Russian schools will give lessons on the Arctic in late May, Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi...

The initiative to prepare and give special ‘Arctic lessons’ at Russian schools was put forward by the Minister back in 2015. Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science supported Sergei Donskoi’s proposal and included a national lesson on ‘The Arctic: Russia’s Façade’ in the calendar of educational events for the 2016/2017 academic year.

The lesson is timed to coincide with one of the most important dates in the history of Arctic research and exploration. On May 21, 2017, it will be exactly 80 years since North Pole-1, the first Russian drifting ice expedition, was organized under the leadership of the legendary polar explorer Ivan Papanin. The success of the famous 1937 ‘Papanin drift’ marked the beginning of a new stage in Arctic research, and the information that was obtained by the first drifting ice station was of enormous value to world science.

During ‘The Arctic: Russia’s Façade’ class, schoolchildren of all ages will gain a detailed understanding of the history of Arctic development and the key figures involved, and learn why the Arctic is sometimes referred to as the planet’s ‘climate kitchen’, what colour polar bears really are, and what impact the Arctic has on the everyday lives of ordinary Russian citizens.

In accordance with a decree issued by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, May 21 will be marked as Polar Explorers’ Day in Russia. It was on this day in 1937 that the story of the North Pole high-latitude drifting ice stations began. Polar Explorers’ Day is not only a professional holiday, but also represents modern society’s respectful tribute and memorial to the conquerors of the Arctic and Antarctic. Celebrating Polar Explorers’ Day and raising public awareness of this subject will contribute to promoting popular understanding of one of the most mysterious regions of our planet and increase interest in polar careers.