12 February 2021
#AntarcticLog is a series of comics by Karen Romano Young. You can find the originals here.
Who’s reading #AntarcticLog comics? Lots of different people actually. At first I thought it was just my friends and family, but as I began to cover the work of particular scientists, it caught the attention of the science community, as well. Science communicators paid attention, and — sure enough — Antarctica worked its magic on the general population, especially teachers and their students.
I tell people that #AntarcticLog is written at the same reading level as The New York Times — about age 12-15, or the age of a high school sophomore. But the visuals in #AntarcticLog welcome not only visual learners (a lot of our screen-loving society) but younger children. (In a future post I’ll talk about why comics are such a good way to learn about — and share about — science.)
In trying to reach this wide-ranging audience, I’ve created some serial comics, sequences such as the climate activism pieces I’ve talked about in previous posts, or the coral reef series I highlighted last week. An extra fun bunch comes under the heading of Antarctic Classics. Here’s the first one:
Not every scientist who goes to Antarctica is issued Big Red — just those associated with the U.S. Antarctic Program. Before we board transport to McMurdo, Palmer, or the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Stations, we’re loaded up with appropriate gear.
For Palmer Station, I didn’t actually get bunny boots. Unlike at McMurdo and “Pole”, the emphasis at Palmer is more on keeping your feet dry, since the temperatures aren’t as extreme and we’re likely to be working on the water.
Speaking of water, you’re not allowed to make any of your own in Antarctica. So a pee bottle becomes an important piece of gear. It’s useful in the expected way, and can also help keep you warm once you fill it.
More Antarctic Classics next week. Thanks for reading — and looking — and sharing — whoever you are!