Mankato residents return from expedition to Antarctica

Julia Battern and Michael Innes are home after a two-week trip to Antarctica.
Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 8:17 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Julia Battern and Michael Innes are home after a two-week trip to Antarctica.

“All you could see was fog, and water, and ice and nothing else. I mean, I felt like I was on another planet,” Innes said.

The Mankato residents were part of an expedition organized by the 2041 Foundation which specializes in sustainability education and advocacy.

“I could hear in the background the ice just kind of shifting, and it sounded like thunder,” Battern described. “I could hear the whales blowing the air and hear them swimming around.”

Innes is an energy plant manager at Onward Energy, which paid for the trip. It selected Battern, a Mankato East High School science teacher, to accompany him.

They documented the journey through photos and videos.

(Julia Battern)

“I was being followed by a penguin at one point,” Innes mentioned.

Battern and Innes learned about how global warming is threatening the continent’s food chain and icy surfaces.

“Anything that raises the temperature in the world, and releases that ice, it’s gonna affect all of us as the sea level rises,” Innes stated.

They got home Thursday, bringing new ideas back with them.

“As humans, we love to draw political boundaries, group things and label our oceans. But really, we’re this one big planet and everything is connected,” Battern added.

Innes hopes to use what he learned to improve operations at the energy plant.

Battern has returned to the classroom and is working with the district to rewrite its science courses.

“I would love to get at least an unit written in that focuses on Antarctica, and that ecosystem, with the emphasis on whole-world connectiveness and how something so far away, actually we can impact that space, and it can have impacts on us,” Battern explained.

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