SHACKLETON MEDAL 2024 - The Shortlist

Following a very lively debate at the Royal Geographical Society, chaired by Sunday Times bestselling author Lewis Dartnell, our panel of judges has decided on the shortlist for this year’s Shackleton Medal for the Protection of the Polar Regions

The eight inspiring finalists include the man responsible for extraordinary images of polar bears hunting reindeer in David Attenborough’s recent BBC series, Mammals, the Sámi film actor who’s campaigned for the environment alongside Greta Thunberg, and the pioneering scientist who uses ‘bio-optics’ to analyse ice through its colours.

‘Each one of these individuals has gone above and beyond in the work they do to protect the polar regions,’ said Shackleton CEO Martin Brooks. ‘This is about leadership, grit, and consistency – the ability to make an impact in the face of overwhelming challenges.’

The international shortlist – made up of five women and three men – includes:

  • Antarctic explorer and climate scientist Felicity Aston (British)
  • The Founding Director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative in Canada – an influential network that connects indigenous conservation projects – Valérie Courtois (Canadian)
  • Sailor, adventurer and marine biologist Andreas B.Heide (Norwegian)
  • Musician, film actor and prominent environmental campaigner Ella Marie Haetta Isaksen (Sámi)
  • Polar photographer Florian Ledoux (French) 
  • Professor of ecology and evolution, specialising in penguin populations Heather Lynch (American)
  • Head of Conservation for the WWF Global Arctic Programme Martin Sommerkorn (German)
  • Glaciologist and expert in bio-optics Ximena Aguilar Vega (Mexican)

The winner of the 2024 Shackleton Medal for the Protection of the Polar Regions will be announced in early May.