Holly’s HB update #4 July 2016

update #4       15 July 2016

Broken Head NSW Australia

Hello to all of Holly’s supporters of our Homeward Bound women in science Antarctica leadership expedition!

My fundraising campaign Women in science Changing the World https://chuffed.org/project/women-in-science-changing-the-worldclosed in early June, and I reached my target. Thank you ALL of you who helped get this campaign over the line. This campaign was bookended by donations from two of my dearest friends, Barbara Stewart and Annette McKinley. I am trying to get over feeling embarrassed about asking people like Barbara and Annette who are so much wiser and more accomplished than me for money to go to Antarctica!

Those see the value can contribute to spreading the stories and learnings from our adventure far and wide, by encouraging others who you think might be interested in this project to email me and ask to be put on the mailing list for email notifications of blogs/updates/emails/photos/videos of our trip. You could also ask people to “like” the Homeward Bound Projects facebook page but I will understand if you are completely OVER facebook and prefer to live in the real world.

In June, my partner and I travelled by four-wheel-drive vehicle to the Northern Territory of Australia. It was a wonderful trip, visiting other national parks and friends along the way, and going to a very remote part of Australia – see  Arnhem Land  story. You need a permit from the Northern Land Council to enter or stay in Arnhem Land. What an adventure!

Now back at work, the winter chill makes the heat and humidity of the top end of Australia seem like a distant memory. Antarctica seems much closer as the December departure date approaches. While I was tootling around Arnhem Land with my loved one, lots was happening on the Homeward Bound project.

A few of us, using the collaborative online working application “Slack”, had been bandying around ideas to offset the carbon emissions from our voyage to Antarctica including the ship which runs on diesel and everyone’s air travel to get to the bottom tip of South America to the town of Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina where we will join the ship to the Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea. Rather than each team member (including participants, leaders, faculty and film crew) working out how to offset their carbon emissions individually, we thought, why not collaboratively and collectively do this by planting a forest. If the tree species and location are planned strategically, the carbon offset plantings could also create habitat for threatened native fauna.

Just before I left for Arnhem Land, I attended a community workshop on increasing the area, quality and connectivity of koala habitat  in the Byron and Tweed Shire Council coastal areas. The koala populations in this area are extremely endangered due to habitat loss, road kills, domestic dogs etc. The Council efforts have been funded by a $2 million grant from the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Future Biodiversity Fund.

Speaking to Council officers and bush regenerators at the workshop, I saw a clear pathway to our Homeward Bound carbon offsets project through the Koala Connections project. Fellow HB scientist, Dr Nancy Auerbach from Sydney was quick to take up the idea and run with it. Nancy liaised with Dr Joanne Green, the Koala Connections project officer for Byron Shire Council, and obtained Homeward Bound support to represent the entire HB team in seeking grants for a Homeward Bound Forest to offset the HB team carbon emissions.

(l to r) Dr Joanne Green from Byron Shire Council, Bella from Gondwana Community where koala trees were planted 3 yrs ago, and Dr Nancy Auerbach, Homeward Bound Carbon Offsets Team Leader discuss planting strategies

Early this week, Nancy travelled to Byron and together we met with Joanne Green to kick off a strategic planning process to find a planting site which would enhance vital connectivity for local koala populations, and to apply for funding to cover the costs of both planting and maintaining the forest into the future. We visited a couple of potential sites as well as looking sites which were planted a few years ago to see how it works.

(l to r) Dr Joanne Green, local habitat restoration activist Linda Sparrow, and HB carbon offset team member Holly North at a planning meeting in Bangalow, July 2016

I also showed Nancy a Koala Connections planting on my own property at Broken Head, the Araucaria Community, which was planted in 2013. The Araucaria Community’s site has a mixture of koala food tree plantings, arranged in a “stepping stone” pattern to facilitate movement of koalas over their range, as well as a rainforest corridor on a drainage line winding through the site. Zones for Bush Regeneration (weed management to enhance natural restoration) along the edges of the adjacent vegetation patches were also included to connect the new koala tree and rainforest plantings to existing bushland. Koalas thrive in the ecotones between rainforest and eucalypt forest and use a variety of tree species for their diet and for resting and travelling around. Here’s a couple of photos from our site visits a few days ago. We even saw a koala in a red gum tree in one of the proposed planting sites at Bangalow!

Also this week, I was interviewed by a researcher from the University of Tasmania who have been funded by an external grant to conduct a longitudinal sociological study into the changes in participants in their attitudes to leadership as a result of the HB voyage and leadership program. Obviously, this week’s interview will contribute to the “before” data.

On the media front, a story about the women in science leadership program Homeward Boubnd has recently come out in the US version of Marie Claire magazine.


At work, although I’ve only been back a week, we rangers at the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service have had humpback whale strandings (common in our area during migration season), whales entangled in fishing nets, seal haulouts (this is when seals have dispersed from their birthplace and need a rest) and currently a young dolphin entrapment in an artificial lake in Ballina. So far all of the marine mammal incidents have had happy endings. (baby whale reunited with mother)

I hope you enjoyed this update, but if you find it annoying to get these rambling emails, and wish to be taken off the list, please don’t hesitate to email me and ask, I won’t be offended in the slightest! If you want to see previous updates, let me know.

DSC05873.jpgkind regards and koala kisses



Holly’s HB update #3 May 2016

Update #3   14 May 2016

Dear Holly’s HB support team,

It’s time for a monthly update. Even though Antarctica is 7 months away, we’ve all been busy doing stuff and getting ready.

I did some online shopping and bought some really warm but thin Merino wool layers from Macpac’s clearance sale in New Zealand a couple of weeks ago – the idea is to be able to combine all the layers and keep me warm in the icy south.

In late March, all HB participants were asked to complete an online questionnaire for the longitudinal study being undertaken by the University of Tasmania. The study will provide baseline data about how HB participants define leadership, why we chose to participate in HB, and any perceived barriers to accessing leadership training. The data collection will be continued during and after the voyage to Antarctica and should provide some interesting results.

The leadership training has already begun. In early April 2016 we did a Strategy Webinar called ‘Strategy Execution and Balanced Scorecard’ with Kit Jackson from the UK. Kit will accompany us on the ship as a faculty member and continue to work with us as we develop group projects.

In April, I signed up to be part of the global HB Education Outreach project team, and also have become a participant in the Canadian team’s Adopt-a-Scientist program, as one of the scientists school kids can adopt, follow and learn all about.

In early May, I completed an Emotional Intelligence MSCEIT test which is another component of the leadership training course. This training was authored by Susan David, a Harvard professor who will also be aboard the ship with us. She has just released a new book, ‘Emotional Agility’. After getting my test results a week ago, I just did a 1-hr coaching session by phone with a volunteer coach from Sydney – about using emotional intelligence in leadership development. Fascinating! This part of the HB project is funded through sponsorships and donations secured by the HB organisers, so for me it is free.

My fundraising campaign https://chuffed.org/project/women-in-science-changing-the-world is 85% of the way to reaching my target with $4235 raised of $5000 USD. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated! Thanks again to champions Donald Hartley and Karen Flagg of Growing Solutions Ecological Restoration Education Institute in Santa Barbara CA for giving me the first cheque donation  and to Barbara Stewart for kicking off the Chuffed fundraising with the first online donation.

There’s a little story behind my first ever crowdfunding campaign. Last March, I spent 2 weeks in San Diego with my mum Kay North. I spent pretty much every waking and sleeping moment with her, because I couldn’t bear to miss a minute of our time together. One evening, she had fallen asleep pretty early, holding my hand. My left hand. I was wide awake and hadn’t had a chance to get my crowdfunding campaign together yet, but had collated a lot of resources generously posted by other HB women who had already spent a lot of time and effort getting their fundraising off the ground. So all the photos and the faculty info and a lot of simple explanations of what we are trying to do were at my fingertips.

my mum Kay holding a piece of a bottle retrieved from a shipwreck in the Caribbean circa 1960


I learned how to type one-handed with my right hand (mum and I are both lefties) on an iPhone, and in just 2 hrs this funding page was done. Only a few typos to fix the next day. I intended to do a separate funding campaign – one for the US and one for Aussie friends and family, but the Chuffed people highly recommended having only one campaign website to manage, all in US $. So my apologies to Aussie friends for the higher expense of donating in US dollars.

Let me know if you don’t want to receive my email updates, haven’t received the 1st two updates (3 March 2016 and 18 April 2016), want me to use a different email address, or have a friend who would like to join the mailing list.



p.s. after a flurry of donations today, 14 May 2016, I am now only $160 away from reaching my target. Thank you!! love, Holly

Holly’s HB update #2 April 2016

Update #2  18 April 2016

Hi all

If you haven’t been there yet, check out my fundraising/awareness-raising page to see what this is all about.

Women in science changing the world Share Holly’s journey as one of 78 women scientists becoming empowered to more powerfully shape our planet&#…

So much has happened since we last corresponded. Thank you those who have donated towards my trip expenses – I am 75% of the way to reaching my target. Thank you everyone else who wants to participate in the voyage and come along with me on a journey into the unknown. If you receive this email and do not want to be on my mailing list or want me to use a different address, please let me know.

My plan is to use a WordPress blog to tell stories about what we on the Homeward Bound Project are experiencing, the good, the beautiful, the conflict, the tears and fears. I will send the WordPress blog link to everyone on this list and you can choose sign in to follow along – you will receive email notifications when there is an update. Please feel free to share, forward or pass on the blogs, the more people this reaches the merrier. Please LIKE the Homeward Bound fb page to get more info on what is going on before during and after the voyage to Antarctica.


Also the HB website has lots of info and is being constantly updated.


Under the “voyage” tab on the HB website there is an underlined “Homeward Bound 2016 Draft Itinerary”. Click on this underlined phrase to get to the ship’s planned trip in December 2016. The rest of the “Voyage” page is about the leadership and science program aims.

I just re-read the ship’s itinerary and got goosebumps!! It is a pretty standard tourist trip to Antarctica, but the detail in the description by our Expedition Leader Greg Mortimer, who worked there as a geologist years ago and has been on nearly 100 trips there since, is breathtaking. Also the way the voyage will inform the discussions and learnings about strategy and leadership sound pretty cool.

I am starting to meet some of the women who have been selected for this program, and am awed by what they do – evolutionary biologist, neurosurgeon, meteorologist, disruptive social scientist, transformational change researcher, climate scientist, psychologist, PhD candidate in the response of krill to climate change, albatross expert, astronomer, shark researcher, ecosystem modeller, science journalist, lots of environmental educators, all with inspiring stories. Eventually we will have profiles and pictures of everyone on the website. Meanwhile, one of the participants is doing this her own way, via a website called Penguin Offset. She is crocheting a penguin which suits the character of each of the participants on the voyage, and raising funds to offset the penguins we will annoy while in the Antarctic.

Kay Penguin

Check it out, there is a Kay Penguin profile for my mother Kay North! She is a Magellenic Penguin.  Penguin Offset – Homeward Bound Penguins

Penguin Offset – Homeward Bound Penguins A weekly crochet penguin representing an outstanding woman scientist destined to save the world. Help me and the…

To give you an idea of the ambitious scope of this project, here is a peak at the faculty involved in our program. In addition to the blurb below from the HB website it was confirmed last week that Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)  has been signed up as part of the global faculty. The global faculty will be filmed prior to the expedition and appear via video onboard. The onboard faculty will be with us onboard and on land in Antarctica.

The expedition will be led by Greg Mortimer OAM, who has led more than 80 expeditions to the Antarctic. Globally recognised women of influence, including Dr Jane Goodall, Primatologist and environmental activist, Franny Armstrong, one of the world’s 100 most influential women, Sylvia Earle (famous marine ecologist and celebrated activist filmed by James Cameron in Mission Blue), will be filmed for the expedition, talking directly about their journey as women of influence.

Dr Jane Goodall with my mate Sean Willmore of the Thin Green Line Foundation

Dr Justine Shaw (University of Queensland), Dr Mary-Anne Lea (IMAS, University of Tasmania) and Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas (Australian Antarctic Division) will coordinate and deliver a cutting edge science programme to participants incorporating the most up to date and relevant research about the state and functioning of our planet. Also on Board will be Dr Susan David, an internationally recognised thought leader operating at the nexus of business and psychology and a Harvard A-lister, Kit Jackson a globally recognised strategist based in the UK, together with Fabian Dattner and a team of scientific, leadership and strategic coaches. Twelve people in all, will deliver program content to change the lives of the women on board.

The major aims of Homeward Bound are to elevate each participant’s leadership capabilities, to refine their skills to design and execute strategy, and devise plans for future collaborations as women working towards a sustainable future.



Holly’s HB update #1a March 2016

Update #1a  11 March 2016

Hi all,

I am going on an expedition to Antarctica with 77 other women in science in December 2016. IMG_4532.jpgI am so proud to have Growing Solutions ecological restoration and sustainability institute in Santa Barbara, California as a partner in this amazing project to train women working in science fields around the world to step up to leadership roles and influence policy and decision-making in key areas of sustainability. I have also received sponsorship from Hartley Pale Ale, the best drop in San Diego, and have promised to wear their t-shirt on an ice floe down south.IMG_4612.jpg

If you are a woman scientist and passionate about renewable energy, managing toxic waste, teaching the next generation, networking with colleagues around the world to solve problems and influence policy makers and governance, and you would like to be part of a future Homeward Bound expedition, please have a look at the application process at


it is possible that another expedition will be run in late 2017 or early 2018. Don’t be put off by the cost, fundraising will get easier as this project gains momentum worldwide. It is already making major waves in the south of France in the wake of COP21.

You can participate in this expedition by following and contributing to discussion on our FB page at https://www.facebook.com/homewardboundprojects/

and get more details about the project at http://homewardboundprojects.com.au/http://homewardboundprojects.com.au/

here is a link to my crowdfunding page to learn more about the project and how you can participate. There is a link to my video pitch which is part of the application process. I would be eternally grateful if you can help fund my voyage into learning the skills to more effectively change human behaviour and create empathy for the conservation of our planet.


regards, Holly

Homeward Bound update #1 March 2016



Update #1  — 3 March 2016

hi friends and family!

I have a wonderful opportunity to go on a scientific expedition to Antarctica in December 2016. I would like to share this experience with as many people as possible to raise awareness of global climate change and what we can do about it.

I’ve attached a flyer about the object of the expedition which is to teach women who are already scientists leadership skills so they can more readily step up to the leadership table and have a say in decision making processes around the world. Antarctica is really only a backdrop for this – it could be held anywhere – but the lure of Antarctica has drawn out a top notch group of 78 women who are squeezing this year-long leadership course into our already busy schedules. We have meet monthly by phone hookup, by Facebook conversations and are working in group projects using cloud computing.

Already I have learned so much, and haven’t yet met one single person who will be on the voyage face to face!!

There will be a documentary film crew covering the journey and following a select few individuals in depth. There is a university in Tasmanina, Australia conducting longitudinal research on the changes to women who participate in the leadership program. Some of the faculty will be on the shop with us, and others will be filmed prior to the voyage and will appear via video link during the voyage.

This flyer asks for financial support for my trip costs, airfares, equipment  and my half of the ship hire costs. The organisers are funding the other half of the cost of the voyage and leadership training through sponsorships and donations. But I want you, if you’re interested, to share this trip with me in whatever way you want to. You don’t have to donate money, but please do let me know if you want to hear more about our trip and follow us along the way.


and please share this email and flyer with any friends you think will be interested!

right now I’ve got a 3 yr old niece and 6 yr old nephew dressing me in a tiara to send me off from Australia on my trip to San Diego to see my mother Kay and father Lowell and wife Bea! so I’d better sign off.

much love