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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