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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