The most anticipated event of the Antarctic Forum was the visit to China’s oldest Antarctic Station (constructed 1985). Named for one of China’s most incredible human achievements, the building of the Great Wall, the station has grown to 15 buildings from its original handful of structures. Returning to the station with the forum team was Director Yang, the first director of the station’s wintering over team.
Gifts presented to the Chinese station team included an Antarctic Forum banner signed by the participants, a plaque stating “Antarctic Forum, Given to the Great Wall Station” to be placed in the central conference room, a copy of “Soundings” a book about Lamont-Doherty’s Marie Tharp from the Columbia team, a violin piece played by Dan Zhu, and the choral performance by the group.
A one hour visit stretched into three as the Chinese participants celebrated with song, photographs and speeches. For a station that houses a winter team of 12, the 160 visitors from the Antarctic Forum must have seemed like a festival.
For the forum participants, the visit was a reminder of what China has invested over the last few decades in Antarctic research; their commitment to science and furthering our understanding of the Earth and its systems. While not all in the forum share a primary commitment to science, for today science and what it offers humanity was the honored topic — science and its tools for tackling the challenges facing an eco-civilization.