Category: News

Trevor Wallace Presentation Hosted by Phil and Natalia Stephenson

Trevor Wallace Presentation Hosted by Phil and Natalia Stephenson

On May 24, 2018, Phil and Natalia Stephenson and the Stephenson Foundation hosted a cocktail buffet and wine tasting featuring a presentation by filmmaker Trevor Wallace about 3,000 year old Scythian tombs recently discovered in Siberia.

Trevor and his expedition partners
Trevor and his expedition partners

The Scythians were nomadic horse warriors who predated the Mongols by 2,000 years, famous for their gold ornaments and iconic artistic style. Trevor and his expedition partner Dr. Gino Caspari discovered the oldest, largest Royal Scythian tomb in Siberia last summer and will be returning shortly to unearth precious artifacts and mummies preserved in the permafrost — very cool stuff. They received the ‘New Explorer of the Year Award’ presented at the Explorers Club Annual Dinner in New York City for documenting the tomb and investigating the illegal antiquities trade.


ECWG thanks to the Stephensons. It was a great evening!

Mayflower Hotel Contract Signed for 2019 Lowell Thomas Dinner

Mayflower Hotel Contract Signed for 2019 Lowell Thomas Dinner

Following extensive negotiations, on Thursday, 29 March 2018 ECWG signed a contract with the Mayflower Hotel for LTAD 2019 in Washington, DC – 11-13 October 2019.

The contract team: Jay Kaplan, Lonnie Schorer, Susan Sawtelle, Bruce Blanchard, Debbie Bell


Treasurer Bruce Blanchard presenting the deposit check to Ron Kee.


Jay Kaplan, signing the contract with Mayflower’s Director of Sales & Catering, Ron Kee, Jr.

Barring unforeseen schedules and circumstances, TEC Honorary Chair Kathy Sullivan has agreed to be our speaker at the gala on 12 October!

Onward together!
Chair, ECWG

2019 Lowell Thomas Annual Award Dinner Memo

2019 Lowell Thomas Annual Award Dinner Memo

March 2018 Memo to Explorers Club Washington Group Members, Associates, & Friends

Save the dates: Columbus Day Weekend, Friday, October 11 – Sunday, October 13, 2019

In 2013, ECWG became just the second chapter outside of NY to host the Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Annual Award Dinner and Weekend. The ECWG event was highly successful and achieved our primary goal of replenishing funds for our Student Grants Program.

To ensure ECWG can continue to help young explorers complete their scientific fieldwork, ECWG applied for—and was recently awarded—the honor of hosting the Lowell Thomas Annual Dinner and Weekend in 2019. So please mark your calendars now for what will be a wonderful weekend of camaraderie and fantastic events, as well as a chance to bolster the ECWG grants program.

The weekend will feature multiple outstanding events:

  • Dinner Friday at a Washington, DC Embassy;
  • An awards ceremony on Saturday morning;
  • The gala dinner Saturday evening at the historic
    Mayflower Hotel on Connecticut Avenue, with a
    speaker and live and silent auctions;
  • Sunday brunch at a beautiful venue; and
  • Local excursions on both Saturday and Sunday.

To organize and carry out these events will require many willing hands, and we are asking for your help. The members listed below have already volunteered to play significant roles, but we need your assistance. Please review the following list of anticipated areas of assistance and advise where you are available to assist. Whatever time you are able to give will be much appreciated. We also need your help to spread the word and generate excitement! Participation by our Members, Associates, and Friends is critical to the effort and to the success of Lowell Thomas Annual Dinner Weekend 2019!

With appreciation and thanks from the Lowell Thomas 2019 Chairs,
Lonnie Schorer/Chair
Debbie Bell, Jay Kaplan, Susan Sawtelle/Vice Chairs

LTAD 2019 preliminary planning – as of March 20, 2018 Anticipated areas of Assistance


  • Live
  • Silent
  • Setup/display
  • Online
  • Auctioneer
  • Packing, shipping arrangements

Audio Visual (AV)

  • Awards program
  • Gala


  • Memo of Understanding with NY – who is responsible for what?
  • Mayflower Hotel, Embassy, National Geographic, Cosmos Club, AV (2)

Transportation, Valet parking company at Mayflower


  • Choice of 3 (?) Saturday afternoon destinations
  • Directions, maps, logistics


  • Refer to Contracts/Agreements/Legal
  • AV contracts (Awards and Gala)
  • Bus/van contract
  • Other contractual commitments
  • RSVPs and ticket payments
  • Gifts, awards
  • Comp tickets for gala
  • Hotel rooms for speakers and awardees
  • Auction/winning bidder payments
  • All financial transactions and final accounting with NY (with Legal)


  • Check-in, registration (Saturday evening Awards and Gala; possibly Embassy dinner)
  • Coffee, doughnuts (Saturday morning awards program)
  • Coat check
  • VIP Liaison, upgrades, gifts (Mayflower book)
  • Board room
  • Parking

Liaison with NY, Mayflower, embassy (to be determined), National Geo (tent.), Cosmos

Main Events

  • Friday evening Embassy dinner
  • Saturday morning Awards program (National Geographic?)
  • Saturday and Sunday excursions
  • Saturday evening Gala
  • Saturday evening Auction
  • Sunday Brunch (Cosmos Club?)


  • Save the date: postcards, e-mails, website, mailings
  • Media
  • Photographers (event and wildlife)

Menus & Table settings; related matters

  • Embassy dinner, gala, brunch
  • Wine selection
  • Table linens
  • Table décor
  • Table assignments (ECWG handle!) – coordination with NY
  • Gift for the Ambassador

Printed material: design & production

  • Save the date
  • Menus
  • Programs
  • Table charts
  • Table numbers
  • Registration lists
  • Name tags (?)
  • Signage
  • Table place cards


  • Access control
  • Bracelets/gala

Speaker; Gala MC

  • Coordinate speakers’ topic with theme
  • Hospitality for speaker.


  • Personal
  • Corporate

Theme development

  • Coordination with NY


  • Bus/Van transport to Embassy, Cosmos Club and excursion destinations
  • Valet parking at Embassy dinner
  • Valet parking at Mayflower
  • Airport information (distances, Metro access)


  • Eagle Scouts
  • Others


  • Certificates of Insurance
  • Permits
  • Access control
  • Birds, snake, cheetah?
  • Dedicated photographer
ECWG Dinner: Curt Westergard Pictures

ECWG Dinner: Curt Westergard Pictures

A few pictures from our enjoyable dinner with speaker Curt Westergard

Curt Westergard

Board Member Ken Kambis

Dave and Lonnie Schorer (Board Chair) at ECWG event

Board member Susan Sawtelle and Membership Director Debbie Bell

Michael J. Manyak, MD, MED’92 (L)Timothy Manyak (student member pending), Ian Iraola, Susanna Manyak (SM’05).

Lee Talbot’s Op-Ed on Washington Post

Lee Talbot’s Op-Ed on Washington Post

Lee Talbot MED57 recently had an opinion piece published in the Washington Post. 

Republicans’ attack on conservation law would shock their conservative predecessors

When President Richard Nixon asked my old boss at the Smithsonian Institution to loan me, then the institution’s head of environmental sciences, to the White House, I took on what may seem like an impossible task: write and help enact one of the country’s most important environmental laws. But I did, and the bill passed in a remarkably bipartisan way.

Now that law, the Endangered Species Act, is under vicious attack in Congress by anti-conservation zealots uninterested in working with their counterparts from the other side of the aisle.

Such is the state of our national affairs. The political climate makes it difficult to imagine a Republican president recruiting and encouraging a scientist to author progressive environmental legislation and help push it through Congress.

But that is exactly what Nixon did. At the time, nearly everyone in government, Nixon included, was worried about air and water pollution and environmental degradation from agriculture and development. Everyone wanted to save our wildlife and our natural heritage. They wanted to do what was best for the country.

So in 1970, I was hired to help create the president’s Council on Environmental Quality and develop national environmental policy. Before this, I had dedicated much of my career to the study of endangered species, venturing through dense Javan jungles and arid Arabian deserts to observe some of the world’s most imperiled animals. When I entered the White House, I knew I had to make conserving endangered wildlife our priority.

The law in place at the time — the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969 — did little to protect animals on the edge of extinction, and states did next to nothing for threatened wildlife. So I decided to create a new law to fill in the gaps.

When I unveiled my idea to Nixon’s chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman, as a win-win initiative, he and Nixon’s advisors agreed. But Haldeman had a caveat.

The Republican Nixon administration was faced with a Congress wholly controlled by Democrats. I had friends on the Hill on both sides of the aisle. I told Haldeman that we needed the Democrats with us to get our legislative initiatives through.

I asked if it was all right to work with the Democrats. Haldeman’s reply: Yes, do whatever you need to do to get our agenda through. His only proviso? Don’t ever appear with a Democrat on the front page of The Post.

I found the rivalry amusing at the time, but in the past, even the inherent divisiveness of party politics seldom stood in the way of making the best decisions for the American people.

Now, the idea of putting national interests ahead of party politics doesn’t seem to even occur to the most anti-wildlife lawmakers in Congress, who launch attack after attack against the Endangered Species Act.

To date, the current Congress has introduced more than 63 bills that would weaken or gut the act. These efforts to undermine one of our bedrock environmental laws are entirely wrongheaded. The Endangered Species Act has saved 99 percent of all animals under its protection from extinction and has put hundreds more on the road to recovery. A report from the Center for Biological Diversity found that 85 percent of the North American birds listed under the Endangered Species Act have either increased in numbers or remained stable since being protected.

This is proof that our laws have preserved critical natural resources. But with a pro-fossil fuels and pro-development administration in the White House, and Republicans controlling Congress, this progress is under threat.

We cannot afford to have our crucial conservation laws weakened. Instead, we should hold politicians who would undermine environmental protections accountable, because, as Americans, we value our wildlife and wild places over short-term profits, and we want them preserved for future generations.