justine n nancyHomeward Bound is a pioneering leadership, strategy and science initiative for women, set against the backdrop of Antarctica. It acknowledges the effects of climate change and anthropogenic alterations of the earth system. The initiative and global movement aims to heighten the influence and impact of women with a science background in directing policy and decision-making as it shapes our planet. Launching in 2016, Homeward Bound has gathered the first 76 of a targeted 1,000 women from around the world, all with critical science backgrounds.  The women are undertaking a year-long state-of-the-art program for developing leadership and strategic capabilities to enhance scientific expertise. The inaugural program culminates in the largest-ever female expedition to Antarctica in December 2016. The science program will be led by UQ  CEED researcher Dr Justine Shaw and Dr Mary-Anne Lea from the Institute of Marine & Antarctic Studies, UTAS. CEED researcher Dr Nancy Auerbach will also be on the expedition, selected from a field of over 270 applications to participate.

The Antarctic trip will involve an intense schedule of leadership, strategy execution and global change science. The 76 expeditioners will present their own research in a symposium whilst at sea in Antarctica.  The will be encouraged to explore opportunities for collaborations and how their work can have greater impact and reach.

Dr Shaw said “It’s incredibly exciting when you look at the group of women going, the range of backgrounds and experiences, their scientific disciplines and career stages. This isn’t simply a trip to Antarctica, it’s about bringing women scientists together and exploring leadership and strategy and ultimately how we can make a change. We can’t wait to see what comes out of this voyage, the future collaborations and what it all means for science.”

The women set sail on Friday from Ushuaia for a 20 day expedition.

 justine shaw

Image 1: CEED researchers Dr Nancy Auerbach (left) and Dr Justine Shaw(right) at the launch of Homeward Bound in Ushuaia, Argentina where they will set sail on Friday 2nd of December 2016

Image 2: Dr Justine Shaw, one to the two scientists delivering the science program of the Homeward Bound Antarctic expedition in 2016

Dr Justine Shaw
Dr Justine Shaw is the Science Program Coordinator and on-board Science Faculty for Homeward Bound and Research Fellow, Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science and The University of Queensland. Justine‘s research focus is the conservation of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems and invasive species establishment in these areas of low human pressure. Justine is interested in understanding the way in which species interact with each other and their role in ecosystem function. Her research examines the role of environmental factors in influencing species abundance, distribution and occurrence. She is currently examining the risks posed by non-native species to Antarctic protected areas and the role of climatic change in conservation planning for Antarctica (http://decision-point.com.au/article/a-call-to-better-protect-antarctic-biodiversity/]). She is also quantifying human movements within Antarctica and investigating how sub-Antarctic island ecosystems respond to pest eradications to inform conservation decision making. Justine has a wide global research network, having worked in Australia, South Africa, sub-Antarctic/Antarctic and the Arctic. She has been “going south” for 19 years and is passionate about expedition science, having spent many hours in the snow, wind and rain with a pack on her back. She is subject editor for several journals and a co-founder of the Women in Polar Science Network. Through her research she hopes to further conservation of these last true wilderness areas.

Dr Nancy Auerbach
Dr Nancy Auerbach is a participant in the inaugural Homeward Bound program, Senior Project Officer in Database support for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Saving Our Species program, Adjunct Fellow at the University of Queensland Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, and Managing Editor for eBird Australia. Her passion for the natural world has led her to work in alpine, Arctic, rainforest, and desert ecosystems and her connections to the living world and interactions with the increasingly distressed biosphere have inspired her commitment to biodiversity conservation. She earned a PhD from the University of Queensland for her CEED research into prioritising management actions for conservation of threatened flora and fauna. She was compelled to participate in Homeward Bound to join other women scientists in creating an alternative future and advocates a holistic stewardship of nature and the environment over economic growth.