WHEN Coopernook Public School students began studying their unit on Antarctica last term, they never thought they'd meet someone who had actually been to the ice continent, let alone lived and worked there.
The senior students at the school have become enthralled with their latest study unit and were treated to a special visit from local woman Narelle Campbell who has completed two 12 month stints as general manager of Australian stations in Antarctica, Mawson and Casey.
Narelle also spent a year at Macquarie Island, half way between Tasmania and Antarctica, on a similar project with the Australian Antarctic Division and advised the children that she will be returning to Antarctica in January for another stint, this time at Davis Station.
Eager hands continued to fly into the air for questions throughout Narelle's presentation that included an amazing slideshow of photos that she has taken during her time on the ice and at Macquarie.
From thousands of penguins and their adorable chicks, through to four tonne elephant seals, you could have heard a pin drop as the students sat, wide-eyed and mouths hanging open throughout Narelle's talk.
She told the children about the work she and her team do in both Antarctica and on Macquarie Island and even brought a special visitor to meet everyone.
Narelle's dog Gus is a highly trained, pest detection dog, who had been working on Macquarie Island as part of the Australian Government's rabbit culling operation.
Gus was injured in a fall on the island and has since been re-homed with Narelle in the Manning Valley.
"He's turned into such a pooch," she laughed, telling everyone that he now sleeps on the lounge and enjoys a life of leisure.
When asked if she had missed Antarctica since coming home, Narelle didn't hesitate to answer.
"No, not really, because I love coming home so much, I just love where we live," she said.