HB5: Send Rachel to Antarctica!

By Rachel Villani

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Wetlands & Antarctica

Wetlands and Antarctica don't seem to have a lot in common, on the surface. One is found worldwide, a bit warmer, full of plants, and comes in a variety of flavors. The other is icy, full of penguins, and only found in the one place. But both are already feeling the impacts of climate change. Temperatures are warmer, weather is more extreme in both places. But climate change causes ice to melt (in places like in Antarctica), and causes sea level to rise (in coastal places like Louisiana's wetlands). That's a simplified version though, and there's lots of complex interactions happening on many levels.

So what can we do?

The problem is overwhelming for an individual, acting alone. That's where Homeward Bound comes in. Scientists have known about global warming/climate change for years. But leadership has been relatively slow to act especially compared with the enormity of the problem and the global action required. Homeward Bound is building a global community of 1,000 women WORLDWIDE with STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, & Medicine) backgrounds to take the lead in inspiring change and taking action on climate change around the world, together. Each year for 10 years, 100 women go through a year long intensive and collaborative leadership program, which culminates in a 3 week voyage to Antarctica. The mission is a group of women taking action for a more sustainable future, globally and together.

What is Homeward Bound, exactly?

It's a year long leadership training and collaboration initiative for women in STEMM aiming to network 1000 women over 10 years. During the training portion we will be learning valuable skills in leadership, visibility, science, and strategy.

HB says "We believe that supporting women in STEMM to significantly improve their clarity, confidence, shared vision and strategic capability, will enhance their opportunity to take up leadership roles globally, and to proactively contribute to a sustainable world, both individually and collectively."

Why Antarctica?

From the Homeward Bound Program itself: "Regions of Antarctica are showing the fastest responses to some of the global sustainability problems we currently face. Antarctica offers an unparalleled opportunity to observe first hand the influence of human activities on the environment and provide critical insights into the global-scale change required. This iconic environment has captured the imagination of leaders in the past and the expedition experience of the Antarctic component of the Homeward Bound program creates strong bonds between participants." Additionally, the stark and remote nature of the Antarctic environment presents unique opportunities for leadership, problem solving, coaching, collaboration, and reflection.

Join me on an adventure!

I'm going on an adventure with Homeward Bound 5! I'm excited to be one of the 80 women in this cohort going on this journey. By taking part in Homeward Bound I will be acquire key skills to lead my generation and the next towards a better future by learning how to be visible, speak the message to a broad audience, lead for the future, and collaborate with other amazing women in STEMM before, during, and after the program. Together we can work for the greater good.

And this is where I need your help. This experience is the chance of a lifetime and something I have dreamed of being a part of. Such experiences require huge investments of time and money to make the dream come true. The program costs ~$40k USD but with program supporters much of the cost is covered, but it is up to me to cover ~$17,000 USD for program costs, year long leadership training, the Antarctica voyage itself, insurance, and equipment. It's a huge responsibility but for a huge experience and it's worth the cost. Your donation doesn't "just" send me to Antarctica - it helps me grow as a human, as a scientist, as a leader through the yearlong training program. But your donation will also help send me to Antarctica for the final 3 week intensive portion onshore and offshore in 2020.

Any amount you can donate will help! Everyone who donates will receive a custom handwritten thank you card, possibly a small surprise, and please free to choose one of the perks!

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Team Members

Rachel Villani