Following a close review of 82 applications, Hurtigruten Foundation, the non-profit arm of Hurtigruten Group, has announced the recipients of its 2023 grants – 14 projects that align with its mission to fight climate change, strengthen local communities, and combat unsustainable mass tourism.
This year’s announcement marks a milestone as the Foundation distributes more than one million Norwegian Krone (approx 83,000 euros), the largest sum ever distributed in a single round, the result of its successful new fundraising campaign.
“By paying to camp in Antarctica, our guests played a pivotal role in the Foundation’s record-breaking achievement. In recognition of their contributions, we’re creating more opportunities for guests to participate in scientific research and community engagement,” says Henrik A. Lund, Hurtigruten Foundation’s Managing Director.
New Camping for Climate fundraiser
At the onset of the 2022 – 2023 Antarctica season, Hurtigruten Expeditions pledged to donate 100% of the proceeds from its Camping in Antarctica, An Amundsen Night experience to the Foundation. With an exclusive capacity of 30 spaces per voyage, this awe-inspiring chance to camp like an early explorer has proven one of the most coveted excursions across Hurtigruten Expeditions’ collection of global itineraries. “We’re putting ‘expedition cruising with a conscience’ into practice,” explained Lund.
The immersive campaign raised 371,482 euros, enabling a record number of guests to give back to the fragile places at the heart of their adventure.
“Travellers want to exercise personal responsibility for the planet through activities with real-world effects, such as Beach Clean-ups and Citizen Science projects,” continued Lund. “We’re developing new ways for guests to meaningfully participate in our Foundation’s fight to preserve nature, wildlife, and the communities in which we operate.”
Engagement with local communities and scientific research
Equipped with its largest allocation, this year the Foundation has focused on projects that protect and preserve local communities including summer camps in remote Greenland; the Cordova Chambre of Commerce’s regenerative tourism initiative; and a watch group that teaches children in the Falkland Islands about conservation. Another grant recipient, Oxen Expedition Engagement Network, which supports local perspectives and businesses in the Arctic, is working with Hurtigruten Expeditions on community tourism development. “Funding for projects such as Oxen create more opportunities for our travellers to connect with locals during their voyage,” explains Lund.
Several projects, accessible to guests through the expedition line’s Citizen Science program, have also received grants. “By providing grants for Citizen Science projects, we’re not only able to support organisations at the forefront of scientific research, but also data collection efforts by our guests,” explained Lund. Examples include Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, where scientists are conducting surveys on benthic species in the West Antarctic Peninsula; Universidad de Los Andes, which has been collecting eDNA samples with Hurtigruten Expeditions in Antarctica for the past two years; and whale conservation group, Happywhale.
“Hurtigruten voyages have proven to be excellent sources of citizen science data. We anticipate this project to use A.I. for marine science communication will enrich the experience of travellers, empower Hurtigruten guides in the field, and prove to deliver rich insights for our whale science work in polar regions,” says Ted Cheeseman, Co-founder, Happywhale.
Additionally, many grant recipients are working to protect the natural environments that Hurtigruten Norway and Hurtigruten Svalbard call home. These include the Wild Lab Project which researches endangered black-legged kittiwakes; volunteer divers’ efforts to conserve marine biodiversity; Tarevoktere (Guardians of Kelp); and a University Centre in Svalbard project studying mercury levels in reindeer, all of which are conserving Nordic coastlines. “We must minimise our footprint everywhere we go, but also want to ensure that we can bring future generations of guests to the place where Hurtigruten’s story began,” concludes Lund.
2023 Hurtigruten Foundation grant recipients:
· Association of Greenlandic Children
· Cordova Chamber of Commerce
· Falklands Conservation
· Kommuneqarfik Semersooq
· Mariuxi Prieto Pino
· Oxen Expedition Engagement Network
· Skálanes Nature and Heritage Centre
· The Kon-Tiki Museum, Thor Heyerdahl’s Research Foundation
· The University Centre in Svalbard
· Universidad de los Andes
· Universidad Nacional de Córdoba
· Wild Lab Projects