A sailing ship is ready to retrace Darwin’s steps and touch the lands he once visited under the Darwin200 project.
It is a unique endeavour by Stewart McPherson, a veteran of many BBC geographical series and discoverer of 30 new species.
This project aims to inspire future environmentalists, leaders and scientists to work towards conservation and protection of flora and fauna.
A conventional three-masted Dutch Schooner called the Oosterschelde has been selected to follow in the footsteps taken by the historic vessel, the HMS Beagle, two centuries ago. On this voyage, she will visit 32 ports across the world.
Oosterschelde will begin her two-year-long journey on Monday, 14th August, from Plymouth’s Sutton Harbour and head to the Canary Islands.
Additionally, people can send applications to be a member of the crew on these one-of-a-kind voyages between Tahiti and the Cook Islands or Cape Town and the Falklands. The ship will visit Cape Verde, Auckland, Rio, Tasmania, basically, every place Darwin went aboard the HMS Beagle.
In 1831 on Boxing Day, a young curious individual stood on the HMS Beagle and started on a journey that is still remembered by the world. The 22-year-old Charles Darwin was right about the importance of his voyage and the significance it would have for the generations to come.
Though said to suffer from imposter syndrome, thinking if he was deserving of the given opportunity, he did have the required determination and confidence needed for such a daunting task. And this precisely would be the current project’s legacy, per the founder of Darwin200.
The project will select 200 young naturalists from 200 nations who will be future leaders, driving change through their significant and unmatched contributions to the world, added the project’s founder.
Until now, 50 young naturalists have been chosen, aged between 18-25. One among them is Afonso Nascimento, son of a fisher from Fernando de Noronha, a small remote Brazilian island.
He is determined to rescue turtles in his country and has also saved thousands of them since he was a kid. All the selected naturalists will be given a chance to study in one of the 32 ports that are connected with existing conservation projects.
They will study, observe and examine specific species identified by Darwin, from spinner dolphins to carnivorous plants and report their present conditions and strategies to help them thrive.
McPherson reiterated his belief in the young minds by quoting how one of the young individuals collected £40,000 and got a peat bog, which he restored with native species while others led huge tree-planting drives. He said that passionate and environmentally sensitive youth will change the world.
Additionally, this project will engage the worldwide audience by broadcasting lectures and activities from the ship and the ports, which would be available for streaming on the Darwin200 website.
Weekly competitions will be organised with exciting prizes like sending a school class and their teachers to the Galapagos to study with Charles Darwin’s Great-Great-Granddaughter, the botanist Sarah Darwin.
The farewell celebrations of the Dutch schooner will take place in Plymouth the coming weekend, and a special event will be held at the National Marine Aquarium. The ship will begin the much-awaited voyage with a 24-member crew.
Per the Dutch captain of the schooner, Gerban Nabb, being a part of the crew will be a great way for the enthusiasts to get involved in the project.
There are no professional requirements or need for prior experience in the maritime industry for people to apply for the position, just an ability to work in a team, handle affairs efficiently onboard the ship and manage events at the 32 ports the ship docks at.
Reference: the guardian
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