’ve become increasingly interested in leadership, and the importance of considering a wide range of perspectives in decision making.

“To do this, it’s clear that women have to have a voice.

“And for wicked problems such as climate change, following patterns of the past won’t help us find innovative solutions and make the necessary changes.”

The voyage launched last week (December 1) from South America. In the days before, Fern visited three glaciers in Patagonia, which are thinning dramatically – with one, the Grey Glacier, receding at a rate of four metres a year.

Parts of Antarctica are showing some of the fastest responses to climate change in the world. Fern believes studying those changes will help better understand the impact humans are having on the climate.

She’s excited about the journey and optimistic about humanity’s capacity to turn climate change around. “I really do feel a strong sense of possibility for some extraordinary and amazing things to develop.

“Take Homeward Bound - 76 thoughtful, engaged scientists from around the world, actively working on leadership and strategy, amid the inspiring experience of Antarctica. Then add the focus of TAKE2 – it’s a pretty powerful recipe, right?!”

You can show your support to Fern and to climate change by making the pledge.