Lew Toulmin FN ’04 to speak on the exotic life of and search for Jim Thompson, the “Silk King of Thailand”

Lew Toulmin FN ’04 will speak on The Exotic Life, Mysterious Disappearance, and Massive Search for Jim Thompson, the “Silk King of Thailand” on at 6 PM May 20, 2017 at the Cosmos Club, Washington, DC.

For more information please visit: http://www.explorersclubdc.org/events/

To register and pay online for this event please visit our PayPal page.

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Gary Jobson to speak on “Sailing across the World’s Remote Regions”

Please join up Saturday April 22, 2017 at the Cosmos Club, Washington D.C and hear Gary Johnson speak on his experiences sailing and racing in some of the oceans roughest waters. For more information please visit: http://www.explorersclubdc.org/events/

To register and pay online for this event please visit our PayPal page.


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Dr. Steve Hatfill to speak on The Global Problem of Emerging Disease

Dr. Steve Hatfill  will speak on “The Global Problem of Emerging Disease” on Saturday February 25, 2017 at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC.  For details and information on how to purchase dinners please go to Events page.

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Dr. Craig Cook, FN’01 to speak on coral reef expedition

Dr. Craig Cook, FN’01 will speak on his recent coral reef expedition to the central pacific.  Details and reservation information can be found under the EVENTS section.

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ECWG General Meeting January 28, 2017 Cosmos Club

The Annual General Meeting of the ECWG was postponed until the new date of January 28th, 2017 to be held at 6:15 PM just prior to the Dinner.

ECWG Board of Directors Election

Candidates for the Class of 2019

Don Gerson FE78

Polly Penhale FN91

Michael Manyak MED92

Terry Garcia MN13


Also  a change in the Bylaws has been approved by the Board of Directors and will be voted on by the membership.  The change is as follows:

2. shall, by a vote of two-thirds of those present at a formally convened meeting of the Board, remove any member of the Board for cause. The unexcused absence by a Board member from any two formal meetings of the Board in any calendar year shall constitute cause. The unexcused absence by a Member from four other formal meetings of the Explorers Club Washington Group, including lunch and dinner meetings, during any year shall likewise constitute cause. The Chair shall have the exclusive authority to determine if any absence is excused. The Secretary shall maintain a record of all unexcused absences. Cause for any reason other than those set forth above shall be within the discretion of the Board. This amendment shall be in effect as of Feb 1, 2017 pending passage by the ECWG membership at the January 2017 members meeting.”

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Log Submissions Due December 23

If you have any news you would like published in this quarters Log please send it on to me.

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Lew Toulmin MN’04 returns from Flag Expedition to Vanuatu

Lew Toulmin, Ph.D., F.R.G.S., MN ’04 just returned from a successful Flag Expedition to the Republic of Vanuatu in the SW Pacific, where he and a team of Explorers Club members interviewed, studied and documented the previously unknown “Female Chiefs of Vanuatu.”  For 102 years anthropologists and writers had contended that there were no female chiefs in Vanuatu or the entire region of Melanesia, but the Expedition found a number of female chiefs who had never before been described in the anthropological literature.


According to Lew, “The female chiefs are concentrated on north Pentecost island in Vanuatu, and also exist on Ambae (the “real Bali Hai” – the subject of a previous Flag Expedition), Efate (the capital island), Pele island, and the Shepherd Group of islands, where an ‘Association of Female Chiefs’ actually exists.”  He explained that, “The female chiefs usually have a graded system like the male chiefs, wear chiefly insignia, go through a sacred-pig killing ceremony like the male chiefs, and earn chiefly titles.  On most islands their powers are less than the male chiefs, but on Pele and Efate there are some female chiefs who take on all the powers of the male chiefs, for a period of two to seven years.”

Lew stated that, “The highlight of the Expedition was interviewing Chief Hilda Lini, who had served in Parliament for eleven years, twice held a Ministerial portfolio, won two international peace awards, and holds eleven chiefly titles!  She is likely the highest ranking female chief in Vanuatu.”

Other members of the Flag Expedition included Michael Wyrick of the ECWG Chapter; Daniel Huang, Theresa Menders and Sophie Hollingsworth of the New York Chapter; Dalsie Baniala, the Telecom Regulator of Vanuatu; and Corey Huber, a development consultant and ex-Peace Corps Volunteer in Vanuatu.

Daniel Farber Huang.DFHuang@yahoo.

Daniel Farber Huang.DFHuang@yahoo.

After the Vanuatu Expedition, Lew went on to Thailand to try to find a missing temple cave once searched for by Jim Thompson, the legendary “Silk King of Thailand,” who himself went missing back in 1967.  Lew said that, “In 1962 Jim Thompson found and documented a temple cave in north central Thailand, with beautiful Buddha statuary dating back over 1100 years, that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC has described as ‘one of the most important in SE Asia.’  But Jim always thought that there was another temple cave nearby – this has never been found.  I haven’t found it yet, but I did get enough clues to now know that there is a second cave, that might, perhaps, be another important temple cave.  Wish me luck!”


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Log Submissions Due September 10

Please submit any news you have for our chapter to ccook@verizon.net by September 10.  This will be published in the Fall Log.

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Lew Toulmin will lead Expedition “Female Chiefs of Maewo”

ECWG member Llewellyn “Lew” Toulmin, Ph.D., F.R.G.S., MN ’04 is leading a Flag Expedition of Explorers Club members and others to the remote island of Maewo in the Republic of Vanuatu, in the southwest Pacific, in August 2016.  He and his team of Club members from various Chapters are documenting the female chiefs of Maewo.  For over 100 years scholars and anthropologists have thought and written that there were no female chiefs in all of Melanesia, but Toulmin discovered them while working for three years in the Vanuatu Prime Minister’s Office.  This Expedition is the first scientific effort to study them.  (See “Female Chiefs of Maewo” on Facebook. GoFundMe and other social media.)  IMG_4893 - Copy


Lew is also investigating and documenting the disappearance of the legendary Jim Thompson, the “Silk King of Thailand,” who vanished in 1967 in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia. He has written a massive report on the case and is giving lectures on the mystery to the Siam Society, the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, the International School of Bangkok, the International Spy Museum, the DACOR-Bacon house, and chapters of The Explorers Club.  (See www.themosttraveled.com under “New Land Adventures” for more information.)

3. Jim Thompson during WW II - lo res

While working on this project Lew found previously unpublished Thompson letters, and these led him to also pursue a lost temple cave filled with large Buddhas in central Thailand which Thompson looked for but was unable to find, and which is still unknown to spelunkers in Thailand.


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May 21, 2016 dinner talk was on recovery of Civil War submarine

Robert Neyland an underwater archaeologist, spoke on the archaeology of the Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley at the ECWG’s May 21 dinner at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C.

In August 2000, archeologists raised the H.L. Hunley from the Atlantic Ocean off Charleston, S.C.

Neyland, who has a doctorate in anthropology from Texas A&M University, was Project Director for the raising and conservation of the Hunley. He is the Head of the Underwater Archaeology Branch for the Navy’s History and Heritage Command.

He discussed the archaeology of Hunley from its discovery through recovery, excavation, and identification and reburial of the 8 crew members,   concluding with the current theories of why it was lost and the status of the ongoing conservation and analysis.

The ship had been named for her inventor, Horace Lawson Henley.

During his career Neyland has worked on a variety of shipwreck sites including:

  • a Bronze Age shipwreck in the Mediterranean
  • post-medieval wrecks in the Netherlands
  • shipwrecks in the Caribbean and North America.

As Underwater Archaeologist with the U.S. Navy he and his team also surveyed the USS Housatonic (the sloop sunk by Hunley), the Civil War shipwrecks USS Cumberland, CSS Florida, and Revolutionary War shipwrecks lost in Penobscot River, Maine.

He also studied World War 2  wrecks lost off Normandy, France, searched for Capt John Paul Jones’, Bonhomme Richard, and surveyed the lost War of 1812 fleet of Commodore Joshua Barney, which was scuttled in the Patuxent River, Maryland just days before the British burned Washington D.C.

During his career he has worked on a variety of shipwreck sites: a Bronze Age shipwreck in the Mediterranean, post-medieval wrecks in the Netherlands, and shipwrecks in the Caribbean and North America.

As an underwater archaeologist with the US Navy he and his team surveyed USS Housatonic (the sloop sunk by Hunley), Civil War shipwrecks USS Cumberland, CSS Florida, Revolutionary War shipwrecks lost in Penobscot River, Maine, WWII wrecks lost off Normandy, France, searched for Capt John Paul Jones’ Bonhomme Richard, and surveyed the lost War of 1812 fleet of Commodore Joshua Barney scuttled in the Patuxent River, Maryland just days before Washington DC was burned by the British.

The Hanley is now at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in Charleston, S.C. More information about the Hanley and visiting the Center is available on the Friends of the Huntley Web site.


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Journalist-adventurer spoke at April 16, 2016 dinner

Boyd Matson, a long-time National Geographic, journalist and adventurer, has been bitten, scratched, or pooped on, and occasionally kissed by most of the creatures found at your local zoo.

He talked about some of his adventures and misadventures at the Explorers Club Washington  Group dinner at the Cosmos Club Saturday evening, April 16, 2016.

What could go wrong? When setting up for an expedition we all make plans but then once we set our first foot outside the door, unexpected, unplanned things may start to happen. Boyd will recount details of things that have gone wrong while on the road.

What he refers to as his job, others might describe as a career spent attending summer camp for adults.

During his twenty-one years at Nat Geo he was the host for a variety of programs on both television and radio. As the host of the weekly radio show, “National Geographic Weekend,” he conducted interviews from the studio and the field, connecting with some of the greatest explorers and adventurers on the planet to transport listeners to the far corners of the world and to the hidden corners of their own backyards.

Some of these were:

  • Climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak three times.
  • Gone scuba diving in both Antarctic and Arctic waters.
  • Competed in the Marathon Des Sables” a 7-day 150-mile foot race in the Sahara.
  • Participated in New Zealand’s “Southern Traverse” endurance race.
  • Recorded rare adolescent elephant behavior in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
  • Climbed through the treacherous Khumbu Icefall.
  • Conducted the last interview with Babu Shiri Sherpa, the record- breaking mountaineer, just hours before his death on Mount Everest.

Matson’s interviews were often based on his own first hand experience traveling to some of the most exotic and isolated places on the planet as a on assignment for National Geographic. On his travels to all seven continents he has participated in high-adrenaline adventures, witnessed amazing natural history, been present for exciting discoveries in archeology and paleontology, and documented disappearing cultural traditions.

Matson also wrote about his experiences in his monthly column, “Boyd Matson Unbound” for National Geographic Traveler magazine, produced videos for National Geographic.com, and served as a spokesperson for the National Geographic Society.

Prior to hosting “National Geographic Weekend,” Matson, hosted the National Geographic Television-produced public T.V. series, “Wild
Chronicles.” He was also the longtime host of the award-winning series, “National Geographic EXPLORER.”

Before coming to National Geographic, Matson spent many years in network television news: co-anchor “World News Now” (ABC); host of “The Real Story” (CNBC); correspondent for “Real Life With Jane Pauley” (NBC); co-anchor and correspondent for “USA Today On TV”; co-anchor “Sunday Today” (NBC); and senior correspondent “Today” (NBC).

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Don Gerson gives talk on “The Four Corners Region”

Don Gerson, FE 78, gave an illustrated talk on the Four Corners of the U.S. Southwest 0n Wednesday, March 15 at Decor House, 1801 F. St. NW, Washington.

Gerson has traveled to the Four Corners area where, the borders of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet, many times over the last 30 years, the latest being this past summer.

His talk focused not only on the stunning landscapes of the immediate Four Corners area, but also on several locations in other parts of the four states.

He has always found the area, particularly the National Parks and Monuments, to be absolutely fascinating, and photographically irresistible.  This has resulted in thousands of photographs over the years, but he has pared that down to a select few which he will present along with any accompanying stories.

Several of the photos he showed are in some of the galleries linked to from the Galleries page of his Web site.


Don spent much of his career working with photo imagery techniques related to oceanography, mapping, and satellite imagery. He began as an Oceanographer for the Navy Oceanographic Office studying Arctic Sea Ice.

Don spent a cumulative 2 years in the Arctic over a 20-year period. He specialized in time-lapse photography measuring ice drift patterns. Later he worked on submarine sonar support and developed a method of tracking the Gulf Stream using satellite imagery.

He moved on to the Defense Mapping Agency and used satellite imagery to study ground topography for land operations support. In 1983 he transferred to the CIA Office of Research and Development. Here he developed imagery analysis and automated change detection. Eventually he headed the CIA’s research on Computer Vision. Retired for several years now, Don is now devoting his efforts to photography and maintains his photographic website.




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Video available on human ancestry discovery

Lee Berger, FI’13, who is an ECWG member, made headline news in September 2015 when he announced the discovery in South Africa of a new early human-like species Homo naledi.

Berger gave ECWG members and their guests a preview of all of this in his Dec. 7, 2013 talk at an ECWG dinner at the Cosmos Club in Washington.

A DVD of this talk is one of the many available from the ECWG list of videos on the ECWG Videos page.  This talk includes a great deal of information on how Berger and his colleagues discovered the fossils. Among other things, he explains why slim, woman scientists were needed for the project’s success.

The treasure trove of fossils from at least 15 skeletons around 2 million years old was the cover story for the October 2015 National Geographic Magazine and the subject of a 60 Minutes show. This exciting discovery and collaboration with many international scientists appeared as a feature story around the world including the front page of the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

It’s still being widely discussed in scientific journals and magazines.

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DVDs of past ECWG speaker presentations are available

The ECWG has been making video recordings of speakers at our Cosmos Club dinners since October 1987. DVDs of these videos are available for sale. They may be ordered from Donald Gerson FE 78 at  dgersonphoto@yahoo.com

A list of the DVDs is available on the ECWG Web site at: http://www.explorersclubdc.org/videos/


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ECWG members organizing 2017 research trip to Nikumaroro.

ECWG member Tom King FN’02 and colleagues including ECWG Vice-Chair Lonnie Schorer MN’98 and Andrew McKenna of the Rocky Mountain Chapter MN ’07 are organizing a research trip to Nikumaroro in the Phoenix Islands of Kiribati for the summer of 2017.

The research, to be carried out under the supervision of 10 to 15 experienced members of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) and other experts will be combined and coordinated with a tour of the island sponsored by Betchart Expeditions of Cupertino, California. Although the tour is firmly scheduled, King and a committee are raising funds to help cover the costs of participating specialists.

Nikumaroro, now part of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), is where TIGHAR hypothesizes that aviation pioneers Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan landed and died after their famous disappearance in 1937. In research to date, TIGHAR has found substantial evidence supporting the hypothesis, but plenty of conflicting data as well. Building on the results of a successful 2015 visit – the first-ever tourist cruise to the island, with a modest research agenda – the Betchart party plans to spend eight days on the island, investigating several specific locations on land and on the submerged coral reef slope. At the same time, the visit will give passengers the opportunity to get to know the remote, uninhabited island, famous not only for its possible Earhart connections but also for its giant coconut crabs (Birgus latro), abundant bird life, and flourishing though endangered coral reef.

While the research may uncover definitive evidence of Earhart’s presence on Nikumaroro, King does not rely on doing so. “I don’t believe that seeking ‘smoking guns’ is usually a good way to do scientific or historical research,” he says. The 2017 work will be focused on close examination of the archaeological site that may be where Earhart died, excavation of a newly discovered rock cairn that might mark Fred Noonan’s grave, and exploration of the deep reef slope using remotely operated vehicles supplied by Open ROV of Berkeley, California (http://www.openrov.com/) for possible fragments of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra.

For further information on the research and fundraising, contact Dr. King at tomking106@gmail.com.

For further information on the tour, contact Betchart Expeditions at http://www.betchartexpeditions.com/

For background:

PIPA and Nikumaroro: www.phoenixislands.org/

TIGHAR: https://tighar.org

Readings on TIGHAR’s Nikumaroro Hypothesis: Tom King’s Amelia Earhart Archaeology blog at http://ameliaearhartarchaeology.blogspot.com/, Tuesday November 10 2015.



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Recent ECWG member activities: L. Berger, R. Potts and M. Manyak

Log items, thanks to Michael Manyak, Exporers Club, Washington Group


  • Lee Berger PhD FI’13 announced the discovery in South Africa of a new early human-like species Homo naledi. The treasure trove of fossils from at least 15 skeletons around 2 million years old is the cover story for the October 2015 National Geographic Magazine and will be the subject of a 60 Minutes This exciting discovery and collaboration with many international scientists appeared as a feature story around the world including the front page of the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
  • Rick Potts MED’95 was featured in the Smithsonian Magazine elaborating on the evolution of lighter pigmented skin as man moved away from Africa and farther from the equator. Dr. Potts also was quoted in the Wall Street Journal regarding Dr. Berger’s new discoveries.
  • Michael Manyak MED’92 conducted the most highly attended course at the National Order of the Arrow national conference with over 15,000 Boy Scouts. The enrollment response to How To Become An Explorer was expanded to three separate days at the largest venue on Michigan State University campus where over 1200 were exposed to exploration and learned about The Explorers Club. Dr. Manyak also was master of ceremonies for an event at TEC headquarters about funding exploration for Eagle Scouts which featured long time National Geographic television journalist Boyd Matson MN ’03 and reality show host Creek Stewart from Fat Guys In The Woods. Dr. Manyak was the keynote speaker and shared his expedition medicine and exploration experiences for the Bluewater Yacht national sales convention in St. Michael’s, MD, and for the Florida Airports Council national meeting in Boca Raton, FL, where he joined airship expert Ron Hochstetler FN’94. Dr. Manyak’s book Lizard Bites and Street Riots was featured at signings at both events. In addition, Mike spent a week with Dr. Berger at the South African dig sites of his spectacular findings.
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ECWG Dec. 5th dinner speaker’s new book published.

This late note from our speaker for the Dec. 5,2015 dinner meeting, Chris Palmer:

“I’m excited to announce that my new book will be published this week by Rowman & Littlefield.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 9.08.27 AMIt’s called Now What, Grad? Your Path To Success After College, and it’s about what students (and the rest of us) need to do to thrive in the real world, including how to find a job, how to manage time effectively, how to network, and dozens of other life skills that are the keys to success and fulfillment both professionally and personally.
I warmly invite you to the book launch party on Tuesday, December 15 from 6:30 to 8 pm on the American University Main Campus, McKinley Building Media Innovation Laboratory, Room 100.  (Directions below)
If you can’t make it to the book launch on December 15, but are interested in the book either for yourself or as a gift for someone else, here is the link to the book on Amazon.com. And here is the video book trailer.
Chris Palmer short clip

Chris Palmer, American University

Chris Palmer, American University

 All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to fund scholarships for AU students.
I hope to see you at the event on December 15, where you can enjoy wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres. I’ll happily sign books for anyone. To RSVP, please click on this link. Thanks.
For a preview of the book, please check out this 10-part companion video series: http://soc.american.edu/NowWhatGrad  
Best, Chris
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4th annual polar film festival at NY EC headquarters: Dec. 4th and 5th

 Just a quick note following our November meeting with Bruce Molnia and Alaskan glaciers.

The 4th Annual Polar Film Festival – FREE – Dec. 4th & 5th

This event is FREE of charge thanks to the gracious support of our sponsors, Adventure Canada and the Royal Canadian Geographical Magainze.

The Explorers Club is proud to present our 4th Annual Polar Film Festival, with events on Friday evening December 4th, and all day Saturday, December 5th.

On Friday Night, John Geiger, CEO of the RCGS, will present the new film Arctic Ghost Ship, on the spectacular discovery of Sir John Franklin’s ship HMS Erebus. After the film, he will be available for Q&A, and his new book, Franklin’s Lost Ship, will be available. Friday’s reception is sponsored by The Royal Canadian Geographical Magazine.

Saturday features a full day of film screenings, with a mid-day lunch reception, and a cocktail reception preceding the evening session. Films include:

  • Pat Sutherland’s The Norse: An Arctic Mystery, followed by a Q&A
  • Luc Hardy’s Pursuit of Endurance, followed by a Q&A
  • Vice films’ Nest of Giants and Canada’s Waterless Communities, followed by a Q&A

Other films include: Pole of Cold, Arctic Adventure, Thin Ice, People of Nunatukavut, Rebel, Antarctica a Short Film, Antarctic Edge, Romance of the Far Fur Country, Films of Isabel Hutchison, and Speechless. Saturday’s Reception is sponsored by Adventure Canada.

Friday: 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Saturday: Day Session 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Evening Session 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Tickets for Friday & Saturday are FREE thanks to our gracious sponsors, Adventure Canada & Canadian Geographic Magazine. Lunch on Saturday is $35, and requires advanced reservations. This is the only charge for the festival, and is optional. Contact us at reservations@explorers.org or call us at 212.628.8383.

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A. McKenna MN’07 and L. Schorer MN’98 carry EC Flag 46 on Earhart search

Two Explorers continue the search for Amelia EarHart: Andrew McKenna, MN ’07 and Lonnie Schorer, MN ’98 carried Explorers Club Flag 46.

On June 6, 2015, a 15-member International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) Niku VIII team flew from LA to Nadi, Fiji, boarded a bus to Lautoka, loaded freight aboard the Nai’a, and sailed 1,000 miles NW to the equatorial island of Nikumaroro in the nation of Kiribati.

Flag 48 carried by Andrew McKenna MN'07 and Lonnie Schorer MN'98 Photo credit: Laurie Rubin

Flag 48 carried by Andrew McKenna MN’07 and Lonnie Schorer MN’98
Photo credit: Laurie Rubin


Land Team: search the area on the NW coast where Amelia might have bivouacked during the time her post-loss radio signals were received. Lockheed reported the plane’s right engine had to be turning over to operate the magneto for the radio. As time and tide studies confirm that her messages were sent at low tide, Amelia had to be going out to the plane on the reef at low tide and, therefore, must have camped nearby, bringing provisions ashore after each transmission. Using GPS, compasses, metal detectors, and drones, the Land Team conducted archaeological survey operations in places of interest as identified on old photography and on satellite imagery.

Dive Team: diving to a depth of 130’, set up, search, and metal detect lanes parallel to the shore NW of the Norwich City wreck to test the hypothesis that aircraft debris may have survived on reef slopes between 15’ and the first underwater cliff at 130’. Metal objects found were primarily bits of old fishing gear, encrusted in reef surfaces. Beyond 130’, reef cliffs drop off steeply.

ROV Team: investigate an anomaly at 600’, seen on 2012 side-scan sonar imagery NW of the Norwich City wreck. Unfortunately, the ROV, operable when shipped from the U.S., suffered multiple modes of failure in the field. The ROV team worked around the clock troubleshooting, replacing, and repairing many parts, but in the end without a redundant ROV, the deepwater search target could not be investigated. A makeshift ROV was lowered for a ‘Hail Mary’ pass over the area. The 170 high-definition images are currently being analyzed.

During the last onshore day of the expedition, TIGHARs coordinated with TIGHAR members and passengers aboard the Betchart Earhart expedition ship, Fiji Princess, who spent another four days on the island and carried out specific research activities (reference Dr. Tom King article).

The TIGHAR team arrived back in LA on 2 July. The investigation into the 1937 disappearance of aviators Earhart and Noonan during their around-the-world flight attempt is ongoing.

Text submitted by Lonnie Schorer, Vice Chair, ECWG



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Call for member activities: due December 10th, 2015

Call for submissions for WINTER LOG (VOLUME 48, NUMBER 1

This is a first call for submissions for the next issue of The Explorers Log, Winter 2016.

Please send your submissions to  Joe Witte, ECWG, Publicity and Web Editor

Submissions should be a maximum of 500 words, should reflect your activities and, if possible, should include two or three photographs (jpeg, 300 dpi resolution at approximately 4×6”, a 500kB file or greater). If possible, identify each Explorers Club member in any group photo shot; submit a caption with each photo, and credit the photographer if you know. The Log prints as black and white images, so either B&W or color can be sent. The text can be sent by email, as a Word .doc or as a Pages document; do not include the photographs within the text, but do include captions.

Please help by standardizing member’s name in your submissions and correcting minor style issues. As a basic guide for titles, names and designations: no comma placed between the name and membership designation (MN’75). Member’s names and designations are in boldface type in the main text (when first noted, but not in subsequent use or in photo captions or in sidebars outside of the margins.)

       Jane Smith, PhD FN’89
       John Jones, JD, PhD FI’99
       Dr. David Snowy FI’99

Please read your submission for grammatical correctness so a minimum of editorial modifications are required. Thank you for your continuing support of The Log! We look forward to seeing the news.

Thank you!

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Dec. 5 Annual black tie dinner with Chris Palmer: Confessions of a wildlife filmmaker.

ECWG logo

Washington Group

 ECWG members and guests enjoyed a lively presentation by Chris Palmer at the Annual Gala Black Tie Dinner Meeting on Dec. 5th at the Cosmos Club. 

Film producer Chris Palmer talked about stories from his  provocative and newly published memoir, Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker: The Challenges of Staying Honest in an Industry Where Ratings Are King, challenges broadcasters to raise their game.

Chris Palmer

Chris Palmer

Illustrating his remarks with compelling clips, Professor Palmer  provided a thought-provoking perspective on wildlife filmmaking. He took us behind the scenes of wildlife films, exposing an industry undermined by sensationalism, fabrication, and sometimes even animal abuse. He described how, over the course of producing many films, he became haunted by the measures sometimes taken by broadcasters and filmmakers to capture compelling images. Are filmmakers doing more harm than good by staging “money shots” to capture more dramatic footage and achieve higher ratings at the expense of the animals and truly natural behaviors? Chris Palmer’s new book is available on Amazon.com.PalmerBook

During the social hour ECWG members elected the officers for 2016.


Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 9.10.27 AMChris Palmer Chris Palmer is a professor, speaker, author, and environmental/wildlife film producer who has swum with dolphins and whales, come face-to-face with sharks and Kodiak bears, camped with wolf packs, and waded hip deep through the Everglade swamps.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 10.31.32 AMOver the past thirty years, Chris has spearheaded the production of more than 300 hours of original programming for prime time television and the giant screen IMAX film industry. His films have been broadcast on numerous channels, including the Disney Channel, TBS, Animal Planet, and PBS. His IMAX films include Whales, Wolves, Dolphins, Bears, Coral Reef Adventure, and Grand Canyon Adventure. In the course of his career, he has worked with the likes of Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Jane Fonda, Ted Turner, and Ted Danson. Chris serves as president of One World One Ocean Foundation and the MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundation, which produce and fund IMAX films on conservation issues. MacGillivray Freeman Films is the world’s largest and most successful producer of IMAX films.

ECWG Palmer Prof.Chris also serves on American University’s full time faculty as Distinguished Film Producer in Residence at the School of Communication. In 2004, he founded AU’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking, which seeks to inspire a new generation of filmmakers and media experts to produce informative, ethically sound, and entertaining creative work that makes a difference.


His new 2015 memoir, Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker: The Challenges of Staying Honest in an Industry Where Ratings Are King (Bluefield Publishing) criticizes mainstream television networks for producing wildlife films which harass animals, deceive audiences, and harm conservation efforts. Jean-Michel Cousteau called Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker “fascinating reading,” and Ted Danson described it as a “must-read for all who care about the natural world.” In the Foreword, Jane Goodall describes the book as “courageous.” Chris and his colleagues have won numerous awards, including two Emmys and an Oscar nomination. Chris has also been honored with the Frank G. Wells Award from the Environmental Media Association, and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Media at the 2009 International Wildlife Film Festival. In 2010, he was honored at the Green Globe Awards in Los Angeles with the award for Environmental Film Educator of the Decade. In 2011, he received the IWFF Wildlife Hero of the Year Award for his “determined campaign to reform the wildlife filmmaking industry,” and in 2012, he was named the recipient of the Ronald B. Tobias Award for Achievement in Science and Natural History Filmmaking Education. He received the 2014 University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching at AU, the 2015 University Film and Video Association Teaching Award, and the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Wildlife Film Festival. Chris holds a B.S. with First Class Honors in Mechanical Engineering from University College London, an M.S. in Ocean Engineering and Naval Architecture also from University College London, and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University where he was a Kennedy Scholar and received a Harkness Fellowship. Born in Hong Kong, Chris grew up in England and immigrated to the United States in 1972. He is married to Gail Shearer and is the father of three grown daughters: Kim, Christina, and Jenny. He is currently writing a book about how to be an effective father. He and Gail have endowed a scholarship for environmental film students at AU to honor Chris’s parents and to encourage the next generation of storytellers to save the planet.

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ECWG Nov 21 meeting featured Dr. Bruce Molnia on Alaska’s melting glaciers.

ECWG logo

Washington Group

Dr. Bruce Molnia FN80 showed photographs of 100+ years of changes in glaciers in Alaska at the November ECWG dinner meeting on Saturday the 21st.

Dr. Bruce Molnia & Jack Williams

Dr. Bruce Molnia FN80 & ECWG Chairman Jack Williams FN03 Photo by Curt Westergaard, MN09

 A Melting Landscape:    Using Repeat Photography to Document Alaskan Glacier and Landscape Change

    The DC Chapter of the Circumnavigator’s Club joined ECWG members at the meeting.Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 8.52.21 PMThe presentation consisted of numerous decadal and longer time-lapse images of natural features of the landscape, glaciers, and habitats that have been affected by the warming climate. Bruce Molnia documented how he had to track down the locations from which the photos taken over a 100 years ago were taken by early tourists and scientists in the 19th century, often time bush-wacking hours through undergrowth and trees that have grown in areas that were barren 100+ years ago. It documents the changes that have been taking place that may be too slow for the significance of the changes to be immediately obvious over a short period of time.

Forthcoming 2015 ECWG Dinners at the Cosmos Club: December 5.  Professor Chris Palmer, “Confessions of a wildlife filmmaker.”

Dr. Bruce Molnia FN 80

Dr. Bruce F. Molnia is the U.S. Geological Service Senior Advisor form National Civil Applications and an award-winning research geologist. He conducts glacial, marine, and coastal research with a focus on innovative uses of remotely sensed data, and the response of glaciers in Alaska, Chile, and Afghanistan to changing climate. His object is to present understandable science to the public, policy makers, the news media, and his peers. He has been awarded: the USGS Lifetime Communications Achievement Award, the Geological Society of America’s Career Achievement and Public Service awards, the International DVD Association’s Government DVD of the Year Award, and three USGS Eugene Shoemaker External Communication Awards.

ECWG Molina 2

Dr. Molnia has been studying and photographing glaciers for 50 years. For the past two decades, his focus has been on repeat photography, a technique in which a historical photograph and a modern photograph, both having the same field of view, are compared and contrasted to quantitatively and qualitatively determine their similarities and differences. Molina is using ground-based repeat photography at a number of locations in Alaska, including Glacier Bay and Kenai Fjords National Parks, western Prince William Sound, and the Juneau area, to document and understand changes to glaciers and landscapes as a result of changing climate. Since the earliest known photographs of glacier-covered Alaskan landscapes date from the early 1880s, repeat photography is useful for documenting as much as a century and a quarter of Alaskan landscape change.

Dr. Molnia is also using airborne-platform-based repeat photography throughout glacier-covered Alaska to augment ground-based assessments and to monitor change at geographic scales ranging from individual glaciers, to entire mountain ranges. Since the earliest Alaskan aerial photographs date from the late 1920s, aerial repeat photography documents kilometers of rapid glacier change. Join Bruce Molnia to examine how the use of repeat photography is systematically documenting glacier and landscape change at more than 200 locations.


Speaker for Saturday December 5 Black-tie dinner, Professor Chris Palmer, “Confessions of a wildlife filmmaker”.

Reminder:   Please make checks payable to: “ECWG”

Send Payment to Arnella Trent at: 115 Willis Street, Cambridge MD 21613  Email: arnellat@gmail.com    Mobile Phone: 301-526-0822

ECWG website: www.explorersclubdc.com

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Robert Hyman and wife Deborah Atwood help to list hummingbird on endangered list.


Honduran Emerald Hummingbird Added to U.S. Endangered Species List

Honduran Emerald hummingbird, Photo by Robert Hyman

Honduran Emerald hummingbird, Photo by Robert Hyman

Robert E. Hyman, and his wife Deborah Atwood, were recently interviewed by a reporter for Audubon Magazine regarding the approval of their petition before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Honduran Emerald Hummingbird under the Endangered Species Act (see EN, January 2009).

Hyman’s previous expeditions to Honduras have focused on the destruction of this endemic birds habitat. Both have been involved in biodiversity conservation in Honduras for more than a decade.

Courtesy: Honduran Conservation Coalition

Courtesy: Honduran Conservation Coalition

 To learn more about their efforts visit www.honduranconservationcoalition.com

The Audubon Magazine interview can be read at https://www.audubon.org/news/hope-honduran-emerald-hummingbird


The press release issued by USFWS can be seen here: http://www.fws.gov/news/ShowNews.cfm?ID=D5394B01-5056-AF00-5B9E773EBDBDA77B


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ECWG brunch meeting canceled

Washington Group

 The ECWG brunch meeting with student awardees of our successful Exploration and Field Research Grants Program




If you have RSVPed, please let Arnella know that you received this as we do not wish to inconvenience anyone.


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ECWG September 19, 2015 evening with Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, MED 81

ECWG members and guests enjoyed an evening with Dr Kathryn Sullivan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of NOAA, on Saturday the 19th (2015) at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC.

“Looking at Earth: From Astronaut Photos to Environmental Intelligence”

First American woman to walk in space.

First American woman to walk in space.

Distinguished scientist and renowned astronaut Dr. Kathryn Sullivan has made a living out of looking at Earth. As the current Under Secretary of Commerce for  Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Sullivan champions the study of our planet for the betterment of our nation and the global community. Dr. Sullivan will speak to her fascination with exploration, including the 1984 shuttle mission on which she became the first American woman to walk in space and her current work leading the nation’s premier environmental intelligence agency.

About Our Speaker:

From a Million Miles Away, a joint NASA, NOAA, & USAF project: Moon Crossing Face of Earth.

From a Million Miles Away, a joint NASA, NOAA, & USAF project: Moon Crossing Face of Earth.

Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, MED 81 oceanographer and former astronaut, is NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) first assistant secretary for environmental observation and predication (May 3, 2011). Dr. Sullivan oversees NOAA’s integrated earth observation and environmental modeling enterprise and the descriptive and predictive services that rely on this enterprise.



Dr. Sullivan previously served as NOAA’s chief scientist from 1993-1996, overseeing a wide variety of research programs. After leaving NOAA in 1996 she served as president and CEO of Ohio’s Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio, and promoted scientific education through the Battelle Center for Mathematics and Science Education Policy at the Ohio State University’s John Glenn Center for Public Affairs.

Astronaut Kathryn Sullivan during spacewalk, October, 1084.

Astronaut Kathryn Sullivan during spacewalk, October, 1084.

As an astronaut in the space shuttle program, Dr. Sullivan flew on three shuttle missions, including the mission that launched the Hubble Space Telescope. Her NASA research focus was in remote sensing, and she was the co-investigator on several innovative earth observation experiments.In 1984 Sullivan became the first American woman to walk in space.



Jason-2 satellite measures sea surface height for determining ocean circulation, sea level rise, and wave height.

Jason-2 satellite measures sea surface height for determining ocean circulation, sea level rise, and wave height.

Dr. Sullivan was appointed a member of the National Science Board in November 2004, and served on the Pew Oceans Commission, whose report, “America’s Living Oceans: Charting a Course for Sea Change” remains an important ocean policy reference. She remains active in professional organization in both the oceanographic and aerospace communities.


Dr. Sullivan earned her doctorate in geology from Dalhouise University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1978, and her bachelor of science degree in Earth sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1973. She has been honored with the National Science Board’s Public Service Award, and is a member of the Astronaut Hall of Fame and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

When:     Saturday, September 19th, 2015
Time:      6:00 – 9:00 PM
Where:   Cosmos Club
2121 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Cost:       $55 per person for set meal
RSVP:     Bill Runyon
1812 19th St.NW, Washington, DC 20009
bill.runyon@verizon.net 917 744-4210
RSVP no later than: Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Number of vegetarian meals (if any) desired _______________________________________
Organization Affiliation if other than ECWG

Number of dinners @ $55 each ______________
Enclosed is a check for $ _______ Make check payable to ECWG
No cancellations will be accepted after Tuesday evening, September 15, 2015
Forthcoming 2015 ECWG Dinners at the Cosmos Club: November 21, December 5.

Explorer Club Washington Group website:  www.explorersclubdc.com

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Historic tribute Ceremony in honor of Jim Fowler: Oct. 1, NYC, blacktie+

Historic Tribute Ceremony in Honor of Jim Fowler

As a historic organization, steeped in tradition, The Explorers Club honors Jim Fowler with our highest ceremonial event – The Tribute. In honor of this individual, who has given so much to our organization, we shall gather together at the Clubhouse in our finest regalia and offer tribute and honor to one of our own – an individual who has distinguished himself in the annals of Club history.

6:00 – 7:30 pm
All members and guests gather in the 2nd floor library for a Buffet, Dessert and Cocktails. Weather permitting, the terrace will be open.

7:30 pm
The Tributee party adjourns to the Members Lounge. Tributors remain in the 2nd floor library for a glass of brandy or port, and reading of the Rites of Passage.

7:45 – 10:00 pm
Members take their specified places along the grand stairway holding lit candles. The lights are dimmed, and the bell from the cutter Bear is rung in a slow and solemn manner. Tributors chant the name of the Tributee in unison with the bell. Jim Fowler proceeds up the stairway followed by members in order of seniority. All take seats in the Great Hall before a blazing Great Fire of Exploration. Members rise one by one, take a glass of port or brandy (or water if absolutely necessary), and give a spirited, stirring, humorous (and hopefully somewhat coherent) Tribute to one of our most beloved members.

10:00 – 10:15 pm
Tributee Fowler then rises and responds in a like fashion.

10:15 – 11:00 pm
Tributee Fowler then exits the Great Hall and leads the procession to the 2nd floor library for an adjourning beverage.

Date: October 1st, 2015

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: $65

Reservation Notes:

This event requires White / Black Tie or Native Dress, with Medals & Decorations encouraged.

To clarify, this event is open to Members Only.  The event is expected to sell out, and as such, there are no invited guests. Should there be openings, spouses of members will be given priority.

To make a reservation please emailreservations@explorers.org or call the Club at 212-628-8383 by Monday, September 28, 2015

Cancellation/”No Show” Policy:

* If a reservation is canceled after Monday, September 28th, there will be No Refund of the ticket price.
* There are no refunds for a “No Show” to a catered event.

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Call for your adventures to The Explorers Log, Fall 2015

Call for submissions for

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 9.58.49 AM

This is a first call for submissions for the next issue of The Explorers Log, Fall 2015. The submission is requested by September 15, 2015, or sooner. The approximate schedule is given below.

Please send your submissions to log@explorers.org.

or, send to Joe Witte, ECWG, who will submit to NY offices: joewittewx@yahoo.com

Submissions should be a maximum of 500 words, should reflect your chapter’s activities and, if possible, should include two or three photographs (jpeg, 300 dpi resolution at approximately 4×6”, a 500kB file or greater). If possible, identify each Explorers Club member in any group photo shot;submit a caption with each photo, and credit the photographer if you know. The Log prints as black and white images, so either B&W or color can be sent.

Please help by standardizing member’s name in your submissions and correcting minor style issues. As a basic guide for titles, names and designations:

no comma placed between the name and membership designation (MN’75). Member’s names and designations are in boldface type in the main text (when first noted, but not in subsequent use or in photo captions or in sidebars outside of the margins.)

Jane Smith, PhD FN’89
John Jones, JD, PhD FI’99
       Dr. David Snowy FI’99

Please read your submission for grammatical correctness so a minimum of editorial modifications are required. Thank you for your continuing support of The Log! We look forward to seeing the news.

The Summer issue (Volume 47, Number 2) had news from ONLY 11 of our 26 chapters; we hope for an expanded inclusion in the fall. It was mailed on schedule and has been received by most.


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ECWG Members enjoy picnic at Stephen Seager’s Virginia farm

ECWG members and their guess enjoyed a picnic on a perfect summer’s day on July 25, 2015 at the working farm of Dr. Stephen W.J. Seager, FN 95 and his wife Dora in The Plains, Va.

Dr Seager with one of his polo ponies. Photo by Patricia McGeehan

Dr Seager with one of his polo ponies. Photo by Patricia McGeeha

Some of those at the picnic on the deck overlooking the pool. Photo by Patricia McGeehan

Some of those at the picnic on the deck overlooking the pool. Photo by Patricia McGeehan

 Afterwards, ECWG Chair Jack Williams, emailed Dr. Seager his thanks:

“Dear Dr. Seager, As chair of the ECWG, I want to thank you for inviting ECWG members and their guests to your beautiful and fascinating farm on July 25.  I’m sure I’m speaking for everyone who was there when I say that your farm is the perfect setting for a delightful picnic. We especially appreciated your taking us on the hayride tour.

“One of the highlights was your explanation of the stately elm trees and your efforts to protect some of the few elms now growing in North America. Your stories of the history of the farm and its buildings help us appreciate how your land is a fascinating part of American history.

“All in all, the July 25 picnic is one of the highlights of this year’s ECWG’s activities.”


Jack Williams, Chair, ECWG



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John Lentz, FE63: 1936-2015

A celebration of the life of John W. Lentz  FE63 (May 24,1936 – January 16, 2015) was held on Sycamore Island on Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 4pm.

Lentz, JohnJohn was a member of the Washington Group of The Explorers Club for over 50 years and carried the Club’s flag on eleven expeditions.

John Lentz was one of the great figures of northern wilderness canoeing.



Lentz, John; canoeIn 1962 his party made the first modern descent of the Back River and he continued to paddle Canada’s north five decades later. John  logged twenty-one major Canadian paddling expeditions, plus two in Siberia where canoes and catamarans were employed. His river trip articles have been published in a variety of magazines, including National Geographic and The Beaver. John was a prominent participant in Washington, D.C area canoeing activities for many years, and is also a long-time member of the Sycamore Island Club. He and his wife Judy live up the hill from the Island.

John retired from U.S. Government service in 1999 to join a private financial consulting firm in the Washington, D.C., area. In October 2013, he was invited to deliver the Inaugural George Luste Lecture at The Canadian Canoe Museum. John told his wilderness paddling stories in a presentation entitled “Five Decades of Wilderness Paddling: People and Places”. This new lecture series George Luste who in 1986 inaugurated the annual Wilderness and Canoeing Symposium in Toronto, attracting upwards of 800 paddlers from all over North America. . John was born in Toronto and attended Upper Canada College.

Lentz, John; BookJohn’s book Tales from the Paddle: A Canoeist’s Memoirs of Wilderness Trips in Canada and Russia was published in 2013. John was elected a Fellow of The Explorers Club in 1963.

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Tell us what you and other ECWG members have been up to.

Tell us what you have been up to.

Please send me information about your  expeditions, honors, or other accomplishments that you want to share with your fellow explorers.   We will publish your activities  on the ECWG website on this page and submit it for publication for the Explorers Log.  Email it to Joe Witte, ECWG, public relations chair, joewittewx@yahoo.com


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ECWG annual family day summer picnic invitation: Saturday, July 25, 1-5 PM

(see later posting on the successful afternoon of the Washington DC Group Summer Picnic)

You are cordially invited to the annual family day summer picnic. This day in the country should be a terrific afternoon out, especially for families with children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

When: Saturday, July 25, 2015

Time: 1:005:00 PM

Where The working farm of Professor W.J. Seager, FN’95 and his wife Dora at  5403 0’Bannon Rd, The Plains, VA 20198

NOTE:  Members and guests must bring everything to the picnic, including all food, paper plates, cutlery, napkins, toweling, etc.

Seager's Polo Farm; Photo by Darlene Shields

Seager’s Polo Farm; Photo by Darlene Shields

This is a very special place with a covered picnic area with a grill, a swimming pool, and extensive safe grounds. On the day, there might be a hayride and if there is a polo match in the arena or on grass, everyone is invited to watch.

There is no charge to attend, and no reservations are required, although we request that you RSVP so that plans at the farm can be made on the basis of the number of people attending (please be sure to let us know about children and grandchildren).

Repeating again:  Members and guests must bring everything to the picnic, including all food, paper plates, cutlery, napkins, toweling, etc.

Also, it’s a good idea to bring a hat and suntan lotion. If you plan to swim, be sure to bring towels, etc.

Groups should coordinate transportation and food. Homemade salads and desserts are encouraged.

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 6.05.44 PMDirections:
Take I-66W from DC area. Take Exit 31, toward “The Plains/Old Tavern” Turn left on VA-245/Old Tavern Rd. In about a mile, turn left onto VA-746/Mt. Eccentric Rd. Take right onto VA-698/O’Bannon Rd., which is gravel. Follow gravel road about a mile to the farm.

The entryway to the farm with its imposing stone lions brought all the way from Ireland.

Entrance; Photo by Michael Max

Entrance; Photo by Michael Max

Enter and pass by the main house and park in the gravel parking lot in front of the barn and garage. There is also more parking beyond these buildings.

Porch; photo by Michael Max

Porch; photo by Michael Max

Covered porch area overlooking the swimming pool.

Pool; Photo by Michael Max

Pool; Photo by Michael Max

The pool is over the railing and immediately below on the patio

The grill is also under a shaded veranda.

RSVP:  ‘Jack’ Williams at:Postal: 6022 Hardwick Place, Falls Church, VA 22041-2413;   Telephone: 703-845-8293;    email: weatherjack@mac.com

In case of inclement weather, check the ECWG website for the latest updates at:


There is no rain date scheduled for the picnic.

Upcoming 2015 ECWG Saturday dinner meetings at the Cosmos Club:

Sept. 19, Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA, MED ’81.

Speakers not yet announced for Nov. 21 and Dec. 5.

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Hans-Peter Plag spoke at May monthly dinner: adapting to the future climate.

Hans-Peter Plag, Professor, Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Director of the Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA spoke about how society can prepare for the changes in our earth due to climate and global changes that are taking now taking place world wide.

ECWG Han-Peter Plag 2

His talk was entitled: “Preparing for a Journey into the Unknown: The Transition to the Post-Holocene.”

Some scientists propose that we call this new period the “Anthropocene”, geologic chronological term that begins when human activities have had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems. See Science: 3 April, 2015,Vol 348, Issue 6239, p38-39.

Since the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago the earth has experienced a  period of exceptionally stable climate favoring our transition from hunters and gathers to agriculture. This relatively warm period is known as the Holocene epoch.  During the last 6,000 years there has been very little change in the amount of water locked up as ice on Greenland and Antarctica so the sea level has been exceptionally stable, allowing humanity to build permanent settlements in coastal areas and, in particular, river deltas and utilize the many benefits of these areas.

Fema-Surge Sandy with textHowever in the past 100 years as world temperatures have warmed ice shelf melt from Greenland and Antarctica have increased sea levels on average 8 inches world wide. Flood damage from Hurricane Sandy was enhanced compared to what it might have been 100 years ago because of today’s higher ocean level.

In the past couple of hundred years humanity has introduced extreme and rapid changes in the coupled human-environmental system: increased CO2 and CH4 into the atmosphere, land clearing practices, agricultural practices, soil erosion, etc.

Prof. Plat argues these changes have pushed us out of the Holocene into a Post-Holocene, or Anthropocene (from Greek anthropos: human being).

In the Post-Holocene, Earth will be a planet unknown to humanity. Our inevitable journey to the unknown new Earth may turn out to be the greatest challenge  humanity has to face since the super-eruption of Toba about 75,000 years ago, estimated to have caused a 10 year long winter worldwide.  Fundamental changes of our way to interact with the Earth’s life-support system are needed to make this journey less threatening for modern society.

Prof. Plag is also Editor-in-Chief: Journal of Physics and Chemistry of the Earth. His column, “On the Edge”,  can be found at http://www.mari.odu.edu/people/hpplag/my_column.php                                                    the MARI site is here:  http://www.mari.odu.edu/                                                                   and his bio is here:  http://www.mari.odu.edu/people/hpplag/

Saturday, May 16th, 2015: 6-9 PM

“Preparing for a Journey into the Unknown: The Transition to the Post-Holocene”

Please reserve  ____  places for

Name _____________Guest name(s)_____________________________       Number of vegetarian meals (if any) desired __________________________ Organization Affiliation if other than ECWG  _________________________

Number of dinners @ $55 each ____________  

Enclosed is a check for $  _______________ (Make check payable to “ECWG”)

Send form and payment to:

Arnella Trent, 115 Willis Street, Cambridge, MD  21613-1618     Phone: 301-526-0822, Arnellat@gmail.com

No cancellations will be accepted after Tuesday evening, May 12, 2015

The next ECWG event will be the summer picnic, date to be announced soon.   Forthcoming 2015 ECWG Dinners at the Cosmos Club:                                             September. 19 (NOAA’s Kathy Sullivan),   November 21,  and December 5.

ECWG website: www.explorersclubdc.com

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Memorial service for Richard R. Randall FE’79: April 11, 2015

Richard R. Randal FE’79 passed away on March 14th, 2015 at the age of 89.   Dick was on our ECWG Steering Committee for 10 years (1998-2007) and Chair of our Education Committee for nine of those years.

A memorial service was held at 11:00 AM on April the 11th, 2015 at the Cleveland Congregational Church, 3400 Lowell  Street, NW, Washington, DC. where Dick was a member for 40 years.

Dr. Randall was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and four Battle Stars for his service in WWII in Europe. He received his PhD in geography from Clark University in 1955 and was a Fulbright scholar.

After a few years with the Central Intelligence Agency he became the Washington representative for Rand McNally and Company. There he designed the first series of maps showing the world’s ocean and water bodies in Rand’s major atlas: the Cosmopolitan Atlas.

From 1973 to his retirement in 1993 he worked as Geographer, Defense Mapping Agency (now the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency). He served as the Executive Secretary for the US Board on Geographic Names.

In 2001 Dr. Randall published “Place Names: How They Define the World and More.”Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 9.10.58 PM

"He demonstrated how place names have become 
essential elements of our everyday vocabulary, and are 
ingredients of music and literature. He explored the 
political importance of place names in military and 
diplomatic matters and described various disputed and 
controversial location names. A section is devoted to   his work on the importance of identifying and naming undersea features"  (AAG).

Dr. Randall remained an active member of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, the American Geographical Society, the Association of American Geographers, the Cosmos Club, and the Explorers Club.

Mt. Randall, Antarctica, named after Richard Randall.

Mt. Randall, Antarctica,
named after Richard Rainier Randall.

His middle name, Rainier, came from his relative Admiral Peter Rainier, after whom Mount Rainier was named.  One year after his retirement the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names named a 3,000 meter mountain on the southern most continent Mount Randall in recognition of his contributions to geographic names worldwide.




Dick Randall will be remembered for his passion for singing in the Cleveland Park Congregational Church Choir as well as high his contributions to the Association American Geographers Careers in Geography program.

AAG:   http://news.aag.org/2015/03/in-memoriam-richard-r-randall/

Washington Post: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/washingtonpost/obituary.aspx?pid=174509229


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ECWG April talk on explorers’ discovery of WW II remains on Pacific island


Harry Brooks  and Jack Williams.  Photo by Darlene  Shields.

Harry Brooks MED93 and Jack Williams FN98.                Photo by Darlene Shields.

Harry Brooks, MED93-Sweeney  award, presented a talk “From Butaritari’s Coral Reefs to Arlington Cemetary ”  on April 11 ECWG dinner at the Cosmos Club. It centered on his group finding the WWII remains of an American Marine on Butaritari, an island in the western Pacific Ocean. The discovery led to the recovery and return the remains of  19 US Marines.

Harry Brooks, MED93-Sweeney; Dr. Thorn Winter, MN89; Susan Davis, MN 90; DR. Joe Rude, MN83 with TEC Butaritari Flag 146

Harry Brooks, MED93-Sweeney; Dr. Thorn Winter, MN89; Susan Davis, MN 90; DR. Joe Rude, MN83 with TEC Butaritari Flag 146


Brooks has carried The Explorers Club Flag on eight expeditions, including expeditions to Papua New Guinea, Roatan, Belize, the Tarawa Atoll, Midway Atoll, and Butaritari Atoll.

Although unplanned, Brook’s expedition to Butaritari discovered a skeleton that eventually resulted in the recovery of 11 US Marine Raiders, missing since 1942.

The Marines were killed during the Second Marine Raider Battalion’s raid on the island, which was then known as Makin Island.

The Marines’ remains were interred at Arlington Cemetery August 2001. For this, Harry was made an Honorary Marine

In addition to the Butaritari’ expedition,  Brooks has carried TEC Flags to Papaua New Guinea (entomology samples for the University of Georgia); Roatan Honduras (coral reef & fish survey); Belize (reef fish survey); Tarawa Atoll (coral reef survey); Midway Atoll (coral reef survey); Bonaire (survey of the Mary Bohn); Easter Island (search for Dutch founder’s anchor; ; and two ethno diversity and biodiversity studies in the Peruvian Amazon (one with 11 Atlanta area students).

Although unplanned, Harry’s expedition to Butaritari discovered a skeleton that eventually resulted in the recovery of 11 US Marine Raiders, missing since 1942. The Marines were brought home and interned in Arlington Cemetery in August 2001.

The Marines were brought home and interned in Arlington National Cemetery in August 2001.

Brooks was elected a Fellow of The Explorers Club in 1993. in addition to being  a Sweeney Medalist, he has served The Explorers Club as a Director for 6 years, the Atlanta Chapter Chair for 4 years, , and chair of several committees including Flag & Honors, Legal, Nominating, and Membership. He was also the assistant treasurer and the Club Ombudsman. e currently  serves on Flags &Honors Committee.

After graduating from the University of South Carolina, Brooks joined the U. S. Marine Corps where he served as a Naval Flight Officer flying the F4 Phantom. After 7 years in the Marines Brooks served in the Air National Guard where he flew the RF4C and the F105G Wild Weasel.

While attending law school at night, Brooks began his career at International Loss Management as an air safety investigator and aviation claims adjuster. He has investigated over 5,000 aviation accidents and incidents. Harry has spoken to many aviation insurance and air safety groups, including the NTSB, the FAA and the Aviation Insurance Association (among others). He has consulted with major law firms and testified as a pilot expert.

In addition to his finance and law degrees, our speaker has graduated from several military schools including Marine Corps Air Combat School, the Navy Air Intelligence School, USAF Fighter Weapons, USAF Electronic Warfare and the Air Force Flying Safety Course at the University of Souther California.

Harry with Dr. Hayes Wilson submerged in Midway Atoll; EC Flag 146

Harry with Dr. Hayes Wilson submerged in Midway Atoll; EC Flag 146He  is an active commercial pilot and advanced scuba diver. He lives in Norcross, GA with his wife, Leslie.

Forthcoming 2015 ECWG Cosmos Club Dinners are:

May 16, 2015: Dr.Hans-Peter Plag: Accommodating to impacts of climate change.

September. 19 – Kathy Sullivan,Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator

The date for the June picnic at Virginia farm of Dr. Stephen Seagar

Speakers for November 21, and December 5 not yet confirmed.
_____________________________________________Tickets, other details about the April 11, 2015 dinner
Time: 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Location: The Cosmos Club, 2121 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20008
Cost: $55 per person for set meal.
RSVP by Tuesday, April 7, 2015.  Please contact Arnella Trent at:

Postal: 115 Willis Street; Cambridge, MD 21613-1618

Telephone: 301.526.0822

email: Arnellat@gmail.com
Reservations for Saturday, April 11, 2015

Please reserve ______places for

Title of Talk Flag 146: Butaritari Coral Reef Survey & Bringing Home the Marine Raiders

If you are reserving by mail please complete the form below and mail it to Ms Trent:

Your name _______________________________________________________

Guest name(s) ____________________________________________________

Number of vegetarian meals (if any) desired _____________________________

Organization Affiliation if other than ECWG ______________________________

Number of dinners @ $55 each ______________

Enclosed is a check for $___________ payable to ECWG

No cancellations will be accepted after noon, Tuesday, April 7, 2015

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Are Americans risk takers?

Outside events of possible interest:

Zocalo Public Square thinks some ECWG members might be interested in free event about risk taking.

Are Americans risk takers? Do Americans really possess a propensity for risk? What explains it, and how does it differ from that of other nations?

Jack Hitt (Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character) will moderate a panel composed of Arturo O’Farrill (Grammy winning jazz pianist), Holly Morris (Adventure Divas) and Magen McArdle (The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success).

Tuesday, March 31, 2015, 6:30 PM

National Museum of American History,  14th St. and Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC

Make a reservation at: www.whatitmeanstobeamerican.org

Zocalo Public Square: a Arizona State University affiliate, not-for-profit, ideas exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.


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Craig Cook, MD MN’01 helps construct a coral table in Belize.

Member’s Activities: Craig Cook, MD MN’01, presented a talk, Breathold Diving Physiology, to a group of Boston University Marine Scientists and graduate students at Calabash Marine Laboratory, Blackbird Cay, Belize. While there he participated in the construction of a coral table that will be used to study resilience and growth of selected coral species.

Newly constructed coral table with growing coral fragments. In six months these specimens will be replanted on another section of reef. Photo Copyright Craig Cook

Newly constructed coral table with growing coral fragments. In six months these specimens will be replanted on another section of reef. Photo Copyright Craig Cook


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Curt Westergard MN’10 participates at Smithsonian’s Hazy Center

Curt Westergard's Aerostat Balloon at Smithsonian Hazy Center for NASA TV's STEM 30 education program. Photo by Curt Westergard.

Curt Westergard’s Aerostat Balloon (upper left) at Smithsonian Hazy Center for NASA TV’s STEM 30 education program. Photo by Curt Westergard.

Member’s Activities:  Curt Westergard MN’10

As part of the STEM 30 education program for NASA TV Curt Westergard displayed his company’s aerostat balloon inside the Smithsonian Institute’s Air and Space Museum  (Hazy Center, Dulles) for two days.

Curt commented: “History surely repeats itself since  we  had a 7ft drone mounted as an experimental payload to safely  test Lost Link navigation  scenarios.So much like the  Curtis Sparrow bi-planes that the Airship  Macon  used to release  85 years earlier.”

Mouse around  on this  interactive 360 degree aerial panorama:

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Circumnavigators invite ECWG members to event

The Circumnavigators are inviting members of the Explorers Club Washington Group to its annual black tie dinner at the Cosmos Club on Saturday, April 11.

The link below to “Magellan Event RSVP Flyer” takes you to a PDF file with all of the information and a mail-in form to use for signing up.

Magellan Event RSVP Flyer

Samuel Watson of  the Circumnavigators says that the invitation to ECWG members is to the black-tie dinner only. The Friday reception. which is also listed on the flyer, is for Circumnavigators only.

For the past few years the ECWG has been inviting the Circumnavigators to one of our dinners at the Cosmos Club each year.

More information is available from Samuel Watson at: Samuelwatson3@verizon.net

or telephone:  202-297-6273


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Women mapping the world conference at The Library of Congress

Explore the role of women in the evolution of mapping and use of maps by women by some of the leading experts in the field including Tanya Atwater, Annette Krygiel, Roberta Lenczowski, Letitia Long, Janice Monk, Kathleen Smith and Judith Tyner.

Conference will be at The Library of Congress on Friday, March 27th and Saturday, March 28th.  A special tour of the extraordinary collection of the Geography and Map Division will take place on Saturday.

Conference schedule is here: conference schedule

Registration is limited; please RSVP by March 20th for the event:






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ECWG explorers and guests gather at an informal Saturday brunch on March 14, 2015

EGWG members and their guests met their fellow explorers, including some of the ECWG’s most experienced explorers, at an informal brunch on Saturday, March 14, at the National Press Club’s (NPC) Fourth Estate restaurant.


The experienced explorers spoke briefly and answer questions:

  • Lee Talbot MED ’57 and Marty Talbot FN ’04, who are both winners of major Explorers Club honors. Lee received the 2009 Explorers Medal for his “extraordinary contributions to exploration, scientific research and human welfare.” His wife, Marty received the Explorers Club’s 2013 Lowell Thomas Award as “a pioneering conservationist for her 56-year dedication to ecological research in more than 60 countries on four continents.”


  • Craig Cook, MN ’01, is a physician who is involved in undersea exploration and undersea medicine. As a physician he is especially interested in the mechanisms of decompression sickness and its treatment in remote locations. He has been an active diver for more than 40 years and is a diving instructor for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).


  • Sarah Yeomans, FN 07, is an archaeologist specializing in the Imperial period of the Roman Empire with a particular emphasis on religions and ancient science. She is a faculty member in the department of Religious Studies at West Virginia University, and is also the Director of Educational Programs at the Biblical Archaeology Society in Washington, D.C. She has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Israel, Italy, Turkey, France and England and has worked on several television and film productions.

This informal question and answer session around the table was attended by nearly 2 dozen people.  The event was quite successful and similar events will be planned in the near future.



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Former ECWG chair spoke on “The Liberation of Dachau”

Alan Lukens, ME 78, spoke on “The Liberation of Dachau, a Major Event in My Career” at noon Tuesday, March 17 at the DACOR. Ringgold-Carroll House, 1801 F St NW, Washington, DC 20006

Lukens was ECWG Chair in 2003 and 2004.

He says: “Near the close of WWII in Europe, I took part in the liberation of Dachau in April 1945 as a member of the Army’s 20th Armored Division, which was at different times part of the 1st, 3rd, and 7th Armies, having also served in the 10th Mountain Division.

“The stark contrast between the treatment meted out to the survivors with the lush lifestyle of the Nazi camp guards left us with no illusions.

“I returned to Dachau in 1995, 2005, and 2010 and plan to attend this year’s 70th anniversary as one of the representatives of the American troops who took part in the liberation in 1954.”  He also hopes to meet some of the survivers again.

In his March 17 talk Lukens will also discuss other aspects of his international diplomatic career following the war.

In 1951 Lukens joined the U.S. Foreign Service and served in many countries around the world before retiring in 1987. Hi  list of service accomplishments includes serving as were: U.S.  Representative to four African independences in 1960, as Director of Iberian Affairs  at the Department of State during the Portuguese revolution, and as Consul general in Cape Town during the South African apartheid era.

He attended Princeton University 1942-1943 before, as he puts it, “taking a study break for the war.” He graduated in 1948 Cum Laude from the Woodrow Wilson School. He followed that with studies at the Sorbonne and the University of Madrid.

Jack Williams FN’98 and Alan Lukens ME’78.  Photo by Darlene Shields.

Jack Williams FN’98 and Alan Lukens ME’78. Photo by Darlene Shields.

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2 Tables set aside for ECWG members at ECAD

Arrangements have been made for two tables at this year’s Explorers Club Annual Dinner, March 21st, Saturday evening, for ECWG members who’d like to be together when the ECWG’s long-time treasurer Bruce Blanchard, MN 78, receives the Edward C. Sweeney Memorial Medal.

 To request a seat or seats at one of the ECWG tables you should call the EC’s main New York City number, 212-628-8383, and tell the person who answers that you want to sit at one of at one of the two tables set aside for the Explorers Club Washington Group.

 These tables are for those who purchase “Explorer” tickets  for $375.

 Former ECWG Chair Julius “Jay” Kaplan, MN 01, who arranged for the ECWG tables, says if you have already reserved a seat or seats you should call the EC main number and tell the person who answers what you want.

 If that person isn’t able to help you, Jay suggests that you ask to speak with Will Roseman, the Executive Director, with whom Jay made the arrangements for the tables. 

 Since each table holds only 10 people the ECWG tables could quickly fill up. Calling sooner rather than later would be a good idea.

 All the details about this year’s ECAD  (at NYC American Museum of Natural History) and the full 3 day weekend event:

 Come join us to honor our own Bruce Blanchard, MN ’78 as he receives the Sweeney Medal.

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News briefs, 1st Quarter 2015

Tell us what you have been up to.

Please send me information about your  expeditions, honors, or other accomplishments that you want to share with your fellow explorers.   We will publish your activities  on the ECWG website on this page and submit it for publication for the Explorers Log.  Email it to Joe Witte, ECWG, public relations chair, joewittewx@yahoo.com

Michael Manyak, MED 92, appeared on a television show, a radio show, and gave a talk in California about health and security issues for travelers. These were related to the

Dr. Michael Manyak

Dr. Michael Manyak

release of the book Lizard Bites and Street Riots co-authored by him along with Dr. Joyce Johnson FN 03 and Warren Young about that topic. His talk was  for the Southern California Explorers Club chapter.  at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. It was entitled Travel Health and Security: Key Points To Keep You Safe and was followed by a book signing.

Dr. Manyak was the guest of Rudy Maxa on “Rudy Maxa’s World,” the country’s most widely syndicated travel radio show, where he discussed travel health and security pitfalls and the book. He also appeared on the Washington DC NBC News affiliate show “Let’s Talk Live” to discuss health and security issues for travelers.

On Feb. 28 Dr. Manyak discussed his book, using stories from some of his many expeditions to illustrate a few of the medical issues that explorers sometimes encounter and how to prepare for them.


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Memorial service for Robert H. Simpson held on Feb. 19, 2015

A memorial service for Robert H. (Bob) Simpson, FE 79, who died on Dec, 19, 2014, was held on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 at the Foundry Methodist Church in Washington. Dr. Simpson was 102 years old when he died. To the public he was best-known as the “Simpson” in the categories 1 to 5 scale of hurricane strength. To atmospheric scientists and weather forecasters  he was a towering figure in the history of hurricane research and forecasting.On March 8, 2014 the ECWG held a luncheon at the Cosmos Club honoring Dr. Simpson. The Sunday, Dec. 12, 2014 Washington Post has an informative obituary on Dr Simpson.

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Sign up for ECWG Feb. 28 dinner talk on travel health, security

Dr. Michael J. Manyak, MED 92, who is a physician specializing in urology and expedition medicine, will speak on “Travel Health and Security: Key Points to Keep You Safe” at the ECWG’s Feb. 28, 2015, dinner at the Cosmos Club.

A cocktail hour will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner at 7  p.m. Dr. Manyak will speak after dinner. More on Dr. Manyak and his talk.

The Cosmos Club is at 2121 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20008.

The cost for the dinner is $55 per meal and vegetarian meals are available. If you want to attend you should contact Arnella Trent by noon, Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015 via  U. S. Mail: 15 Willis Street; Cambridge, MD 21613-1618,Telephone:: 301.526.0822, or email: arnellat@gmail.com

She needs the information below:

  • Reservations for Saturday, February 28, 2015
  • Please reserve ______places for
  • Key Points to Keep You Safe, ” Speaker: Michael Manyak
  • Your name     _______________________________________________________
  • Guest name(s)     _______________________________________________________


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The 2015 ECWG Board of Directors

The photo below shows members of the Explorers Club Washington Group Board of Directors who attended the January 21 Board meeting in the National Geographic Society building in Washington.

The ECWG Web site Our Organization page lists the 2015 officers that the Board elected at this meeting. This page also lists all of the current members of the Board.

At desk, from left: Bruce Blanchard, treasurer, Jack Williams, chair, Bill Runyon, secretary, Lee Talbot; sanding from left; Cindy Steuart, Mike Manyak, Arnella Trent, Carole Baker, Lonnie Schorer, Tony Meunier, Betsy Steuart, Michael Wyrick, Polly Penhale, Jay Kaplan, 2011-2013 chair. Photo by Board Member Don Gerson

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News briefs 4th Quarter 2014

This page includes brief looks at activities of Explorers Club Washington Group members during the fourth quarter of 2014  or reported during this quarter. ECWG members want to know what you’re up to, including awards, honors, publications, or news stories about you, email the information to joewittewx@yahoo.com

Jocelyn Kelly, FN 12,  returned from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic in February 2014 where she looked at human rights issues in conflict-affected areas. Her recent work has involved studying mineral extraction in unstable political environments. She has recently published two articles in the peer-reviewed literature:

  • Kelly, J., King-Close,A. & Perks, R. (2014). Resources and Resourcefulness: Roles, opportunities and risks for women working at artisanal mines in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Futures. Vol 62 (Part A), pages 95-105.
  • Kelly, J. T. (2014). “This mine has become our farmland”: Critical perspectives on the co-evolution of artisanal mining and conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Resources Policy. Vol 40, pages 100-108

In January and February, 2014, Lee Talbot, MED 57, worked in Laos following up his earlier explorations and environmental work there.  Among the tasks accomplished were finding illegal logging and fishing.  As usual, prior to leaving, he presented conservation recommendations directly to the Deputy Prime Minister of Laos.

In July and August Lee and his wife, Marty Talbot, Med 04, spent almost a month climbing and hiking in the High Sierras of California. Lee also races in vintage sports car events. In spite of car problems during the 2014 season, out of 8 races he finished his  final score was six first places, one second and one third .

In January 2014  Lee Talbot was presented with a certificate on behalf of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar for his outstanding contributions in establishing the World Heritage Convention. Full story .

Background: Lee Talbot’s long association with Laos

Thomas F. “Tom” Kirsch, MN 06 was among the health care workers invited to the

Dr. Kent Brantly delivers remarks during an event with American health care workers fighting Ebola. Kirsch is in back row 2nd from right with the grey goatee. White House photo by Chuck Kennedy.

White House on Oct. 29, 2014 to meet President Obama and leading figures from the Administration in a ceremony and discussion to honor the ‘Heroes in Healthcare Fighting Ebola.” Kirsch had just returned from working on the Ebola epidemic in Liberia. More: White House report on the meeting.

ECWG members: Tom Kirsch

Tom King, FN 02, is finalizing plans to take a group of 65 visitors to Nikumarono Atoll in Kiribati  in June 2015 to explore where The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) hypothesizes Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan landed and died after their 1937 disappearance.

The group will visit the Seven Site, where archaeological and historical evidence suggests that Earhart may have died, and will carry out archaeological work along the eroding shoreline where aircraft parts have been found in the past.  The visit will be coordinated with a TIGHAR expedition performing more detailed archaeological survey and robotic submarine survey along the atoll’s northwestern reef.

Dr. Michael Manyak, MED 92 presented his experiences with expedition medicine in a special plenary session presentation for the Brazilian Society of Urology in Rio de Janeiro in November.

Robert Hyman, LF 93, was one of the researchers who for the first time ever affixed Argos (Doppler) transmitters to one of Central America’s most endangered bird species,

Researchers hold a three-wattled-bellbird

the Three-wattled Bellbird (Procnias tricarunculatus). This enigmatic bird is characterized by unique vocalizations, including squeaks, bonks, and thunderous bell-like sounds that register among the loudest bird calls on the planet. In late September, a field research team led by Dr. Robin Bjork traveled deep into the cloud forests of the Sierra de Agalta National Park in eastern Honduras, captured four of the rare bellbirds, and affixed state-of the-art, solar powered Argos units to the birds before releasing them back into the wild.

The transmitters have already enabled the researchers to begin studying the complex migratory movements of the bellbirds. The ultimate goal of the project is to better understand the behavioral ecology of the bellbirds in an effort to promote conservation of the species and the preservation of its tropical cloud forest habitat.

The Fall 2014 issue of the  Journal of Space Philosophy published an article by  Carolyn J., “Lonnie,“ Schorer,  MN 98, entitled “Education for Tomorrow’s Space Travelers and Developers.” In it she argues that while “risk and exploration have been symbolic ofthe American Way…

Lonnie Schorer employs kite aerial photography on Nikumaroro Island, photo by Mark Smit

“Standardization in the U.S. education system and collective homogenization of effort are leading students to be risk averse.” She urges reevaluating “our no-child-left-behind, lowest-common-denominator approach” and “support those who are intellectually predisposed to risk.”

She says, “a step in this direction would be to synthesize liberal arts and technical preparation in a single liberal arts-tech degree – a synthesis that would allow our pioneers to understand the mechanics as well as the context of their commitment.” The full text of her article.

To learn more about Schorer’s life and explorations, click on her Alumna Profile in the   Fall 2013 issue of The Virginia Tech Magazine.

The governing Council of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) elected Jack Williams, FN 03, as one of 28 new AMS Fellows at its fall 2014 meeting. The Society says members elected as fellows “shall have made outstanding contributions to the atmospheric

Jack Williams at U.S. Antarctic Program “Happy Campers” survival school on the Ross Ice Shelf in January 1999.

or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences or their aplications substantial period of years.” The Council selects no more than two-tenths of one percent of all AMS Members as fellows each year. The Society has approximately 14,000 members.

Williams was the founding editor of the USA TODAY Weather Page when the paper began publication in 1982 and assumed added duties of USATODAY.com weather editor in 1995 when the paper launched its Web site.

Williams reported on weather and climate research from Antarctica, Greenland (four times), a research icebreaker sailing on the Arctic Ocean, Barrow, Alaska, airplanes flying into four hurricanes and one tropical storm, and with researchers chasing Great Plains tornadoes (three times). He’s the author or co-author of seven books with all but two focused on meteorology.

Curt J. Westergaard, MN 09, reports that his the National Capitol Planning Commission  has selected his firm, Digital Design & Imaging Service, Inc., in Falls Church, Va., to conduct an aerial survey of Washington, D.C. with special focus on the original layout of avenues. This supports the Planning Commission’s look at the evolution of the 1791 L’enfant Plan and the 1903 Macmillian Plan.

The project is based on the aerostat-based imaging project the firm conducted for the DC Office of Planning’s Height Study in 2012.

This aerostat based imaging project  grew from their work for DC Office of Planning’s  Height Study in 2012.

The company’s Web site has links to these stories about it’s activities:

The company notes that the tethered aerostat balloons, like the ones it deploys, are the only FAA authorized, safe, legal, aerial platform currently allowed in highly restricted U.S. flight zones.

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ECWG elects Board members at Dec. 6 dinner

ECWG members attending the annual black-tie dinner on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014 at the Cosmos Club met briefly at the beginning of the reception, to elect five members of the Class of ’17 to the Board of Directors as well as to fill four vacancies in the class of ’15. Two of these are to replace members who have been nominated to be officers.

Report on the dinner

Those elected for the Class of ’17 are: Daniel Krinsley, FE 64; Tony Meunir, FE 84; Linda Perry, FN 13; Betsy Stewart, MN 05; Lee Talbot MED 67.

Those elected for the  Class of ’15 are: Caroline Baker, FN 04; Marilyn Livingood, FN 03; H. Joe Witte FN 98, and Sarah Yeomans FN 07.

On Dec. 17 the new Board will elect officers for the calendar year 2015. The nominations for officers of the Washington Group are:

Chairman: Jack Williams, FN 03

Vice Chair: Lonnie Schorer, MN 98

Secretary: Bill Runyon MN, 01

Treasurer: Bruce Blanchard MN 78

Program Director: Michael Max, FN 05

Membership Director: Michael Wyrick MN 08

Craig Cook, MN 01 will become the immediate Past Chair

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Blanchard to receive EC Sweeney Medal

The Explorers Club will present one of its highest honors, the Edward C. Sweeney Medal, to Bruce Blanchard, MN ’78, at the Explorers Club Annual Dinner, on March 21, 2015 at the American Museum of Natural History, in New York City

Bruce Blanchard, photo by Don Gerson

Michael Manyak, MED 92, one of those who nominated Blanchard for the award, said: I am very happy for Bruce who really does deserve this honor.

“The reason we championed this for him was that he was a great example of someone who had done so much for a chapter (in this case, the largest outside NY HQ) and that those folks should also be in consideration for recognition.  We are very pleased that Bruce will be the first with that important background.  He has also contributed and represented us at a national level so it is not completely regional.”

Blanchard was elected to the ECWG Board of Directors in 1995 and was elected Treasurer in 1997, a position that he has been reelected to every year for the last 18 years.

After learning of the award Blanchard sent an email to the ECWG officers and Board members to  “…thank all of you (and your predecessors) for your support over the years. Without that support, my job as Treasurer wouldn’t have been possible. All of you contributed to my receiving this award.  Most recently, individual support from Mike Manyak, Jay Kaplan, Lee Talbot, and especially Alex Wallace was instrumental in this regard. Your obedient servant ! Bruce.”

The Medal is awarded annually to a Club member in recognition of distinguished service, scientific work and exploration. The nominee must have exhibited by word and action a profound interest in the welfare and principles of The Explorers Club.

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ECWG members, guests at gala assured of exploration’s future

Terry D. Garcia, MN 13, of the National  Geographic Society assured those at the Explorers Club Washington Group’s annual black tie dinner on Dec. 6, 2014 that that the world still offers much to explore.

ECWG members and guests at the annual black-tie dinner, Dec. 6, 2014. Photo by Jim Blair, FN 09

“There are still mysteries to be solved and discoveries to be made.  We have the scientific means to find them and the explorers to pursue them,” Garcia, who is Chief Science and Exploration Officer for the National Geographic Society, told approximately 100 attendees.

Scientific advances, such as the ability to extract and study DNA from long-dead plants and animals, including humans, are opening new doors to the past, he said.

He said these new discoveries are pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and endurance.

Terry Garcia

Garcia discussed the new frontiers beckoning explorers … from traditional archaeology, to deep ocean exploration, to the science of genetics and microbiology, to space.

Garcia’s dream expedition would be to find and explore the wreckage of Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, which has lain on the bottom of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica since it sank on Nov. 21, 1915 after being stuck in pack ice on Jan. 18, 1915 after being slowly crushed by the ice. Historians credit Shackleton’s leadership with ensuring that all 28 men on the expedition survived.

Finding and exploring the Endurance will be harder than the exploration of the Titanic becuse a heavy-duty icebreaker will be needed to reach the site.

Only Russia has such icebreakers and the current international situation works against being able to use a Russian icebreaker, he said.

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Nov. 22, 2014 talk described recovery from Typhoon Haiyan

Dr. Joyce Johnson, FN 03, discussed the July 2014 Flag Expedition to Tacloban, Philippines by her and her son, James A. Calderwood, Jr. , at the ECWG’s Cosmos Club dinner on Nov. 22. The talk, was a joint event with the Circumnavigators Club.

Johnson and Calderwood with the Explorers Club expedition flag

Tacloban was the area worst hit by Typhoon Haiyan on November 8, 2013. This typhoon was one of the strongest ever recorded. Its winds and storm surge killed more than 6,000 people.

A strong theme throughout her talk was the amazing resilience of the Philippine people.

Her primary focus was the Camotes Islands, though she also described what she and Calderwood saw in Tacloban. From these activities she gained an understanding of the impact the typhoon had on these The Flag Expedition documented the progress made since the typhoon hit.

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Exploration mementos need a home

Joe Dukert, FE 83, and his wife are looking for a new home, or homes for their collection of artifacts from  various parts of the world.

“We will be moving from “our four-level home of 46 years to a two-bedroom, den and sunroom apartment at Maplewood,” he says. “You can imagine our task in downsizing.

Some of the items that need a new home

“Our rec room is decorated with about 20 unusual masks from various parts of the world, an aboriginal monkey arrow, an atlatl, a jai lai cesta from the Philippines (vintage 1952), and a very long blow gun from a pygmy tribe in the Upper Amazon (complete with darts, albeit unpoisoned ones).”

He asked whether the ECWG is planning an auction, but was told one is not in the works for now.

He wonders whether there is  “individual member who might be especially interested in the masks. It would pain me deeply just to scrap these, and I’d welcome any help you could provide in finding these things a new home.”

The Dukerts  live in Maryland,  a block from Western Avenue (the DC line), between Massachusetts Avenue and River Road. His Phone is 301, 229-7377 and his email is: dukert@verizon.net

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Photographer’s ECWG dinner talk was on encounters with sharks

Noted underwater photographer Nick Caloyianis talked about, “Close Encounters with the Supersharks: Great Whites, Basking Sharks and the Greenland Shark” at the Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014 ECWG dinner at the Cosmos Club.

Nick Caloyianis

Over a span of 30 years, Caloyianis’ artistry has been honored with numerous awards, including an Oscar, Primetime Emmys and a NOGI in the Arts.

He has directed and produced films for National Geographic and Discovery Channels and has filmed for IMAX and Hollywood screens. He continues to collaborate with marine scientists, not only to record their work, but to help them make their groundbreaking discoveries.

He was the first to film the bizarre Greenland shark in Arctic waters. At the time (1995), not much was known about this polar creature.

Caloyianis is also an accomplished underwater photographer with his still pictures appearing in hundreds of national and international publications. He is photographer for the highly popular summer read, “The Shark Handbook”, by Greg Skomal.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Maryland in 1973, and thereafter began his Post-graduate work with Eugenie Clark, the legendry ichthyologist who was a pioneer in scuba diving for research. She is often referred to as “The Shark Lady.”

In 1974 Caloyianis was awarded his first grant to study and film “sleeping” shark behavior with Clark off Isla Mujeres, Mexico. During his research there, he befriended a renowned filmmaker, Ramon Bravo, who taught him the finer aspects of filming marine life and wild pelagic sharks for documentaries and Hollywood.

These initial experiences would later inspire Caloyianis in his career as an extraordinary underwater filmmaker.

An avid conservationist, Caloyianis has used his visuals to help in lobbying for the protection of sharks, the creation of undersea parks (e.g. Ras Mohammed Park in the Red Sea), as well as sanctuaries (for nurse shark mating areas in the Dry Tortugas).

Additionally, his company has been instrumental in raising awareness and much needed funding for the highly successful Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative to help restore marine habitats  in denuded areas through placement of low-lying cleaned structures in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean waters.

More recently, his visuals have helped raise awareness for much needed Federal protection of vital natural reefs, located in our mid-Atlantic waters offshore.

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News briefs, 3rd Quarter 2014

This page includes brief looks at activities of Explorers Club Washington Group members during the third quarter of 2014  or reported during this quarter. ECWG members want to know what you’re up to, including awards, honors, or news stories. Click here to send in your news.

Explorers Club headquarters notified the ECWG on Sept. 2 that the Club’s Board of Directors approved two new members in the Washington Group’s geographic at its July 31 meeting. They are: Barbara L. Schoeberl, FN 14 and Huan Cui, TM 14.

Full story

Sarah Yeomans,  FN 07 will give a talk on “Doctors, Diseases and Deities: Epidemic Crises and Medicine in Ancient Rome” on Monday, Oct. 27 at The Explorers Club headquarters, at 46 E 70th Street, New York, N.Y., 10021. A reception begins at 6 p.m. and her lecture at 7 p.m.  More information.

Betsy Stewart with her painting at the Odgen Museum

The Odgen Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans has acquired “Bioverse  No 3” by Betsy Stewart, MN 05 for its permanent collection.

Kathleen C. Benison, FN’10, published a paper in the international journal Geologyentitled “Could microorganisms be preserved in Mars gypsum? Insights from terrestrial examples” based on field work at Mars-analog acid salars in the high Andes of northern Chile.

The National Geographic published a Web story by John N. Maclean FN 02 about the twin anniversaries in June 2014 of two fatal western wildfires, and how the lessons of the older fire failed to prevent a similar tragic outcome two decades later. Full story.

Sarah Yeomans,  FN 07, spent the summer of 2014 doing archeological research in Turkey and Italy. In July she and a group of friends chartered a small ship to identify and survey previously undocumented Greek and Roman sites that can be accessed only by sea. In Rome she spent a month in Rome, researching ancient Roman medicine for her dissertation prospectus research on the Antonine Plague in the 2nd century. Full story.

Arnella Trent, MN 01, spent much of May 2014 helping the State of

A red knot. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service photo

Delaware and the British Trust for Ornithology with banding and monitoring red knots on the Delaware Bay. The data collected will be used for shorebird monitoring and conservation on the bay. Red Knots feed along the shores of Delaware Bay during their migrations between the tip of South America and their Arctic nesting grounds.

Joyce Johnson FN 03 and James Calderwood, Jr FN 04 led an expedition with EC Flag 112 to Tacloban, The Philippines, from July 3-20, 2014.  

The purpose of the expedition was to assess changes in the eight months since Typhoon Haiyan, one of the world’s strongest typhoons that ravaged the area on November 8, 2013.

They found much of the storm’s destruction remains, but extraordinary resilience continues among the people. Coincidentally, during the expedition, they also experienced the winds and rain of the first typhoon of the 2014 season,  Typhoon Rammasun.

At a ceremony at Clemson University on October 7, 2013, Dr. Lee Talbot, MED 57, received the 2013 Benton H. Box Award for recognition as a teacher “who by precept and example inspires in students the quest for knowledge and encourages curriculum innovation to inculcate an environmental ethic as the rule of conduct.”

On Oct. 26, 2013 The Explorers Club honored Lee’s wife, Marty Talbot  FN 04, with a Lowell Thomas Award.

Ralph Davidson MED 72, died on August 1, 2014. In addition to being the Chairman of TIME and the Kennedy Center, “he was a loyal member of TEC and ECWG,” says Bruce Blanchard, MN 78. “Unfortunately, he has been confined to home for at least the past 7 or 8 years. He and his wife Lou have been strong supporters of Washington theater for many years.” His obituary ran in the Aug. 3 Washington Post.

Frederick, “Fred,” Ordway, FE ’79, a NASA scientist who was a technical advisor  to the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” died on July 1, 2014, at his home in Huntsville, Ala., the New York Times reported on July 14. Mr. Ordway described his role in ensuring  the scientific accuracy of “2001: A Space Odyssey” at the ECWG’s Sept. 21, 2013 Cosmos Club dinner.

Norman Cherkis, FN ’91 attended a conference of the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO)-Subcommittee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN) in Monaco June 16-20, 2014. The organization is under UNESCO auspices, and has a direct connection to the International Hydrographic Bureau (IHB). Cherkis has been a member of the GEBCO organization since 1984.

From left: Norman Cherkis, Capt. Robert Ward, Royal Australian Navy (retired) and President of the IHB, and HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.

In concert with International Hydrography Day, the IHB held a reception attended by His Serene Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco. During the meeting, Cherkis explained the role of GEBCO’s present programs in modern mapping of the seafloor. Prince Albert II’s great grandfather and namesake, HSH Prince Albert I, was instrumental in establishing the first GEBCO in 1903.

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EC Board approves 2 new ECWG members

Explorers Club headquarters notified the ECWG in early September that the EC Board of Directors had approved the membership applications of Barbara Schoeberl, FN 10, and Huan Cui, FT 10, both of whom live in the ECWG’s geographic area, which makes them ECWG members.

Barbara Schoeberl

Several ECWG members met Schoeberl at the Feb. 8, 2014 ECWG Cosmos Club luncheon honoring the life and work of Bob Simpson, FE ’79. She set up photo displays on various aspects of Dr. Simpson’s career and talked about working with him and his late wife, Joanne Simpson, who was also a notable atmospheric scientist.

Her career has focused on producing scientific illustration, movies, and posters. This work includes the Earth Today exhibit, which is an affordable and flexible museum display system. She has produced movies and associated movie elements including a nine-minute High Definition movie “Earth Science Vision 2030” and Earth Observation 2030. She also produced several movies in support of the joint Japan-U.S. Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission satellite explaining rainfall, the water-energy cycle, hurricanes, and El Niño. Her other activities include SCUBA diving, and extensive travel with a focus on the environment.

Huan Cui, who was born in China, is a graduate student in the Department of Geology at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he is a Ph.D. Candidate in  Paleobiogeochemistry. His personal Web page has a unique biography that that uses maps of China and Maryland.

He was one of five awardees of 2014 ECWG Exploration Grants. His research is “Searching for Early Animal Skeletons and Reconstructing the Biogeochemical Fuse to the Cambrian Explosion from the Ediacaran Dengying Formation, South China.”

Huan Cui in Tawney’s Cave in Giles County, Va, during a University of Maryland Geology Department field trip.

In his application Cui said: “The sudden diversification of animal life in the Cambrian Explosion around 530 million years ago is arguably one of the most important biological watersheds in Earth’s long history. The driving mechanisms that lead to the evolutionary big bang, however, are still incompletely understood. One thrust of my research in geobiology is in understanding the fossil record and possible environmental drivers for this biological revolution.

“The field site I want to investigate is a rock unit called Dengying Formation in Three Gorges Area of South China. Previous study reveals that this rock unit was deposited between 551 and 541 million years ago, in the dawn of the animal life Cambrian Explosion. Numerous fossils have been discovered in this rock unit, representing the earliest group of animals with skeletons evolved in Earth history.

EC Term Membership is open to full-time graduate students and teaching instructors that meet the same standards/qualifications that exist for regular Members. Details on the EC Headquarters Web site.

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Yeomans conducts research in Turkey, Italy

Sarah Yeomans,  FN 07, spent the summer of 2014 doing archeological research in Turkey and Italy.

In July she and a group of friends chartered a small ship to identify and survey previously undocumented Greek and Roman sites that can be accessed only by sea.

Yeomans emerging from a subterranean tomb structure located in the ancient city of Lydea, a site about a one hour hike up from the cove of Ağa Limanıb along the southwestern coast of Turkey." Photo by Cenk Eronat

“Many sites from the ancient Classical world are located along the coastline, since the sea routes were the primary trade and transport highways “ Yeomans explained. “The result of this, especially in Turkey, is that there are many ancient cities of relatively substantial size that have no modern land access.

“It is not unusual to have an ancient site that once had a population of more than 20,000 that is partially submerged in the sea now, and with no other way of accessing it other than by sea and sometimes by helicopter.

She said those in the group “all had a slightly different scholarly agendas, but the sites were the same and it was a great way to see some of these places – many of them are impossible to get to otherwise (unless one has access to a small and nimble helicopter!)

“I must say it is a thrilling experience to be able to swim along an ancient Roman road,” she wrote. “We did casual snorkeling. Getting permits to do more substantial underwater survey by diving is a complicated process in Turkey, and they are very vigilant about patrolling these sites as they are, unfortunately, very vulnerable to looters and treasure seekers.

“The result is that some areas are off limits to SCUBA divers altogether, so our work was limited to those areas that are partially submerged and therefore shallow. These could be observed just by swimming along the surface of the water, where the coast guard could keep an eye on us.”

From Turkey she “spent a month in Rome, researching ancient Roman medicine for her dissertation prospectus research on the Antonine Plague in the 2nd century and the myriad ways it impacted the Roman Empire as a whole.

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John Maclean writes about deadly wildfires

The National Geographic published a Web story by John N. Maclean FN 02 about the twin anniversaries in June 2014 of two fatal western wildfires, and how the lessons of the older fire failed to prevent a similar tragic outcome two decades later.

The 20th anniversary of the South Canyon Fire of 1994 on July 6, a week after the first anniversary of the Yarnell Hill Fire, on June 30.

The South Canyon Fire fireline where twelve of the fourteen firefighters who died were caught by the blaze; an early winter scene in the fire's aftermath. Photo by John N. Maclean

The South Canyon blaze killed 14 firefighters and did much to change how wildland fire is fought. But then last year on June 30 in Arizona circumstances that were disturbingly similar to the South Canyon Fire—rugged mountain topography, height of the burn period, violently changing fire behavior, a storm sweeping in, absence of adequate supervision, bad communications—combined to produce a similar fatal outcome, and 19 firefighters were killed on the Yarnell Hill Fire.

Maclean is the author of Fire on the Mountain: The True Story of the South Canyon Fire, and several other books on wildland fire, most recently The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder, and the Agony of Engine 57. Those two books are currently being developed as feature films.

The Yarnell Hill Fire as it crested the Weaver Mountains near Yarnell at the approximate time of the fatalities. Photo by Matt Oss.

John Maclean’s books are available on his Web site.

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ECWG cancels June 21 outing

The ECWG Board of Directors voted to cancel the spring outing that had been scheduled for the Patuxent Research Refuge on Saturday on June 21, 2014. The Board made the decision after being informed that not enough people had made reservations.

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News briefs 2nd quarter 2014

This page includes brief looks at activities of Explorers Club Washington Group members during the second quarter of 2014  or reported during this quarter. ECWG members want to know what you’re up to, including awards, honors, or news stories. Click here to send in your news.

James A. Calderwood, Jr., FN ’04, recently returned from Nepal where he did a solo trek to the Annapurna Base Camp. This followed a month of volunteer medical work in rural villages. James, who was a student member, was recently elected as an Explorers Club Fellow.

In May Robert Hyman LF ‘93, spent 10 days in the Honduran department of Olancho on an environmental conservation fact finding mission. He visited the Honduran Emerald Hummingbird Wildlife Refuge, investigated an iron ore mining operation within a supposedly protected area, met with a woman’s cooperative that makes traditional pine needle baskets, searched for the rare Red-throated caracara bird nest and met with local environmental activists who are being harassed for protecting land. Information on the Honduran Conservation Coalition.

Michael Max, FN’05, is one of the three authors of the book, Natural Gas Hydrate:Arctic Ocean Deepwater Resource Potential, as part of the Springer Briefs in Energy series. The publisher describes the book as “an up-to-date basic reference for natural gas hydrate (NGH) in the Arctic Ocean. Geographical, geological, environmental, energy, new technology, and regulatory matters are discussed. The book should be of interest to general readers and scientists and students as well as industry and government agencies concerned with energy and ocean management.” More information on the Springer Web site.

Dr. Michael Manyak MED ’92 is one of the directors of the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) “World Explorer Program,” which is designed to expose Eagle Scouts to the world of exploration. Full story.

The Washington Academy of Sciences presented Jack Williams, FN ’03, a “Special Award for the Public Understanding of Science”on May 8, 2014. The Society also presented Jack a a certificate of Fellowship in “Recognition of Outstanding Achievements and Contributions in the field of Public Understanding of Science.” The awards note Jack’s  “contributions as founding editor of the influential USA TODAY Weather Page” and as author or co-author of popular books on meteorology.

Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA photo

Time Magazine selected Dr. Kathryn Sullivan MED ’81, as one of the top 100 influential people in its May 2014 issue. She is the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the first woman to walk in space, and a member of the ECWG. Here’s what Time says about Sullivan.

Dr. Michael Manyak, MED ’92, presented the aspects of expedition medicine as the keynote speaker at the Atlanta Medical Center Resident Graduation Recognition breakfast in April.

Betsy Stewart,  photo by Greg R. Staley

Betsy Stewart, photo by Greg R. Staley

The May/June 2014 issue of Home & Design magazine has a story about the paintings of Betsy Stewart, MN ’05, which “explore the workings of the universe.”   The story opens with an ancedote about her talking about one of her painting at an ECWG gathering. She asked, “What do you think it is?”

“Exploding stars in the Andromeda Galaxy,” an astrophysicist imagined. “Cool viruses,” a pathologist suggested. A biologist and physicist also offered their own interpretations. Stewart was delighted. “You’re all right,” she answered, beaming. Recalling the moment, she explains, “It went exactly as I hoped. It made me realize I was on the right track.”The rest of the story is online.

Both the New York Times and Popular Mechanics magazine published stories in April about Curt Westergard, MN ’09 and his work with teetered balloons. The New York Times story was about a tethered balloon that Curt was flying in New York City. It  describes how Curt and his balloons have become important for builders and the real estate business in the City.  The story notes how his balloons “count crowds at events where helicopters might interrupt speeches — like the 50th anniversary commemoration of the March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial last year, and the 2009 presidential inauguration.”

The Popular Mechanics story is about Curt using infrared cameras on balloons to find where buildings are losing heat through their roofs. It also describes other possible work for the balloons.

Curt’s Web site shows some of his work.

A book by Tom King, FN ’02 andClaudia Nissley of Colorado, entitled Consultation and Cultural Heritage: Let Us Reason Together, is being published by The Left Coast Press. He says the book “is not about exploration but consulting cultural stakeholders in environmental impact assessment.” More from the publisher.

Tom is also working with with Betchart Expeditions planning a cruise to the Phoenix Islands in 2015 called “In Search of Amelia Earhart”.

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Frank R. Power, MN ’93, dies

Frank R. Power, MN ’93, died on May 8, 2014.

“Frank was a past chairman (of the ECWG), longtime board and committee member who worked tirelessly for the chapter. He was  friend to all and will be greatly missed.  Our deepest sympathies to Marie and family,” Don Gerson, FE, 78, said.

Mr. Power served as the Explorers Club Washington Group (ECWG) Chair in  2001 and 2002 after serving as vice chair in 1999 and 2000. He then served on the Board of Directors as an active vice chair with a vote from 2003 through 2007.

Many in the ECWG probably best knew him as the organizer the the annual Bombash, a weekend outing that was an ECWG tradition, from 2003 through 2012.   (The source of the name has been lost in the mists of history.)

Mr. Power also organized the June 201o ECWG picnic at the National Arboretum and the June 2011 picnic at the Hillwood Estate. From 2004 through 2012 he spoke at nine ECWG programs.

He also served on the committee that organized the international Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner held in Washington in 2013.

“I will especially remember Frank for all of the work he did coordinating with the Cosmos Club and answering my many questions as we organized the luncheon honoring Bob Simpson,  FE ’79, at the Cosmos Club on March 8, 2014,” said Jack Williams, FN ’03.

Mr. Power is survived by his wife, Marie F. Power; his children Kathy M. Lencsak (Carmine), Beth P. Bugler (Tom) and Ed R. Power (Tracy). his grandchildren Bridget, Grace, Maggie, Charlie, Catherine, Molly and Eddie,  his sister-in-law, Kathleen F. O’Dea, niece Amanda O’Dea Dillon and nephew, John P. O’Dea.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at St. Raphael Catholic Church, Falls and Dunster Roads, Potomac, Maryland on Saturday, May 17, at 1:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Montgomery Hospice, 1355 Piccard Drive, Suite 100, Rockville, Maryland 20850.

You may view and sign the family guest book at:http://www.pumphreyfuneralhome.com/obituary/Robert-F.-Power/Rockville-MD/1380904

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Noted photographer James Blair spoke at May 17 dinner

James Blair, who was a National Geographic Magazine staff photographer from 1962  through 1994 spoke at the Explorers Club Washington Group dinner at the Cosmos Club on Saturday, May 17, 2014.

The National Geographic published more than 45 of his stories,  including major coverages of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Ethiopia, West Africa, Iran, Russia, and Greece, and various parts of the United States, as well as articles on agriculture, coal, astronomy, and uses of photography in science.

He covered southeast China for the book Journey Into China, published in 1982. He was the chief photographer for the National Geographic book on environment,As We Live and Breathe, and then continued his special interest in the environment with coverage of the disappearing rain forest, environmental pollution, and World Heritage sites.

In 1977, as a result of his coverage of South Africa, Blair was made a Poynter Fellow at Yale University. He also received the Overseas Press Club of America Award for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad for this coverage.

Blair has received numerous awards for other coverage from the National Press Photographers Association and the White House News Photographers Association.Since retiring from the National Geographic Society in 1994, Blair continues to photograph and teach.

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Luncheon honored pioneer hurricane scientist Bob Simpson

The Explorers Club Washington Group honored the legendary hurricane scientist and forecaster Bob Simpson, FE’79, who celebrated his 101th birthday last November, with a luncheon at the Cosmos Club on Saturday, March 8, 2014

Bob Simpson at the Dec. 7, 2013 ECWG annual dinner. Photo by Darlene Shields

Bob Ryan who was chief meteorologist for 30 years at NBC4 and then for three years at WJLA (ABC7),  described the highlights of Simpson’s career with the help of a few others who worked with Bob and his wife, Joanne, also a leading atmospheric scientist, who died in 2010.

Those taking part included Neil Frank, who succeeded Bob Simpson as director of the National Hurricane Center in 1973 and retired in 1987, Max Mayfield who was HNC director from 2000 to 2007, Richard Anthes, who was president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research from 1988 to 2012 and who worked closely with both Bob and Joanne Simpson, and David Atlas, a weather radar pioneer.

In addition to the talks, Barbara Schoeberl, a NASA co-worker with Joanne Simpson and long-time friend of the Simpson family, displayed posters illustrating several aspects of the lives of Bob and Joanne Simpson and also a video slide show of the Simpsons’ lives and careers that attendees viewed before and after the program.

Bob Simpson with (from left) Neil Frank, Jack Williams, Max Mayfield, David Atlas. Photo by Darlene Shields

In the mid-1950s after Congress decided the U.S. desperately needed to learn more about hurricanes, the Weather Bureau selected Bob to organize and run the National Hurricane Research Project, which
 continues today as NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division.

The core of this project was research flights into hurricanes, which Bob had been urging, and which continue today.

Joanne Malkus, who was
 conducting pioneering tropical weather research, was asked to work with the program. Bob said in 2009 that this “scientific association and collaboration with Joanne… melded into a personal relationship culminating in our marriage in January 1965 and the beginning of a long, happy, and fruitful life together.”

Bob Simpson was director of the National Hurricane Center in 1969 when Hurricane Camille hit Mississippi. His use of a then-new storm surge forecasting model to issue unusually urgent warnings is credited with saving hundreds of lives. It also helped lead him and Herbert Saffir, a wind damage expert, to develop the Saffir- Simpson Hurricane Damage Scale with its well- known one though five categories.Washington Post story on Bob Simpson Luncheon

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Smithsonian curator talked on work in New Guinea at Feb. 22 dinner

Joshua Bell, Curator of Globalization and Anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, spoke on “World Within: Transformations in the Art and Culture of the Purari Delta of Papua New Guinea at the Feb. 22, 2014 ECWG Cosmos Club dinner.

Joshua A Bell

Bell has worked with communities in the Purari Delta of Papua New Guinea since 2000 documenting their engagement with, and the social, ecological and economic impacts of, large-scale logging and oil and gas exploration.

Through this work he is particularly concerned with transforming notions of history, identity and materiality, as well as how communities’ traditional knowledge are shifting. Bell’s talk will focus on the knowledge embodied in the incredible art forms and rituals of the Purari Delta, as well as how new forms of museum based collaboration can help communities struggling to retain and use this knowledge in the wake of global change.

Bell is Director of Recovering Voices, a pan-Smithsonian initiative dedicated to documenting and revitalizing endangered languages and supporting global language and knowledge diversity.

Combining ethnographic fieldwork with research in museums and archives, Bell’s work examines the shifting local and global network of relationships between persons, artefacts and the environment.

He grew up in Philadelphia. While in college, he worked on archaeological excavations in Mexico, Jordan and Tunisia. During the latter excavation, he became more interested in the lives of the Tunisian workmen and their perceptions of the past and archaeology.

Shifting to cultural anthropology at Oxford University, he carried out work on the cultural politics of architecture in Hawaii, before settling on carrying out his PhD research in Papua New Guinea where he lived for 19 months.

After earning his doctorate from Oxford in 2006, he taught at the University of East Anglia for three years before joining the Smithsonian in 2008.

At the Smithsonian he curates collections from Melanesia (New Caledonia, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu), which is one of the most biologically, culturally and linguistically diverse regions of the world. In addition to his ongoing research in Papua New Guinea, he is carrying out research on the use and understanding of cellphones in the United States.

Dinners are $55 each. Reservations must be received before noon on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 by Bill Runyon, 1812 19th St. NW, Washington DC 20009, phone, 202 234-7490 or email to billrunyon@earthlink.net

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January 2014 dinner talk was on whales

Nicholas D. Pyenson of the Smithsonian Institution spoke on “The life and death of whales: new discoveries about the world’s largest animals” at the ECWG’s Jan. 18, 2014 dinner at the Cosmos Club.

Whales, like other marine mammals, evolved from terrestrial ancestors. In today’s world, they are dominant predators in ocean food webs. How did this macroevolutionary story happen? Pyenson, curator at the Smithsonian and Distinguished Lecturer for the Paleontological Society, shared recent discoveries about the evolution of whales, based on his fieldwork in Iceland and South America.

He will also showed  how new 3D tools can play an important role in sharing these discoveries.

Nicholas D. Pyenson

Pyenson is the curator of fossil marine mammals in the Department of Paleobiology in Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, with special expertise in the evolution of marine mammals. He grew up in both Quebec and Louisiana.

While in college, he took a variety of field courses in botany, stream ecology, and human paleoecology (the latter which took him to Africa), convincing him that combining science and the outdoors (and especially with international travel), was a good way to spend time.

After earning his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia before joining the Smithsonian in 2010.

At the Smithsonian he tends to the world’s largest collection of fossil marine mammals, and he contributes to it with field programs around the world, including most recently on Vancouver Island in Canada, and with South American collaborators in the Atacama Desert of Chile.

Pyenson thinks that marine mammals — such as whales, sea cows and sea lions — are ready-made vehicles for enhancing a deeper understanding of fundamentals in evolutionary biology and earth sciences. He is especially interested in using digital tools that can expand fieldwork, outreach and natural history collections all at the same time.

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ECWG elects Board members, Board names 2014 officers

Members of the ECWG elected the following directors of the Class of 2016 and to vacant seats for other classes at the ECWG’s December 7, 2013 annual dinner.

Those elected to the Board were:

The Class of 2016: Donald J. Gerson FE ’78, Joyce M. Johnson FN ’03, Cynthia J. “Cindy” Steuart MN ’13, Polly A. Penhale FN ’91, Arnella Trent MN ’10

The Class of 2015: Ingrid Kohlstadt FN ’00

The Class of 2014: Linda Perry FN ’13, Elizabeth D. “Betsy” Stewart MN ’05

At its December 9 meeting the Board elected  the following officers:

Chairman:   Robert C. “Craig” Cook MN ’01

Vice Chairman:  John C. “Jack” Williams FN ’03

Secretary:  Bill Runyon MN ’01

Treasurer:  Bruce Blanchard MN ’78

Program Director:  Frank R. Power MN ’93

Membership Director:  Robert “Bob” Tallent FN ’07

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Private space travel topic of November talk

Brienna Henwood, who has trained trained hundreds of future commercial astronauts for space flight spoke on “Getting ready for private commercial space travel” at the ECWG’s Saturday, Nov. 23 Cosmos Club dinner.

The dinner was a joint event with the Circumnavigators Club.

Brienna Henwood

Henwood is Director of Space Training and Research for The National AeroSpace Training and Research Center (NASTAR) in Southampton, Pa.

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved NASTAR, which is a world leader in the design and delivery of civilian spaceflight training. Henwood will discuss what has been learned about how to safely prepare members of the public for commercial spaceflights.

Those NASTAR has trained include passengers for Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo, and Space Expedition Corporation’s XCor Lynx.

Henwood is a leading industry spokeswoman, who has been featured at events such as the National Suborbital Researcher Conference, International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight, and Sea Space Symposium.

She has a multi-cultural background with family located on four continents, and is fluent in French and English and is currently studying Italian and Spanish. Henwood has a degree in Marine Biology from the University of California Santa Cruz.

Emergence of commercial human spaceflight enterprises introduces a host of new tourism, research, and educational opportunities. Ways to inform, protect, and train future space travelers for their personal and professional mission objectives in extreme environments are critical.

National AeroSpace Training and Research Center Web site

Forthcoming ECWG Events:

December 7, 2013: ECWG Annual Meeting and Black Tie Dinner meeting at the Cosmos Club with the Antarctican Society and the Society of Woman Geographers.

January 18, 2013: Dinner meeting at the Cosmos Club

February 22, 2014: Dinner meeting at the Cosmos Club

April 12, 2014: Dinner meeting at the Cosmos Club

May 17, 2014: Dinner meeting at the Cosmos Club

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ECWG hosts Lowell Thomas Dinner weekend

The Explorers Club Washington Group hosted The Explorers Club 2013 Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner and related events on Oct. 25, 26, and 27, 2013.

It “was the most widely attended LTAD. Ever. With nearly 300 guests from across the U.S., breaking the last record by almost 80 people,” says Kristin Larson, FN ’02, who was a co-chair of the event along with Jay Kaplan, MN ’01, and Bill Runyon, MN ’01.

The Portuguese Ambassador's residence

The weekend began Friday evening, October 25th, with an elegant VIP dinner at the beautiful residence of the Portuguese Ambassador in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood. The dinner featured Portuguese cuisine and carefully selected wines. An after-dinner talk focused on the history of exploration, including Portugal’s key role in that history. The evening concluded with a tasting of some of Portugal’s finest wines under the guidance a renowned wine expert from Portugal.

The Willard Hotel ballroom

The Saturday evening black tie dinner, at which the awards were presented, was at the historic Willard Hotel in Washington. The evening began with a reception that included a silent auction. Many attendees had their photos taken with a live cheetah courtesy of the Cheetah Conservation Fund. The reception and dinner included a display of the wild life sculptures of ECWG member Bart Walter, FN ’08. The dinner concluded with a live auction.

On Saturday morning, each recipient of the 2013 Lowell Thomas Award told the stories of his or her award winning explorations at a symposium.

Other events included:

  • An opportunity to visit the National Geographic 125th Anniversary Exhibit: A New Age of Exploration,
  • A private guided tour of the historic Cosmos club  and brunch in the John Wesley Powell Room.
  • Tours of the Cheetah Facility at the National Zoo and at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
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EC honors Marty Talbot with Lowell Thomas Award

ECWG member Martha Hayne “Marty” Talbot, FN ’04 was among those The Explorers Club honored at the annual Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner at the Willard Hotel in Washington on Saturday, Oct. 26.

Marty Talbot

She was recognized as a pioneering conservationist for her 56-year dedication to ecological research in more than 60 countries on four continents.

Others  honored at the dinner were:

Neurophysiologist S. Allen Counter, FN ’89…for his research leading to the discovery of African-descended people living in the rainforest of Suriname and the Andean mountains, and for his work to ensure proper recognition of African-American Matthew Henson’s contributions to Arctic exploration.

Kara tribal member Lale Labuko and world-renowned photographer John Rowe. for their establishment of Omo Child, a foundation that rescues and cares for children located in the Omo River Valley region of Southwest Ethiopia.

Marine ecologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala for his work to protect the last pristine marine ecosystems worldwide and to develop new business models for marine conservation.

Visionary businessman, media mogul, and conservationist Ted Turner for his contributions to creating an optimal future for us all, through philanthropic initiatives to produce a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world.

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LTAD photos available for purchase

Copies of Lowell Thomas Annual Dinner photos taken by the professional photographer retained by the Explorers Club are available to view and purchase online at the links below. Each page lists categories of photos to view in the upper, left corner of the page. All of the photos are available for purchase in various sizes. You can view them at:

The link above has photos from the VIP dinner at the residence of the Portuguese Ambassador on Friday evening.

The link above has cheetah candid photos and cheetah groups photos from the Saturday evening reception at the Willard Hotel.

The link above has individual, couples, and group photos from the Saturday evening reception at the Willard and photos from the Awards Program at the Willard.

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A ‘Space Odyssey’ at ECWG September dinner

Fred I. Ordway III, a NASA scientist who was a technical advisor  to the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” described his role in ensuring  the movie’s scientific accuracy at the ECWG’s Sept. 21, 2013 Cosmos Club dinner.

The movie was filmed at the MGM British Studios, Borehamwood, north of London, during the latter half of 1965 and into 1966.

Fred Ordway

The photos in Ordway’s show were taken by director Stanley Kubrick’s studio photographer. They show key sets and the many distinguished consultants and visitors to the set.

Ordway talked about the technically sound elements that went into the movie’s set.

Those in the photos include Kubrick, author Arthur C. Clarke, NASA Associate Administrator George E. Mueller, astronaut Deke Slayton, anthropologist Richard Leakey, Oxford University artificial intelligence pioneer Prof. I. J. Good, and many more.

Ordway’s show included the various fictional space craft and bases including the Orion space shuttle, Space Station V, the Aries IB lunar space vehicle, and the Jupiter-bound Discovery spaceship.

Fred Ordway began his aerospace career in the early 1950s at America’s pioneering rocket propulsion company, Reaction Motors, Inc., in northern New Jersey. From there he joined Republic Aviation’s Guided Missiles Division on Long Island.

In early 1956, he was recruited by the late Dr. Wernher von Braun for his ‘rocket team’ at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, Huntsville, Alabama. That team launched America’s first artificial satellite on 31 January 1968, four months after the Soviet Sputnik.

The space race was on. Ordway transferred with the ABMA team in July 1960 when it became the new NASA-George C. Marshall Space Flight Center where he remained during much of the Apollo years before becoming a full professor at the new Research Institute at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

In 1975 Ordway joined Dr. Robert S.  Seamans, Jr. (former NASA Deputy Administrator and later Secretary of the Air Force) at the newly created Energy Research and Development Administration in the Office of the Administrator. He remained until retirement in 1994 (by then ERDA had been expanded to become the U.S. Department of Energy).

Perhaps Ordway’s greatest contribution has been to the popularization of space travel through dozens of books that he has authored or coauthored. He also owns a large collection of original paintings depicting astronautical themes. Ordway was educated at Harvard and completed several years of graduate study at the University of Paris and other universities in Europe.

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News Briefs 3rd Quarter 2013

For the first time in more than 50 years, researchers have found a nest of one of Central America’s rarest birds of prey, raising hope that there is still time to prevent its extinction in this region, the Honduran Conservation Coalition, announced in June.

For unknown reasons, populations of the once-common Red-throated Caracara (Ibycter americanus) have crashed in Mexico and Central America, according to the Coalition, which made the discovery.

ECWG member Robert Hyman, LF ’93, who is a co-founder of the Coalition, added that “this is an exciting and important discovery that demonstrates what can be achieved with a dedicated team of individuals. We look forward to continuing our exploration of these critically threatened Mesoamerican ecosystems. More about the discovery on the
Coalition’s Web site.

Lew Toulmin, MN ’04, of the ECWG has been carrying Explorers Club Flag 101 in an expedition in the southwestern Pacific island nation of Vanuatu to document Ambae island, which is the real “Bali-ha’i” in James  Michener’s 1946 book Tales of the South Pacific. The book was the basis of the Broadway musical and movie, South Pacific. Complete story.

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Talk on “Around the World at 500 Feet”

Photographer Cameron Davidson spoke on “Around the world at 500 feet, or helicopters I have known.”at the ECWG’s Cosmos Club dinner on Saturday, May 18, 2013.

From Wrangel Island in the High Russian Arctic aboard a Soviet Era MI-8 helicopter, to fifty feet above the active volcano, Erte Ale, in the Denakil Depression of Ethiopia, the hottest inhabited desert in the world, the aerial photographs of Cameron Davidson will give you a unique perspective on places you once thought familiar.

While sharing photographs from all corners of the globe, he discussed his approach to creating emotionally-charged graphic images from aircraft circling slowly, 500 feet above the ground.

Davidson lives in Northern Virginia and has shot all over the world for clients including Vanity Fair, American Express Departures, National Geographic, ESPN, Audubon, and Smithsonian magazines.

His work has been commissioned for advertising campaigns, annual reports and editorial features.  In addition to commercial work, he has completed several projects of personal meaning and significance.

He worked for 13 years in Haiti with the NGO Community Coalition for Haiti documenting the work of surgeons, and spent more than 20 years photographing the Chesapeake Bay Watershed from the air.

The photographs from the latter project were published in his most recent book, Chesapeake, one of six books among his collected works. His awards include CA Photo Annual, Graphis Photo, Print Design Annual and the Pictures of the Year competition.

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April ECWG dinner talk on archaeobotany

Linda Perry spoke on “Archaeobotany: What Used to be for Dinner” beginning at the ECWG’s April 20 dinner at the Cosmos Club in Washington.

Archaeobotany is the study of remains of plants from the distant past. The science is the source of what we know about ancient environments and how humans in the distant past acquired food.

Linda Perry

The science allows us to understand topics as diverse as the diet of Neanderthals, the first beer brewery, and the large-scale modification of landscapes to create fields to feed cities.

Perry discussed the basic tenets of archaeobotanical methods using examples of ancient human interactions with the plant world ranging from the origins of agriculture in the Cradle of Western and Middle Eastern Civilization in Mesopotamia to the development of complex states and empires in the Americas.

She is a Fulbright Senior Specialist in archaeobotany and a former Smithsonian Fellow. She holds degrees in biology, botany, and anthropology, and is best known for her groundbreaking work on the identification of archaeological chile peppers in the Neotropics with her discovery of a diagnostic microfossil.

Perry’s work has taken her to six of the seven continents, and the sites she has studied date from more than 14,000 years ago to the late 19th century. Her current projects include work in the Brazilian Amazon, the north plain of China, and the coastal plain of Texas.

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Invitation to a New York art reception

Betsy Stewart, MN ’05 is inviting ECWG members who’ll be in New York City for the Explorers Club Annual Dinner on March 16 to attend the opening reception for “All About Water,” at which many of her works will have their New York premier.

The reception is from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, March 14 at Denise Bibro Fine Art, 529 W 20th St., New York City.

Her work as been described as “Capturing the cosmos in a drop of water.”

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ECWG members running for International Board

Julius “Jay” Kaplan, MN ’01, and William R “Bill” Runyon, MN ’01 are running for seats on The Explorers Club Board of Directors.

They are among the 15 candidates running for five Board seats.

Voting is by mail ballot. The EC is mailing ballots and information on how to vote to members. Completed ballots must be received at the Club’s New York City headquarters in the envelope that’s being provided no later than Thursday, March 14, 2013.

Members must have paid the 2013 Explorers Club dues in order for their votes to be counted.

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Dinner talk was on Antarctic expedition

Three members of a planned 2014 Antarctic expedition honoring the 100th anniversary of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance expedition described their expedition at the Explorers Club Washington Group’s dinner Saturday, Feb. 23, 2012 at the Cosmos Club.

Their talk was entitled: “By Endurance We Conquer: Ernest Shackleton and Lessons of Leadership for the Imperial Trans Antarctic Centenary Expedition 2014” (ITACE).

The team of six men and women plan to cross Antarctica from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea via the South Pole. The journey will be in celebration of the centenary of one of the greatest explorers in Polar history – Sir Ernest Shackleton. The aim is to follow in the proposed footsteps of the great man who intended to cross the continent on this route.  The route has never been accomplished.

Shackleton’s plan; its failure, and a great survival story

In 1914 Shackleton and his party sailed from England on the ship Endurance to land on Antarctica’s Weddell Sea Coast, and head for the South Pole. From the Pole, they would continue north to the Beardmore Glacier, where they would meet the expedition’s Ross Sea party, which had sailed there in the ship Aurora. This party would lay supply depots from Ross Island to the glacier.

Instead, sea ice trapped the Endurance on January 18, 1915. In late October the ice began crushing the ship, and on October 27, 1915, Shackleton and the 27 other men on board abandoned the ship, thus beginning one of the world’s greatest polar and sea survival stories.

The Endurance trapped in ice.

Expedition Web site: the planned route

Feb. 23 Dinner Speakers

Those who talked about the planned 2014 expedition were:

U.S. Liaison Glenn “Marty” Stein, will act as Education Co-coordinator in  the U.S. He was born in Miami, Florida, and now lives just outside Orlando.  He has researched maritime and polar history since 1975, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and minor in History from the University of Florida. Glenn’s writings regularly appear in journals and magazines, having published over 50 articles to date.  He was website polar historian for the International Polar Year 2007-2008.

Expedition Leader, Joanne “Jo” Davies is an experienced adventurer having rowed across the Atlantic in 2007. She was born in 1978 in Kenya, and studied Marine Geography at Cardiff University. As a rower, sailor and kayaker Davies not only spends her free time on the water but works offshore as a Hydrographic Surveyor in the oil industry.  In 2009 she took part in an expedition skiing across Greenland from West to East Coast which gave her a good taste of things to come in Antarctica.  After rowing the Atlantic she thinks that anything is achievable and has set her sights on her one true ambition in life; to ski to the South Pole.

Team Member Stewart Stirling, was born and brought up in Dundee, Scotland where he attended Morgan Academy before leaving for London at 17 for a police career. He has served 29 years with both the Metropolitan Police and Heddlu Gwent Police in southeast Wales, where he is now a Forensic Collision Investigator. The outdoors has always played a big part in his life since he was  introduced to the Scottish Highlands as  a boy. Later he was commissioned as an Officer in the Territorial Army and  also gained his Mountain Leader Qualifications.  In 2005 he took part in the Chemin de la Liberte expedition across the Pyrenees and in 2007 Stirling followed this up  in an unsupported expedition crossing the Pyrenees Haute Route from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea, 500 miles and 150,000 feet of ascent in 48 days.

The expedition will begin in October or November 2014, the beginning of the Southern Hemisphere summer. The purpose is to make the crossing as Shackleton intended; he viewed it as the last great polar journey after expeditions led by Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott had reached the South Pole in 1911 and 1912.

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News briefs, 4th quarter 2012

An exhibit of abstract paintings by Betsy Stewart MN’05 that examines microscopic, mutually dependent life systems found in pond water was shown in early December at the Center for Great Apes Endangered exhibition at the Miami Club Rum Distillery.

Betsy Stewart's "Biocriticals." The original is 48 by 48 inches

The exhibit was a venue for the prestigious Art Basel Miami 2012, which the Miami Herald described as “the largest contemporary art fair in the United States.”

An article on the monochrome effects Web site entitled “ENDANGERED,” features Stewart and her exhibit

The article quotes her: “In my new series, ‘Biocriticals’, I am interested in creating an ambiguity between micro and macro: what is happening in microscopic water as well as events in the cosmos. If I am successful, my viewers will determine for themselves whether they are seeing particles/matter through a microscope or through a telescope.”

She describes the exhibit from December 5 through the 9 at Miami Club Rum Distillery as “a piece from each of four different series that share a common theme. I examine microscopic, mutually dependent life systems found in pond water. Giving these images a presence speaks to our fragile position in the cosmos.”

ECWG selects new Board members

Members of the Explorers Club Washington Group attending the Dec. 1, 2012 black-tie diner met briefly before the dinner to elect Directors of the Classes of 2015, 2015, and 2013.

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ECWG member’s art on exhibit at American University

“Inside The Underworld: Beetle Magic,” art created by Joan Danziger, MN’ 12, is on exhibit at the American University Katzen Arts CenterMuseum through Dec. 16.

Joan Danziger surrounded by some of her work.The exhibit consists of 72 beetle sculptures. They are consisted in different shapes, sizes and mixed media such as fused glass, metal,copper and paint. In this site-specific exhibition they are climbing up 50 foot walls, ceilings and corners of the Museum.

She is an explorer who explorers through her art.Danziger used the patterns and anatomy of beetles but has exaggerated sizes and coloring.

Her research into the world of Coleoptera has lead her to become involved with all the mythology surrounding these amazing species of insects and combines her interest in nature, animal imagery and metamorphosis.

She began as an abstract painter but the world of sculpture led her to create another exhibition called “Mythic Landscape” where she made an extensive study of trees, flora, fauna and other diverse arboreal compositions.

Her research in Turkey, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and other countries has also influenced her artwork through diverse projects.  SmithsonianMagazine art/science has written an extensive online article about her exhibit at the Katzen Arts Center.

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ECWG selects new Board members

Members of the Explorers Club Washington Group met briefly before  the Dec. 1, 2012 dinner to elect Directors of the Classes of 2015, 2015, and 2013.

The candidates were selected by the ad hoc Nominating Committee and elected by members at the brief annual meeting. The new Board members took office immediately.

Those elected were:

For the Class of 2015:

  • Michael Wyrick  MN08
  • Caroline J. “Lonnie” Schorer  MN98
  • Michael J. Manyak  MED92
  • Susan D. Sawtelle  MN01
  • Thomas L. Cline  FN03

For the Class of 2014:

  • Lee M. Talbot  MED57
  • Michael D. Max  FN05

For the Class of 2013:

  • Polly A. Penhale  FN91

The Nominating Committee is also responsible for providing a slate of nominees for Officers of the Club.  The officers are elected by the elected members of the Board after the annual election meeting.

The nominees for the ECWG Officers are:

  • Chairman:   Robert C. “Craig” Cook  MN01
  • Vice Chairman:  John C. “Jack” Williams  FN03
  • Secretary:  William R. Runyon  MN01
  • Treasurer:  Bruce Blanchard  MN78
  • Program Director:  Donald J. Gerson FE78
  • Membership Director:  Robert “Bob” Tallent FN07
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Talbots to describe expedition in Laos

Lee and Marty Talbot will talk about their January-February, 2011, expedition into the Nam Theun Watershed in central Laos at the ECWG Nov. 3 dinner at the Cosmos Club.

The expedition took them into the Nakai Nam Theun National Protected Area in central Laos.

Because of its remote location and rugged topography, parts of the area still have not been visited by Westerners and the area remains remarkably little known.

They travelled by aluminum boat and dugouts canoes up the main rivers into the watershed and spent nearly three weeks visiting eleven of the main villages in this remote area, in part to assess the effectiveness of the government efforts to assist the villagers. The villages are remote and scattered through the roadless watershed area, so these visits required days of hiking, some riding on the backs of motorbikes over mountain trails, and considerable travel by dugout canoes.

The second goal of the expedition was a very remote area high in the Annamite Mountains near the Vietnam border. This is a high forested region with possible grasslands considered to be a priority biodiversity conservation area but essentially unknown.

They proceeded by boat and foot, camping on sand bars, to a very remote village where they obtained village porters.

They then hiked south, a very rigorous endeavor involving following poachers’ trails or going cross country, camping en route. They found the grasslands, and recently abandoned camps that would accomodate over a hundred Vietnamese poachers, large numbers of poachers’ snares and, stores of illegally cut rosewood. They heard poachers’ shots every day.

The cocktail hour will begin at 6 p.m.

Dinners are $50 per person. Reservations must be received before noon on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 by Bill Runyon, 1812 19th St. NW Washington DC 20009, (202) 234-749;  email: bill.runyon@verizon.net

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Frank Power to give talk on John Wesley Powell

ECWG member Frank R. Power MN’93, will give a luncheon talk on John Wesley Powell at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant at 5333 Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase.

Power says: “We have regular dinners in the Powell Room at the Cosmos Club, but how much do we know about the man after whom it is named?  John Wesley Powell (1834 – 1902) was a Civil War hero, geologist and explorer of the American West.

“He is famous for the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition, a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers, that included the first known passage through the Grand Canyon.

“He served as director of the U.S. Geological Survey from 1881 to 1894. – He was simultaneously Director of the Bureau of American Ethnology that he founded it in 1879. During his government tenure he touched off controversy by advocating strict conservation of water resources in the developing states and territories of the arid West.

“Powell was also a founder of the Cosmos Club and the National Geographic Society as well other major scientific and cultural institutions. Come and learn more about his remarkable life.”

Reservations must be received before noon on Friday, October 12, 2012 by Bill Runyon,1812 19th St. NW, Washington DC 20009; (202) 234-7490


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Sept. 22 dinner speaker reviewed lessons of wildfires

John N. Maclean, FN ’02,  spoke on “A Season of Fire” at the ECWG’s September 22, 2012 dinner at the Cosmos Club.

His talk reviewed lessons learned from the ongoing explosive fire season including the reality of bigger, hotter fires and sometimes overwhelmed and inadequate firefighting resources”

John Maclean at Great Falls National Park, Va.

MacLean gave a detailed account of the Esperanza Fire of 2006, which killed a five-man Forest Service engine crew sent to defend homes in lightly inhabited desert highlands in southern California. Why did the crew set up where they did, in an exposed position guarding an uninhabited house? And why did they remain there when it was clear they would be hit by a major fire front? Never before has an entire engine crew been wiped out by a wildland fire.

Less than a week after the fire, Raymond Oyler was arrested for starting the fire, one of many he set that year. Within three years he was tried and found guilty of five counts of murder and sentenced to death. Never before has anyone been convicted of murder for setting a wildland fire, let alone sentenced to death.

The Oyler case marks a trend toward much stiffer punishments for anyone responsible for starting a fire in wild lands, either deliberately or negligently. In part, the trend is fueled by hotter, bigger, and more destructive fires: but the key element is the expansion of the wildland-urban interface, bringing more people into contact with previously wild lands—and almost inevitably with fire.

Maclean was a reporter, writer, and editor for The Chicago Tribune for 30 years, most of that time as a Washington correspondent, before he resigned from the newspaper in 1995 to write books.

As a Washington correspondent, he covered the State Department and was one of the “Kissinger 14” who accompanied Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during the era of shuttle diplomacy.

Maclean was a Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University for the 1974-75 academic year.

Maclean’s first book, Fire on the Mountain, was a best-selling account of the South Canyon Fire of 1994 that took 14 firefighter lives in central Colorado. The book received the Mountains and Plains Booksellers award as the best non-fiction of 1999.

A two-hour documentary by the History Channel based on the book was an Emmy Award finalist and won the Cine Master’s Award for Excellence as the best documentary of 2003.

Maclean subsequently wrote Fire and Ashes and The Thirtymile Fire: A Chronicle of Bravery and Betrayal. His latest book, The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder and the Agony of Engine 57, is available for pre-ordering from Amazon.com and will be published in February by Counterpoint Press.

He is a frequent speaker at fire academies and other gatherings. Maclean, an avid fly fisherman, and his wife Frances, a member of the Society of Women Geographers, divide their time between a family cabin on Seeley Lake, Montana, and their long-time home in Washington, D.C.’s Cleveland Park.  He is the son of Montana writer Norman Maclean, who wrote the well-known novella A River Runs Through It.

Dinners are $50 each. Reservations must be made before noon, Monday, Sept. 17 with Bill Runyon, 1812 19th St. NW, Washington DC 20009, (202) 234-7490

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Bombash set for October 26-28

This  year’s annual ECWG Bombash will be a trip to Staunton in foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains on Oct. 26-28.

Staunton, which is known for its historic architecture packed into five historic districts, is approximately 160 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Magazine has named Staunton as one of the top 20 Small Towns in America

HIghlights of the Bombash will include:

  • A casual Friday evening dinner and the opportunity to walk the Staunton Historic District
  • A tour of the Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s legendary indoor theater
  • A visit to Woodrow Wilson’s birthplace, museum, and research library–the only presidential library in Virginia
  • A tour of the Frontier Culture Museum, a living-history museum that illustrates the daily lives of the Shenandoah Valley’s early settleres
  • Saturday cocktails and dinner with a speaker on a topic of local interest.

The Bombash’s base will be the Stonewall Jackson Hotel in the heart to downtown Staunton and a member of Historic Inns of America.

On the way home on Sunday participants will stop at Montpelier, the home of President James Madison and his wife Dolly.

Contact Frank Power, for details and reservations. 301 274 9377,  frankrpower@aol.com

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News briefs, 3rd quarter 2012

Lew Toulmin, Ph.D., MN ’04, F.R.G.S., was the co-leader with Jonathan Leader, Ph.D., FN ’05, F.R.G.S. of a recently completed Flag expedition to try to find the missing Revolutionary plantation, battlefield, POW camp, arms depot and slave quarters of his fifth great-grandfather, Brigadier Andrew Williamson of the South Carolina militia.

Full story

Bill Runyon MN ’01 led the Coastal Oregon Shark Habitat and Population Survey & Hubbard Underwater Radio expedition, which documented the decline of the great white shark population and captured much information about the underwater habitat and water quality in this location.  They also gathered sonographic data on coastal tectonic plate movement in this area of high geologic activity.

Dr. Craig Cook MN ’01 was medical director and diver in a multi-institutional research flag expedition to the Phoenix Islands in Kirabati, including Nikumarora, the purported site of Amelia Earhart’s demise.  These central equatorial pacific islands are sites of ongoing evaluation of coral reef health and marine ecosystems in a large collaborative effort including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Scripps Oceanographic Institute, The Nature Conservancy, the New England Aquarium, and other similar organizations.  Their efforts included placement and data retrieval from permanent benthic sensors, tracking and tagging of manta rays, DNA sampling of reef fishes and invertebrates, and coral sampling to document reef recovery after damage.  The absence of human impact in this remote area enables research on natural factors influencing reef health and recovery.

Lew Toulmin, Ph.D., MN ’04, F.R.G.S has signed a contract to work for a year in the Prime Minister’s office of the Republic of Vanuatu (formerly the New Hebrides), and has his eye on the actual island which inspired James Michener to write about Bali Hai in Tales of the South Pacific. He is planning an expedition there to study the island’s volcano (one of the ten most dangerous in the world, with a crater lake that just changed color from blue to red, but no-one knows why), to examine the emergency management and evacuation plan for the island’s 10,000 people, and to document a downed WW II fighter that he previously found on the island.

Toulmin and the Missing Aircraft Search Team (MAST), of which he is a co-founder, have been assisting two sheriff’s offices in northeast Minnesota try to locate a missing light Piper aircraft, which disappeared near northern Lake Superior in June 2012.  Previously the MAST dealt only with “cold” cases, but recently has been getting requests to assist with “hot,” active cases.  Toulmin and other MAST members have been analyzing radar and cell phone data, and interviewing eye- and ear-witnesses, campers in the area, and people familiar with the pilot and plane.  They have tentatively reduced the search area from about 500 square miles of lake and shoreline to 10 square miles of dense forest.

John Maclean, FN ’02, award-winning author of three previous books on wildfire disasters, has written another, a book on the deadly 2006 Esperanza Fire in California.

The book will be released next January by Counterpoint Press. Maclean first visited the site of the Esperanza Fire in 2007, the spring after it occurred, and he has returned many times since. He covered the lengthy Oyler trial in Riverside, California, and he details both the trial and the fire in his book.

Full story

Dr. Rick Potts FN ’95 was quoted in both the NY Times (with photo) and the Washington Post regarding a new 2 million year old human fossil skull he believes is likely to be a third early human species from that era.

Scott Wallace FN’06 spoke at the bookstore Politics and Prose, a Washington institution, and his book The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes was highlighted for the second time in the NY Times Book Review.

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Maclean’s book on fatal fire set for publication

John Maclean, FN ’02, award-winning author of three previous books on wildfire disasters, has written another, a book on the deadly 2006 Esperanza Fire in California.

The book will be released next January by Counterpoint Press. Maclean first visited the site of the Esperanza Fire in 2007, the spring after it occurred, and he has returned many times since. He covered the lengthy Oyler trial in Riverside, California, and he details both the trial and the fire in his book.

The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder, and the Agony of Engine 57 will be featured as the lead non-fiction title for Counterpoint Press’ 2013 winter list, according to president and editorial director Jack Shoemaker.

When a jury returns to a packed courtroom to announce its verdict in a capital murder case every noise, even a scraped chair or an opening door, resonates like a high-tension cable snap. Spectators stop rustling in their seats; prosecution and defense lawyers and the accused stiffen into attitudes of wariness; the judge looks on owlishly; even the court bailiff, who experiences too much of humanity’s dark side, often stands to attention for this moment. In that atmosphere of heightened expectation the jury entered a Riverside County Superior Court room in Southern California to render a decision in the trial of Raymond Oyler, charged with setting the Esperanza Fire of 2006, which killed a five man Forest Service engine crew sent to fight the blaze.

The Esperanza Fire marked the first time that an entire engine crew was killed by fire, and the first time that an arsonist was successfully prosecuted for murder for setting a wildland fire. The swift capture and lengthy trial are detailed for the first time in Maclean’s book, which confronts the reader with a true villain who receives the maximum penalty for his crimes.

During the penalty phase of his trial, the judge and jury would decide whether Oyler’s conviction justified imposition of the death penalty. The older brother of one of the firefighters who was killed managed to express the rage of the survivors.

“The way he died pisses me off,” said Jason McLean. “If my brother would have died in a fire that was started by lightning, it would have been easier to deal with. My brother got murdered, and that’s something I don’t know how to deal with. He should not be dead. I have a rage that I can’t even explain to you. He knew the risks of his job. It will never be right.”

After six days of such testimony, the jury unanimously recommended the death penalty.

The Esperanza Fire started on Oct. 26, 2006, in the San Jacinto Mountains above the Banning Pass; it burned 41,000 acres and destroyed dozens of homes. Forest Service Engine 57 rolled in to help defend the Twin Pines neighborhood, about 30 houses on a steep ridge face – typical wildland-urban interface, where development chews into previously wild and still unforgiving territory. The ground was bone-dry, crumbly and covered with tall chaparral.

When the fire blew up, flames and superheated gases erupted in what’s called an “area ignition,” and in just about five seconds, it raced three-quarters of a mile and swept over the house where the crew of Engine 57 had made their stand.

“It was a cauldron of fire,”recalls Chris Fogle, captain of another Forest Service fire engine. “There was a solid churning, as though someone had laid down a flamethrower in the canyon.”

Maclean’s book, The Esperanza Fire, has been more than five years in the making. He flew repeatedly to Southern California to interview firefighters who survived the fire, the families of those who were killed, and the law enforcement officers, jurors, and prosecutors who were key to the investigation and trial. Through countless interviews, stacks of reports, and repeated trips to the site of the fire, Maclean has researched and written a vivid account of the fire from the perspective of the firefighters who were on the ground when the fatal fire exploded.

In an effort to understand how someone could commit such a crime, Maclean has also maintained contact with Oyler, who is on Death Row in San Quentin State Prison.

Maclean has become well known to firefighters since the publication of his first book, Fire on the Mountain, the story of the 1994 South Canyon Fire that was featured in two documentaries by Dateline NBC and the History Channel.  The book was reissued in a modern classics edition in December, 2009, by Harper Collins Perennial.

He is also the author of two other books about wildland fires, Fire and Ashes and The Thirtymile Fire.

Counterpoint Press is a California publishing house that specializes in high-quality literary works and includes on its list such authors as Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, and M.F.K.

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News briefs 2nd quarter 2012

John Maclean, FN ’02, award-winning author of three previous books on wildfire disasters, has written another, a book on the deadly 2006 Esperanza Fire in California. The book will be released next January by Counterpoint Press.

Full story

Items below compiled by Michael J. Manyak, MD, MED 92

With the winter thaw, the ECWG spring was charged with events and diverse member activities.  The 15 member ECWG Board of Directors continued its monthly meetings at the National Geographic headquarters under the guidance of our very capable and efficient chairman, Jay Kaplan MN ’01, who has been innovative in his approach to diversifying our activities.

Another person who deserves recognition is our stalwart treasurer, Bruce Blanchard MN ’78, who has made certain that our books are balanced…..for at least 20 years and counting.  The treasurer position takes time and detailed attention and, though it attracts occasional good-natured grumbles, we all greatly appreciate Bruce’s efforts and are comforted by his diligence.

In other ECWG board news, archaeologist Sarah Yeomans FN ’07 was welcomed as a new member.  Sarah was a recipient of an ECWG exploration grant a few years ago and we are pleased to see our grant program still bearing fruit.

ECWG currently has at least 3 members on different exciting Explorers Club Flag expeditions so expect those reports next quarter.

Another Flag expedition just completed with the return of Jason Paterniti

Searching for a lost army from the time of Herodotus in the southern Egyptian desert are (L to R) Robert Atwater LF ’05, Jason Paterniti MN ’10, and expedition leader Albert Lin. Photo courtesy of J Paterniti.

MN ’10 from the Libyan Desert Expedition where he and Robert Atwater LF ’05 joined Lowell Thomas Medalist and National Geographic explorer Dr. Albert Lin and his team.  Following up on the work of others, this team used cutting edge surface image technology and searched in 1940s vintage jeeps for the 50,000 member lost army of Cambyses II which disappeared in 522 BC in southwest Egypt.  Although not successful in locating remnants of the army, the imaging did detect a prehistoric watchtower, a round settlement structure, and directional markers.

Gary Kopff MN ’91 was interviewed by CNN Headline News to discuss the recent multiple deaths on Everest.  Gary also hosted a special event with Lowell Thomas Medalist Dr. Laurie Marker FI ’06, the founder and executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund where Gary serves on the US board of trustees.

Explorer Medalist Dr. Lee Talbot MED ’57 and Marty Talbot FN ’04 were featured in an article in Mason Research 2012: Discovery and Innovation at George Mason University regarding his outstanding contributions to environmental policy and exploration.

Dr. Stephen Seager FN ’95 was accompanied by Dr. Michael Manyak MED ’92 to the Belfast Zoo to evaluate the highly endangered Lowland Gorilla and Asian Golden Cat for fertility issues.  Surgical procedures were successful and the patients recovered quickly without incident.  Dr. Manyak also was anguest speaker at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business graduate program to lecture on aspects of expedition medicine.

The program committee headed by Don Gerson FE ’78 and Frank Power MN ’93 provided our well-attended monthly dinner events at the Cosmos Club with outstanding presentations.

  • In March, the ECWG was ably represented by a contingent to NY for ECAD and its events.  Because of ECAD, our group does not conduct a dinner meeting in March but has a member luncheon event with speaker.  This year above-mentioned Gary Kopff gave a presentation about his experiences in Antarctica which included climbing its highest mountain, the Vinson Massif, with now deceased mountaineering luminaries Rob Hall and Gary Bell.
  • The April event dinner presentation was given by Robert Hyman  LF’93 who showed his short documentary on the Río Platáno Biosphere Reserve in Honduras documenting ecological destruction.  This presentation included testimony compiled from the native peoples about the importance of this UNESCO World Heritage Site to their subsistence.
  • The subject of May’s dinner presentation was Lake Vostok and the search for extreme life in the largest subglacial lake in Antarctica.  Astrobiology encompasses the hunt for life beyond Earth and there is growing interest in studying such organisms, known as extremophiles, on earth as a possible model for extraterrestrial life.  Our speaker, Washington Post correspondent Marc Kaufman, specializes in matters relating to space.
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Scott Wallace to receive Lowell Thomas Award

The Explorers Club Flag and Honors Committee has selected Scott Wallace, FN ’07, an ECWG member, as one of four recipients of 2012 Lowell Thomas Awards.

Two Brazilian policemen guard Scott Wallace in the Amazon.

“Scott is an excellent candidate who personifies the concept of mindfulness and has done so over two decades with numerous expeditions and publication of those findings,” says ECWG member Michael J. Manyak, MED ’92, a member of the Flag and Honors Committee.

“He is a true champion for preservation of indigenous culture and biodiversity and has brought awareness of these issues to the public domain repeatedly. His work is the essence of exploration and he should be recognized by our organization for those contributions,” Manyak said in his letter of recommendation for the Award.

Wallace is a writer, photographer, producer, and speaker whose assignments have taken him from the streets of Baghdad and the Himalayas to the Alaskan Arctic and the depths of the Amazon.

The other 2012 awardees are:

  • David Attenborough, the British broadcaster and naturalist who’s best known for his natural history television programs over 60 years.  His work includes award-winning shows series “Life on Earth,” “The Blue Planet” and “Frozen Planet.”
  • David Hempleman-Adams, whose many accomplishments include being the first person to reach the Geographic and Magnetic North and South Poles as well as climb the highest peaks in all seven continents.
  • Bill Thomas who has spent more than 20 years going into Papua New Guinea each summer to work with indigenous cultures. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has recognized him for developing ways to use indigenous knowledge to predict the impact of human activity on biodiversity.

Widely published writer

Wallace is a frequent contributor to National Geographic and a former correspondent for Newsweek and the Guardian, and his writings on armed conflict, international organized crime, the environment, and vanishing cultures have appeared in Harper’s, Smithsonian, National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic Traveler, Condé Nast Traveler, and Grand Street.

His photography credits include Smithsonian, Outside, Details, National Geographic Traveler, and Newsweek, and he has shot and produced for CBS News, CNN, and National Geographic Channel.

At the ECWG’s Nov. 19, 2011 Cosmos Club dinner Wallace told the story of his National Geographic assignment in the summer 2002 to journey deep into the Amazon with the renowned Brazilian explorer and Indian rights activist Sydney Possuelo to gather information on an uncounted indigenous group known as the “People of the Arrow” without making contact.

Wallace tells the expedition’s story in his book The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes.

The book has been excerpted in The Explorers Journal and National Geographic Traveler and reviewed by numerous publications, including “New York Times Book Review,” “New York Review of Books NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” “The Boston Globe,” “The London Sunday Times,” the Wall “Street Journal”, and “Discover Magazine.”

“His book had me itching to retrieve my boots, bug juice, and passport to head out the door,” Manyak says.

To jungles and the Arctic

Early in his career, Wallace took numerous journeys into remote jungle areas of Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras.  These trips documented the troubles of the indigenous tribes as they fled into mountainous remote jungle to avoid government-sponsored violence.

In the 1990s, he traveled deep into boreal forests in deep winter along the Great Whale River and Le Grande River in Quebec’s Far North to document the impact of hydroelectric construction on Cree Indian’s subsistence hunting way of life.  Publication of the Cree’s opposition helped kill the $19-billiion contract between Quebec and the New York Power Authority.

In 2001, on assignment for National Geographic, Wallace accompanied a Venezuelan fact-finding expedition into the remote Upper Orinoco Valley to investigate charges of misconduct perpetrated by Western scientists among the primitive Yanomami Indians.  This resulted in the definitive account of the so-called “Chagnon Controversy,” published in National Geographic Adventure, in April 2002.

The two-part television series he produced for National Geographic Channel on the challenges ahead for the Yanomami as their ancient culture comes up against the frontier of modernity is very highly regarded.

Though heavily concentrated in Amazonia, Wallace’s activities have encompassed other distressed areas.

Circumnavigates globe for Word Bank

In 2004, he circumnavigated the globe for the World Bank to document Bank-financed development projects with visits to Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Morocco, Senegal, Mauritania, Tanzania, Eritrea, Yemen, Bulgaria, Turkey, India, Bangladesh, and Thailand.

This resulted in a publication on World Bank’s Development 360 website and exclusive photographs available in World Bank Image Collection which depict poverty alleviation, women’s empowerment, rural road construction, rural education, girl’s education, labor and commerce.

Also in 2004, at the behest of NGS, Scott accompanied George Schaller on a two-month expedition through the Grand and Small Pamir of Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor, all the way to border of China on foot, horseback and yak.

This expedition conducted a census of Marco Polo sheep as a prelude to creating a four-nation peace park to protect and manage the species as well as to give local shepherds incentives to protect the animals.  This resulted in publication of “The Mega-Fauna Man” in National Geographic Adventure, a profile of Dr. Schaller’s work (Dec. 2006).

Scott traveled for The Smithsonian in 2005 to the southern rim of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) with Gwich’in caribou hunters and to Inupiat Eskimo villages on North Slope of Alaska to document the growing schism dividing Native Alaskans over the issue of oil drilling in ANWR.  His publication of a major story “ANWR: The Great Divide,” in Smithsonian (Oct. 2005) provided the unique perspective of Native Alaskans at ground zero of the controversy.

Back in Latin America in 2008, Scott trekked to Machu Picchu via the Salcantay Trail resulting in publication of “The High Road to Machu Picchu” in National Geographic Traveler (May-June 2009).  This provided a thoughtful examination of the delicate social and natural ecology of the Andes, where glaciers are rapidly melting and where adventure tourism poses tricky challenges for vulnerable habitats and archeological sites.

Wallace continues exploration today.  He recently returned from two expeditions into the remote Alto Tamaya, Upper Yurua, and Alto Purus river basins of Peru to examine the environmental and social impacts of illegal logging in some of the most biodiverse and culturally diverse lands on Earth. His publication is forthcoming in National Geographic.

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ECWG picnic canceled

Damage caused by strong storms that hit the Washington, D.C. area on June 29 and a forecast of temperatures hotter than 100 degrees on June 30 forced the cancelation of the ECWG picnic scheduled at the Chetwood Park home of Dr. Stephen W. J. Seager, FN95.

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    ECWG dinner talk will be on astrobiology

    Marc Kaufman, who writes about NASA and space issues for The Washington Post, will talk on “Lake Vostok and the Burgeoning Science of Astrobiology” at the ECWG’s Saturday, May 19, Cosmos Club dinner.

    Marc Kaufman

    He will describe how the hunt for life beyond Earth is taking researchers to the most extreme environments on our planet – Lake Vostok in Antarctica, the deep gold mines of South Africa, the Atacama Desert – as well as into space and soon onto the surface of Mars.

    Kaufman’s  Jan. 31, 2012 Washington Post story explains why astrobiologists are interested in Antarctica’s Lake Vostok.

    He has been a reporter on the Post’s national staff for ten years.  Kaufman has also worked as a foreign correspondent at the Post, reporting from Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, and as New Delhi bureau chief for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday, and New York magazines, as well as Smithsonian and Condé Nast Traveler.

    In his book: “First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth” (Simon & Schuster), Kaufman suggests that, as never before, we now have the knowledge and technology to answer that question, and will likely find life beyond Earth in the next generation.

    For the book, he traveled the world to learn firsthand about the innovative and extensive research under way to understand and ultimately identify extraterrestrial life, and he reports from the Vatican about efforts to reconcile some of the discoveries with religious belief. Kaufman says his past work as a foreign correspondent prepared him for this study of the newly emerging and dynamic field of astrobiology.

    The dinner costs $50 for each person. The evening begins with cocktail hour at 6 p.m.

    Reservations must be received before noon, on Monday, March 14 by Bill Runyon, 1812 19th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009, (202) 234-7490, or email:  bill.runyon@verizon.net

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    April talk on a ‘Paradise in Peril’

    Robert E. Hyman LF 93’ will describe his exploration in the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve in Honduras at the April 14 ECWG dinner at the Cosmos Club.

    He describes the reserve, which is home to the highest level of tropical biodiversity in Central America, as a “Paradise in Peril”

    Robert Hyman in Honduras

    Non-indians are invading the Reserve from all sides, poaching endangered wildlife and fish, slashing and burning ancient forests to sow pastures, and forcing indigenous inhabitants off their ancestral lands, Hyman says.

    His Paradise in Peril presentation, which includes a film, follows an expedition organized to document the destruction of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and collect testimony from the native peoples who rely on the Río Plátano for survival.

    Fewer than 400 individuals have ever completed this strenuous expedition from the rivers headwaters to the Miskito coast of Honduras. Hyman is among the elite few that have done this expedition twice.

    He is a photographer-mountaineer-explorer who has organized, led and participated in numerous expeditions around the world. Hyman’s  expeditions focus on scientific field research in archaeology, conservation, biodiversity, ornithology, anthropology and technology advancements.

    He has been on seven Explorers Club flag expeditions, and has lectured about his expeditions before Explorers Club events in Washington, New York and Florida as well as at The Smithsonian Institution museums of Natural History and the American Indian.

    Hyman has climbed the western hemisphere’s tallest peak, Aconcagua, (22,834 feet), Africa’s highest peak (Kilimanjaro), and kayaked Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, the world’s highest navigable lake (12,500 feet). Robert has also climbed to the summit of 47 of the 50 state high points.  Based on his achievements in exploration, Robert was elected to be a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Fellow of The Explorers Club.

    The evening begins with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m.

    Dinners are $50 each. Reservations must be made before noon, Monday, April 9 with Bill Runyon, 1812 19th St. NW, Washington DC 20009, (202) 234-7490


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    March talk on Antarctica climbing and cruising

    The Explorers Club Washington Group’s March event will be a luncheon meeting at noon on Wednesday, March 28 at the headquarters of Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired (DACOR), 1801 F Street NW, Washington.

    Gary J. Kopff MN ’91 will give an illustrated talk on:

    • Cruising across the Drake Passage from Ushuaia, Argentina to the Antarctic Peninsula with zodiac trips to the shore to experience penguins and seals and to visit the U.S. Palmer Station.
    • CLIMBING the highest mountain in the Antarctic (the Vinson Massif) in the Ellsworth Mountains with his friends  the late  international  climbing guides Rob Hall in 1961 and 1996 and Gary Ball in 1953 and 1993.

    Kopff is avid mountain climber who has reached the summits of the highest mountains in Africa, Europe, and Antarctica. He and his wife, Judy, have traveled throughout the world to see endangered and threatened species. In addition they volunteer frequently as clowns for various non-profit organizations including for Wounded Warriors and their families at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center,  and pediatric units at local hospitals.

    The Luncheon costs $40.00 per person, including wine. Reservations must be made before noon Friday, March 23, with Bill Runyon, 1812 19th St. NW, Washington DC 20009, (202) 234 7490  Bill.runyon@verizon.net

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    News Briefs 4th Quarter 2011

    The Washington DC area explorers reported a variety of activities during the last three months of 2011.

    The ECWG Exploration and Field Research Grants Program announced another successful year and are awaiting this year’s applicants.  Since the initiation of the program in 1997, 94 awards totaling $152,000 have allowed graduate students enrolled in a local area college or university (DC, VA, WV, MD) to conduct pilot programs or gather data that has helped secure additional funding from such sources as the Fulbright Program, the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian, and other sources.  Many thanks to the hard work of committee members Naval Research Laboratory geologist Dr. Joan Gardner FN ’03, National Geographic Cartography Editor Markie Hunsiker FN ’98, and National Science Foundation polar scientist Dr. Polly Penhale FN’91.

    Robert Atwater meets a camel during the “Messengers of Peace” meeting in Saudi Arabia

    Robert Atwater LF’05 attended the “Messengers of Peace” initiative from September 26th through October 2nd in Saudi Arabia at the invitation of HRH King Carl Gustaf of .Sweden and the Saudi royal family.  The Messengers of Peace initiative is a co-operative effort by the royal families to extend peaceful relations between all countries and religions through the programs of World Scouting.  Attendees were given extensive tours of archaeological and other historic sites near Jeddah and the northern Saudi districts including Nabatean Tombs like those at Petra, Jordan.  Bob and the other attendees are Life Fellows of the World Scout Foundation’s “Baden Powell World Fellowship!”

    Dr. Richard Williams FN’03, NASA Chief Health and Medical Officer, was quoted extensively in an article in the Sept 27 Washington Post regarding a visual problem experienced by space shuttle astronauts.  The condition which causes blurred vision is probably related to increased cerebrospinal fluid pressure due to microgravity and affects about 30 percent of shuttle pilots and 60 percent of those who have stayed 6 months on the shuttle.  Gradual improvement in visual acuity usually occurs within months of return but may not be complete.

    The book Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest by Dr. Wade Davis HON ’87, was reviewed in the December 4 NY Times Book Review.  This “assiduously researched” book details George Mallory’s attempted Everest ascent amid the context of the post World War I British generational devastation and the need to re-establish national pride. On Dec. 29 National Public Radio’s Morning Edition featured an interview Davis, about  You can listen to interview here. Knopf in the U.S.  and Canada, and The Bodley Head in the UK published the book that Davis worked on for more than a decade:  Davis considers it “by far the best book I have ever written,” and reviewers agree. For example: “Brilliantly engrossing. . . . A superb book. At once a group biography of remarkable characters snatched from oblivion, an instant classic of mountaineering literature, a study in imperial decline and an epic of exploration.” —Nigel Jones, The Guardian, UK.  Davis described this trip and answered questions at the ECWG Nov. 19, 2011 dinner.

    Marilyn Engle FN’03 took a flag to study human health impacts of mercury emissions from gold refining shops in two regions of Peru, the Amazon and high altitude locations. Mining accounts for about 30% of all human-related mercury release.

    Dr. Lee Talbot MED’57 and Marty Talbot FN’04 explored the remote, roadless Nam Theun watershed in the high Annamite Moun- tains of Laos. At the behest of the Lao Government and World Bank, they surveyed a mostly unknown remote forest and grassland area, gained important information about rare or threatened wildlife, and demonstrated that Vietnamese poachers have free reign in the area.

    Robert Atwater LF’05 took a flag with other Club members Josh Bernstein FR’04 and Curt Bowen FN’11 to the Yucatan and located Mayan pottery and human remains after diving in over 50 cenotes. Bob also went with Shellie Howard AN’10 and Idee Belau AN’10 and a team of explorers led by Jim Thompson FN’05 to the Mojave Desert to conduct surveys of ancient lava tubes for a NASA Mars project near the town of Baker. Bob was elected to the Board of Directors of the Institute for Nautical Archaeology (INA) located at Texas A&M.

    J. J. Kelley SM’07 released his documentary about paddling home- made wooden boats down the 1300 mile Inside Passage from Alaska to Seattle with a friend. Featured previously on PBS via National Geographic’s Wild Chronicles, Kelley’s film features unusual encounters with unexpected marine life.

    Scott Wallace FN’06 recently returned from exploring several remote jungle

    Scott Wallace with Ashénkinka elder on the Alto Tamaya River, Perulocations in the watersheds of the Peruvian/Brazilian Amazon border.

    locations in the watersheds of the Peruvian/Brazilian Amazon border.  These rugged headwaters frontier regions contain uncontacted indigenous communities which remain in isolation from the world.   Traveling by helicopter, bush plane, canoe, and on foot, this three month expedition into the land of the flecheiros (Arrow People) is chronicled in his forthcoming book entitled The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes.  We are pleased that Scott returned unscathed as the flecheiros are known to repel intruders with showers of deadly arrows. He was also a guest on the NPR Radio “Weekend Edition” discussing his experiences in the remote Peruvian/Brazilian Amazon border.  His book was reviewed in the December 4 NY Times Book Review which included a photo of Scott. He told the story behind the book at the ECWG’s Nov. 19 Cosmos Club dinner.

    Dr. Lew Toulmin MN’04 organized a survey with Federal and state archaeologists to find the missing plantation of his ancestor, Brig. Gen. Andrew Williamson (1730-1786), near Greenwood, S. C. Williamson was a Patriot leader in the American Revolution, then took British protection, and was reviled as the “Benedict Arnold of South Carolina.”  Later it was revealed that he spied on the British for a year while in their headquarters, making him America’s first important double agent.  His plantation, White Hall, was a fort, depot, prison, military base and battlefield during the war. The survey team found Revolutionary War-era evidence of a structure that will be the site of future field research.

    ECWG members appeared in the media as well over the past few months.  Jack Williams FN’03 was a guest of the NPR Kojo Nnamdi Show discussing the effects of Hurricane Irene.  As the recently retired founding weather editor of USA Today, Jack is a frequent resource for weather and climate issues for the media and government.  Among his recent publications is one from July 2011 Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine on why lightning doesn’t knock airliners out of the sky when it hits them.  His recent book The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America’s Weather is a highly respected resource and he is completing a book for the National Geographic Society.

    Dr. Thomas King FN’02 was interviewed about his work as the senior archaeologist with The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) on the search for Amelia Earhart, on Fairfax County VA Public Television.  He also presented a paper at the World Archaeological Congress’ Intercongress on Heritage Management in East and Southeast Asia, in Beijing, as a guest of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

    In other news, Dr. Michael Manyak MED’92 was recently named to the board of directors of the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) of the Boy Scouts of America.  He also was an invited guest speaker at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business graduate program to lecture on aspects of expedition medicine.  Dr. Manyak also presented his experiences in expedition medicine as the dinner program speaker for The Adventurers Club of Chicago.  Anyone interested in a fascinating artifact display should visit this club which shares common roots of Teddy Roosevelt involvement and remote travel with The Explorers Club.

    Most importantly, we welcome new members to ECWG and look forward to their participation and contributions to our chapter: James Abely MN‘11, Michael Blakely MN‘11, Jacob Bressman SM‘11, Carrie-Lee Early AN‘11, Kenneth Kambis FN‘11, Michael Max FN‘05, and Nicolas Temnikov FN‘78.

    Compiled by Dr. Michael Manyak

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    Talk retraced the steps of Marco Polo

    Denis Belliveau, MR 07,  used photos to describe the two years he and Francis O’Donnell spent retracing all 25,000 miles of Marco Polo’s 24-year, 13th century journey by land and sea from Venice to China and back at the ECWG’s Cosmos Club dinner on Feb. 11, 2012.

    Richly enhanced with Belliveau’s award-winning photographs, the program detailed the highs and lows of retracing Polo’s path, trying to see what Polo saw and feel what he must have felt.

    Until Belliveau and O’Donnell did it, no individual or team  had ever retraced Marco Polo’s entire route, although several Expeditions tried and failed.  One of Belliveau’s and O’Donnell’s self-imposed rule was “No Flying.”

    Belliveau’s  photographic career has taken him to over 60 countries where he has amassed a wealth of mesmerizing images. His work has been published in numerous magazines, periodicals and books, including Photographic Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine and most recently the B.B.C. documentary series “Planet Earth” which aired on the Discovery Channel.

    He is the recipient of the Gallery Award, Eastman Kodak’s highest honor for a professional photographer. “In the Footsteps of Marco Polo” was nominated for an Emmy® in the category of Outstanding Arts & Culture Programming. Denis is employed as Director of Photography and senior cameraman for the award winning P.B.S. television Series, “Real Moms, Real Stories, Real Savvy.”

    He lives in New York City with his wife Lisa and sons Jake and Cary James and is currently working on his next documentary.

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    Dinner talk on Northwest Passage journey

    Emmy award-winning filmmaker Sprague Theobald talked about his five-month, 2009 journey from Rhode Island through the legendary Northwest Passage to Seattle at the Jan. 14, 2012 Explorers Club Washington Group dinner at the Cosmos Club in Washington.

    Theobald  left Rhode Island on a 57-foot Nordhavn powerboat with a crew of four to document a maritime expedition through the Arctic’s storied Northwest Passage.

    Once impenetrable, the ice-covered seafaring route became fully navigable for the first time in 2007 when the sea ice dramatically retreated, and , in 2009, Theobald and crew embarked to make a film showcasing the stark wilderness. They encountered significantly more ice than expected, but five months, many polar bears and one perilous ice trap later, they emerged safely in Seattle.

    In his ECWG dinner talk Theobald shared his highlights of his trip along the Passage and an account of the evidence encountered from the lost Franklin Expedition of 1845. He will present some of the 1800 still pictures taken during his journey.

    Theobald has always had an affinity for the sea. From his three year stint on the America’s Cup yacht Intrepid to his private voyages from Alaska through the Panama Canal and into the Caribbean, he has over 45,000 deep water miles under his belt.

    His look at The America’s Cup in “The 25th Defense” won him an Emmy Award. Theobald is the owner and founder of Hole In The Wall Film and Video Productions.  His company became the first in history to utilize a production motorboat to complete the 8500 mile Northwest Passage.

    Theobald’s book about his Northwest Passage trip, The Other Side Of The Ice, will be published in April 2012 by Sky Horse Publishing.  He has a larger boat on order.

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    ECWG member’s work on exhibit at Press Club

    Curt Westergard MN “09 and his company, Digital  Design & Imaging Service, Inc., has several large photos illustrating “The Science & Art of Crowd Counting” on display in the Lobby of the National Press Club, on the 13th Floor at 529 14th St. NW, at F Street NW, in downtown Washington.

    The exhibit is co-sponsored by CBS News, one of the news organizations  that are using Westergard’s photos of large events, especially those on Washington’s National Mall, to report accurate crowd figures.

    The exhibit presents the aerial imaging tools and photo analysis strategies used to count crowds at outdoor protests and rallies.

    In 2010 the Washington Post’s ombudsman citied the work of Westergard and his company in suppling reporters with accurate figures for crowds instead of the usually-inflated estimates supplied by organizers.

    The exhibit includes both actual photos of events and the crowd figures and computer-generated images showing what crowds the size sometimes claimed could look like from the air. For example, one image shows that if a million people were “on the mall” from 3rd street on past the Washington Monument, in an area the 300-foot width of the mall, the crowd would stretch across the Potomac on out to the Ballston area of Arlington.

    The Press Club’s 13th floor, where the exhibit is on display, is open to the public as is the Club’s Fourth Estate Restaurant on the same floor.

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    December talk on building South Pole station

    Jerry Marty, who was in charge of building the newest South Pole station, talked about the challenges of building the third and current U.S. South Pole station at the ECWG’s annual black tie dinner at the Cosmos Club on Saturday, Dec. 3. 2011.

    Jerry Marty carries the U.S. flag leading the procession of flags of Antarctic Treaty nations from the old to the new South Pole Station on Jan. 12, 2007 for the dedication of the new station. National Science Foundation photo by Glenn Grant.

    In his talk Marty focused on the challenges of building a 21st century scientific research facility at the Pole and on the exciting new science supported at the station.

    This is the Centennial of the arrival of the first people at the South Pole. On Dec. 18, 1911 the Norwegian  explorer Roald Amundsen, and the four men with him arrived at the South Pole. All made it back safely. On Jan. 18 the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott and the four men with him arrived to find the tent the Norwegians had left at the Pole. All died on their way back.

    U.S. Navy Construction Battalion officers and men built the first U.S. South Pole Station in 1957. People have lived and worked at it and subsequent Pole stations since the first crew spent the Antarctic Winter of 1957-58 there. Marty first worked at the Pole during the 1974-75 “summer” season, which was the final year of construction of the second station. He led the construction of the third station, which was dedicated on Jan. 12, 2008.

    More Information: The Antarctic Sun, published by the U.S. Antarctic Program, briefly tells the story of Marty’s life and his work as manger of the construction of the new station in its March 27, 2009 edition.

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    ECWG Annual Meeting

    Explorers Club Washington Group members will meet at 5:45 p.m. at the Cosmos Club on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 — 15 minutes before the annual black tie event–to elect members of the Board of Directors Class of 2014 and conduct any other business to brought before the meeting.

    Under the ECWG Articles of Procedure, the Ad-hoc Nominating Committee is responsible for providing a slate of five nominees for the next class of elected members of the Board of Directors, as well as nominees to fill vacancies in other classes.  The members of the Board of Directors are to be elected by the ECWG membership at the annual election meeting, which will be this coming December 3th and they take office immediately after that meeting.

    Nominees for Board of Directors Class of 2014

    • James P. Blair FN09
    • R. Craig Cook MN01
    • Tony K. Meunier FE 84
    • Llewellyn M. “Lew” Toulmin MN04
    • Karen Ronne Tupek MN07

    Nominees for the ECWG Officers are:

    • Chairman: Julius “Jay” Kaplan  MN01
    • Vice Chairman:  Susan Sawtelle  MN01
    • Secretary:  Margaret “Meg” Walsh  FN08
    • Treasurer:  Bruce Blanchard  MN78
    • Program Director:  Donald J. Gerson FE78
    • Membership Director:  Robert “Bob” Tallent FN07
    • Chairman, Grants Committee: Polly A. Penhale, FN91
    • Chairman, Public Relations and Outreach, John C. Williams, FN03
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    November talk on Amazon’s hidden tribes

    At the ECWG’s Nov. 19, 2011 Cosmos Club dinner Scott Wallace, FN’07 told the story of his National Geographic assignment in the summer 2002 to journey deep into the Amazon with the renowned Brazilian explorer and Indian rights activist Sydney Possuelo to gather information on an uncounted indigenous group known as the “People of the Arrow” without making contact. Wallace recounts  the expedition in his new book The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes.

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    Talk on Sharks, Tropical Paradise and Science

    Craig Cook, M.D, MN 01 discussed “The Search for the Perfect Reef: Sharks, Tropical Paradise and Science” at the Explorer’s Club Washington Group’s September  17, 2011 Cosmos Club Dinner.

    ECWG Chair Jay Kaplan presents Craig Cook a certificate of appreciation after his talk. Don Gerson photo

    He described two scientific expeditions to the Phoenix Islands in the equatorial central Pacific that he participated in. On both scientists were studying the the world’s most remote coral reefs as part of their efforts to better understand why the world’s coral reefs are in decline.

    Cook is a physician who is involved in undersea exploration and undersea medicine. As a physician he is especially interested in the mechanisms of decompression sickness and its treatment in remote locations.

    He has been an active diver for more than 40 years and is a diving instructor for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). He also has technical diving certification both closed and semi- closed oxygen rebreathers. Dr. Cook is a Divers Alert Network (DAN) Instructor with multiple certifications in diving accident management. In addition, he has been a DAN referral physician for the past 15 years.

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    Tour of NASA art exhibit offered

    Members of the Explorers Club Washington Group are invited to take a tour of the new “NASA ART: 50 Years of Exploration” at the National Air and Space Museum at 10:30 am on Saturday, September 24.

    There is no admission charge but only the first 20 people who sign up will be able to take the tour. To sign up contact Arnella Trent, 301-526-0822 or arnellat@gmail.com

    Featured artists include Robert Rauschenberg, Norman Rockwell, Annie Leibovitz and Jamie Wyeth. The work shows some of the triumphs and also tragedies encountered by NASA.

    The tour will be led by James Dean, founding director of the NASA Art Program and Bertram Ulrich, Curator of the NASA Art Program. It will take approximately an hour followed by an informal Dutch Treat lunch.

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    ECWG’s 2011 Fall Outing Scheduled

    This year’s Explorers Club Washington Group’s annual fall outing–The Bombash–will be three days of exploring the historical treasures of southern Maryland from September 30 through October 2.

    Highlights will include:

    The Drum Point Lighthouse at the Calvert Marine Museum.

    • a visit to the Calvert Marine Museum on on Solomon’s Island
    • a visit to the Drum Point lighthouse
    • a sightseeing cruise on the Wm. B. Tennison, which was built as a nine-log sailing bugeye in 1899 and converted to an oyster buy-boat in 1906-07. The hour-long sightseeing cruise will be  through busy Solomons inner harbor, underneath the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge and back to Pt. Patience and the Naval Recreation Center.
    • a walking tour of St. Mary’s City
    • a Saturday dinner talk on “The Status of Crabs in Chesapeake Bay by Dr. Thomas Miller, Director and Professor at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory
    • a tour of tthe 18th century Manor House at Sotterkey Planation
    • The Riverside WineFest at Sotterley 2011! with wine tastings; live music; local artisans with fabulous hand-crafted items for purchase; food vendors featuring such Southern Maryland specialties as crab cakes, fried oysters, stuffed ham, pit roasted meats and freshly made ice cream; exhibits, demonstrations, tours, children’s activities, and more in a breathtaking Patuxent riverside setting.

    The cost will be $130 per person, which includes all of the tours, a Saturday box lunch, Saturday evening dinner, and admission to the Riverside WineFest.

    Those attending need to make their own  transportation and hotel arrangements. Rooms are available at the group rate of $89.00 per night per room. including  continental breakfast, plus tax at: The Sleep Inn & Suites 23428 Three Notch Road; California, MD 20616; Phone: 301 737-0000, Fax 301 737-442

    Details in the full announcement

    Reservations must be made by noon on Monday, Sept. 12 with: Frank R. Power; 13208 Glen Mill Road; Rockville, MD 20850; 301 294-9377; frankrpower@aol.com

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    News Briefs3rd Quarter 2011

    Robert E Hyman, LF93 was the executive director on a new short documentary called “Paradise in Peril”. Paradise in Peril follows an expedition organized to document the destruction of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and collect testimony from the native peoples who rely on the Río Platáno for survival. Fewer than 400 individuals have ever completed this strenuous expedition from the rivers headwaters to the Miskito coast of Honduras.

    You can view this short documentary at”  http://skyshipfilms.com/paradise-in-peril or http://vimeo.com/skyshipfilms/paradise-in-peril to see this short documentary.

    Members of The Explorers Club Washington Group and their guests enjoyed a summer outing at the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens on Saturday, June 25. Full story.

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    June Outing at Hillwood

    Members of The Explorers Club Washington Group and their guests enjoyed a summer outing at the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens on Saturday, June 25.

    It included tours of the estate founded by Marjorie Merriweather Post,  an American collector and heiress to the Post cereal empire. Hillwood is one of the premier art collector’s museums in the United States.

    Hillwood Estate photo

    Hillwood features the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia and a world-renowned collection of eighteenth-century French decorative art and furnishings.

    The collection includes Fabergé eggs, Russian porcelain, Russian Orthodox icons, Beauvais tapestries, and Sèvres porcelain. Encircled by woodlands, the twenty-five acre estate provides visitors a tranquil oasis of luscious formal gardens.

    After viewing a movie about Post and the estate, one of the gardeners led a tour of the gardens that flow from the house, with walks laid out in straight axes to separate the spaces, providing respite and recreation in a tranquil setting.  Assisted by prominent landscape architects and garden designers of the time, Mrs. Post conceived of outdoor “rooms” bounded by hedges or large plantings and containing statuary, fountains, and pools as focal points.

    After the garden tour, a docent guided the group through the Georgian -style mansion that features furnished rooms decorated with Post’s magnificent French and Russian collections, which number more than 16,000 objects.

    After lunch, several of the explorers and their guests visited the “Belles: Bridal Fashions from the Marjorie Merriweather Post Family, 1874-1958” exhibit.

    It brings together her four wedding gowns, along with those of her mother and daughters, and examines the evolution of early 20th century wedding style through the lens of one of America’s most notable and fashionable families. Drawn mainly from the extensive costume collection left by Post to Hillwood, the exhibition also includes her daughters’ flower girl and bridesmaid dresses, and mother of the bride dresses worn by Post and her mother.  Archival photography, correspondence, and ephemera further illustrate the tradition, romance, and elegance that informed the renowned family’s nuptials

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    News briefs 2nd quarter 2011

    Robert E. Hyman LF ‘93 and Mark Bonta, a professor at Delta State University in Mississippi who is an author with 20 years experience in the region, led the April 7-22, 2011 Honduran Biodiversity Expedition, which carried Explorers Club Flag #93. Lew Toulmin Ph.D. MN ‘04 helped plan the expedition but could not go. The expedition recorded 206 bird species, and the herpetologist team collected 68 samples. The expedition also collected 60 plant species.  It explored several national parks and proposed protected areas, as well as a major archaeological site, all located in the(municipality of Gualaco.

    Robert Hyman, right, with members of the Honduran Biodiversity Expedition.

    Members of the ECWG and their guests met a cheetah cub at the May 14, 2011 reception and cocktail hour before enjoying dinner and then hearing Dr. Laurie Marker, FI ’06, the Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, discuss her  work to save cheetahs from extinction. Read the complete story.

    The Explorers Club Washington Group has awarded a total of $17,840 in Exploration and Field Research Grants to eight graduate students. The grants are intended to provide supplemental funds to support fieldwork or closely related endeavors, and generally range from one to several thousand dollars. While the awards are small, former grantees have successfully used their awards to collect preliminary data leading to other awards or to augment support for items not covered elsewhere. List of awardees.

    ECWG member Jason Paterniti MN’ 10 and Dr Edward Harris FI ’99, the executive director of the National Museum of Bermuda, will be carrying an Explorers Club flag to Bermuda for the 2011 Warwick Project in June and July, 2011. The Warwick, which was on its way to the Jamestown, Virginia, colony, sunk on Oct. 20, 1619,  at its anchorage in Castle Harbour, Bermuda, during a hurricane. More about the project on the Global Exploration & Oceanographic Society Web site. Paterniti the Society’s president.

    Dr. Craig Cook MN ’01 was medical director and diver in a multi-institutional research flag expedition to the central equatorial pacific Northern Line Islands to evaluate the health of coral reef and marine ecosystems. Of particular interest were large shark populations and evidence that iron from old shipwrecks adversely impacts coral growth.

    Marilyn Engle FN ’03 took a flag to study human health impacts of mercury emissions from gold refining shops in two regions of Peru, the Amazon and high altitude locations.  Mining accounts for about 30% of all human-related mercury release.

    Dr. Lee Talbot MED ’57 and Marty Talbot FN ’04 explored the remote, roadless and little known Nam Theun watershed in the high Annamite Mountains of central Laos.  At the behest of the Lao Government and World Bank, this flag expedition surveyed a mostly unknown remote forest and grassland area, gained important information about rare or threatened wildlife, and demonstrated that Vietnamese poachers have free reign in the area.

    Robert Atwater LF ’05 took a flag with other Club members Josh Bernstein FR ’04 and Curt Bowen FN ’11 to the Yucatan which located Mayan pottery and human remains after diving in over 50 cenotes.  Bob also went with Shellie Howard AN ’10 and Idee Belau AN ’10 and a team of explorers led by Jim Thompson FN ’05 to the Mojave Desert to conduct surveys of ancient lava tubes for a NASA Mars project near the town of Baker.  For all of his activities, Bob  was elected to the Board of Directors of the Institute for Nautical Archaeology (INA) located at Texas A & M.

    J. J. Kelley SM ’07 released his documentary of paddling homemade wooden boats down the 1300 mile Inside Passage from Alaska to Seattle with a friend.  Featured previously on PBS via National Geographic’s Wild Chronicles, Kelley’s film features unusual encounters with unexpected marine life.

    Two ECWG members  received some of Explorers Club’s highest awards at the EC Annual Dinner in March.  Dr. Wade Davis HON ’87, anthropologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, received the 2011 Explorers Medal in recognition for his lifetime work with the world’s indigenous cultures.  Dr. Polly Penhale FN ’91 received the 2011 Quadrennial Finn Ronne Award for her lifetime accomplishments in polar research.

    Other activities of note include: Dr. Joyce M. Johnson FN’03 recently returned from Secundi-Takoradi, Ghana where she provided volunteer medical care in a public mental health clinic and developed a curriculum for diagnosis and management.  A photo of the critically endangered Honduran Emerald Hummingbird by Robert Hyman LF ’93 was one of the winners in The World’s Rarest Birds Photo Competition which supports their conservation.  The World’s Rarest Birds book based on the competition will be published in 2012.

    James Q. Tierney-Holly FE ‘61 reached his fifty year membership milestone this year.  The ECWG now has 8 members in this rarified circle.

    New members of the ECWG are:  Bridget Baudinet SM ‘11, Katherine Comer SM ‘11, Jack Curran SM ‘05, James Delgado FN ‘97, Shellie Howard AN ’10, Venson Jordan MN ’11, Tyler Lystash SM ‘10, Carl Pechman MN ‘81, Amy Putnam SM ’10.

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    ECWG members, guests meet a cheetah

    Members of the ECWG and their guests met a cheetah cub, at the May 14, 2011 reception and cocktail hour before enjoying dinner and then hearing Dr. Laurie Marker, FI ’06, the Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, discuss her  work to save cheetahs from extinction.

    'Nice kitty.' Jacob the cheetah cub. Photo by Darlene Shields

    Attendees had their photos taken with Jacob, the cheetah cub, on the patio outside the Powell Auditorium at the Cosmos Club during the pre-dinner reception and cocktail hour

    Throughout the reception and dinner, members and guests viewed spectacular cheetah photographs on the Powell Auditorium’s large screen. The photos were by Suzi Eszterhas and Chris Johns, editor-in-chief of the National Geographic. The images were selected by James Blair (FN ’09) and Gary Kopff (MN ’91).

    The dinner was held in conjunction with the Cosmos Club’s Natural Resources Group.

    In her talk Marker discussed her work with cheetahs since 1974. She set up the not-for-profit Fund in 1990 and moved to Namibia to develop a permanent Conservation Research Centre for the wild cheetah. The Centre’s work includes a focus on mitigating conflict between people and wildlife in African countries, with a special emphasis on the cheetah.

    She was raised in a suburb of Los Angeles, where her father, trained as an agricultural economist, worked in the aerospace industry and kept horses, rabbits and other animals in the backyard. Marker went to San Francisco State University to study psychology, then transferred to Napa Valley College to learn winemaking.

    She left college in 1972 to start a vineyard with her husband in Winston, Oregon. To help bankroll the venture, Marker worked at an animal park called Wildlife Safari. The sum total of what was then known about cheetahs at Wildlife Safari was that they were fascinating, standoffish and virtually impossible to breed.

    Laurie Marker at the Cosmos Club. Photo by Darlene Shields

    Captivated, Marker started to ask questions, read books and conduct research about the animals. In 2002, at 48, she earned a PhD from Oxford University. Her dissertation, Aspects of Cheetah [Acinonyx jubatus] Biology, Ecology and Conservation Strategies on Namibian Farmlands, is considered the last word on cheetahs.

    Marker has also assisted in developing cheetah conservation programs in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Algeria, and Iran, as well as supporting a field research base in Kenya. Marker is considered the world’s preeminent cheetah specialist. If the cheetah species is restored from the brink of extinction, it will undoubtedly be due to the life’s work of Dr. Marker and the Cheetah Conservation Fund.

    In the 1980s, with collaborators at the National Zoo and the National Cancer Institute, she helped identify cheetah’s exceptionally homogeneous DNA that causes one of the species great problems for survival.

    Her awards and global recognition include: The 2010 Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Award, a Time Magazine “Heroes for the Planet” (2000), the Gold Medal Award from the Society of Woman Geographers (2008), the Conservation Medal of Lifetime Achievement Award from the Zoological Society of San Diego (2008), Intel Environmental Laureate (2008), and the Tyler Prize Laureate for the Environment (2010).

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    News Briefs 1st Quarter 2011

    Robert Hyman, LF ’93 has won won fifth prize in the CR+EW category in The World’s Rarest Birds photo competition for his photo of the critically endangered Honduran Emerald Hummingbird.

    Robert Hyman's prize-winning photo

    His photo was one selected as a winner from among 2000 entries, in The World’s Rarest Birds Photo Competition. The competition raises awareness of the rarest birds of the world and helps support their conservation through BirdLife International’s Preventing Extinctions Program.  Hyman’s photo has also been featured in The Mail, Telegraph and Metro newspapers in London, the French publication Natures et Animaux and on National Geographic’s web site. The World’s Rarest Birds book based on the competition will be published in 2012.

    Elise Larsen, who received an ECWG Exploration and Field Research Grant  in 2010, reported on her work studying changes in the Mount St. Helens bird community following the catastrophic eruption of 1980 at the April 16, 2011 Cosmos Club dinner. She is a PhD  degree candidate at the University of Maryland, working in the Fagan Lab. Full story

    ECWG member Frank R. Power MN ’93 discussed the colorful life of  Roy Chapman Andrews (1884 – 1960) during a brunch Sunday, March 6 at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Chevy Chase. Full story

    Wade Davis, Hon ‘87, spoke on “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World” at the  Jan. 15, 2011 ECWG Dinner at the Cosmos Club. Full story

    Sarah K. Yeomans FN ’07 spoke on “Medicine in the Ancient World: What we have learned from archaeology” at The Explorers Club Washington Group dinner at the Cosmos Club on Saturday Feb. 12, 2011.  Full story

    ECWG board members elected at the ECWG annual meeting and dinner on December 4, 2010 were: Louise Burke MN ’86, Norman Cherkis FN ’91, Frank Power MN ’93, John C. Williams FN ’03, and Arnella Trent MN ’10.

    Emory Kristof speaking at the December dinner. Don Gerson photo

    Emory Kristof FN ’87, a highly renowned National Geographic photographer who is a pioneer in submersible and remotely operated vehicles, spoke at the December 4, 2010 dinner. He recounted his adventures as the designer of the innovative camera system and participation in the Titanic discovery and other famous historic wrecks.  He regaled the audience with tales and spectacular photos of unknown underwater animals and the deep sea hydrothermal vents discovered on his expeditions.

    Dr. Hans-Dieter Sues FN ’09, Senior Scientist and Curator in the Department of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, received the prestigious Humboldt Research Award for 2011-2012.  Given by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to internationally renowned scientists and scholars, this award will provide support for him to concentrate on finishing research on his specialty of early Triassic dinosaurs.

    Lew Toulmin MN ’04 and Robert Hyman LF ’93 were highlighted in a feature article in the September issue of Smithsonian Air and Space Magazine as co-founders of the Missing Aircraft Search Team (MAST).  The piece described the history of MAST beginning with the search for Steve Fossett MED ’92, and focusing on the recent underwater search for Gertrude Tompkins, the last missing WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) of WWII.  The piece described scientific and technological developments in the field science of search and rescue/recovery.

    Lee Talbot in his red Ginnetta prepares to pass a Ford Escort to finish 2nd at Circuit Mont Tremblant, Quebec, on Sept. 25, 2010. Darlene Shields photo.

    Explorers Club Medalist Dr. Lee Talbot MED ’57 received the 2010 Driver of the Year award from the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, the premier organizer and sponsor of vintage racing.  Lee is the oldest driver in this category and has been professionally racing for 62 years.  This year he won 7 races and finished 2nd in two others.  The award is presented to the outstanding vintage racer who has achieved the goals of safety, consciousness, sportsmanship, and consistent performance.

    Bob Atwater LF ’05 and Shellie Howard AN ’10 attended a week long survival course sponsored by BOSS (Boulder Outdoor Survival School) in Boulder, Utah.  This tough survival course taught creating friction fire with only sage wood, obtaining drinkable water from cow dung, sleeping through very cold nights without a tent or blankets, and many other related survival techniques.  Fortunately they both made it back and are still speaking to each other!

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    Talk on recovery of Mt. St. Helens birds

    Elise Larsen, who received an ECWG Exploration and Field Research Grant  in 2010, reported on her work studying changes in the Mount St. Helens bird community following the catastrophic eruption of 1980 at the April 16, 2011 Cosmos Club dinner. She is a PhD  degree candidate at the University of Maryland, working in the Fagan Lab.

    Elise Larsen on Mt. St. Helens. ©by the Fagan Lab

    Bill Fagan, the Lab’s head and major professor for Larsen’s research, described the work of his lab, which includes spatial ecology, with an exploration of how landscape patchiness can influence population and community dynamics. The goal is to understand how spatial effects influence the assembly, collapse, and functioning of ecological systems.

    Fagan and his students have conducted field work in the Eastern Steppes of Mongolia, the Antarctic Peninsula, and the starkly beautiful Pumice Plains of Mt. St. Helens, Washington. The research conducted by Dr. Fagan’s team helps to solve real-world conservation problems in the context of ecological theory.

    Bill Fagan. ©by the Fagan Lab

    Each April the ECWG invites young explorers who have received one of our student grants to report on their field research. Dr. Fagan’s students have received ECWG awards over the years, including Christina Kennedy and Sara Zeigler, our 2009 student speakers.

    Larsen’s research involves field studies and models to study how humans and natural disturbances can affect animal population and community dynamics. Elise has previously studied how the MidAtlantic Bird  community responded to urbanization and has worked in the Antarctic Peninsula region to survey penguin and seabird populations.

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    March 2011 talk was on field research pioneer

    ECWG member Frank R. Power MN ’93 discussed the colorful life of  Roy Chapman Andrews (1884 – 1960) during a brunch Sunday, March 6 at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Chevy Chase.

    Power said that Andrews “was the 20th century’s prototypical explorer—a bold, dashing figure who braved bandits, sandstorms, shipwrecks, and other brushes with death around the world.”

    William Chapman Andrews in the late 1920s. From The Explorers Club Archives

    Most notably, he led five scientific expeditions for the American Museum of Natural History’s to Mongolia’s desert, the Gobi, from 1922 to 1930.

    He was a pioneer of modern field research, but it was his team’s fossil discoveries that amazed the world – especially the first-ever complete nest of dinosaur eggs.

    Andrews–adventurer, administrator, and Museum promoter–spent his entire career at the American Museum of Natural History, where he rose through the ranks from departmental assistant, to expedition organizer, to Museum director.

    He served as President of The Explorers Club from 1931 to 1934 and was awarded the Explorers Medal in 1932.

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    Archaeologist discusses ancient medicine

    Sarah K. Yeomans FN ’07 spoke on “Medicine in the Ancient World: What we have learned from archaeology” at The Explorers Club Washington Group dinner at the Cosmos Club on Saturday Feb. 12, 2011.

    Sarah Yeomans, speaking at the ECWG dinner on Feb. 12, 2011. Photo by Darlene Shields

    Life in the ancient world was risky business. The perils of war, disease, famine and childbirth are a just a few examples of circumstances that contributed to a much lower average lifespan in the ancient world than we have now.

    People in antiquity were no less concerned about the prevention and cure of maladies than they are now, however, and entire cults, sanctuaries and professions dedicated to health dotted the spiritual, physical and professional landscapes of the ancient world.

    In her talk, Yeomans discussed what ancient cultures did to combat disease and injury, and noted that some of their methods are not too different from today’s.

    Yeomans teaches archaeology in the University of West Virginia’s Religious Studies Program and is also Director of Education Programs for the Biblical Archaeology Society.

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    News Briefs: 4th Quarter 2010

    Dr. Craig Cook MN ’01 was the diving medical officer and physician on a flag expedition to Antarctica which documented land and marine wildlife.  The team traced the route of Shackleton’s epic escape to South Georgia Island and attempted to reach the approximate location of the wreck of the Antarctic.

    Sarah Yeomans FN ’07 recently completed a field research season examining Biblical-era sites in the West Bank and at Bethsaida in the Golan Heights, excavating a Bronze Age town associated with several New Testament references. She also completed a southwestern Turkish survey of evidence for ancient medical technology from the Greek and Roman eras.  Her findings were presented at invited lectures at the Huntington Library and Museum in California and in Amman, Jordan, the latter at the invitation of the Young President’s Organization.

    Dr. Polly Penhale FN ’91 and ECWG chair, was a member of the US Delegation to the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), participating in the annual treaty meeting in Hobart, Tasmania. She was named Co-Convener of the 2011 CCAMLR Workshop on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to establish a system of  MPAs in the Southern Ocean.  Dr. Penhale will receive the 2011 Quadrennial Finn Ronne Award for her accomplishments in polar research.

    Piotr Chmielinski FN ’98 was featured in a National Geographic Society digital media article about his group whitewater trip on the Gauley River.  Considered by many to be the best whitewater rapids on the East Coast, this West Virginia river drops more than 668 feet through 28 miles of rugged terrain with more than 100 rapids of technical runs.

    Dr. Michael Manyak MED ’92 and Col. Don Morley MN ’90 traveled 800 miles into the Gobi Desert to join 2010 Lowell Thomas Awardee John Hare and rode camels with him for two days at the Wild Camel Reserve in Mongolia.  The wild camel is just now recognized as a separate species whose ancestors split from the camel evolutionary line 700,000 years ago, long before the common ancestor of the domesticated Bactrian and Dromedary.  The breeding station established by John Hare is attempting to preserve this very highly endangered animal which numbers less than 1000 in two remote areas of Mongolia and China.

    The ECWG had an active fall season of monthly meetings with interesting speakers.

    • Dr. Hans-Dieter Sues FN ’09, Senior Scientist and Curator in the Department of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, presented the results of 10 years of fossil collection by an international team he headed in Uzbekistan.  Dr. Sues is an internationally-renowned dinosaur expert and this effort has yielded many new dinosaur species.
    • Dr. Michael Manyak shared his experiences about medical risks in remote areas of Central African jungles, the deepest canyon in the world, the North Atlantic, Mongolia, and Antarctica.
    • Dr. Thomas King FN ’02 gave the details of five expeditions to Nikumaroro in the Phoenix Islands in search of the remains of Amelia Earhart.  He is the senior archaeologist for The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR).

    Lastly, and very importantly, the ECWG welcomes the following new members: Jack M. Curran SM ‘05, Benedicte Valentiner MN ‘10, Tyler A. Lystash SM ‘10, Amy M. Putnam SM ‘10, and Carl Pechman MN ’81.

    Andrew Alexander, The Washington Post’s ombudsman, noted the work of the company headed by Curt J. Westergard, MN09, in his Nov. 5 column about estimates of attendance at big events on the National Mall. Full story.

    The New York Times published a talk by reporter Claudia Dreifus with ECWG member Jane Goodall MED 93 in its Nov. 15, 2010 editions.  The story is online with a photo of Goodall.

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    ECWG Graduate Student Grants History

    The Explorers Club Washington Group has been offering Exploration and Field Research Grants to graduate students since 1997.

    The ECWG is now accepting applications for 2012 grants.

    Locations where ECWG grant winners have conducted research

    The program’s goal is to encourage young men and women to add to the body of knowledge of the earth, its people and the universe through exploration and field research. Examples of disciplines appropriate for support are anthropology, archaeology, ecology, entomology, botany, linguistics, ornithology, geography, ichthyology, geology, oceanography, glaciology, and similar disciplines.

    Grants are available to graduate students who are enrolled in a college or university in the local area (Washington, DC; Virginia; West Virginia; Maryland) and who are under the supervision of a qualified scientist or educator. The activity may occur anywhere in the world. It should be emphasized that that those expeditions supported will be for scientific purposes, in accordance with the Explorers Club’s stated objective, “to broaden our knowledge of the universe”. Continue reading

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    News briefs: 3rd Quarter 2010

    Two ECWG members participated in the 2010 Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree July 26-Aug. 4 at Fort A.P. Hill near Bowling Green, VA.

    Membership director Robert Atwater LF ’05 was selected to be President Obama’s escort during the 100th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America at the Jamboree. However, when the president declined to attend, Bob was consoled by becoming the escort for both the Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders and for Mike Rowe of the Discovery Channel’s Dirtiest Jobs. Continue reading

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    News Briefs: 2nd Quarter 2010

    Meredith Muth and Sarah Yukich, two graduate students who were aided by Explorers Club Washington Group Exploration and Field Research Grants, described their work at the ECWG’s annual students dinner on April 17 at the Cosmos Club in Washington.  Full story

    Jason Paterniti, MN’10, carried Explorers Club Flag 24 on a February 2010 expedition to the Cochamo Valley region of Chile to identify previously undocumented stands of the endangered Alerce tree (Fitzroya Cupressoides). Full story. Continue reading

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    May 16, 2017 ECWG Board of Directors Meeting

    The May ECWG BOD meeting will be held Tuesday at NATGEO at 11:30 AM May 16, 2017.

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    John Glen Tribute

    Honoring Our Fallen

    On April 6, 2017 at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC), a grateful nation laid to rest one of our most profound heroes, Senator John Herschel Glenn, Jr. HON’62.  As the skies wept and solemn rains fell, The Explorers Club Washington Group (ECWG) represented The Club in honoring this great hero and other legendary explorers interred in our nation’s most hallowed ground.  In attendance were President Ted Janulis MR’95 and Barbara Janulis, Vice-President of Chapters Bob Atwater LF’05, Executive Director Will Roseman MR’07, five former ECWG Chapter Chairs: Don Gerson FE’78, Jane Washburn Robinson FE’90, Alan Lukens ME’78, Jay Kaplan MN’01, and Jack Williams FN’03, as well as ECWG Board Members: Debbie Bell FN’14, Bruce Blanchard MED’78, Marilyn Livingood FN’03, Michael Max FN’05, Bill Runyon MN’01, Arnella Trent MN’16, Michael Wyrick MN’08, and ECWG members: Kellie Gerardi MR’13, Ken Kambis FN’11, Richard Vondrak FN’15, and guests.

    Our day of remembrance began appropriately at the statue of Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, Jr., standing resolute on historic Arlington Memorial Avenue, the “Avenue of Heroes”.  The Avenue and Memorial Bridge serve as the ceremonial entrance to Washington, D.C. and symbolically link North and South between the Lincoln Memorial and Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial.

    Lead by ECWG Chair Lonnie Schorer MN’98 and retired U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Eric Fies MN’16, the delegation proceeded by bus along the winding roadways of the 152-year-old, 624-acre cemetery to one of ANC’s oldest sections, just below the Kennedy Gravesites.  There, ANC Historian Christopher Warren provided insight into the lives and achievements of the first set of explorers to be visited and honored: Aviators, Arctic Explorers, and Explorers Club Medalists Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, Jr. and Colonel Bernt Balchen, and famed Antarctic Explorers Captain Finn and Jackie Ronne.

    Equipped with umbrellas, the delegation navigated the headstones and wet grass to stand before the marble and granite reminders of our honored fallen.  At each grave, designees placed a single white rose and small TEC Flag to show our respect and mark our visit.  Despite the downpour, explorers and guests marveled at the accomplishments inscribed in timeless honor to our inspirational brothers and sister of discovery.

    Momentarily shaking off the rain, the delegation boarded the bus and proceeded to the oldest section of ANC nearest the former Custis-Lee Mansion to visit the grave of one of our Club’s founding fathers, Major General Adolphus Greely.  An Arctic Explorer and Explorers Club Medalist, Major General Greely served as the first President of TEC from 1905-1906.  A short walk later and just past Mrs. Robert E. Lee’s garden, Brigadier General David Legge Brainard lies in eternal slumber.  The famed Arctic Explorer and Explorers Club Medalist was a Charter Member of TEC and served as the fourth President of TEC from 1912-1913.

    The next stop on this expedition through time was on the southern border of ANC nearest the U.S. Air Force Memorial and overlooking the Pentagon.  Respectfully pausing as a horse drawn caisson carrying the flag-draped casket of yet another hero passed the foggy windows of the bus, the delegation made its way to Section 8 and the graves of Arctic Explorers Matthew Alexander Henson and Admiral Robert Edwin Peary, Sr.  Matthew Henson was the first African-American Arctic Explorer, adventuring beside Admiral Peary for nearly 23 years, and he became TEC’s first African-American Honorary Member in 1948.  Admiral Peary received The Explorers Club Medal in 1914 and served as the third and fifth TEC President.

    After honoring our famed Arctic duo, the delegation made its way to neighboring Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, home of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard”, and to Patton Hall, for a delicious lunch in this former Army Officers’ Club.  There, the esteemed Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, former astronaut, TEC Medalist, and recently designated TEC Honorary Chair, joined the delegation.  Dr. Sullivan, a close friend of Senator Glenn, attended the funeral service at the invitation of the Glenn Family.

    Now provisioned to continue the expedition into the afternoon, the explorers made their way to ANC’s Memorial Amphitheater.  Joined again by ANC Historian Christopher Warren and led into the Memorial Display Room, just yards away from the incredible Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the group received a private talk by the Sergeant of the Guard for the venerated Tomb Sentinels.  These dedicated U.S. Army Infantrymen protect the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 24-hours a day and 365-days a year, preventing anyone uninvited from approaching the Tomb Monument.  At precisely 1330, the explorers stood silently to witness the Changing of the Guard, a ceremony occurring every 30 minutes around the clock whereby the on duty Tomb Sentinel is relieved by the oncoming Sentinel, all officiated by the Relief Commander.

    Immediately following this time-honored event, the Relief Commander marched rigidly up the wide marble stairs from the Tomb Plaza and into the Memorial Display Room where TEC President Ted Janulis, Honorary Chair Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, TEC Treasurer Bruce Blanchard, and ECWG Chair Lonnie Schorer waited silently to meet him.  They received instructions on the conduct of the wreath-laying ceremony about to occur as the weather subsided outside.

    At 1345, the sky opened, storm winds howled, and torrential rains fell as our respected representatives proceeded with military precision down the stairs to the Tomb Plaza escorted by the Relief Commander.  Unbeknownst to all there, an EF-0 tornado with winds between 60 and 70 mph swept through Arlington, Virginia and into D.C., damaging cherry trees along the Tidal Basin on its four-and-a-half mile path.  Despite the tempest, on cue, and assisted by the Sentinel, our President and Honorary Chair stepped forward and stood before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier placing a beautiful floral wreath where Heads of States often do.  The fragrant wreath, made of red, white, and blue carnations laid in the diagonal pattern of the TEC Flag and displaying an image of our flag as a centerpiece, had a ribbon placed across the upper portion that read “The Explorers Club” and another across the lower portion that read “Godspeed, Explorers!”  Once the wreath was placed, all in attendance stood absolutely still and silent as an Army Bugler sounded Taps in honor of our fallen comrades.  Then, the official party departed the Tomb Plaza and the entire delegation reentered the Memorial Display Room.

    ANC Historian Christopher Warren provided the group with a private tour of the exhibits and talked about the history of the Memorial Amphitheater and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Once completed, the explorers gathered beneath the apse in the back of the amphitheater stage for a TEC Flag photograph, then made their way on foot to the monuments to the crews of the Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia.  Once respects were paid and flags and roses placed, the delegation walked to Senator Glenn’s gravesite in Section 35 near the Memorial Amphitheater.  As if on cue, the clouds dissipated and the sun shone beautifully across the iconic marble headstones.

    John Glenn epitomized the spirit of exploration and service to country: a U.S. Marine Corps Aviator, pioneering Astronaut, and U.S. Senator.  A larger than life character and hero to many, he embodied the mission of The Explorers Club and lived a legendary life as an inspiration to generations.  Senator Glenn served as the Honorary Chair of TEC since 2013, when he received the Legendary Explorers Medal.  He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Congressional Gold Medal, Congressional Space Medal of Honor, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, six Distinguished Flying Crosses, and eighteen Air Medals.

    The delegation warmly encircled his pristine and freshly covered grave, solemnly looking down upon the bouquets of flowers left their by his beloved Annie and their children.  Dr. Sullivan provided a lovely eulogy, sharing fond memories of her personal interactions with the explorer, and then President Janulis and Jay Kaplan placed a TEC Flag and single white rose at the head of his grave.  One by one, the explorers said their silent good-byes to one that will never truly leave us, turned and slowly walked away, completing the day’s expedition at our Nation’s Most Sacred Shrine.

    Immediately following, an informal gathering was hosted by the ECWG in Washington, D.C. and many attended, reflecting on the day’s events and toasting, “To Fallen Heroes and New Adventures!”

    Flapping in the Spring breeze, soaked by the torrential rains, and bearing witness to the burial of a legend, flew a single U.S. Flag at half-staff on the Memorial Amphitheater’s flagpole, only yards from Senator Glenn’s gravesite.  As the sun set and Retreat was sounded, the Tomb Sentinels lowered this flag, gently folding the red and white stripes into the blue, just as the light of day vanishes into the night.  In the early morning hours of April 7th, Eric Fies retrieved this triangular blue field of stars from the Sentinels, to be presented to President Janulis and placed on display at TEC Headquarters in memorium of a legend.  Godspeed, John Glenn!

    • CSM(R) Eric Fies, FRGS MN’16, eric.fies@explorenorthstar.com, with Lonnie Schorer MN’98
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