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The Team

Contribute and Inspire

This international team of like-minded women is conscious that they may be among the last to be able to travel over the frozen Arctic Ocean.

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Felicity Aston MBE

Felicity has spent the last 25 years exploring the polar regions. She began as a Meteorologist posted to a British Antarctic research station for a continuous period of 3 years and is now based at the National Oceanography Centre/​University of Southampton in the UK researching airborne pollutants in Arctic ice and snow.

In 2012 she became the first woman to ski across Antarctica alone, a 1744km journey that took her 59 days and earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. She has created and led many other expeditions that have championed gender equality and cultural diversity and have plugged data gaps. Among them have been record-making international women’s ski journeys to both North and South Poles. 

In 2015 she was appointed MBE for services to polar exploration and was awarded the Polar Medal for services to the Arctic and Antarctic. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London, The Explorers Club in New York and Wings World Quest.

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Sadie Whitelocks

Sadie is a British adventure travel writer and photographer based in New York and is currently on the map somewhere.

Her storytelling exploits have led her to do everything from polar plunges on both sides of the globe, to completing the World’s Toughest Mudder: a 24-hour race in Las Vegas and attending the world’s highest dinner party on the North Col of Mount Everest at 7050m – a Guinness World Record.

Published in titles including The Daily Mail, The Independent, Culture Trip, Adventure Travel Magazine, The Daily Telegraph and Evening Standard, Sadie is a member of The Explorers Club and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

countries visited
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Julie Moniere

Julie is a freelance filmmaker and wildlife camerawoman, advocating for both people and the planet. 

After living in the UK for 15 years, she now lives in France. With a degree in Biology, she has worked the last 20 years for the BBC, DisneyNature and NatGeo. Julie is specialised filming in remote and hostile environments. She has worked down in Antarctica, South Georgia, up in the Arctic and in Alaska. In 2020, she decided to walk across lake Baikal in Siberia alone and unattended. In contact with nature, in its most spectacular expression, Julie wanted to be fully connected with the world. 

Julie has the soul of an explorer and a desire to communicate strong ideas. 

Through her work and her expeditions, Julie hopes to find to find a way to reach out to people so that together they can take care of themselves and the planet. 

The BIG scientific expedition is like a dream come true. She is thrilled to be contributing to conveying a strong message about microplastic pollution as well as climate change. Julie is also very exciting to be part of the incredible team of women.

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Edel Kieran

Edel Kieran is 36 and she’s from County Monaghan in Ireland. 

For over 20 years she played Ireland’s national sports, Camogie and Gaelic football (look them up!) including many regional and All-Ireland winning seasons at county level. When she finished her playing career, she got busy in the mountains, running, skiing, rockclimbing and working on her mountain leader qualification. So far that has taken her all over Ireland, Scotland and Wales, around the French, Italian and Swiss Alps, to many summits including Toubkal and Elbrus, up the Inca Trail and down the Amazon. Her love of cold places took her north to Finnish Lapland, skiing along Sweden’s King’s Trail, across Norway’s Hardangervidda, and through the Himalayan Zanskar Gorge in winter with Felicity Aston. 

When she’s not busy adventuring, or planning, training and preparing for the next one, Edel works as a Building Surveyor, farms Dexter cattle and runs a wedding florist. 

Edel is excited about being part of an all-female team lead by Felicity, the possibility of contributing to important science and the rhythm of expedition life out on the Arctic ice.

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Dr Laura Thomas

Laura is a Chartered Psychologist with a passion for extreme environments.

Laura created and piloted a successful mental wellbeing programme for military personnel while based at DCMH Colchester that continues to be implemented to this day. She has worked with an array of senior leaders across a range of industries and provided consultation to media such as HuffPost UK and Men’s Health. She recently completed an MSc in Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics to allow her to develop psychological tools using innovative methods and technologies. During the expedition, Laura will be managing the psychological research undertaken with our University partners. 

While she is no stranger to adventuring through the mind, Laura came to adventuring across the globe a little later in life and is determined to make up for lost time. So far, she has had the pleasure of exploring places such as Ethiopia, Hawaii, Utah, and Svalbard. She previously lived in New Zealand where she strived to see as much of the unique landscape as possible. 

Laura feels extremely privileged to be part of this remarkable team of women contributing to a vital scientific cause. 

University Degrees

Andrea Fawell

Andrea is a sales and marketing director for a house building company, an industry she has been in for 35 years.

Although she loves her job and her family she is at a stage in her life where she has the capacity to focus on her lifelong ambitions and prove to the working woman that it is never too late to achieve your dreams.

Inspired by the science of the forthcoming expedition and the impacts of climate change seen first-hand during her various arctic training trips, Andrea has completed a Leading Sustainable Corporations course at the Said Business School, Oxford University and is now studying for a MSc in Sustainable Urban Development at University of Oxford. Using the privilege of her position within the housebuilding industry and the unique insight into global warming her trips afford her, Andrea intends to use this once in a lifetime opportunity for long term, life changing good

Andrea has completed the Yukon Ultra Arctic Race in 2019 and was due to ski to the North Pole in 2020 before the Covid-19 lockdown. Andrea is never happier than when she is going a very long way for a very long time under her own steam. To be combining her childhood ambition with this vital climate research is a dream come true.

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Annabel Jackson Prow

Bel works with her Sister to run her family company, providing insurance and financial advice.

After recognising the challenges that families can have working together she set up a not for profit initiative to support and promote family businesses in the UK; this has raised over £350,000 for charities that support young people. 

When not working, Annabel can usually be found being active and having adventures, and has a particular interest in human powered journeys in natural and remote environments, be it cycling over mountain ranges, summiting 4000m peaks, running the long distance paths of Europe or swimming the length of UK lakes.

UPDATE: Bel will not be joining any future ski journeys but the expedition is fortunate to continue to have her within the team as home support as well as her amazing role as chief liaison with The B.I.G. Foundation – Thanks Bel x

Charities Founded

Emma Ranger

Emma is based in Bermuda and when not exploring the reef and coastline there works in reinsurance.

Emma is passionate about the outdoors, and is a very keen skier, ski tourer and mountaineer, having climbed Mont Blanc along with other peaks in the Alps. Working in an industry focused on natural catastrophe risk Emma is aware of the impact of climate change on these events, the consequences these have on the world and why expeditions like B.I.G. are crucial for improving our understanding of the influence human emissions have on our natural world.

UPDATE: We congratulate Emma on the birth of her baby boy and although she will not be joining us on any further ski journeys, we are delighted that Emma and baby Felix will continue to be part of the team as much valued home support! x

Humans Created